Olympus 25mm 1.8 Review
The Olympus 25mm f/1.8 is a premium fast aperture prime lens from Olympus. It is available in either silver or black. I have the black version and have been using it on my OMD EM1 ii.
Olympus 25mm 1.8 Review – Construction and Handling
The Olympus 25mm f1.8 is constructed using high quality plastics. It feels nicely built and not cheap like Canon’s nifty 50 lens. The lens makes for a very light and compact combination even on Olympus’ larger bodes such as the OMD EM1 ii.
I have been out this morning for a Sunday stroll with this combination and it feels so light and compact that I hardly even noticed that I was carrying the camera.
Thankfully Olympus supply this lens with a lens hood although I haven’t used it much but it is certainly right and nice that Olympus saw fit to include a lens hood with this lens.
In terms of construction it feels more solid and better made than the cheaper kit zooms but it is not up to the standards of the Olympus 75mm 1.8 or the pro grade lenses but then this lens is not in the same price category coming in at under £300 on Amazon UK.
Autofocus performance of this lens is nothing short of excellent. It is incredibly quick to focus and silent too. It focuses instantaneously and is very accurate. Whether the scene is front lit, back-lit or when using it in low light the auto focus performance is a s good as any lens in the system. It is noticeably quicker to focus than the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 for instance and as quick as the Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro. Both of which are more expensive.
Olympus 25mm 1.8 Review – Image Quality
The Olympus 25mm 1.8 doesn’t suffer from any noticeable distortion. It is also highly resistant to lens flare, even when pointing it directly at the Sun as I did this morning.
It doesn’t suffer with CA in high contrast situations and in fact having tested it over and over again I am very impressed with the performance of this lens in every aspect.
The lens also focuses incredibly closely at 25cm. Combine this with the f/1.8 aperture and you ave the ability to really throw the background out of focus to create some nice bokeh effects.
The lens is sharp wide open and doesn’t really show much improvement when stopped down further. Again the performance of this lens is excellent.
Olympus 25mm 1.8 Review – Conclusion
There are now a lot of choices in the Micro 4/3 system for this focal length. I currently have 3 25mm lenses, the Pana-Leica 25mm 1.4, Olympus 25mm 1.2 Pro (see my review here) and this lens. So which one should you choose?
The performance of all 3 lenses is stellar, however the price points vary so is it worth paying more for the other the lenses.
In terms of optical performance they are all excellent. Only the Panasonic lens suffering slightly with CA. All are sharp wide open. The Olympus 25mm 1.8 is the cheapest option and if you have an Olympus camera I would recommend it if you don’t need weather-sealing and the 1.8 aperture is sufficient for your needs. It is also the lightest of the 3 lenses and makes a great walk around package even with my OMD EM1 ii. It is also small enough to carry in a pocket and light enough to sling in your camera bag as a just in case you need it lens.
Of the 3 lenses I would say it offers the best price/performance ratio and is the one I would recommend to most people. It really is a fantastic little lens and its performance is so close to the 25mm 1.2 optically that unless you really need f/1.2 or weather-sealing then it is hard to justify the additional cost of the Pro lens.
On an Olympus camera I also prefer the handling and auto focus performance to the Pana Leica 1.4.