Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1

Started Feb 2, 2014 | Discussions
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tt321 Senior Member • Posts: 7,674
Re: A step in the right direction

cfh25 wrote:

He confirms that Olympus are now supplying lens hoods even with non-PRO lens (long faces by certain Ebayers!)

Which probably resulted in the relative high release price ...

TonyinJapan
TonyinJapan Senior Member • Posts: 1,063
Re: Trusting Robin Wong

Michael J Davis wrote:

I don't know how he'll change in the future, but he's only recently become an Olympus employee, and has promised to 'tell it as it is'.

I wonder what it means for Robin to be ‘an Olympus employee’? What his role actually is? Of course, he would be expected to share good news of the latest releases, answer questions prospective buyers may have, offer support and suggestions where needed, and test/share photos that he has taken.

Being an employee though, I am sure he cannot be down the line ‘brutally honest’ and advise prospective buyers to buy a Panasonic lens instead when it is actually a better lens than an Olympus alternative.

His credibility is enhanced in my eyes by his various statements about Olympus lenses that he doesn't like (eg 17mm).

Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I have read, it seems like he does not like the lens due to the field-of-view, not because of any characteristics/image quality of the lens itself.

I was withholding judgement until I've seen the way he handles the comparison with the Panny-Leica 25mm.

Same here. But with Robin not being an owner of the lens, I wonder if he understands the weaknesses and strengths of non-Olympus lenses to make a worthwhile comparison? For example, to compare the purple fringing open wide between the two lenses (which the PL25mm is known to exhibit), or show which lens resolves better (which the PL25mm is know to be superb, especially around f1.8-2.8), and to say which is the better even if it is not the Olympus lens.

Will have to wait and see…

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RoelHendrickx
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 24,621
Re: Fisheye lens cap vs Zuiko and Rokinon

tt321 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

I think he will still review that body lens cap fisheye.

The samples I've seen are pretty good. Better than the 15mm lens cap.

Indeed. Depending on the eventual cost, it's pretty high on my list as a true lens like Rokinon seems overkill for my very low hunger for this type of contraption. The 15 makes no sense at all to me as I always have my phone with me.

True about the 15mm.  I added it to a purchase (no shipping costs) but I have not yet used it much.  Some test shooting and an outing or two but that is it.  I take the 20mm when I want a small lens on my camera.

Fisheye photography, however, is a substantial part of my shooting.

So I want good lenses for that.

I used to use my ZD7-14mm very much, because I found the 14mm of my ZD14-54mm often not wide enough for some of what I like to do.

The ZD12-60mm suits my wide angle needs better, and is one of the reasons why I use the ZD7-14mm much less than before (still like it though).  I am so glad that Olympus uses 12mm as the wide angle base line for some of their standard zooms.

The other and quite important reason for less use of my ZD7-14, is the fact that I have gotten a ZD8mm : whenever I want to go beyond 12mm, that lens is on the camera.

I also used the ZD8mm on the E-M5 (with adapter) and that worked really well.

But I could not resist the Rokinon for its much smaller size.  Knowing the 85mm, I expected good quality and was not disappointed: it is as good as the ZD8mm.  Now the Rokinon fisheye fits in my µFT bag all the time.  I don't need AF on a fisheye.

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neilm16 Regular Member • Posts: 399
Robin Wong is this inconsistent?
1

I love reading his blog and do think he seems very honest and seems happy to reply etc.

However I did notice something which doesnt appear to be consistent and this could be a genuine error.

If you look here Robin talks about the 20mm f1.7

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/panasonic-lumix-20mm-f17-pancake-lens.html

And notice he says...

Even at 20mm, thanks to the F1.7 wide aperture, I can render very good bokeh. The bokeh is creamy, smooth and very desirable.

Great you think! big plus....

Then I noticed this... when talking about the newer 17mm f1.8.. http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

I find the out of focus rendering of the 17mm F1.8 to be very smooth, creamy and pleasing to look at. I remember complaining about the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 for having very harsh bokeh and distracting out of focus rendering, even at F1.7 widest open aperture. I am glad to see Olympus 17mm can create much more pleasing out of focus look in the image.

So if it is a simple error fair enough but does seem somewhat inconsistent...

Pic Man Senior Member • Posts: 1,310
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1
2

targut wrote:

Pic Man wrote:
I disagree about there being nothing wrong with employee reviews.

Several users of this forum have told you already that they find nothing wrong with it. Why don't you accept their opinion and stop pushing your (of course the only correct) one?

Because it's the correct one of course 

Here's a review of the 17mm 1.8 by photozone

http://www.photozone.de/m43/840-olympus17f18?start=2

Here's a review of the 17mm 1.8 by Robin Wong

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

To me this highlights why I disagree about there being nothing wrong with employees writing reviews of their companies products. You're welcome to disagree with me which going by the current trend looks likely.

DISCLAIMER:

  • This is not an attack at Robin Wong or Olympus
  • I'm a Panasonic fanboy¬†
Olymore
Olymore Senior Member • Posts: 1,614
Re: I don't understand the: "25mm of course is larger" comparison with the 45mm.

It's my understanding that the 40-60mm focal length is easier to design and build than wider and longer focal lengths.

So standard focal lengths for 35mm format were always the cheapest lenses. And 50mm (35mm equivalent) lenses on 6x4.5 format were also relatively cheap.

As m43 has the 2x crop it is actually cheaper and easier to make short portrait length lenses than standard focal length lenses.

And wide angles on m43 are actually equivalent to ultra wides on 35mm and introduce further complexity which is why the m43 wide angle primes are not as cheap as people expect.

I'd be interested if someone who knows  about lens design can confirm this though.

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RoelHendrickx
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 24,621
Re: Robin Wong is this inconsistent?

neilm16 wrote:

I love reading his blog and do think he seems very honest and seems happy to reply etc.

However I did notice something which doesnt appear to be consistent and this could be a genuine error.

If you look here Robin talks about the 20mm f1.7

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/panasonic-lumix-20mm-f17-pancake-lens.html

And notice he says...

Even at 20mm, thanks to the F1.7 wide aperture, I can render very good bokeh. The bokeh is creamy, smooth and very desirable.

Great you think! big plus....

Then I noticed this... when talking about the newer 17mm f1.8.. http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

I find the out of focus rendering of the 17mm F1.8 to be very smooth, creamy and pleasing to look at. I remember complaining about the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 for having very harsh bokeh and distracting out of focus rendering, even at F1.7 widest open aperture. I am glad to see Olympus 17mm can create much more pleasing out of focus look in the image.

So if it is a simple error fair enough but does seem somewhat inconsistent...

Could also be he just changed his opinion over time.

If he shot with the 20mm in circumstances where the background allows for nice bokeh, it is quite possible to voice that as a first impressiion;  But then later come to realize that under other circumstances, the bokeh from the lens can be quite harsh.

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0MitchAG Contributing Member • Posts: 528
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1

mijokijo wrote:

I'm actually really interested in the fish eye body cap lens after seeing the photos from his friend. For $100, it looks like it could be fun.

It definitely looks pretty good compared to their other body cap lens, which is just plain horrible and I'm not sure why one'd waste money on it. But this, this seems quite good for $100!

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TonyinJapan
TonyinJapan Senior Member • Posts: 1,063
Re: Robin Wong is this inconsistent?

neilm16 wrote:

I love reading his blog and do think he seems very honest and seems happy to reply etc.

However I did notice something which doesnt appear to be consistent and this could be a genuine error.

If you look here Robin talks about the 20mm f1.7

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/panasonic-lumix-20mm-f17-pancake-lens.html

And notice he says...

Even at 20mm, thanks to the F1.7 wide aperture, I can render very good bokeh. The bokeh is creamy, smooth and very desirable.

Great you think! big plus....

Then I noticed this... when talking about the newer 17mm f1.8.. http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

I find the out of focus rendering of the 17mm F1.8 to be very smooth, creamy and pleasing to look at. I remember complaining about the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 for having very harsh bokeh and distracting out of focus rendering, even at F1.7 widest open aperture. I am glad to see Olympus 17mm can create much more pleasing out of focus look in the image.

So if it is a simple error fair enough but does seem somewhat inconsistent...

As is mentioned, perhaps he changed his opinion.

However, I was interested in reading about the resolution comments of his 17mm review and if he mentions any comparison with the 20mm f1.7, like he does with the ‘Bokeh’ section, but there is no comparison. It is generally well-accepted that the 20mm is sharper than the 17mm.

The 17mm is a good lens and the bokeh is very nice, but I always found the sharpness shot wide-open to be trailing behind Panasonic’s offerings. It is sharp enough for most needs, but does not have that ‘super-sharp/micro-contrast’ renderings of either the 20mm f1.7 and 25mm f1.4, from my own shooting experience. I think even the 12-32mm is sharper than the 17mm at the same FOV and the zoom’s widest-aperture in my tests (which shows that either the zoom is really sharp or the 17mm prime is not has sharp as it should be for a prime, which way you want to look at it).

Anyway, I hope when Robin compares the Oly 25mm and PL25mm, if the PL25mm is really better than the Oly in some areas, he can simply state it ‘as is’.

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tt321 Senior Member • Posts: 7,674
Re: I don't understand the: "25mm of course is larger" comparison with the 45mm.

Olymore wrote:

It's my understanding that the 40-60mm focal length is easier to design and build than wider and longer focal lengths.

So standard focal lengths for 35mm format were always the cheapest lenses. And 50mm (35mm equivalent) lenses on 6x4.5 format were also relatively cheap.

As m43 has the 2x crop it is actually cheaper and easier to make short portrait length lenses than standard focal length lenses.

And wide angles on m43 are actually equivalent to ultra wides on 35mm and introduce further complexity which is why the m43 wide angle primes are not as cheap as people expect.

14/2.5? The NEX pancake 16mm? Both are radical FL's on FF.

I'd be interested if someone who knows about lens design can confirm this though.

They make those single-digit mm lenses for mobile phones so good and small, and fast/compact 32/35mm standard primes are appearing for APSC.

Compare the Leica S system 45/2.8 to 70/2.5, and one should have no doubt as to which is the standard lens.

There is nothing magical about the 40-60mm range, away from the 135 sensor/film format.

oeoek Contributing Member • Posts: 502
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1
1

I have no problems with Mr. Wong being paid by Olympus, and I read his stories and look at his pictures knowing this. I just wish every reviewer was this open about their relationships (some are, some are not).

A long time ago, Leica had something called 'the Leica School'; a bunch of good photographers from a country who would get paid to give workshops and courses mainly aimed at Leica equipment in that country (perhaps the Leica Schools still exist, I don't know).

And guess what, while those photographers got paid by Leica, they still would tell you what was good but also what was 'not so good' about the gear. And they would show you how to get the most from it, learning to deal with - or work around certain problems. During a day they would grin and and admit certain problems and offer solutions, even if there was no red dot involved. Basically, they were getting paid to make sure people could get the best from their gear.

As a photographer, at some point investing in education is a better idea then investing in gear. And getting educated by the ones who make the gear is not a bad idea...

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Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 15,347
Start a blog, write unbiased reviews
12

I read through RW's review. Looks pretty good. He is honest and upfront (right at the very top) that he works for Olympus now. His blog is free. People can read what he writes or not read what he writes. They can give weight to his opinions or not give weight to them. For those who get so upset that someone puts free info and photos out on the internet then there is a very simple solution:

Create your own blog and review stuff very carefully, meticulously, without any hint of any kind of bias, and do it all for free. Creating a blog is easy. Anyone who can manage to post here can do it. It sure sounds like a lot of work to do what RW does though and to do it the way you insist free stuff must be done it will be even harder. Personally, I am anxious to see these new, free, timely, unbiased reviews.

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fdwill Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1

This man takes excellent pictures. He shows us his wonderful images using specified equipment. This shows us that with appropriate skill, and eyes, we can takes great photographs with this equipment. BUT, I believe Robin Wong could take great pictures with junk; however Olympus gear is not junk, but remember the phrase 'appropriate skill and eyes'.

mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,776
Re: Robin Wong is this inconsistent?

neilm16 wrote:

I love reading his blog and do think he seems very honest and seems happy to reply etc.

However I did notice something which doesnt appear to be consistent and this could be a genuine error.

If you look here Robin talks about the 20mm f1.7

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/panasonic-lumix-20mm-f17-pancake-lens.html

And notice he says...

Even at 20mm, thanks to the F1.7 wide aperture, I can render very good bokeh. The bokeh is creamy, smooth and very desirable.

Great you think! big plus....

Then I noticed this... when talking about the newer 17mm f1.8.. http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

I find the out of focus rendering of the 17mm F1.8 to be very smooth, creamy and pleasing to look at. I remember complaining about the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 for having very harsh bokeh and distracting out of focus rendering, even at F1.7 widest open aperture. I am glad to see Olympus 17mm can create much more pleasing out of focus look in the image.

So if it is a simple error fair enough but does seem somewhat inconsistent...

people can change their mind. maybe he was wowwed by the 20 at first because there was nothing really to compare it at the time... i don't know.

The 20 is kind of harsh, his examples from the 17 and 25 look very nice IMO. He uses limited DoF in his test shots very well too!

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mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,776
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1

amtberg wrote:

Acrill wrote:

So use your eyes and look at the pictures.

If there is nothing wrong with the pictures then there is nothing wrong with the lens. Lenses are tools for creating pictures.

A good photographer (and Robin Wong is one) can make any lens look good.  Has he ever given an Olympus product a less than positive review?

He seems to shoot Olympus gear. This is probably not only because he works for them. There isn't an Oly lens that I've use that I would trash either... if so, I wouldn't be using it.

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julieng
julieng Contributing Member • Posts: 879
Re: Too expensive

I will grant you that you may know UK market better than I. Nevertheless, it sells and does it well enough, its not too expensive. No matter where.

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julieng
julieng Contributing Member • Posts: 879
Please stop it with questionning his impartiality.

I have seen enough fan talk in these forums and I seriously doubt that extremely few of which if any at all are in direct conflict of interest. Lets face it, if you want to be biased, you only need bad faith, half baked information and a loud mouth.

Now, the sheer fact that Robin works for Olympus may raise some questions, yet it doesn't makes him de facto unprofessional and should he resign would certainly not be a bullet proof demonstration that he is all of the sudden impartial, assuming he currently isin't of course.

Shoot the message, not the messenger!

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,803
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1

Acrill wrote:

So use your eyes and look at the pictures.

If there is nothing wrong with the pictures then there is nothing wrong with the lens. Lenses are tools for creating pictures.

If all I need to do is use my eyes and look at the pictures, then why do I need to read the words.

He works for them. Can you ever imagine a scenario in which he will say anything even moderately bad about his own company's product? I mean, really. Further, do you really think that Olympus is not absolutely permitting him to post his thoughts?

There is a reason why we want reviewers to be independent. And why we worry when they will get free products. Here, it is ten times worse. He works for them.

jackkurtz Veteran Member • Posts: 4,422
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1
1

Pic Man wrote:

The reviewer has a vested interest in wanting you to like it and therefore go and buy it. So my point is that it makes it difficult to trust and therefore not very useful.

Almost every review has a vested interest in getting you to like and buy a product. Advertiser supported sites, like this, (although IMO DP Review reviews are pretty fair - I may not agree with them but they seem objective), have a vested interest in getting you to buy the camera or lens or whatever. When was the last time you read a critical review in something like Popular Photography?

Robin Wong states his Olympus affiliation at the top of the review. If that taints the review you can stop reading at that point. If not you can continue reading and make your own decisions based on the information Robin (or any other reviewer) provides.

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ristar Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: Robin Wong - Olympus 25mm 1.8 review, part 1
2

Pic Man wrote:

targut wrote:

Pic Man wrote:
I disagree about there being nothing wrong with employee reviews.

Several users of this forum have told you already that they find nothing wrong with it. Why don't you accept their opinion and stop pushing your (of course the only correct) one?

Because it's the correct one of course

Here's a review of the 17mm 1.8 by photozone

http://www.photozone.de/m43/840-olympus17f18?start=2

Here's a review of the 17mm 1.8 by Robin Wong

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

To me this highlights why I disagree about there being nothing wrong with employees writing reviews of their companies products. You're welcome to disagree with me which going by the current trend looks likely.

DISCLAIMER:

  • This is not an attack at Robin Wong or Olympus
  • I'm a Panasonic fanboy

DISCLAIMIER:

  • This is not an attack on you.
  • I am not a Olympus or Panasonic fan, as you can see in my gear list.

First of all, I do agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but like many others in this thread, I will agree to disagree with you and I will explain why.

I'd like to point out to you that even though Robin published his 17mm f1.8 review in November 2012, he did not announce becoming an Olympus Malaysia employee until September 2013 (not sure the exact date he started working for them). However, I would agree with you that his 17mm f1.8 review was probably a little too positive. Then why was he so positive before he became an employee?

The important point you are missing is that Robin Wong was an Olympus "fan" long before he became their employee. It was obvious even before he became an employee and as far as I know he has never pretended that he was not a fan. Now that he's become their employee, he emphasizes that at the beginning of each review. So what is the problem? One definition of a fan is "an ardent admirer or enthusiast." What you have discovered is that fans (either reviewers or other forum members here and elsewhere) are not impartial, not that Robin is not impartial because he is an Olympus employee.

At the beginning of the thread you said that the fact that Robin is an Olympus employee "makes it more difficult to trust" his reviews. Well, I would argue that you should not just trust anything he or anyone writes without separating fact from opinion and forming your own conclusion. Just because Robin is an Olympus employee does not detract from his writing or photos.

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