1)Taking the crop factor into consideration, the 25mm focal length on a micro four thirds sensor gives a 50mm equivalent field of view on a 35mm full frame sensor.
2) There are highly reputable websites that provide an in depth technical review of lenses. This however, is a user experience based review of the Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens and hence the reader can expect more thoughts on what makes this my go to walk around lens rather than technical details and analysis.
3) All images posted in this post are shot as JPEGs and then transferred via WiFi to my phone and then post processed minimally in Snapseed or occasionally in VSCO for Android. OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (60mm, f/2.8, 1/25 sec, ISO200)
After using the bundled Olympus 14-42ez kit lens with my Olympus OMD-E-M10 for quite some time (my opinion about the Olympus 14-42mmez kit lens can be found here) I bought the excellent Sigma 60mm f2.8 lens designed for the micro four thirds system .
I was extremely happy with its performance as a portrait lens, but it was not an everyday walk around lens.
I had quite a few choices when it came to selecting an everyday walk around lens like the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, 25mm f1.4 and 15mm f1.7 and the Olympus 25mm f1.8 and 17mm f1.8 lenses.
The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is a nice, small and light pancake lens but reports of slow auto focus and banding issues under high ISO settings on Olympus bodies put me off the lens. The Panasonic 15mm f1.7 and Olympus 17mm f1.8 according to me, would be a bit wide for my style of photography, so the choice left was either the Olympus 25mm f1.8 or the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 .
Olympus 25mm f1.8 VS Panasonic 25mm f1.4
Between the Olympus 25mm f1.8 and Panasonic 25mm f1.4, I chose the Olympus 25mm f1.8, because it was smaller, lighter and cheaper and there was not much difference in the optical performance of both the lenses even though the Panasonic is a faster lens. (The bokeh and low light capability of the Panasonic is bit better since its a f1.4 lens) OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (60mm, f/2.8, 1/25 sec, ISO200)
What is the magical focal length ?
50mm field of view is termed as the most natural field of view which closely mimics the field of view of the human eye, hence making the Olympus 25mm an extremely versatile lens for almost all genres of photography. One can use this lens for street, food, portraits, animal, fashion, product and almost all types of photography .OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (60mm, f/3.2, 1/25 sec, ISO200)
Design and build quality of the Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens
The entire lens is made of high quality plastic except the lens mount which is made of metal. The lens feels sturdy, the design looks simple and when mounted on the Olympus OMD E-M10 it looks nice and feels perfectly balanced. Being a small, light and fairly compact lens one can easily carry only the lens in their jacket pocket .
Auto-focus performance of the Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens
The auto-focus performance of the Olympus 25mm is blazing fast. It locks focus fast, accurately and without hesitation. Having used this lens in day light and low light situations equally, I have never faced any auto-focus related issues.In short the Olympus 25mm f1.8 is a very reliable Lens when it comes to auto-focus performance .
OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (60mm, f/3.2, 1/25 sec, ISO200)
Image quality of the Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens
The Olympus 25mm is extremely sharp even when shooting wide open at f1.8 . When stopping down the lens to f4-5.6 it is ridiculously sharp. The out of focus areas are also rendered smoothly. The colors and contrast delivered are so good and punchy that sometimes I don’t even do any post processing on the images.
Is the Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens Value for money ?
Well, this lens sells for $299US which in the micro four thirds world is not a very expensive lens when compared to other offerings but when compared to similar focal length offerings from Canon, Nikon and Pentax, this lens suddenly feels a bit expensive. In my opinion, if the lens was priced 50-70$ lesser it would have been a terrific value for money lens for the micro four thirds system.
My Final thoughts of the Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens
Being small and light weight the Olympus 25mm f1.8 has become my everyday walk around lens and has been glued to my Olympus OMD E-M10 since the day I bought it. The images it delivers have punchy colors, contrast and are super sharp even when shot wide open. The lens also gives me the flexibility of shooting variety of subjects from food, portraits, products, animals and fashion. In my opinion, the Olympus 25mm f1.8 has truly been a money well spent purchase.
The pictures below have been shot by me with the Olympus 25mm f1.8 mounted on the Olympus OMD E-M10. By the way which focal length do you prefer the most as your daily walk around lens? Please feel free to comment and express your view in the comments section below .