Panny 25mm 1.4 vs Olympus 25mm 1.8 Reviewed

Started Feb 15, 2014 | Discussions
paulrfarrington Regular Member • Posts: 361
Re: Panny 25mm 1.4 vs Olympus 25mm 1.8 Reviewed

I don't normally think it's the case when people say the UK is more expensive but it certainly seems that the Olympus 25mm is disproportionately priced in the UK. With the price so close to the Panasonic over here its certainly a tough choice!
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sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,818
Panasonic lenses don't work well on Olympus cameras
1

dgrogers wrote:

Robin Wong has compared the Panny 25mm 1.4 to the Olympus 25mm 1.8.

http://robinwong.blogspot.it/2014/02/olympus-mzuiko-25mm-f18-lens-review.html

There are some interesting points. First, the Panasonic required a slower shutter speed at the same aperture, meaning there may be a difference in the way Olympus measures their f/stop and the way Panasonic does.

There seems to be very little difference in background blur, but there is a hair more with the Panasonic.

The Olympus lens was sharper at times, but not all the time. The Olympus lens did have better corner sharpness.

After reading this, I would choose whichever lens was cheaper, though you should note the Olympus lens is smaller and lighter.

The Olympus will work better on Olympus bodies if CA is a concern. It may be the reverse on Panasonic bodies.

This review demonstrates the points of made before on this forum (but usually people just get mad at me when I make these points).

Panasonic lenses do NOT work as well on Olympus cameras as they do on Panasonic cameras.

On the Olympus camera, the 25mm f/1.4 had more purple fringing, and Robin also noticed that the Panasonic lens had some focusing problems.

Regarding the purple fringing, Panasonic cameras have a built in strong UV filter that prevents purple fringing, so they don't design their lenses to correct for CA in the near-UV spectrum which leads to purple fringing.

sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,818
QC: good point

assaft wrote:

Another thing to take into account is QC and sample variation. I think that the Pany is positioned as a Leica and potentially it benefits from a better QC due to its higher-end status. I have a great copy of the relatively inexpensive 45/1.8 but I remember quite a few complaints about its QC in this forum. So maybe on average it takes a long time to find a very good copy of the 45/1.8. We don't really know about the 25/1.8 yet. To me it's the more appealing lens, mostly because of its smaller size, but I'll wait for LensTip and DxO reviews anyway.

I had to return my first 17mm f/1.8 because it the right side was soft because it was front-focused.

It's correct that the "Leica" name theoretically requires higher QC.

Jeff Tokayer Veteran Member • Posts: 6,278
Re: PM Henrys vs Aden :)

FrankS009 wrote:

The last time I checked, the price of the 25mm was $509 at Aden - it seems up to $519 now. It is $539 at Future Shop. Henry's will price match.

F.

interesting discussion, but the Oly is not even in Stock at Henry's, FS, Bb, or Aden. The Oly can be had for $299 when bundled with a body The Penny cannot.

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tt321
tt321 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,833
Re: Something to consider...

Steven Wandy wrote:

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

Nemo0815 wrote:

Robin Wong, after all.

he is Olympus employee after all, so he can't be 100% impartial (that does not mean that PL25/1.4 is better - that means he can't do a more precise testing... for example compare Nikon 85/1.4 vs Nikon 85/1.8 - there are many points where 1.8 scores better... and those 2 were not designed to compete - while O25/1.8 was vs PL25/1.4).

And he never says he does "precise testing", his "testing" has always been from a shooter's point of view. I don't think it means "that he can't do a more precise testing".

Additionally, he was not comparing 85mm lenses - he was talking about 50mm lenses and going WAY back for me to film day, a particular brand's 50mm 1.4 was generally built better and probably round twice as expensive as it's 1.8 lens. (Just as a 1.2 lens was always more expensive than a 1.4 lens.)

I am not sure if the same hold true for longer lenses - or for all focal lengths in general.

Current generation Nikkor 1.8G and 1.4G 50mm lenses tested on Lenstip:

1.8G1.4G

I'd personally say that the 1.8 is either slightly better or both are so similar as to have no practical difference. A case for the 1.4 being better is very difficult to make.

Pricing wise in the UK: £149 for the 1.8G and £279 for the 1.4G, inc. VAT - the entire money you pay for the lenses to appear at your door.

Per RW's test: PL25 and Oly 50/1.8 'identical' optically. Let's say this is similar to the Nikkor situation.

Pricing wise: £369 for the 1.8 and £399 for the 1.4.

Conclusion: Relatively speaking, either the PL25 is amazingly good value or the Oly 1.8 is amazingly bad value, or both

draleks Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: T-stops

Ido S wrote:

The difference in required shutter speeds for any given aperture is caused by the T-stops of the lens. That's the amount of light that actually manages to hit the sensor, whereas F-stops represent the amount of light that goes through the aperture diaphragm. We'll have to wait on a scientific confirmation, from the folks at DxO Labs (who are in charge of the famous, and infamous, DxOMark), as well as SLR Gear, etc.

I have an alternative theory. All lenses change their focal length slightly when focusing. So the 25 mm focal length applies strictly only at infinity. Mr Wong's test shots are portrait shots with fairly short object distance. As he himself noted, Panny has a slightly narrower FOV at that distance, which implies longer focal length. Slightly longer focal length with the same aperture diameter = slightly darker image, as is observed.

This is splitting hairs in any case, the lenses are equally bright at equal f-stops for all practical intents and purposes. The most important selling point of the panny to me is that it has antireflective coating. The night shots look absolutely gorgeous with this lens.

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amtberg Veteran Member • Posts: 6,108
Re: Panasonic lenses don't work well on Olympus cameras
1

sigala1 wrote:

dgrogers wrote:

Robin Wong has compared the Panny 25mm 1.4 to the Olympus 25mm 1.8.

http://robinwong.blogspot.it/2014/02/olympus-mzuiko-25mm-f18-lens-review.html

There are some interesting points. First, the Panasonic required a slower shutter speed at the same aperture, meaning there may be a difference in the way Olympus measures their f/stop and the way Panasonic does.

There seems to be very little difference in background blur, but there is a hair more with the Panasonic.

The Olympus lens was sharper at times, but not all the time. The Olympus lens did have better corner sharpness.

After reading this, I would choose whichever lens was cheaper, though you should note the Olympus lens is smaller and lighter.

The Olympus will work better on Olympus bodies if CA is a concern. It may be the reverse on Panasonic bodies.

This review demonstrates the points of made before on this forum (but usually people just get mad at me when I make these points).

Panasonic lenses do NOT work as well on Olympus cameras as they do on Panasonic cameras.

On the Olympus camera, the 25mm f/1.4 had more purple fringing, and Robin also noticed that the Panasonic lens had some focusing problems.

Regarding the purple fringing, Panasonic cameras have a built in strong UV filter that prevents purple fringing, so they don't design their lenses to correct for CA in the near-UV spectrum which leads to purple fringing.

True, but it's correctible in software, or by using a UV2A filter.  There's not correcting for 2/3 stop slower.

OP dgrogers Veteran Member • Posts: 7,079
Re: Panasonic lenses don't work well on Olympus cameras
1

amtberg wrote:

True, but it's correctible in software, or by using a UV2A filter. There's not correcting for 2/3 stop slower.

But there is evidence suggesting it might not be 2/3 stops slower.  The difference in background blur is so minor you have to look for it, and the camera was selecting a shutter speed that was 20% slower at the same aperture with the Panasonic lens to get the same exposure with the Olympus lens.  I'm sure there will be more comparisons, but the initial findings were surprising.

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OP dgrogers Veteran Member • Posts: 7,079
Re: T-stops

draleks wrote:

Ido S wrote:

The difference in required shutter speeds for any given aperture is caused by the T-stops of the lens. That's the amount of light that actually manages to hit the sensor, whereas F-stops represent the amount of light that goes through the aperture diaphragm. We'll have to wait on a scientific confirmation, from the folks at DxO Labs (who are in charge of the famous, and infamous, DxOMark), as well as SLR Gear, etc.

I have an alternative theory. All lenses change their focal length slightly when focusing. So the 25 mm focal length applies strictly only at infinity. Mr Wong's test shots are portrait shots with fairly short object distance. As he himself noted, Panny has a slightly narrower FOV at that distance, which implies longer focal length. Slightly longer focal length with the same aperture diameter = slightly darker image, as is observed.

This is splitting hairs in any case, the lenses are equally bright at equal f-stops for all practical intents and purposes. The most important selling point of the panny to me is that it has antireflective coating. The night shots look absolutely gorgeous with this lens.

Don't all modern (name brand) lenses have an anti-reflective coating?

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amtberg Veteran Member • Posts: 6,108
Re: Panasonic lenses don't work well on Olympus cameras
2

dgrogers wrote:

amtberg wrote:

True, but it's correctible in software, or by using a UV2A filter. There's not correcting for 2/3 stop slower.

But there is evidence suggesting it might not be 2/3 stops slower. The difference in background blur is so minor you have to look for it, and the camera was selecting a shutter speed that was 20% slower at the same aperture with the Panasonic lens to get the same exposure with the Olympus lens. I'm sure there will be more comparisons, but the initial findings were surprising.

It's common in fast lenses that wider apertures don't translate completely to faster exposures.  But the PL is still faster and it does still have narrower DOF, which I think will turn out to be less subtle than Mr. Wong would have you believe....

Maybe we can find a Panasonic employee to do the same comparison. 

g_r_w Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: Panasonic lenses don't work well on Olympus cameras

sigala1 wrote:

dgrogers wrote:

Robin Wong has compared the Panny 25mm 1.4 to the Olympus 25mm 1.8.

http://robinwong.blogspot.it/2014/02/olympus-mzuiko-25mm-f18-lens-review.html

There are some interesting points. First, the Panasonic required a slower shutter speed at the same aperture, meaning there may be a difference in the way Olympus measures their f/stop and the way Panasonic does.

There seems to be very little difference in background blur, but there is a hair more with the Panasonic.

The Olympus lens was sharper at times, but not all the time. The Olympus lens did have better corner sharpness.

After reading this, I would choose whichever lens was cheaper, though you should note the Olympus lens is smaller and lighter.

The Olympus will work better on Olympus bodies if CA is a concern. It may be the reverse on Panasonic bodies.

This review demonstrates the points of made before on this forum (but usually people just get mad at me when I make these points).

Panasonic lenses do NOT work as well on Olympus cameras as they do on Panasonic cameras.

I'm noticing that the contentious issue is also the reported mis-focus of the PL25.

I always wonder whether issues like mis-focus relate to body-lens mismatches i.e. Pany lens on Oly body or vice versa. Theoretically, it shouldn't be an issue because we're talking about a standard, but reality tends to be different.

Anecdotally, I would say I have had mis-focus issues with my PL25 on my E-M5 than other lenses, but I also use it in those conditions because they will be challenging. This is not brand bias either, I own 2 Oly lenses and 8 Pany lenses.

Heard the same thing before about the purple spot issues on the 7-14 with the E-M5 and all the Pany body owners saying that it didn't exist.

I'm guessing that both manufacturers spend a significantly greater amount of time testing their own lenses on their own bodies than that of their partner("competitor") companies.

mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,813
street vs. introduction price
1

FrankS009 wrote:

The price in Canada is about $500 for the Panasonic and $400 for the Olympus. As noted in the other active thread about this comparison, I look forward to the LensTip test of the 25 1.8 to compare it with the PL 25 1.4 and the Olympus 45mm. I trust LensTip more than I trust Wong.

F.

I'm sure the introduction price of the P/L 25 was not $500. The Oly lens will come down rather quickly if you don't need to buy the lens today.

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mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,813
and night photography

bluevellet wrote:

dgrogers wrote:

bluevellet wrote:

What I'm getting from Wong and other early reviews is that the Zuiko 25mm f1.8 is better than the Zuiko 17mm f1.8, in the sense that it compares more favorably to its closest rival (Lumix 25mm f1.4 and Lumix 20mm f1.7 respectively).

So the Zuiko 25mm is cheaper, smaller, more versatile lens than the classic Lumix 25mm with very similar IQ.

What's wrong with the 17mm f/1.8? I've seen some amazing pictures from that lens.

As I said, when compared to 20mm, the 17mm is not that impressive. That's purely about IQ here. Pixel-peeping and such. That's what initially disappointed people here, not that pretty photos couldn't be taken with it.

Obviously, the 17mm smokes the 20mm in AF (The Pana is just awful) and for those who want a better MF feel (pull-up focus ring).

Was out shooting with my girlfriend in Joshua Tree at night under full moon. No way to focus her 20 without me standing at hyperfocal distance holding a flashlight aimed at my hand for MF. The 17/1.8 would have sure been nice under these circumstances!!!! Scale focus is not always just a gimmick!

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mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,813
"Less than precisely rigorous," maybe

Loga wrote:

Not to mention that he compared the bokeh / DOF in a changing environment. I think this comparsion is simply useless. A tad closer focus to the subject with the Oly and the difference seems to be disappear. So, we should find the real difference with tripod / locked subject.

However, f1.4 vs f1.8 is not that important IMHO. To me, focusing ability is much more a difference. Since I also experienced that the PL25 can miss focus on my OM-D wide open, if the Oly is really that precise, then this is the reason I would buy it over the Pana.

amtberg wrote:

dgrogers wrote:

amtberg wrote:

The bottom line to me for the 25mm FL and MFT is that -- all else being equal -- I want as skinny a depth of field as I can get. It's not that big of an issue at longer focal lengths, because you naturally tend to get narrower DOF, but separation can be hard to achieve at 25mm.

Robin suggests that the difference between f/1.4 and f/1.8 isn't significant here, but that's not my experience. Here's a comparison between the two apertures on my Voigtlander 25mm/.95 (roll over image to see the difference):

http://www.3danvil.com/temp/f1.4_vf1.8/image%20rollover_01.html

http://www.3danvil.com/temp/f1.4_vf1.8/image%20rollover_02.html

Given that the lenses both have excellent IQ, and the PL/1.4 can be had for close to the same price, I'd go for the PL over the Olympus. It's purely academic for me as I'm happy with the Voigt and I'm not likely to purchase either lens.

So there is a noticeable difference between f/1.4 and f/1.8 on your Voigtlander. The difference between the Panny 25mm f/1.4 and the Oly 25mm f/1.8 isn't nearly as noticeable, at least in Robin Wong's samples. What does that tell us?

I don't think it's clear at all that the DoF difference isn't noticeable between the two lenses. Rather, I don't think Robin is playing it quite straight. Notice in the shots with the peppers, for example, that the Oly shot is focused closer than the PL shot, which makes a big difference re: the background blur? I think he picked his shots to downplay the difference.

I would hardly say this was "useless." "Less than precisely rigorous," sure, but not useless.

If you are designing a shot around the DoF differences between shifting your focus point a few mm, I think you are missing the point.

Typically, when people traditionally compared a 50/1.8 vs a 50/1.4, it was usually based on lens quality differences, not nit picking the differences between f1.8 and f1.4. Looks like only the build quality of the P/L 25 is noticeably better in this case.

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amtberg Veteran Member • Posts: 6,108
Re: "Less than precisely rigorous," maybe
2

mh2000 wrote:

Typically, when people traditionally compared a 50/1.8 vs a 50/1.4, it was usually based on lens quality differences, not nit picking the differences between f1.8 and f1.4. Looks like only the build quality of the P/L 25 is noticeably better in this case.

Disagree.  Lens manufacturers don't go to such extremes of design and cost to produce fast f/1-1.4 lenses just so they'll look better at f/1.8 and above.  Photographers have always been willing to pay top dollar for fast glass because it provides more flexibility in exposure and composition.

In the present case it's not a huge difference but it's noticeable and it's just silly to pretend that it doesn't exist.

Bluephotons Veteran Member • Posts: 6,710
The good news is...
3

That there is an option now, I have the Panaleica "under watch" in my Amazon wish list for more than a year and the darn thing don't get even a "KFC promotional Happy meal discount", I'm pretty sure that by the end of the year you'll be able to get the Oly for around $300, if you have the patience and fishing skills. Thanks Oly and Robin!

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tgutgu Veteran Member • Posts: 4,102
Re: Panasonic lenses don't work well on Olympus cameras
1

amtberg wrote:

dgrogers wrote:

amtberg wrote:

True, but it's correctible in software, or by using a UV2A filter. There's not correcting for 2/3 stop slower.

But there is evidence suggesting it might not be 2/3 stops slower. The difference in background blur is so minor you have to look for it, and the camera was selecting a shutter speed that was 20% slower at the same aperture with the Panasonic lens to get the same exposure with the Olympus lens. I'm sure there will be more comparisons, but the initial findings were surprising.

It's common in fast lenses that wider apertures don't translate completely to faster exposures. But the PL is still faster and it does still have narrower DOF, which I think will turn out to be less subtle than Mr. Wong would have you believe....

Maybe we can find a Panasonic employee to do the same comparison.

That is not necessary. The images of Robin Wong speak for themselves. The DOF difference is insignificant.

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Thomas

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micksh6
micksh6 Senior Member • Posts: 2,613
Re: Reviewed on Olympus body...

MatLD wrote:

By an olympus rep.

Robin Wong makes it quite clear that he cannot be really objective on his reviews so such a comparison only makes sense for those who are aware of his bias.

The main thing here is that there are 3 domains where the oly lens appears superior and where the camera could make the difference:

-CA (I believe there is no CA corrections at all for panasonic lenses on the em1)

-corner sharpness (the em1 has profiles of the lenses and applies selective sharpness filters). This point has NOT been mentioned by Robin Wong.

-brightness (1/3 of a stop is quite a subtle thing in an uncontrolled environment and could be camera related as well )

The build quality is also to take into account : my 45 f1.8 is definately NOT on the level of my PL25 in this regard.

Definately seperate? (two English words in which I hate misspellings worst, and they often come together).

I got 45mm F1.8 in 2011, from very first batch and it still holds well. I don't get why people enjoy touching large chunks of solid surface, being it metal or hard plastic. The lens just works, as long as you don't use it as a hammer.

Let's bookmark this post and return to this when DxO Mark, Lenstip and SLR Gear reviews appear. I think, regardless of Robin Wong being Olympus employee it is clear than Olympus lens is a bit better at corners but Panasonic lens is slightly better in center. Otherwise the lenses are very similar, except for 2/3 stop aperture Pana advantage and Oly size advantage. And I think the future reviews will show exactly that.

Heck with CA on old Oly bodies, it is automatically removed by Lightroom. I know this because I used PL 25mm on E-PL5 and E-P3. It works just fine and AF is fast and reliable.

There are still some questions left about bokeh differences on background with bright spots, can't tell if any lens has an advantage.

PL 25mm misfocus issue is I think an operator mistake as I've never seen it on Oly bodies. I focus carefully, though.
Also, I think difference between F1.4 and F1.8 can be a bit more pronounced, but not sure about T-stops. In all other aspects it's a fair review, I think.

Now the new oly appears to be quite good, and looks like the better choice on an olympus body.

Time will tell, but I find it a pity that panasonic and olympus compete directly on the lenses. It seems that more and more, the m4/3 is loosing its advantage of having two manufacturers.

What's the point of sharing the mount if manufacturers are doing everything to prevent you from buying the competitor's lenses ?

Perhaps the point is that you are wrong and manufacturers don't do what you accuse them to do.

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draleks Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: T-stops

dgrogers wrote:

draleks wrote:

Ido S wrote:

The difference in required shutter speeds for any given aperture is caused by the T-stops of the lens. That's the amount of light that actually manages to hit the sensor, whereas F-stops represent the amount of light that goes through the aperture diaphragm. We'll have to wait on a scientific confirmation, from the folks at DxO Labs (who are in charge of the famous, and infamous, DxOMark), as well as SLR Gear, etc.

I have an alternative theory. All lenses change their focal length slightly when focusing. So the 25 mm focal length applies strictly only at infinity. Mr Wong's test shots are portrait shots with fairly short object distance. As he himself noted, Panny has a slightly narrower FOV at that distance, which implies longer focal length. Slightly longer focal length with the same aperture diameter = slightly darker image, as is observed.

This is splitting hairs in any case, the lenses are equally bright at equal f-stops for all practical intents and purposes. The most important selling point of the panny to me is that it has antireflective coating. The night shots look absolutely gorgeous with this lens.

Don't all modern (name brand) lenses have an anti-reflective coating?

Yes, sorry about being unpresice. Most modern lenses have antireflective coating, but this panny got a very sophisticated nanocoating that prevents internal reflections on most wavelenghts. Consider for example this shot: http://500px.com/photo/43489360. There are many bright light sources in the frame, but no flares whatsoever. There are some very pretty 14-edged starbursts, which the photographer put there intentionally. A lesser lens would have produced ugly flare blobs around most of the light sources.

broody Contributing Member • Posts: 674
Re: T-stops
2

Honestly, people are making too much out of this comparison. Robin Wong admitted his testing methodology was in no way rigorous, and further I suspect his hand is forced in making pro-Olympus statements (one funny line that struck out at me was his claim that all Olympus primes were tack-sharp corner to corner when shot wide open... Not remotely true for any of the wide primes).

Now we know the Oly 25mm is a good lens, and also that it has some rather different rendering qualities from the Leica... Honestly I don't think the price difference is so large that one would not buy one or the other just for a preference in size and rendering, rather than for 'value'. These lenses are so similar and at once very different. The Oly has that harsh, in-your-face microcontrast of all telephoto Zuikos. The Leica has a gentler rendering, and one I happen to prefer. I don't care if the T-stop difference is 2/3 EV or 1/3 EV.

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