EM1-II hands on + 25mm Olympus f1.2 vs f1.4 Panasonic

Started Nov 20, 2016 | Discussions thread
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Gakuranman Senior Member • Posts: 1,198
EM1-II hands on + 25mm Olympus f1.2 vs f1.4 Panasonic

I went to the Olympus hands-on event in Tokyo today and got the chance to really play around with the new camera. I also took my Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens along to do a quick comparison to the new 25mm 1.2 Olympus. I am an EM-1 owner having upgraded from the original PEN and EM-5.

Some thoughts, in no particular order:

-The new grip feels amazing. The current EM1, which is already good, just feels uncomfortable in comparison. Much more secure and fits better in the hand

-Camera feels noticeably heavier due to the larger battery, but it doesn't feel 'heavy' in the hand. Thumbs up

-Blackout when shooting in burst mode is fleeting and makes tracking very possible now

-Pro Capture is amazing for getting that perfect shot from half pressing the shutter and having the camera buffer. Another innovation that I think many people won't be able to live without once they try it

-Tracking worked nicely with the model trains and planes they had going around in circles. Nothing like a stress test, but promising. I couldn't get pin sharp results face tracking a guy walking towards me, but that is likely operator error as I've never used C-AF mode before

-New macro flash is lovely. Can control each side of the flash independently, detach them, flip up the diffusers, change angle and mount on external tripod mounts. Flash attaches to the lens (tried with the 12-40) and is very compact

-Macro stacking was quick and easy. Flash fires for each shot and them the camera stitches them together at the end, with a slight crop to the image. Definitely very cool that post processing is no longer required to get good depth of field in macro!

-IBIS worked well at full zoom on the new 12-100 lens. I could handhold shots around 1 second at 100mm

-Portraits looked fantastic using the new 25mm f1.2 lens

In short, partly due to the multitude of different booths they had, I left feeling that this camera can pretty much do any type of shooting imaginable, and very well. Clearly the reason to consider it is for the sheer creative flexibility it opens up. It was refreshing to actually play around and try different things, and I found myself feeling these experiences stand in sharp contrast to the bickering of equivalence and image quality comparisons to larger sensor cameras online. Not that I'm saying image quality doesn't matter - just that there's a lot of potential this camera offers and it is easily overlooked because of the sensor size.

Anyway, here's the comparison for the Olympus 25mm f1.2 and Panasonic 25mm f1.4. All out of camera (EM-1) Jpeg.





1.2 closest focus

1.4 closest focus

To my eyes, the following stand out:

-1.2 gives much smoother bokeh (no harsh lines around the highlight bubbles) and dreamier look than the 1.4

-1.2 in some shots seemed to render non-circular bokeh highlights where the 1.4 did (could be due to angle of the light? More testing needed)

-1.2 can get closer than the 1.4 lens, meaning possible to get even shallower depth of field than 1.4 simply due to subject distance

-1.2 lens felt very well balanced on EM1-II and didn't get heavy

-1.4 lens still snakerattled on my EM1 and focus hunted occasionally

Obviously we are comparing f1.2 to f1.4, so we expect less depth of field, so it's not a 'fair' comparison. But equally, both these lenses are designed to be used wide open for bokeh, so from a different point of view, I feel the comparison at widest aperture is the most important test. Hence, I didn't bother to do comparisons at 1.4 this time. I was satisfied the f1.2 lens beats the 1.4 in every way (except perhaps Bokeh circles, where the 1.4 seemed to give rounder circles more often, in this 10 minute test I did).

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback!

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