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
|Dirt Hose by poppyjk|
|European bee-eaters by drvanger|
from A Big Year - birds
|Fat Is Beautiful Guinea 2008 DP by MarioSS|
from - Fat is Beautiful - (Woman's Portrait n Black and White+ A Border)
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more