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Standard zoom and mid range Lenses with focal lengths larger than 12mm, but no longer than 60mm, includes standard zooms and portrait primes plus some macro lenses.

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Old 2nd March 2014
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First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

I've been looking for a 50mm equiv for a while now. Before I bought in to u43, the Canon 50/1.4 was probably the most used lens on my 5dii; the field of view, compact size and bright glass made it a good everyday choice. So, why didn't I buy the Panasonic 25/1.4? Well, I got into u43 (with an E-PL5) as a small, go-anywhere camera for travel or when dragging a Lowepro Slingshot with several kilos of gear just didn't appeal. The 25/1.4 was just too big for that task, so I picked up a 17/1.8 as a compromise wide-angle/normal lens.

I quickly realised of course that the best camera to have is the one you've got with you and that the IQ of the 16Mp u43 sensor was actually within a gnat's privates of the the Canon's - or at least for what I used it for. Two months later, the Canon gear was gone and I was hooked on u43!

Fast forward a year and the allure of the 50mm FOV was still there. I'd looked at a couple of used 25/1.4s but somehow never consummated the deal - don't know why, but I think the size of the thing was a factor. So, when the Oly came along, I decided to just do it; and I'm not disappointed.

The build is very much like the 45 - in fact, they are very similar in size and appearance. It's a plastic barrel of course, but that's OK with me. I've not had any issues with plastic barrelled lenses before - even some much bigger than the 25/1.8. I bought a black-finished version and the overall aesthetic is very nice. The only concern I have is that the ribbing on the focus ring looks like it will probably be susceptible to scuffing by a hard object. The mount is metal.

Optically it's also pretty much a mirror of the 45 as well. I did the obligatory sharpness tests (in my case by photographing some bookshelves!) and found it to be extremely sharp wide open in the centre and even well into the corners. I'd have no hesitation using it wide open. By f4, sharpness is excellent all over the frame. I haven't done any sharpness tests at infinity focus (e.g. for landscape use), but I'd be surprised if it's an issue. Contrast and colours are excellent too. I really have no complaints about IQ at all.

AF is fast and silent. Superb.

So, overall, am I a happy customer? Well, yes and no. The lens has delivered exactly what I wanted in terms of size, build, IQ and performance in general. So, where's my reservation? Simple - the price! This is a standard 50mm equiv f1.8 lens - the sort that shipped with OMs of old. It shouldn't cost £369! To underline this point, a friend recently bought a Nikon 35/1.8 for his D3200 and it's a very similar lens. Similar FOV, similar construction, similar IQ, similar performance - but it cost him just £130. Even at £200, Oly would sell a ton of these, but at £369, it's just madness.

Anyhow, here are some images of it and from it:



Girl on a train by Paul Kaye, on Flickr


Chinese Writing by Paul Kaye, on Flickr


Olympus E-M5 + 25mm f1.8 by Paul Kaye, on Flickr
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Old 2nd March 2014
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Thanks for that raisin d'etre, and great pics to boot!
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Old 2nd March 2014
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Thanks for that 'review'. I am very tempted to get one at the NEC tomorrow (250, although expensive for what it is, is a great deal less then 369), or maybe the 45mm although I tend to think the 25mm will get more use. The 45mm is a great portrait FL but I have my ZD 50mm f2 for that and it too is very sharp so I won't be parting with that anytime soon.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

I went to the NEC yesterday. It's definitely worth the visit (but for me it was a 15min train ride!). Both the 25 and 45 are great, but holding the two of them side by side and comparing the IQ between them, I can't see any justification for the difference in price.

As to which to buy - I agree that the 25 is a more versatile focal length. The 50/2 is a superb lens isn't it though? - except for size, that plus an adapter on the E-M1 should have you covered in that range.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

I can't just remember - does the 25mm have that sliding collar to convert to manual focus?
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

No Stephen - it doesn't. AFAIK, only the 12, 17 and 12-40 have that feature.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

I think that I am right in saying that the 25mm has an included lens hood. Can someone confirm this.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Yes - lens hood included.

Oh - a small point, but some may think it's significant. Unlike most of the smaller Oly u43 lenses, this one's made in Japan - not China. This isn't a factor for me (in fact, my 45 is made in China), but thought I'd mention it.

PS - maybe this is why it's 1.5x the price of 45 !
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
Yes - lens hood included.

Oh - a small point, but some may think it's significant. Unlike most of the smaller Oly u43 lenses, this one's made in Japan - not China. This isn't a factor for me (in fact, my 45 is made in China), but thought I'd mention it.

PS - maybe this is why it's 1.5x the price of 45 !
Maybe. Although there is unlikely to be any difference, I think many people would rather see Made in Japan on a lens rather than Made in China, like the old days.
I suppose not having a buy a hood makes the price a little more bareable. I wouldn't pay 369 for it but 250 is quite a percentage off.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

I think the hood fits the 45 too.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

No, it doesn't - the 25 hood has a larger diameter than the 45.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Thanks now I don't have to dig my 45 out to try. You're right the 25 is bigger than the 45, I forgot. Perhaps I need to get the 45 out for a bit.

Did you find the 25mm tight to go on?
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Yes, it is tight - but not anywhere near as tight as the bayonet covering ring is to remove in the first place. TBH, I thought at first that I had it wrong since I was concerned the amount of force was excessive.
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

I can't get the bayonet ring off either, is seems like it will break.
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Old 3rd March 2014
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Re: First impressions of the 25mm f1.8

Looks like a winner Paul. Thanks for the review.
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