Sunday, February 16, 2014

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 Lens Review Part 2: Comparison with Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4

Important Note:
1) I am an Olympus Malaysia employee.
2) This review is a user-experience based review, from a photography enthusiast's point of view. 
3) All images were shot in RAW and converted to JPEG via Olympus Viewer 3. Noise Filter = OFF, Gradation Normal, Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness set to default "0". Image Setting Natural, Auto White Balance with Warm Color OFF. 
4) The images were almost straight out of camera, with slight exposure (brightness/contrast balance) tuning and white balance tweak. 

This is a continuation from Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens review Part 1, hence if you have not read that Part 1 please do so before going on with this Part 2 entry. 

Before I dive into this surprisingly highly anticipated comparison review between the Olympus vs Panasonic 25mm lenses, I do need to have an extended disclaimer, and to clarify a few things. I rarely do direct comparison between cameras and lenses, and the reason I am doing this blog entry is due to extremely high demand. I have strong support for Panasonic Micro Four Thirds products, I believe they have come up with some amazing cameras and lenses, most notably the GH3, GM1 and the newly released 42.5mm F1.2 lens. This blog entry is not designed to put any product in a negative light, and whatever opinion or thought posted here are of my own, and may be subjective. Please also bear in mind the limitations of my test methods, which I did outdoor shooting in wildly uncontrolled environment where lighting can change at any moment (think of cloud passing by) or even slight subject movement may cause different results. I will try to highlight my observations as honestly as I can, backed with evidence I have gathered from many of the photographs I have taken, which I will be showing alongside my explanations.

50mm F1.8 vs F1.4 Perception Argument

If you come from Canon and Nikon  background (both are great brands, I am not implying anything negative here, so please spare me some torture in the forums) you will surely be aware of the existence and more importantly, the stark difference between two main versions of the 50mm prime lenses, namely 50mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.4. The 50mm F1.4 is universally known and agreed to be the superior lens in comparison to the 50mm F1.8 lens. This is true not just because of that 2/3 stop of EV faster, but also in terms of optical quality and performance of the 50mm F1.4 being better, delivering unquestionably sharper output with better technical flaw controls (such as less distortion, better corner sharpness, less chromatic aberration, smoother bokeh, etc). There is no debate that 50mm F1.4 is surely better than 50mm F1.8, and this fact is further emphasized in the huge difference in pricing, with the 50mm F1.4 costing about 3-4 times more expensive than the 50mm F1.8. The truth and reality for those familiar with Canon and Nikon lens system are much simpler and straightforward. However, this does not apply to Panasonic 25mm F1.4 vs Olympus 25mm F1.8 lenses at all. 

Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 vs Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 

I have no doubt, and as proven by many who have used the Panasonic 25mm F1.4 lens, that the lens is a great lens, delivering great results. This Panasonic 25mm F1.4 lens is very well received and have been positively reviewed by many photographers. Then, suddenly came along a new Olympus lens, the 25mm F1.8. The former perception argument of F1.4 vs F1.8 is NOT valid for Olympus and Panasonic. If you have been exposed to Olympus M.Zuiko prime lens line-up history, 12mm F2, 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 lenses, you will come to expect that these lenses are designed to perform and deliver excellent results. Coming from such high expectations, I will not quickly rank the new Olympus 25mm F1.8 lens to be inferior than the now revered Panasonic 25mm F1.4. Like everyone else, I am curious to find out the differences between these two lenses. 

What are the differences between these two lenses, really? If you look at the optical design, both lenses have 7 groups and 9 elements. Knowing Olympus Zuiko Quality from the previous lenses line-up, I would expect very little distortion, very good control of CA, excellent corner to corner sharpness and most important of all, excellent sharpness and fine detail rendering. The main differences between these two lenses are: 1) The Panasonic 25mm costs almost twice as much as the Olympus 25mm (true for local Malaysian pricing) 2) The Panasonic 25mm F1.4 is F0.4 brighter/faster than the Olympus 25mm F1.8 and 3) The Panasonic 25mm F1.4 lens is larger and heavier than the Olympus 25mm F1.8 lens. Since we all know about number 1) and number 3) already, lets take a closer look at point number 2) F0.4 brightness difference. How big is the F0.4 difference between two lenses?

F0.4 tranlastes to 2/3 of an EV stop, and is not even a full stop advantage. Faster aperture means the lens can have two advantages: 1) Produce shallower depth of field, meaning able to create more blur background to isolate the main subject better, and 2) ability to use faster shutter speed in low light condition. The question that drives me to do this comparison, is to find out how much more blur can the F0.4 difference create, and to compare the shallow depth of field between F1.8 and F1.4 and to see the gap of the two lenses. Also, how much advantage of shutter speed can the F1.4 deliver. Is F1.4 really that much better than F1.8? Does it make that much of a difference? Remember, we are NOT talking about Canon or Nikon 50mm F1.4 vs 50mm F1.8 lenses here, we are talking about Panasonic vs Olympus, and I think by far this is the most interesting experiment I have done for any of my reviews. 

As you can see from the lens design, both Olympus and Panasonic lenses have more sophisticated design in comparison to the Canon and Nikon counterparts. Please take note that I am not making any conclusions here, just some remarks, as I did not have the opportunity to test against Canon or Nikon, which I won't be doing. 

Also, Olympus and Panasonic use inner focus design which is more efficient and superior to the traditional system (Gauss type design) from Nikon, Canon, Fuji. It makes AF quicker and more silent. 

Comparison Methodology

As always, I do my shooting and tests in practical manner. I walked along the streets of Chow Kit, KL, and as I saw any opportunity that allowed me to slow down and be able to shoot with both lenses, I would make the comparison shots happen. First I will either use the Panasonic 25mm or Olympus 25mm (whichever is already on the OM-D E-M10 body) and take multiple shots of a similar composition. I used Aperture Priority for my tests, and fixed the ISO manually. Then I would switch to the other lens on the same camera body, and did my best to match back as closely as I can to the original composition. I understand the limitation and issues with this technique as I will never be able to reproduce 100% similar composition, and the distance between myself and the subject may vary slightly. Nonetheless, this is not a laboratory controlled kind of experiment and I intend to have fun while shooting. Yes, chances of error was there, but hey, I also believe my results were sufficient to demonstrate my points, and my goal was achieved. 

The following are the items I have tested:

1) Difference of Depth of Field between Panasonic 25mm (fixed at F1.4 widest) vs Olympus 25mm (fixed at F1.8 widest). Does the F0.4 brighter aperture opening in Panasonic cause that much of a significance?

2) Close up shooting capability, Panasonic 25mm can go as close as 30cm from the camera, and the Olympus 25mm can 25cm shooting distance from the camera. How much difference in magnification does the 5cm produce? 

3) Chromatic Aberration Torture test. 

4) Corner to Corner sharpness torture test

5) General Sharpness comparison between Panasonic and Olympus 25mm lenses, made at varying aperture settings. 

Please also take into consideration that Olympus lenses tend to be optimized when used with Olympus camera bodies, and vice versa for Panasonic. 


While testing the two lenses, I found two VERY interesting differences between the lenses. 

1) Difference Field of View: Olympus 25mm is slightly wider

The 25mm on the Panasonic lens is not equivalent to the 25mm on the Olympus lens. The Olympus lens is slightly wider than the Panasonic, and the difference is quite evident. This statement is not saying which lens is better than the other, and I had no way to find out which lens was closer to the real 50mm perspective. This may not be a big issue, but I think it is worth a mention. I always find myself having tighter composition with the Panasonic lens, as I try to match back as closely as I can to the original Olympus composition. 

2) The Olympus lens is slightly brighter than the Panasonic lens 

We know how an ISO200 on one camera is possibly different from an ISO200 from another camera, and with high possibilities both cameras are not accurate. Same thing with lenses, the F4 opening on the Panasonic may not necessarily be the same with the F4 opening on the Olympus lens. You will notice from the image samples in this blog entry, especially those taken toward the final comparison series of general sharpness where I set both lenses to have similar F-number. Shooting at Aperture Priority, the Olympus 25mm chooses faster shutter speed (about 1/3 of an EV stop) than the Panasonic 25mm. For example, similar scene with similar camera settings and same aperture controlled, the Olympus may get the shutter speed of 1/100sec, while the Panasonic will get 1/80sec, and as I inspect both images, the exposure balance came out very similar.

I will not delve into this too much, but you can see from the EXIF data of the images (please pay close attention to them), and you may inspect them further in the full resolution files I provided for download. 


Left Image: Panasonic lens, F1.4 1/2500sec, ISO200 |  Right Image: Olympus lens,  F1.8, 1/1600sec, ISO200

Bokeh Comparison from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right

Panasonic Lens, F1.4, 1/640sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F1.8, 1/500sec, ISO200

Bokeh Comparison from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right. 

Panasonic Lens, F1.4, 1/800sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F1.8, 1/800sec, ISO200

Bokeh Comparison from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right

Panasonic lens, F1.4, 1/50sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F1.8, 1/30sec, ISO200

Bokeh Comparison from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right

Based on the four comparison images above, ranging from normal portrait shooting distance, to close up headshot, to even close up chilli shooting, we have a wide variety of background blur rendering due to shallow depth of field thanks to wide aperture F1.8 and F1.4 lenses. Yes, it is undeniable the Panasonic F1.4 lens renders shallower depth of field, we all know that, but is it really that much shallower than F1.8? To be honest, it was not easy to tell the difference at one glance, you really need to scrutinize the images closely to see the difference in some of the images. The F0.4 difference is surely there, but looking at these images, I do not see that much significance of shallow depth of field advantage it brings. 


Just an image to show the scale of Woody. Thanks Jason for lending me your Woody (and the phone too) for the photos taken here. 

Panasonic Lens, F2.8, 1/50sec, ISO1600, at minimum focusing distance

Olympus lens, F2.8, 1/50sec, ISO1600, at minimum focusing distance

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens with the new Macro Converter M-CON P-02 attached.
F2.8, 1/40sec, ISO1600 at minimum focusing distance

Panasonic lens, F5, 1/80sec, ISO200 at minimum focusing distance

Olympus Lens, F5, 1/80sec, ISO200 at minimum focusing distance

Panasonic lens, F3.5, 1/25sec, ISO200 at minimum focusing distance

Olympus Lens, F3.5, 1/125sec, ISO3200 at minimum focusing distance. Bumped up the ISO, but it did not affect the closest focusing distance and magnification factor of the image. 

The Panasonic 25mm has very respectable close up shooting capability, and can focus as close as 30cm (measured from the plane of image sensor). The Olympus 25mm does better, with slightly closer minimum focusing distance at 25cm. The 5cm difference may seem small on paper, but it produces quite a big difference in real shooting results. The rated magnification factor for Panasonic 25mm is 0.11x while Olympus 25mm is 0.12x. Somehow, I would have expected the close up shooting difference to be very close, but that was NOT the case. 

I did include a sample of adapting the new Olympus Macro Adapter M-CON P-02 (which can be used for the new 14-42mm EZ Pancake Zoom kit lens, 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8 lenses). The macro converter was designed specifically to be used with selected lenses, and does not cost a bomb for a macro alternative (of course, not saying this can replace a true macro lens). 


Panasonic Lens, F1.8, 1/4000sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F1.8, 1/4000sec, ISO200

100% Crops from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right

Shooting at wide open for Olympus, and stopped down to F1.8 for Panasonic, you can see from the crop above that the Olympus has better control of CA. I think this statement is open for challenge because the Olympus camera may not necessarily correct CA from Panasonic lenses very efficiently. Perhaps the Panasonic lens exhibits less CA when used with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds bodies. However, for Olympus shooters, this is the real result that you will get when using both lenses. And no, I will not use a Panasonic body to do comparisons. By now you should realize that if everyone keeps requesting me to compare one thing to another the list of comparisons will never end. I beg for your understanding. 

Panasonic Lens, F8, 1/160sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F8, 1/200sec, ISO200

100% crop from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right. 

To control CA, it is recommended not to shoot wide open against high contrast subjects, such as the building in the above images. Consequently, as the lens was stopped down to F8, almost all the CA issues disappeared. Looking at the crops closely, there was still that tiny bit of CA present in the Panasonic image, while none for the Olympus image. Not a big issue as the remaining CA can be cleaned off in post-processing stage. 


Panasonic Lens, F5.6, 1/2000sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F5.6, 1/2500sec, ISO200

100% Crop from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right. 

There is no surprise here really, Olympus lenses have been known for being sharp edge to edge. The Panasonic 25mm exhibits corner softness, which still acceptable in comparison to other camera systems (APS-C or Full Frame systems). 


From here onward, to compare 100% crops, both lenses will be set to equal aperture opening (F-number). 

Panasonic Lens, 1/80sec, F4, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F4, 1/80sec, ISO200

100% Crop from Previous images

Panasonic Lens, F1.8, 1/200sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F1.8, 1/250sec, ISO200

100% Crop from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right. 

Panasonic 25mm: Tendency to Miss-Focus

Obviously this image from Panasonic was out of focus. Why did I use this image? To emphasize the tendency of the Panasonic lens to miss-focus in tricky situations, such as very high contrast or backlit conditions. I have taken 6 images, each frame being re-focused (half-pressed the shutter button again every time) . Yet ALL the 6 images were out of focus. Olympus 25mm lens managed the focusing with no issue. This issue with focusing inaccuracy, I have encountered before with the 25mm F1.4 when used on E-PL1. The tendency is less in E-M10 now but the issue did not escape entirely. 

Panasonic Lens, F1.8, 1/160sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F1.8, 1/160sec, ISO200

100% Crop from previous images

Panasonic Lens, F2.8, 1/160sec, ISO200

Olympus Lens, F2.8, 1/200sec, ISO200

100% Crop from previous images. Panasonic Left, Olympus Right

From the above set of images, it was not easy to determine which lens was sharper. In the first image comparison (vegetable roots crop) the Olympus appeared tiny bit sharper, while in the subsequent images the comparisons show almost equal sharpness between two lenses. Actually, I cannot tell the difference!

Both lenses, Panasonic and Olympus 25mm are very sharp, and the difference that existed in the above samples may very well be due to inaccuracy of focusing. The inaccuracy may occur when the subject accidentally moved (even by 3cm, there will be a difference), or my own technical error in execution of the shots. I do have more comparison samples, and they all show very similar sharpness for both Panasonic and Olympus lenses. 


Both lenses handles very well with the OM-D E-M10. Yes, the Panasonic 25mm F1.4 lens is larger and bulkier, but I find the lens to be quite manageable. It does not feel imbalanced or difficult to hold. I find using both Olympus and Panasonic 25mm lenses very comfortable, so no issues encountered while handling the lenses with cameras. 


For this comparison blog entry between Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 lens and Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens, I found that:

1) The Olympus lens is slightly wider in field of view than the Panasonic lens

2) The Olympus lens is *possibly 1/3 EV brighter than Panasonic lens (not conclusive, based on just quick observation on EXIF data)

3) There is not much difference in shallow depth of field rendering between F1.8 and F1.4 lenses (if point number 2 is true, the gap is bridged due to either the Olympus lens being 1/3 EV brighter than F1.8 or the Panasonic lens being 1/3 EV darker than F1.4. This is just my observation, not a conclusive statement)

4) Although Olympus magnification factor is 0.12x and Panasonic magnification factor is 0.11x, I find the close up shooting capability of Olympus lens to be significantly better than the Panasonic lens. 

5) Panasonic lens has poorer CA control (especially shooting wide open) and corner sharpness than Olympus lens. 

6) General sharpness between both lenses are almost identical

For your further comparison and studies, I include download link to full resolution files as follows:

Please support me by "liking" my FACEBOOK PAGE (click).

You may also read my FULL user experience review blog entries of other Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses at Gear Review Page here (click). 


  1. Robin, outstanding review as always, the 25mm focal length seems now to be packed in the micro 4/3 lens category. Zuiko and Panasonic lens seems on par on based on your review. So it will prove to be a difficult choice for selecting one or the other lens. I would say for the tiny details you've stated and AF speed I would choose over the Zuiko lens.
    Sharpness is very good on both lenses. Sadly for me, I was looking for one lens a few month ago, and in the end instead of choosing the Panasonic, I've ended up with the voigtlander 25mm f0.95 for its low light capacity and its character and so specific image rendering.
    My choice would have been even harder to make if the olympus 25mm was available at that time. I would love you to update your review if you could get a hand on it later and add this third lens for comparison.
    However I've several Olympus Zuiko M. and I really love them, but the voigtlander with all its default is really a stellar lens I love to shoot with and it did brought my back of revising my approach on shooting due to its range finding conception. In fact, I loved it so much it did get the 42.5 mm f0.95 even if I already have the 45mm f1.8 from Oly.

    By the way it seems the lens is close in terms of quality of the 45mm from Oly rather than the Zuiko M. 75mm f1.8 which seems to me to be playing in a different league. Can you confirm ?

    1. Hi Son Nguyen,
      Thanks for the kind words. No worries, at the end of the day it does not matter which lenses you buy, I am sure you are getting amazing shots with the Voightlander.
      The 25mm F1.8 Olympus is very close to the 45mm F1.8 indeed. 75mm F1.8 is still ahead, and that is also true!

    2. Hi Son Nguyen, do you have pictures taken with Voigtlander lens to share? I have just ordered 42.5/0,95 and cannot wait :-)

  2. Robin, thanks for the info. I am curious: What is the shutter speed advantage the Panasonic has comparing to the Oly when they are both wide open?

    1. That you shall look into the shutter speed that was calculated by the camera's metering. I have included ALL exif data.

  3. Hi Robin,

    As is probably to be expected with a comparative review, people are responding to small details - today I am one of those. The detail is also what is probably the least important aspect of your test: the comment on the Nikon and Canon normal lenses. You state the the 1.4 is clearly superior to the 1.8 and I am not sure it is that simple. For the Nikon lens, the 1.8 is smaller, lighter, cheaper, focusses faster and is sharper - not at all apertures, sure, but enough to make a difference. The 1.4 is faster and renders a more pleasing bokeh.

    Now, for some that may be crucial, but others may prefer the advantages of the 1.8 - and that makes me disagree with your statement that the "truth" for is more straightforward in the DSLR camp. It is not. Sometimes one lens is clearly better than another, but more often it depends on the use case. In a way that's how I read this comparison between the two m43 lenses - where I would probably pick the Olympus for the similar reasons I selected the Nikon f1.8 over the f1.4.

    There isn't that much truth in photography I don't find on the DSLR lens side than I do find on the m43 side.


    1. Hi TR,
      No worries, I welcome people responding, and that is the beautiful thing about blogs, we can interact and I can hear your thoughts if you intend to share.
      I purposely did not include the size and weight argument because we know clearly that to have superior optics, the lens would be larger and heavier, that is just how it goes. The case is very different with Olympus. Take a loot at their lenses, the 45mm F1.8 and 60mm F2.8 macro lenses, they are very small yet they deliver excellent results.
      Of course if factoring in the size and weight comparison argument, it is easy to see how the favor would be on Olympus, and that is an obvious kind of observation that people who are interested in the comparison would have been aware of already!

    2. Hi Robin,
      My point goes beyond the size and weight, as the f1.8s are also faster focussing and sharper - which is why I argue for Nikon at least (possibly Canon) you cannot argue that one is clearly superior to the other. It depends on the use case!

    3. Just repeating what id said as someone who owns a Nikon D600 and both the 50mm 1.4g and 1.8g, I can confirm the 1.8g is indeed smaller, lighter, and sharper than the 1.4g. The only advantage of the 1.4g is it's a faster lens and renders better bokeh. Even though I'm not a m43 user I enjoy your articles Robin--keep up the great work.

    4. Thanks James for the kind words.

    5. Over in Nikon land the consensus has been that the 1.8's are better unless you absolutely need the extra 2/3rds of a stop. This was not always the case (the 50/1.4D was better than the 50/1.8D), but ever since Nikon launched the 50/1.8G that's been the case. Now with the new 58/1.4G (a bokeh monster, albeit at a silly price) there's almost no reason for the 50/1.4G to exist.

      As to the comparison above, it's quite interesting. The Leica clearly has smoother bokeh, the Olympus clearly is sharper in the corners, everything else is a wash (the CA from the Leica is so easily corrected in post I'd ignore it unless you are a JPEG shooter).

      Note what you refer to as the 'brightness' is in fact the T stop of the lens. It does look like the T stop of the Olympus is about 1/3 faster at a given f stop. That's actually remarkable for such closely specified lenses and also means that much of the speed difference of the lenses is wiped out.

    6. Hey Adam,
      It is either the Olympus lens is faster, or the Panasonic lens is darker. I have my own reasons to believe the later.

    7. I think what Adam meant is that the F-stop can be calculated exactly from the focal length and max lens opening and neither manufacturer would under or over state by that much. More likely, the Pana lens loses more of the captured light by being less translucent (T-stop) as a result of different lens coating and absorption by glass elements. It means the speed advantage of the Leica is cut in half but the depth-of-field advantage remains, but only if you shoot wide open. As an underwater photographer, the 5cm closer min focus distance itself is a considerable advantage and it is nice to also see a very noticeable increase in magnification.

    8. Bart, exactly.

      F-stop is focal length / physical aperture.

      T-stop is the measured light transmission of the lens. (it's mostly a film/video term).

      It's pretty clear that the T-stop of the Leica is around 1/3 of a stop slower than the Olympus lens.

    9. Robin, thanks for this really great review. For you and others in this digital photoblog world, and being an original OM-1 / OM-2 user, my personal experience has been that Olympus FF Zuiko 50mm 1.4 lenses are not as sharp as the Zuiko 50mm 1.8, especially the later MIJ version. Fact is, in those days we prized the faster lenses not because of lower light capabilities or shallower DOF, but because they made for a brighter viewfinder image and allowed for "crisp" focus. This was true of the 24mm and 35mm versions as well, where the F2.0 version was usually "softer" at any aperture. BTW, NONE of the OM Zuiko lenses, even my prized 50mm F3.5 Macro, could match the sharpness, contrast, and color rendition found in any of the current M Zuiko digital lineup, and this includes the kit lenses and the much maligned M Zuiko 17mm F2.8!

    10. That may be the case for Nikon's 1.8 vs. 1.4 but for Canon, the image quality coming out of the 1.4 is FAR superior to the Canon 1.8. The 1.8 is just very soft with almost no dynamic range whereas the 1.4 can be tack sharp and shadows/highlights just go on to infinity.

      First time on this site, great work here!. I was skeptical about these 4/3's systems but this Oly 1.8 is stellar... looks like it can compete with Canon's 1.4 (at least it totally blows Canon's 1.8 out of the water). This combined with the equally stellar (and better than the Canon or Nikon equivilent) Oly 12-40mm 2.8 lens and I can see myself selling my old kit for this!

  4. Hi Robin, I am NOT requesting any other comparison work *grin*, but I was thinking that perhaps the pany 25 is less "wide" angle when on a pany camera body due to perhaps some distortion correction. If that is the case, then when used on a pany body, the closeup images might appear more magnified than when on an oly body. This would make them closer in comparison when shooting at minimum focus distance and as which is suggested by the specs of .11x and .12x. Just my thoughts...


    1. Hey Peter,
      Looking at the phone dialer images (yellow) I would have thought both lenses looked very well corrected for distortion. Even if Panasonic did add extra distortion control, would that not make the Panasonic lens even tighter and less wide? While Olympus distortion is digitally corrected that means Olympus 25mm images already lost some width of the original field of view.

    2. I also compared the results of the PL 25mm to the Oly 25mm, and my observations were fairly close to Robin's. (The main difference I saw was that when using E-M5 II, Aperture Priority, fixed ISO 200, the camera's automatic shutter speed exposure choices were identical between the 2 lenses for each aperture I compared, although the Oly rendering was actually slightly darker - requiring a .15 stop exposure bump in Adobe Camera Raw to match to the PL - ie slightly less light transmission for the Oly but not enough to bump the shutter speed to a different level.) I did my comparisons using a tripod, cable-release, anti-shock 0 setting, IS Off, & swapping out the lenses, focusing manually using the magnified view. I did a couple distances; one was ~19meters & the other ~1.5meters.

      My primary observation in this comment is in relation to the perceived Field of View (FoV) difference between the two lenses. I have the same result of the Oly appearing wider. I believe this is indeed the result of distortion correction being applied. I believe Adobe has an agreement with Panasonic & Olympus to match the in-camera rendering when viewing Raw files from Adobe software. They apply the same algorithms\corrections to raw files that the cameras are using when producing the images you see via the camera so that Adobe's view of a Raw file matches the camera view. However, there are other Raw processors available that can provide a view of the raw image without applying post-raw distortion correction. Among those are DCRAW and Raw Therapee. When I opened the Oly & PL raw files in Raw Therapee, the Oly FoV rendering was nearly identical to the Camera & Adobe FoV renderings - ie little to no further distortion correction. The PL rendering was quite different - there was a significant Barrel Distortion. I believe that the corrections being applied post-raw, in-camera and by Adobe, to the PL include pincushioning the image to counter the barrel distortion, and then expanding the resulting image to re-fill the native frame dimensions since the image edges are bowed inward from the correction. In Raw Therapee, after distortion correction, but pre-refilling the frame, the FoV for the PL is very close to the Oly FoV. After enlarging the distortion corrected PL image to refill the native frame, the PL result appears less wide than the Oly. Of course I could be way off base, but this seems to me a reasonable explanation for the disparity in FoV...

  5. Robin, I've read your reviews with interest. I'm particularly impressed with your ability to get razor sharp images with the lenses you've tested. Are most of your images from hand-holding your camera?

    Secondly, my brain often confuses contrast for sharpness. In this latest comparison might contrast differences have affected your sharpness impressions?


    1. They were all hand-held. And no, I was not comparing contrast because the lighting was dynamic and it was difficult to control, unless I did a studio setup, but let's leave that kind of test to another photographer reviewer with the right equipment and speciality.
      My thoughts were based on sharpness, fine detail rendering, not so much on contrast.

  6. > Shooting at Aperture Priority, the Olympus 25mm chooses faster shutter speed (about 1/3 of an EV stop) than the Panasonic 25mm.

    you need to account for a possibility that Olympus camera does meter differently for Olympis lens - so test on Panasonic camera both... and select center spot metering too - not matrix... just out of curiousity

    1. I already said that. It was NOT conclusive. I can assure you, even by using spot metering, the results would be similar. Hope your curiosity is quenched.

  7. > Olympus lenses have been known for being sharp edge to edge.

    17/2.8 anyone ? also do remember that Olympus OEM raw converter now applies more sharpening @ the edges (does it do it for Pana lenses + Olympus body ?)... the proper test shall use vendor agnostic software really.

    1. 17mm F2,8 is a great lens. Whats wrong with the lens? Do you want me to review it?
      No there was not software sharpening in the edges. If you truly have used Olympus system before even since the E-System DSLR days you would know that corner to corner sharpness is Olympus's strength.

    2. I really want you to review it! It is a very underrated lens in m43 world. Maybe your review could change that.

    3. Or how about the Pan 42.5/1.7 vs. Oly 45/1.8? The Pan is sharper at the edges. That's not to say Oly isn't good in this regard - especially compared to APS & 135-format lenses. But, claiming this as an advantage of Oly over Pan smacks of bias. And, attributing better CA control to the Oly LENS when it's likely a product of the BODY just makes it clear that as an Oly employee you are not able or willing to be fully objective.

  8. Robin, the Oly seem to win in most of the tests. It seems to be a little sharper and i like sharpness. However as a 100% very low light shooter. Would the F0,4 still be better for me because in theory it will give 2/3 stops lower iso and faster shutterspeeds? Or is the difference to small in real world performance and should i go with oly?
    Still not shure which one to get.

    1. In my findings, the 2/3 EV advantage was actually not there, I found only 1/3EV, but this finding is not conclusive.

    2. Robin - do you have any low light test shots? Preferably at an indoor gathering of some sort. For me the primary use of a 25mm prime on MFT is to take shots at parties, often in the evening. I found the 2.8 aperture of constant zooms is just not fast enough, and wondering if 1.8 will be fast enough as well.

    3. If I do have the chance I will try out the night shooting for the 25mm lens. At this moment my schedule is a little tight. It might have to come a bit later.

  9. Hi Robin,

    Fun times! I had to chuckle, in one of the wet market bokeh shots, you were comparing lemons! The full frame guys will have fun with that...

    1. You saw what I did there! Good lemons btw LOL

  10. Hi Robin,

    Another impressive and detailed review. Got this lens this week and it is really what you've described in your review. I have always wondered how it would compared against the Panasonic version and i have to say you've answered most of my questions. Hoping to see the low-light comparison and review of this lens. Thanks mate!!!

    Eric V
    Edmonton Alberta

    1. Thanks for the kind words Eric. No more comparisons though, but I will do some low light shooting if possible.

  11. I have been critical of the micro Four-Thirds version of the Leica/Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens for quite a while. Recently, someone mentioned that it was actually made by Sigma, which would explain the slight incorrect focusing issues. My Four-Thirds version is quite amazing, huge, heavy, and about twice the price. While I've been slightly curious about the price of Olympus' M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, I'm glad that it doesn't follow the Four-Thirds 25mm f/2.8 except in focal length.

    Had the image quality been like the Four-Thirds lens, I would quickly have said that it belonged at the low price Nikon and Canon use for their consumer dSLR lenses ~US$100. I'm glad that it's better than that. I've always found it nuts to buy an f/1.8 lens just to stop it down to f/2.8 or f/4.0 for sharpness, or worse, an f/1.2 lens to get f/1.4.

    1. I think you were right about the price expectations, it is a good thing that Olympus lens is not made to be cheap and bad. I do not mind slightly higher pricing but we get a lens that we can use even at wide open!

    2. The lens is apparently on many people's minds. I wrote something not long ago, and I've already had quite a few views. I added a link to this review, so that they can see a real comparison to help people make a great selection. I'd love to do a comparison with the Four-Thirds version but I have big doubts about continuing with micro Four-Thirds.

    3. I think you should go ahead with the comparisons! I have the same thinking with you too, I have a feeling that the Four Thirds version may still have some edge to it.

  12. Thanks Robin for this comparison ... well done with real photos

    I am pany 1.4 owner ..bought it DEC`13 as wanted something fast for the indoor portraits of my kids
    yes the CA on Oly body is visible ...thats a fact
    also the other points made by Robin are true ..appart of price difference ...where I would say the difference is 25% ( 399 eur vs 499eur ) ...but that depends on country

    anyway I keep pany ...still one of the best m43 lenses out there with exceptional f1.4 and next time upgrade my oldsmobile epl3 ..tempted by the em10 but must wait some time

    1. Hey Tomas,
      Thanks for the kind words. No worries, if you already have the Panasonic just keep it, it is a great lens, as I have also mentioned.

  13. Very interesting review. Very interesting in particular to note the difference in apparent angle of view and T-stops between the lenses: the latter would give the Panasonic only a 1/3EV advantage over the Olympus at each lens's respective maximum aperture, which is very interesting given the relative weight, size and cost of the lenses. I also notice from the photographs that the Olympus lens seems to have higher contrast, which can either be a good or bad thing depending on the situation.

    1. I try to not comment on the contrast, as they do not appear to be consistent. Some photos, Olympus has more contrast, and some others, Panasonic. They are both almost the same.

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  15. I have been using the Panasonic 25/1.4 on E-M5 and later GX7 for a little while. Overall impression is OK but the aperture action seems to be slowing AF down in bright light. Off-center AF can miss at times and center AF is slightly worse than 45/1.8 and probably on par with 75/1.8. The much better close-up magnification of the Olympus 25 seems attractive. Wish it were a 1.4, though.

    1. I find the AF with 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 to be extremely fast and accurate. Even at off center and difficult lighting condition.

  16. Hello Robin, very nice review... the 25mm is really exciting. First in your diagram, the Canon 1.4 is an EF lens... designed to work with both crop and full frame sensors... if I'm not mistaken. EFS lens only work with crop APS-C sensors. I really think the 25mm is no brainer considering the price point and performance, size, macro, etc... Do you think that the camera compensate for the comatic abberations when paired with the 25mm oly?

    1. Hey Johan,
      Thanks for the kind words. I am sure the camera does some processing to reduce the CA of the Olympus 25mm lens.

  17. Great review.personally I'm a fan of shallow normals. Being a larger format fan (while still liking 4/3) I lament the lack of shallow DoF in normal lenses (or even well priced normal lenses) in 4/3 and especially m4/3. There are many photographers today who don't grok what a normal lens is for. Its really good to read a review of these lenses and see the sorts of DoF one can expect and the contrasts too.

    The introduction of transmission is interesting too :-)

    Sorry to delete the previous comment and dribble on more here, but I wanted to be more specific as to why I liked it so much

    1. No worries obakesan,
      Opinion is always welcomed here. I myself, too, am loving the 50mm perspective and I find this focal length to be very versatile.

  18. I noticed a few requests already for low light samples. I can't wait to see them.
    Btw a friend of mine just uploaded a photo of sunrise taken with a Lumia phone from the platform of the Taman Jaya LRT station and it was beautiful. There are undeniably many still and video enthusiasts who like the Lumia but unfortunately for them, most camera makers do not bother making an app for WP. Here's a thought; the first company to release app for WP wins over this group of users, who are either using WP or considering the switch, jusst for that extra platform support. What do you think?

    1. I think that the camera manufacturers will have to be smart in spending their resources for R&D, when developing platforms for smart device users. If Windows Phone users gain popularity I am sure all camera manufacturers will cater for them in one way or another.

  19. Oh... loved that close up of Woody holding an OM-D.

  20. As always, lovely photography and some interesting findings. I have to say that mostly i find the Pana more pleasing - the focussed areas as well as the blurred areas. The difference is small, but it is there.

    1. The difference is smaller than what I had expected.

  21. The 1/3 EV brightness difference reminds me of the difference between the D (regular 4/3) and DG (m43) versions of Panasonic 25mm f/1.4. Someone did a comparison before and found that the DG is darker than the D by 1/3 EV at the same aperture.

    By the way, does the E-M10 sensor has AA filter or not? Thanks.


  22. Thanks for the comparison Robin!

    The fact that, in some of the shots where both are set to the same aperture, the camera has chosen a faster shutter speed when using the Olympus lens does seem to show that a given F stop on one is slightly different than the same F stop on the other. But wide open, the Panasonic does seem brighter (which it should be), in three of the first four pairs of shots. So, although I am sure it was quite unintentional, simply stating that the Olympus is slightly brighter is slightly misleading. Perhaps adding 'when both are set to the same F stop' would make it clearer.

    If Olympus had released this new lens, and if this article had been available, a few months back I would have purchased the Olympus instead of the Panasonic. Since I have now pretty well decided to go with either the EM-10 or the EM-1 (when they update it with some of the new features they just put in the EM-10) the Olympus 25mm would have been the better choice given the size, CA and corner sharpness advantages.

  23. I wonder if you really had misfocusing problems with the Panasonic. May be it is just a different rendering of the Olympus lens, which seems to have more micro contrast, like the 12-40mm zoom. I like this rendering very much for casual pictures in the streets or landscape. But I think that I prefer the Panasonic rendering when it comes to people : we don't need to see all the skin imperfection of the subjects.. but since I'm mostly a cityscape/landscape photographer, I think that I prefer the rendering of the Olympus lens. Plus it is smaller than the Panasonic. But I like the Panasonic to take pictures of family events.

    1. The miss focusing was very real. And looking at other readers comments I am not the only one.

  24. Thank you for the review Robin!

    I had been waiting for this comparison but just before you posted this second
    part of the review my wife surprised me with two upgrades: And EM-1 body (over my
    EM-5) and this new 25mm Olympus (I already own the EM-5 body and 25mm
    Panasonic). I do plan to sell of the EM-5, Pana 25mm.

    I wanted to give you and your readers my opinions on the two lenses. I have
    used the 25mm Panasonic for over a year. It's been one of my favorite lenses
    but it has also frustrated me. It's loud when used on Olympus Bodies and it
    sometimes struggles/hunts to focus. When it works it does take outstanding
    pictures (some of the best)! Lately I have switched to the 17mm Olympus instead
    (see more below).

    My hope was that the Olympus 25mm would be more quiet and comparable in picture
    quality compared to the Panasonic 25mm. So far I more then think so. The lens
    is quiet. It finds focus better/faster (on the Olympus EM-1 body) and picture
    quality is, I would say, on par. The bokeh is almost the same on the Olympus
    25mm and if anything slightly more pleasant. I have not tested the Olympus in
    truly low light but it seem to keep up.

    So I'm very satisfied with the Olympus 25mm. It's cheaper then the Panasonic
    and on par in picture quality. It comes with a lens hood (same as the
    Panasonic). In my mind if you have an Olympus body then I would recommend you
    go for the Olympus 25mm lens. You don't give up much in picture quality or
    low-light performance and the lens is much quieter and more reliably focus.

    # 17mm vs 25mm

    It's been interesting to read Robin's comments on the 17mm F1.8. Mostly because
    it's opposite mine. I've come to prefer the 17mm view (and I'm considering
    14mm, Why is there no 14mm Olympus lens?). I find the 25mm a little to
    telescopic and the 12mm far to wide). I think this is because of our difference
    in subject matter. I photography mainly/only my family. With kids I find I need
    to work so close that the 25mm gets harder to use. I also find that I get lazy
    with the 25mm. I set it to wide open and get great subject isolation. But that
    turns every photo into a portrait which gets boring. With the 17mm and working
    with (my) kids I find that I just enough of the environment to make the
    pictures more interesting. The cost is "bokeh" which the 17mm doesn't have even
    near as much of. So for bokeh I use the 25mm as I find the 45mm to telescopic
    and hard to use (with kids) and get anything but their face.

    p.s. I keep my family photos as The photos from Februrary are mostly from the EM-1.

    1. That address should be and nothing else :-)

  25. # EM1 vs EM5

    I upgraded to the EM-1 mainly for it's improved focus tracking. With moving
    kids I found it hard to make the EM-1 work. The EM-5 is far from perfect but
    the tracking works more often then not with my kids. The trick is to get it to
    focus on the correct part in the beginning. That can be hard to do in a
    "evolving" situation. Once locked on the EM-1 will track most of the time. I
    use continuous focus + tracking and single shot mode. It works with 7 shots a
    second as well but I don't like to spend that much time deleting pictures on
    post processing so I don't use it much.

    I was surprised how much better the EM-1 is at capturing light then the EM-5.
    It's a remarkable difference. Some of the pictures pop much more. An
    interesting observation: With the EM-5 I found that Apple's Aperture's
    "automagic" (auto enhance) button improved the picture around 75% of the time.
    So I would normally hit the automagic and then fiddle around to where I wanted
    it. With the EM-1 I find that I never like the automagic button more then what
    I get straight out of the camera. In decent light I find that I cannot improve
    upon the EM-1 out of camera fidelity. (I still use VSCO's filters for a
    "personal" touch).

    On top of that the expanded grip is more comfortable and the buttons easier to
    use and "logical". It's a camera well beyond my skills but it do make be have
    more keepers of my kids so I'm happy. The EVF is improved but I use the camera
    at hip level a lot (with the screen tilted). The screen is also improved.

    The only downside is the dull professional appearance of the EM-1. It's not a
    looker and in some of my environments it draws more attention then I want (as
    it looks too much like a DSLR).Once they put this sensor in a more designed
    body it will be great!

    I hope Robin can afford the EM-1 sometime soon!

    1. Thanks for sharing your finding, Robert. I am sure others will find them useful. E-M1 has newer sensor and image processing, hence the images surely will be better than E-M5. Glad you have discovered the improvements.

  26. Hi Robin,

    Nice review overall, they do seem very close!

    Regarding CA, it's well known that (at least newer) Olympus bodies correct CA for Olympus lenses but not for Panasonic lenses. For you to not be super clear about that, do a comparison on a Olympus body and make half conclusions in favor of the Olympus lens, I find kind of un-cool.

    1. Hey Rig_Vader,
      I was VERY clear about that. READ "I think this statement is open for challenge because the Olympus camera may not necessarily correct CA from Panasonic lenses very efficiently. Perhaps the Panasonic lens exhibits less CA when used with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds bodies. However, for Olympus shooters, this is the real result that you will get when using both lenses. "

      How much clearer do you want it to be? Seriously?

  27. Nice work. You make an amazingly strong case for grabbing the 25mm, which of course would go very well with my 45mm and future 60mm Sigma ... I think, though, that unless you shoot each lens on its native body, you cannot really comment on either distortion (which probably affects corner sharpness) or CA, at least not without a huge caveat. These two do not collaborate when it comes to injecting the lens corrections into their raw images for the others' lenses ... makes sense from a coopetition perspective one supposes, but inconvenient.

    1. I did not make any comments on distortion. I was well aware of the issue. In fact, I do not find any serious distortion issue hence I did not say anything.
      However CA is a big problem when shooting wide open. Ultimately you cannot deny the fact that a lot of people will use the 25mm lens on Olympus bodies. Either the Olympus 25mm, or the Panasonic 25mm, and this comparison serves to give a crude indication of what to expect from such scenario. There will be a lot case of "what if"s, if I use this lens on that body if I compare it this way, if I shoot it in that situation, the list of possibilities will never end. I did what I can to show the characteristics of both lenses on the same Olympus body. For every other comparisons I am sure many forum members can collectively provide the missing data. I am just one person and I do not have the resources or time to do everything!

  28. Hi Robin, thanks for your review. It's interesting to see the two lenses are so close in terms of image quality. I agree it looks like the Olympus has better edge sharpness and better CA control ON AN OLYMPUS BODY. I think there is a difference in DOF however that can be most clearly seen in image 1. If you look at the arms in front of your plane of focus, the Panasonic is shallower. I think the difference is slight however. Field of view, I feel there are too many variables to make an accurate conclusion but perhaps a bit better on the Olympus.

    Can I suggest a few more tests?

    1) DOF: with a tripod, lay a tape measure on on a table so it stretches out in front of the camera. Manually focus on a fixed mark. The numbers will give a clearer indication on DOF
    2) Brightness and field of view, any area with fixed lighting on a tripod. In fact, a dark indoor scene at night might be best to bring out any differences.

    1. Suggesting to shoot a tape? Are you kidding me? Anyone can do that and that would render what I do here and all my efforts useless. That is not the way I review the gear.
      Please do understand this is not a public forum. Everyone has their own way of doing things and if I take into consideration of every request this review might have 25 Parts to satisfy everyone.
      This is a FIELD test. Yes it is not a controlled environment. I never said it was. I specifically mentio d the shortcomings of my tests in my disclaimer.
      I am sure other reviewers will have more time and energy to do all sorts of comparisons.

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  30. Don't know if you see it, but I prefer the bokeh from the Olympus; it's less busy and has less color in the edges of out-of-focus highlights. Close focusing is usually better on darker-than-F1.4 lenses. Also, about the different angle of view, a common trait of internal focusing lenses is that it gets wider, the closer you focus, so the only way to compare angle of view is to focus both lenses at infinity.

    1. The bokeh characteristic is a subjective manner hence I did not dare to comment so much. If I so much as utter a negative comment about the Panasonic lens rest assured this comment section will be flooded with haters and flamers.
      Both lenses, Olympus and Panasonic 25mm use internal focusing system. I have compared scenes shooting afar (buildings), my observation remains the same.

  31. Great and very useful comparison, thanks for doing this.

    Two questions:
    1. The chili images seem not to be focused at the same place for the two lenses. Same peppers are in focus in one image but not in the other and vice versa. Could make that comparison invalid. Correct?
    2. Did AWB calculate the same WB for both lenses in all conditions? Any other color observations?

    1. If you really want to find the possible things to go wrong with the image there are dozens more that can render the images invalid. The images were close and they were shot in the most practical possible. If I were to take care of the white balance and all other smaller things in every single shot, how much time do you think I would need to spend to produce all the shots above? I've said that my findings are not conclusive and serve as a crude indication of what you can expect in real life shooting situations.

  32. Hi Robin – thanks a lot for this very interesting comparison. Some months ago I tested the 25mm Pana as well against the 45mm of Oly just for sharpness and shallow depth of field comparison. With the same frames I took of a scenery (aperture priority) I always noticed that the Pana went up higher in ISO at the same apertures – e.g. shooting @ f/1.8 the Oly went to ISO 400 while the Pana went up to ISO 600. In this case I can confirm your find that the Pana might be slightly darker than the Oly lenses. The same with shallow depth of field: when I shot at max aperture f/1.4 there wasn't that much of a difference to the Oly at f/1.8 but the increase of CAs was a quite obvious side effect. That is why I decided not to buy the Oly 45mm although being a very sharp and fast lens. So now I'm considering buying an Oly 25mm – your photos are looking very good both in sharpness and in vivid color rendering.

    Keep up your good work and take care – Cheers from Switzerland

    1. Thanks Enzo for confirming my findings. Perhaps 45mm may not be the best lens for comparison with the 25mm, because what the camera meters in the frame are different. But your observation on the CA was true.

  33. Hi Robin, you had done a very good comparison between this two lenses.
    For me, Pan 25mm: color more nice compare to Oly 25mm. But Oly 25mm more sharp, bokeh smoother and lesser Chromatic Aberration. 1 pros against 3 pros . Am I right?
    The Chromatic Aberration let me decided to keep all the Oly lenses but no more Pan lenses. :)

    1. Hey Sapphire,
      Thanks for the kind words. If you use Olympus lenses then surely they are optimized for Olympus cameras.

  34. Hi, does it say on the lens barrel where it is made? You forgot to mention.

    1. My copy of the 25mm f1.8 was made in Japan.

    2. We do not have production units in Malaysia yet, but my review unit of course, came directly from Japan. Glad to find from Wesley that his copy is from Japan.

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  36. Nice review. I like the format and all the pictures. I just think there is one thing wrong.

    5) Panasonic lens has poorer CA control (especially shooting wide open) and corner sharpness than Olympus lens.

    Problem is you are using a Olympus camera. Today cameras have CA correction. meaning the Olympus camera corrected CA for the Olympus lens. I need to find the same test where someone is using a Panasonic camera.

    1. Did you not see this in my blog "I think this statement is open for challenge because the Olympus camera may not necessarily correct CA from Panasonic lenses very efficiently. Perhaps the Panasonic lens exhibits less CA when used with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds bodies. However, for Olympus shooters, this is the real result that you will get when using both lenses."

  37. Thanks for review and comparison,

    now I wait Olympus Thailand bring 25f18 soon

    1. I am sure it is coming very soon!

  38. I'm user and my flotilia is: Olympus E1 C-5050 C-5060 C-8080 Wz.
    But on test I have perplexity. The 25 mm is Pana from Leica optics formula, right? And it seems the exact opposite because photos showing crisp detail Oly and not Pana!
    I always thought vice versa that the Leica lenses (here ricetta Panasonic) had a more aggressive micro contrast, maybe I have it wrong?
    With regard to the "soft" as onions image, for example, is sharpner default right? And as for the aberation cromatic aberation (purple fringing) is due with the (error) base in Wb that in Panasonic "ideologia" tends to Magenta for default?
    Michele Annunziata fotografo

    1. Dear michele,
      The lens was only labeled Panasonic Leica, not a 100% Leica lens. It was designed by Panasonic, but certified by Leica. Therefore, it does bear characteristics of Leica, but seriously, ask yourself, how much does a true Leica lens cost, versus the Panasonic Leica? The difference is staggering, and to expect all the goodness of much more expensive true Leica lenses in a cheaper Panasonic lens, I do not think that is very wise to do!

  39. Outstanding review! The colossal amount of work going into careful work like this is horrible and cannot be emphasized enough. Both lenses look like very, very good optics to me - the Oly perhaps a tad better here and there, more pleasant rendering, somewhat better edge sharpness perhaps. But we're splitting hairs here - both are lovely.

    Thank you for sharing all this hard work with us!

    1. hey Andre,
      Thank you so much for understanding my pain! The amount of work was tremendous. It was my pleasure to share, and thanks for staying with me, Andre!

  40. Thanks, Robin, for this interesting comparison. It's so close that as usual, it boils down to pairing the lens with the body. Thinking, as ads would let us believe, that one can benefit from the whole range of M4/3 lenses is a delusion.

  41. Hey Robin.

    Great comparison! I'm curious and was wondering if you have any insider insight on this, but why was the snap focus mechanism not included on this lens and why was the build quality not metal? The obvious answer is to keep the price down, but we already have a cheap Olympus 25mm lens, so I would have liked to see an addition to their premium prime lens lineup.

  42. Dear Robin,

    Great review on the oly 25mm part 1 and 2, and i thank you so much for it. I'm coming from canon camp, shooting with full frame and aps-c body before this. After a while, I realized that I am in need of a smaller and lighter body to carry around, plus with the baby coming soon. I am split between a Fuji & Oly M43 body and in the end settled with E-M5 mainly due to your great pictures taken with it and positive reviews from your blog (I do prefer an E-M1 but it is too pricey... hehehe)

    I got my E-M5 a few days ago and I am so blown away by the image quality, blazing fast autofocus and how compact the body is. Bundled it with the 12-50 kitlens (for walk around lens and some of not-so-close macro shoot) and 45mm, i couldn't be happier. it was sharp corner to corner and in some of the areas I think that it surpasses my canon's workhorse hands down. I am still planning to get my self a panny 20mm (due to pancake design) or an oly 25mm. Your review makes it easier now that I have already made up my mind to get the oly 25mm. Just hope that the 25mm is not that much larger than the panny 20mm though. I am now eagerly waiting for the oly 25mm to be readily available at our oly's reseller. Just want to ask you whether you have any idea how much will it cost? Is it going to be priced around the 17mm range?

    Just keep up the good work and keep inspiring people like me with your stunning pictures... cheers mate =)

  43. robin ... damn man, you're (beside steve huff), the man that i was waiting for, for the thought, coz how every body think is deferent right, ... and that i think this review is Great ... to know i want to know is enough right ?

    and for this kind comparison there always be a pro or contra, that is not a problem ... coz all of this, is only technical, in other hand "like" or "dis like" is a all another story, is like "i'm a canon user, and i shot with canon 1000D, with the cheapo 50mm 1.8, and the result can bring money, so what ?" some thing like that ... if u know what i mean right ...

    for the reader who get bad picture ... don't blame the tools ... u know what i mean :)

    No matter the camera brand, small or big sensor, super fast sharp expensive glass u have, the photographer is still ... you ...if ... u know what i mean :)

    once again, thx robin for the great work ...

  44. Hi Robin.
    I wanted to say hi and inform you that I started to follow your blog and will be regularly writing some comments.

    I truly appreciate that you seem to be actually reading user comments.

    I recently returned my A7r and got on the oly boat with EM1. I am happy. I was a sony guy since F707.

    I am looking forward to your posts and to learn more from you about this new system.

  45. Thanks for the awesome review, Robin! I had been wondering about the new Oly or Panny micro 25 to replace my 4/3 Panny 25 for my E-M5. Your review has convinced me that the Oly will do just fine for my purposes!

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  48. Thank you for your review Robin, i really enjoyed it. The other main difference between Panasonic and Olympus lenses (whatever they are) is that panasonic lenses doesnt like af-c mode and continuous shooting on em 10 and em 5 bodies, try for yourself and i ll bet you ll never use again any panasonic lenses lol (spoiler : drop frame rate and af always wrong)

  49. Hi! Does anybody experienced problems with continuous autofocus of this lens with Panasonic G6? It simply does not work! Any other type of autofocus works fine with mine Olympus 25mm 1.8, but continuous autofocus it just don't stop focusing! I wonder is it problem with particular lens or with Panasonic G6 compatibility?

  50. I am curious whether this new 25mm 1.8 performs better than the slightly older 17mm 1.8. Is the new 25mm better in terms of low light handling? For the angle I would prefer 17mm, but in the end I need the one that performs best in low light conditions....anyone has any idea?

  51. "" 2) The Panasonic 25mm F1.4 is F0.4 brighter/faster than the Olympus 25mm F1.8 ""

    How much f/5.6 brighter than f/11??
    By your reason .. it'd be F4.5 .. which no-one-on-this-earth-know-what-it-means!

    But every seasoned photographers know that f/5.6 is TWO STOP brighter than f/11.

    When you compare "lens's brightness", f/stop substraction is nothing but misleading information -- BIAS, to say roughtly!!

    The f/1.4 is 2/3 of a stop brighter than f/1.8, the same as f/4.5 is to f/5.6. Not the nonsense F1.1.

    BTW, I ask some people who have practically ZERO knowledge/interesting in photography to look at your compare image pairs. All of them agree that the Panny is brighter than Oly.
    How come the (not conclusive) :The Olympus lens is *possibly 1/3 EV brighter than Panasonic lens".

    Looking into the near-shadow areas confirms their "feel"

  52. ouch! wrong substraction!

    How much f/5.6 brighter than f/11??
    By your reason .. it'd be F5.4 .. which no-one......


  53. Hi, Robin,

    Great comparison tests and truly helpful. I will choose the Olympus 25mm for sure.

    Just one comment though. From my experience as a 135mm film photographer years ago, it was commonly accepted that a standard 50mm f/1.4 lens is almost always less sharp than a standard 50mm f/1.8 lens from the same manufacturer, in spite of a higher price. I believe that's true and the reason is due to the additional compromises in designing a f/1.4 lens.


  54. Robyn, at 25mm focal length is there going to be that much difference in blurring the background between the Oly 1.8 and the Pana 12-35 f/2.8?

  55. How does the Oly 25 compare to the Oly 17? :-) Other than focal length of course!

  56. I much prefer the rendering of the PL25. It just has a little more pop. Though I have to wonder if that could easily be made up for in post processing.

  57. Robin, just to say I've just bought an Olympus 25mm based on your review. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  58. Dear Robin,

    First of all, thanks a lot and congratulations for your great blog for which I have just decided to move from a DSLR set up and buy an Olympus OM-D-E-M10 with a Olympus 25mm and probably the 75mm.

    I am coming to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow for a long weekend and I would like to know where would you recommend me to buy the camera and 1 or 2 lenses in KL?

    Would you recommend me to get a wider lens like the 12 or 17mm or buy the camera the new kit 12-42mm?

    Thanks again for your great support and warmest regards


  59. Robin, your excellent and thorough review was a significant impetus for me to acquire this Olympus 25mm lens even though I already had owned the Panasonic - which, BTW, I have now sold, after doing my own comparisons between them which by and large mirror your own findings - really, the reason I kept the Olympus over the Panasonic was not down to optical performance - which is quite close between the two lenses - rather, it was down to size and weight, as well as the realization that the true aperture differs by less than the nominal f1.4 vs f1.8 maximums would imply. In particular, I would like to address the differences in aperture and apparent focal length between these two lenses. My metering shows me that, wide open at f1.4, the Panasonic transmits 1/3 EV more light than the Olympus does wide open at f1.8, and that when set to the same nominal f-stops, the Olympus transmits 1/3 EV more light than the Panasonic. Now this is expressed as a transmission issue, but what I believe it REALLY is, is an aperture issue, and what causes this aperture issue is that apparently, the Panasonic is, especially at closer than infinity distances, a longer focal length lens than the Olympus is. This thread on the Mu-43 forum discusses this - and my posts starting with post #4 of this thread, show my findings with respect to focal length/field of view at about 3.5 feet away - that there is, in fact, a real difference in the FOV does seem to exist. This implies that the Panasonic is a longer focal length, by as much as 2 mm. That difference would imply that the Panasonic is slower than f1.4, given that aperture is the ratio of focal length over the size of the entrance pupil of the lens.

    In any case, thanks again for the excellent, informative review, which my less comprehensive comparisons between the Panasonic and Olympus 25mm lenses agree with almost entirely, and which led me to keep the Olympus, particularly as I believe that the true aperture differences between both lenses is smaller than stated, and thus, the size/weight differential is harder to justify. Particularly in light of both lenses excellent optical characteristics.

  60. Interesting - the comparison of the two lenses at f/1.4 and f/1.8 also gives a good idea of the difference between MFT and APS-C. In other words, there is very little difference :) I own the 25mm Panny (from before Olympus created this new lens) and the 45mm Olympus. I have to say that while the Oly is very good value, there is something about the heft of the 25mm (and the 75mm) that really is a pleasure in use.

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  63. A careful and interesting comparison. Another good comparison, with results not dissimilar to yours but perhaps a little kinder to the Panasonic, can be found at With tested differences this small, sample variation has to be a factor (ie, it is likely that, if one sampled a number of pairs, comparitive results would not always repeat yours). The price difference between the lenses appears to be much less in Australia than in Maylaysia - the Panasonic is nowhere near twice the price, although it is the more expensive of the two, so assuming the lenses are more or less equivalent in quality, the Olympus does look very good value. The smaller size of the Olympus might be a plus on some bodies, but I find the Panasonic to be perfectly matched to my EM-1 and would not wish it any smaller. DXO is yet to test the Olympus. The Panasonic currently ranks second, behind the Olympus 75/1.8, in its list of the best lenses for the EM-1.


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  65. Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 vs Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 ...

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  67. Sorry if I missed it. How do I manual focus this lens?

  68. You must manual focus it via the camera body. You cannot control it directly from the lens itself.

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