Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro review

Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro review

In this Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro review I shall go through the pros and cons of this premium lens from Olympus and weigh up whether it is worth the extra cost over other 25mm options like the Olympus 25mm 1.8 and Pana Leica 25mm 1.4 lens.

I have had this lens for a couple of months now and mainly used it in Asia for portrait and travel photos on the Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii and Panasonic GH5. If you want to see how those two cameras compare for stills photography then head on over to my comparison here

Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro review – Specs and handling

Lens Specifications
Name Olympus 25mm ƒ/1.2 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED
Image Circle Micro Four-Thirds
Type Standard Prime
Focal Length 25mm
35mm Equivalent 50mm
Max Aperture ƒ/1.2
Min Aperture ƒ/16
Diaphragm Blades 9 (circular)
Lens Construction 19 elements in 14 groups, including 1 aspherical, 1 SED, 2 ED, 1 E-HR, and 3 HR elements
Diagonal Angle of View 47 degrees
Focus Details High-speed Imager AF (MSC)
Front Element Rotation No
Zoom System n/a
Closest Focus 30cm / 11.8 in.
Magnification Ratio 0.11x / 1:9.1
Filter Size 62mm
Dimensions(Length x Diameter) 87mm x 70mm / 3.43 in. x 2.76 in.
Weight 410g / 14.5 oz
Notes Splash and dust proof; Lens hood, lens caps and case included.

 

Obviously the stand out specs for this lens are the super fast 1.2 aperture along with the weather sealing.

The lens feels very well made, the same as all Olympus’ pro lenses. It is quite large by Micro 4/3 standards being around the same size as the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8. Pro. However it feels well balanced on the OMD EM1 ii and Panasonic GH5. I never felt that the size of the lens was an issue. In fact I prefer the size of this lens over something smaller like the 25mm 1.8 as it just matches up with the larger Micro 4/3 bodies better.

olympus 25mm 1.2 pro review

From left to right Olympus 25mm 1.8, 25mm 1.2, 75mm 1.8

Construction is impressive as it feels solid and well made. The focus ring is buttery smooth and allows you to easily and accurately manual focus when necessary. The lens features a clutch mechanism which you simply pull back to engage manual focus or push forward to be back in auto focus again.

The only criticism I would have is that the focus clutch mechanism is a little too easy to move so sometimes when picking it up out of my bag I knock it into manual focus by accident.

The focus clutch is nice to have but just a little too easy to move on this lens.

I can vouch for the excellent weather sealing on this lens as it withstood many Asian downpours while attached to the EM1 ii and I never had any problems at all with it.

It auto focuses quickly and accurately on the Olympus OMD EM1 ii and GH5. It is incredibly quick to focus and combined with eye detect AF makes shooting portraits a breeze.

There isn’t really a huge amount more to say on the handling of this lens. It is impressive and if you don’t mind the size then you will not be disappointed.

 

 

Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro review – Image quality

I bought this lens and was expecting great things from it as Olympus has made a big deal about the image quality and in particular the quality of the ‘feathered bokeh’. Is this all marketing hype or is this lens really something special and worthy of the price tag.

In terms of sharpness I am not particularly interested in MTF charts and DXo scores. They tell me very little. What really tells me if a lens is sharp is if it looks sharp to me when I examine my images in Lightroom.

I shot a lot of portraits with this lens and the test for me is always when looking at eyebrows and eyelashes. I want to see if they are clearly defined or not.

Lets take a look at some samples below:

Olympus 25mm 1.2 review

25mm @f/1.2, 1/1000, ISO 200 unedited raw file

olympus 25mm 1.2 pro review

100% crop of above image

As you can see when shot wide open the Olympus 25mm 1.2 pro is incredibly sharp for a 1.2 lens. It renders the details of your subject beautifully and indeed offers some of the smoothest and creamiest bokeh I have seen. The bokeh is not busy or nervous at all and to my eye is very pleasing.

There is also a quality to the photos taken on this lens that you just do not find on many lenses. Your subject pops but because of the smooth transitions from in focus to out of focus the images feel very natural. In comparison to the Pana Leica 25mm 1.4 the images feel more organic and less digital. The Pana Leica is a lovely lens too and seems to offer more of a 3D pop to the images making your subjects  look very 3 dimensional and thus stand out from the background. However I find the rendering of the Olympus more natural and pleasing. The Pana Leica’s bokeh is a little more busy.

olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro review

Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro @ f/1.2, 1/250, ISO 200

olympus 25mm 1.2 review

100% crop of the above image

 

olympus 25mm 1.2 vs pana leica 25mm 1.4

Pana-Leica 25mm 1.4 @1.4, 1/800, ISO 200

 

olympus 25mm 1.2 vs pana leica 25mm 1.4

100% crop of above image

 

Pana Leica 25mm 1.4 shot on the GH5 @ 1.4, 1/160, ISO 500 I find the Pana Leica just as sharp but the bokeh is a little more busy

At f/1.2 the lens is already sharp and it gets a little sharper as you stop down to 1.4 -2. I would say the Pana Leica is perhaps a little sharper wide open but both are easily sharp enough for me.

olympus 25mm 1.2 pro review

Olympus 25mm 1.2 @ 1.2, 1/60, ISO 1600 SOOC Jpeg

The Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro controls CA very well.

olympus 25mm 1.2 review

Olympus 25mm 1.2 @1.2, 1/800, ISO 200

olympus 25mm 1.2 pro review

100% corner crop shows CA’s are very well controlled

 

I didn’t experience any issues with lens flare and I was often shooting in broad daylight with strong sunshine.

Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro Review – Conclusion

 

So would i recommend the Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro?

That is a resounding yes. It is my favourite lens and in my time in Asia with it I only took it off my EM1 ii once and I regretted it. I absolutely love this lens for the fast aperture and build quality but most of all for the superb image quality and beautiful rendering. It allows you to create images that you just cannot get with other 25mm lenses and it means that I can shoot those images in to the night while keeping my ISO to 1600 and below.

If you can afford it and like the focal length then I can highly recommend this amazing lens. You will not be disappointed.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I am regularly posting photos of my travels.

 

You might also like to check out Robin Wongs excellent review of this lens

 

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