The Versatile Nifty-Fifty – Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens Review

Important notes

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. imageOLYMPUS 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) imageOLYMPUS 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 .imageOLYMPUS 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 . image

image

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 .
imageOLYMPUS 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 .

Thanks and enjoy the pictures.
image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2, 1/25 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/3.5, 1/50 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/4.5, 1/200 sec, ISO200)

image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/4, 1/50 sec, ISO400)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2.8, 1/30 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/320 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/1600 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/3.2, 1/40 sec, ISO250)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/30 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/80 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/125 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/500 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2, 1/250 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/125 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/30 sec, ISO400)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/3.2, 1/40 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/4, 1/50 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO200)

image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/4, 1/320 sec, ISO400)

image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/4, 1/30 sec, ISO400)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/4.5, 1/250 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2.2, 1/60 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/100 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/100 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/30 sec, ISO250)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/25 sec, ISO250)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/160 sec, ISO250)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2.2, 1/30 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2.2, 1/30 sec, ISO200)

image

image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/2.5, 1/200 sec, ISO200)

image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/160 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/80 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/400 sec, ISO200)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO200)

image

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/100 sec, ISO250)

imageOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-M10 (25mm, f/1.8, 1/160 sec, ISO250)

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Raviraj Kande Written by:

I'm a self-taught photographer whose interest lies in shooting people, fashion, food and life-style.This blog documents my endeavors in photography.

27 Comments

  1. Dharmesh
    February 12, 2016
    Reply

    Awesome pics. Especially the pencil one.

    • kande.raviraj
      February 12, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks very much Dharmesh.

  2. palmkub
    February 12, 2016
    Reply

    Excellent review! 😉

    • kande.raviraj
      February 12, 2016
      Reply

      Palmkub ,
      Thanks very much.

  3. Stefan Adam
    February 13, 2016
    Reply

    Great review… And you are lucky to have and to see such beautiful scenes to capture!

    • kande.raviraj
      February 14, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks Stefan for visiting the blog. And iam glad you liked the review.

  4. Jay
    February 14, 2016
    Reply

    You convinced me! Beautiful images, heartbreaking to see the oneof the horse. What other lenses do you carry most Kande?.

    • kande.raviraj
      February 14, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks very mucH for your compliments.Right now Iam using just the kit lens, Olympus 25mm and Sigma 60mm f2.8

  5. March 3, 2016
    Reply

    Love the portraits Kande, but that poor horse is starving. It’s owner should be ashamed.

    Just out of interest, why do you shoot in jpeg and not RAW? Is it just so you can transfer using wifi easily?

    I’ve not used the 25mm, but am now considering. I did have the 17mm as a walkaround lens for street photography, but found it too soft for the money I’d spent. That is sold and I’m trying the Panasonic / Leica 15mm right now as an alternative. Not as nice looking as the 17mm all metal Olympus, but it seems sharper.

    Interesting post. Thanks.
    Thanks

    • kande.raviraj
      March 3, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks for the compliments and for visiting the blog.
      Well I love the JPEG output of Olympus cameras. Plus raw files need to be worked in lighroom or some other software. I generally shoot on the go and found shooting JPEGs the most comfortable option. So far never found any trouble in the JPEG output Olympus cameras deliver.

  6. Trevor
    March 4, 2016
    Reply

    Great review and pictures, thank you.

    • kande.raviraj
      March 4, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks Trevor for visiting the blog.

  7. Harry
    March 9, 2016
    Reply

    Excellent user review, I have debated long and hard over this lens but as I already own the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 I am finding it hard to justify. I hope that you realise, you do not make the decision any easier 😉

    • kande.raviraj
      March 9, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Harry,
      Thanks for visiting the blog. The Panasonic 20mm is a little gem of a lens.As good as the Olympus 25mm. The Olympus 25mm will have faster autofocus and a more compressed feild of view. If you are happy with Panasonic 20mm I don’t think any need for a upgrade.

  8. Hitanshu Gaur
    May 24, 2016
    Reply

    Hi…
    I am planning to do weddings with the 25 1.8
    will it be good enough? or should I return it and get the 25 1.4?

    Plz plz suggest…

    • kande.raviraj
      July 27, 2016
      Reply

      If you shoot in low light conditions,get the f1.4 as in low light it will be superior to f1.8

  9. Mark
    July 21, 2016
    Reply

    Great photos.
    Can I ask what jpeg settings you use? Like white balance, picture mode etc?

    Many thanks

    Mark

    • kande.raviraj
      July 27, 2016
      Reply

      Super fine JPEG, white balance is always auto. And picture mode is natural.

  10. Heike Kurschildgen
    July 22, 2016
    Reply

    Great review! Well done!

  11. July 27, 2016
    Reply

    Great user review. Apart from very good images, I also find your colours to be ‘popping’ !! Is there a special way you process your images?

    • kande.raviraj
      July 27, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks.no I don’t do anything to make the colors pop. Olympus JPEGs are very good in color rendition

    • kande.raviraj
      August 4, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Rahul

  12. Kathy
    September 23, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I especially appreciate the wide variety of pictures you posted. Cimbined, they gave me an excellent idea if what this lens can do.

    • kande.raviraj
      October 12, 2016
      Reply

      I am glad you found the review helpful.

  13. David Anderson
    October 12, 2016
    Reply

    Nice review and great photos.

    • kande.raviraj
      October 12, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks man

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