Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm 1:2.8 Pancake Review
The Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm F2.8 Pancake lens was announced in March 2008 to coincide with the E-420 ultra-compact DSLR, and occupies a unique position in the current market as the only fixed focal length ('prime') lens which is bundled as a kit with a camera body. In this it harks back to the 1980s heyday of the classic manual focus 35mm SLR, when cameras were supplied with 50mm F1.8 (or similar) lenses as standard, with which budding photographers learned their art. That 25mm focal length also corresponds directly to 50mm on the 35mm full-frame format, offering the same diagonal angle of view; this is therefore of the 'standard' class of lenses, offering none of the perspective distortion which is characteristic of wideangle or telephoto lenses.
The word 'Pancake' in the lens's title offers a clue to its most striking physical characteristic; it is extremely thin (just 24mm, or less than 1") and extremely light, making it the perfect complement to Olympus's E-4x0 class bodies as an (almost) pocketable, carry-anywhere solution, with all the speed and responsiveness of a DSLR coupled with image quality unmatched by any small-sensor compact digicam. However it's not the slimmest lens currently available; that honour falls to Pentax's almost unimaginably thin SMC-DA 40mm F2.8, at a mere 15mm. Other brands also have their own small primes such as 28mm F2.8s or 35mm F2s, but a Canon EOS 1000D fitted with a 28mm F2.8 lens will be fully 25mm/1" (i.e. 33%) thicker than an E-420 with a 25mm F2.8; this combination really is about as small as it gets for DSLRs.
The 25mm Pancake is also a rare example of a truly 'designed for digital' standard prime; aside from the Sigma 30mm F1.4 HSM, Panasonic's Leica-branded 25mm F1.4 for Four Thirds, and the aforementioned Pentax 40mm F2.8, such lenses have been most noticeable by their absence, with the major camera manufacturers preferring to concentrate on more consumer-friendly zooms instead. As such it's a welcome example of one of the smaller players offering a genuine alternative unmatched by the likes of Canon and Nikon; however the big question is whether this lens really offers something sufficiently different to capture the imagination of buyers.
The lens designers at Olympus faced an unusual challenge in designing this lens, as the 25mm 'normal' focal length for Four Thirds is substantially shorter than the flange distance from the lens mount to the imager. This means that the lens has to employ a so-called 'retrofocal' design usually associated with wideangle lenses, as opposed to the highly corrected symmetric designs used by traditional 50mm primes. The diagram above illustrates the lens's optical layout, showing an asymmetric design with 5 elements in four groups, including an aspheric element at the rear. It also shows just how small the lens elements are in this design, the largest having a diameter of approximately 21mm.
Use of the Panasonic L10 as Four Thirds test body
We have chosen to use the Panasonic L10 as our standard test body for Four Thirds lenses purely because it gives the highest numbers in our resolution tests (which we believe is most likely due to it having a relatively weak anti-aliasing filter); this is intended simply to provide the fairest comparison to other manufacturers' systems. The samples gallery contains images shot with both the Panasonic L10 and the Olympus E-520.
- 25mm fixed focal length; F2.8 maximum aperture
- Ultra-thin, lightweight design
- 'Focus by wire' manual focus system
- Four Thirds mount for Olympus and Panasonic dSLRS
Angle of view
The picture below illustrates the lens's angle of view (see here for comparative shots using the Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.6-5.6):
|25mm (50mm equivalent)|
Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm 1:2.8 Pancake specifications
|Street price|| US: $250
|Date introduced||March 2008|
|Maximum format size||Four Thirds|
|35mm equivalent focal length||50mm|
|Diagonal angle of view||47°
• 5 elements/ 4 groups
|Number of diaphragm blades||
|AF motor type||DC Micro motor|
|Focus method||Unit focus|
|Filter thread||• 43mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Front and rear caps
|Optional accessories||LH-43 lens hood|
|Weight||95g (3.4 oz)|
|Dimensions||64mm diameter x 23.5mm length
(2.5 x 0.9 in)
|Lens Mount||Four Thirds|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
Jun 23, 2008
Mar 5, 2008
Jun 15, 2011
Jun 15, 2011
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.