25mm f1.8, time for an updated version?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by magicaxeman, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. magicaxeman

    magicaxeman Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 27, 2016
    Essex UK
    One of the things I love about the 17mm F1.8 is the snap focus ring with hard stops on the focus travel, its so easy to set at infinity focus without even having to look through the camera.
    In fact the only thing it lacks is weather sealing.

    It got me thinking about the 25mm and its older design, wouldn't it be a good time to consider updating some of the older designs? adding the snap focus ring/hard stops/distance scale & some form of weather sealing?

    For some people, myself included 25mm is still an ideal street/landscape & general use focal length.

    What do you guys think?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Alex Aina

    Alex Aina Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2016
    It would be fine, yes
  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    FYI, the 25mm actually came out after the 17mm; so the 25mm is the newer design and it's actually optically noticably superior. I don't think it's an outdated lens at all - though the Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 is now quite a fierce competitor. As far as I know, the 25mm has been quite a success for Olympus so far - so I don't think they have a reason to push out a new version, especially one that would only receive a cosmetical makeover. The rumored 25mm f/1.2 will have all the bells and whistles, but it'll be a big lens ...

    I love that the 25mm f/1.8 is small, sharp, fast and very light - I agree that a metal exterior might feel better (I own and really like the 17mm), but it'd make the lens heavier, and adding the snap focus ring would make it bulkier. I prefer the weight of the lens being created by the glass instead of the shell - though I agree that the snap focus feature can come in handy. If (and that's uncertain) the lens would only grow to the size of the new Panasonic, all this might be acceptable, but those external changes wouldn't yield any other benefit - your results would stay mostly the same. And the new lens would have to be more expensive - even though its considerable price is actually the only real downside ...

    Weather sealing would indeed be interesting. But again, with the 25mm PRO (f/1.2) on the horizon, there's no systematic need to add a feature that would make the lens bigger and heavier without substantially benefitting most photographers. What we have now is a small, yet very capable lens that matches bigger and more expensive offerings in its performance. But with the Panasonic out, the market for "cheap" 25mm lenses has become considerably more competitive (it was before because of the Sigma 30mm f/2.8, but that lens was bigger *and* less bright - though optically quite good), so pushing the "lesser" offering up the scale without making it better would actually make selling it more of a problem. All in all, such a move would be risky and largely unnecessary, and I'd even go so far as to say that it would be a waste of R&D, given the 25mm PRO lens is planned for release this year already.

    I'd suggest a considerable price drop instead; development, on the other hand, should go into directions we actually have gaps in the lineup - a 12-60 f/4 with really good optics and a street price of around $600 or 12-100mm with decent optics, possibly with internal zooming and not much bigger than the 12-40mm f/2.8, would further the system as a whole; well performing zooms can be made much smaller than for other systems - look at what Panasonic has done with the 12-32mm and the 14-42mm II (sadly, not with the 12-60mm, though it's a lot less terrible than some on this board make it out to be). I'd also like to see a 100-200 f/4 - given the advantages of :mu43:, such a lens could be made smaller and cheaper than the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO.

    As for primes, there are countless options we haven't seen yet: 10mm f/2.8 (or brighter), 14mm f/2, 17mm f/1.4 or f/1.2 (I think this'll already be on their list), 55mm f/1.8 (or f/1.4), 100mm f/2 (that's a lens I'd jump for instantly - in the meantime, I use my adapted Leica Elmar-C 90mm f/4), 150mm f/2 (or f/2.8) ... and I could go on (400m f/5.6, anyone?). I personally would also love to have a couple of fast focussing, decently bright pancake primes that would make my E-PL7 and GX80 jacket pocketable: The above-mentioned 14mm could be made like that, and a pancake design between 20mm and 30mm (f/2 or slightly brighter) would also be great to have - the 20mm Panasonic is still one of my favourite lenses when it comes to optical quality, but *its* design is definitely outdated, which is why, sadly, I use it less and less (except when nostalgia sets in and I take the GF1 for a walk ...). As it is, I use the 17mm on the E-PL7 - great little lens, just a tad bulkier than I'd like for my puny softshell pockets.

    For the time being, the 25mm remains virtually glued to the GX80 because it's such a reliable lens and a pleasure to shoot - even without further bling.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
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    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The 25 emphasizes size and price like the 45. I don't see Olympus "upgrading' to a heavier and more expensive metal version. OTOH, nothing is forever so I'll change that to within 5 years.

    Edit: So much for my prognostications. Olympus is supposed to announce its 25 mm 1.2 before Photokina. I suspect high end build quality.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  5. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 19, 2015
    For me the current Oly 25mm oozes quality and is the perfect balance of affordability + portability. If the 25mm f1.2 isn't noticeably sharper, and is heavier but has weather sealing, I won't care too much.

    If I were in the market for a 25mm and didn't own either, however, I might go for the faster one.
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    25mm 1.8 is only 2 years old. It was released in 2014.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    Just in autofocus primes, we're up to 3 25mm, 2 30mm, and a 20mm. With another 25 rumored on the horizon. I love my normals but...please, no more.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 25, 2012
    as other mentioned the 25mm is still fair new, newer than the 17mm 1.8. It suits it's niche fine as a small, light, fair affordable fast prime.

    There is a rumoured 25mm 1.2 that should fill your requirements for weatherproofing and metal contruction. No doubt it will be expensive and larger.
  9. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    25mm might be the most boring focal length and is overcrowded already - not to mention Oly will release the 25mm f/1.2 soon enough so I guess you know my opinion already... :p 
    My latest lens is the Pana 25mm f/1.7 and I believe I've taken less than ten shots with it during the ~6 months I've had it.
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    There are actually three 30's

    We have two 12's, a 14, a 15, two 17's and a 19 in wide angles.

    We have two 42.5's, two 45's, two 60's and a 75 for short telephotos.

    There are 3 macro primes and one rumored.

    It's all overlap unless you are taking rectilinear wider than 11, or long telephoto prime (and we just got a 300)

    Once the system is mature, it's less about filling holes, and more about refining existing options.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I don't think it's going to happen.

    Olympus seem to have 3 lens lines. There's the plastic barrel series which includes the 25mm f/1.8, there's the metal barrel series which includes the 17mm f/1.8 and lenses in that series have the manual focus clutch mechanism, and then there's the PRO series with metal barrel, manual focus clutch, and weather sealing. Olympus are about to introduce a 25mm f/1.2 lens in the PRO series. Given that, I doubt that we'll see a 25mm in the metal barrel series any time soon.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    I've got to agree with this.

    Check out these two kit lenses, the newer 14-42 is sharper across the entire aperture & focal range.
    Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS (September 2008)
    Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS II (January 2013)

    Technology is constantly advancing, some thing can be done better now, something can be done cheaper, both benefit the consumer. Think about how a G1 compares to a GX8!
  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Olympus' build quality across their primes is somewhat puzzling, as there are three distinct classes:
    • Plastic-fantastic: 25mm & 45mm
    • Metal-exterior: 75mm
    • Metal-exterior with snap-focus ring: 12mm & 17mm
    What interesting is that the build quality of the lens has nothing to do with the optical performance, as the 17mm, one of the nicest built lenses, is also the worst performing (the 12mm isn't anything special either). Meanwhile, the 75mm is the stunner, with the 25mm and 45mm both being very very good as well, despite being plastic-fantastic. There is no correlation between the build quality of the lenses and their actual optical performance, which is quite odd IMO.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    @ijm5012@ijm5012 I think you can kind of see where the money went: the 12mm is a very good lens, but mostly, it's built like a tank and gorgeous to look at and nice to use; the snap focus ring isn't as useful as you might think because of step focus ... In spite of its exterior, it's a bit hard to justify. The 17mm is the better implemented lens, but they put more care into the exterior than the glass (it's mostly CA, by the way - sharpness is above average, but corners can be a tad murky). Still, nice lens in use - small, fast, snappy. The 75mm is great - but mechanically, a no-frills lens; that's the way I'd like it to be, but you pay for premium glass here ... The 25mm and 45mm are both cheaper - and it's the exterior where it shows, but in terms of optics, no compromises. IF we have to make concessions, that's the way to go: fantastic quality at a decent price with usable, if not superior build quality. That's why I'm against a juiced-up 25mm: They should put their R&D money to better use than making something convincing more beautiful, but no better.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Interesting, isn't it? Based on my experience, the 25mm f1.8 is second only to the 75mm f1.8 in terms of optics, and it's really close.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    The 25/1.8 is almost perfect in spec for my uses. The only thing that bugs me is that so many copies I tested were clearly decentered. I regret selling the good copy I had last year and I gave up after trying a bunch of copies recently. Since Olympus is selling these at a relatively low price (since gray market sellers on eBay can afford to ship these from Asia for around $260) but still make them in Japan (high labor costs), I don't think the margins are there for adequate quality control.
  17. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Actually 4 distinct classes if you want to have 2 metal barrel classes distinguished by whether or not there is a snap-focus ring. The 8mm f/1.8 fisheye is in the PRO series and has metal barrel, snap-focus ring, and weather sealing. The new 25mm f/1.2 coming sometime soon is also in the PRO series.

    I think it's still 3 classes and put the 75mm in the same class as the 12mm and 17mm. I think the metal barrel class is a single class which includes some lenses with/without the snap-focus ring so for me the 3 classes are plastic barrel, metal barrel, PRO series.
  18. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I view the 75 in a different class from the 12 & 17, simply because it lacks the snap-focus ring (a big "differentiator" feature IMO). It would make sense to me if Olympus had 3 levels of primes:
    • Basic: your plastic-fantastic lenses (built like the 25 & 45). Optical performance should exceed the standard zoom lens IQ, and be on-par with the PRO zoom lenses
    • Advanced: built like the 12 & 17 (all metal, snap-focus), with apertures of f/1.8 and the use of more exotic glass. IQ should exceed the PRO zoom lenses
    • Pro: Like the advanced, but feature weather sealing, ultrafast apertures (f/1.4 or 1.2), and no-compromises on IQ
    I think Panasonic has tried to implement something similar with their primes, but also has struggled. They have the "basic" primes (20 f/1.7, 25 f/1.7, 42.5 f/1.7), and then they have the PanaLeica lenses (PL12, PL15, PL42.5) which feature an aperture ring, all metal exterior, and AF/MF switch. Obviously the implementation isn't perfect: The PL25 is an older lens and doesn't adhere to this design philosophy (which scares me that they'll remake that lens to fall in line with the others, rather than giving us something like a 17.5 f/1.4), and the PL15 doesn't employ a super fast aperture (it's f/1.7, compared to the others which are f/1.4 or f/1.2), and only the new PL12 is weather sealed (it's a real bummer that the PL42.5 isn't weather sealed).

    But, this is the "issue" with an ever evolving system and design philosophy. I'm personally hoping that either Panasonic or Olympus announce a weather sealed 17.5 f/1.4 or f/1.2 lens. If they were able to deliver a lens like that, I would put my PL15 & PL25 up for sale, and get on the pre-order list (even if it were priced like the PL12). It will be interesting to see what rumors start popping up over the next month or two as Photokina gets closer and closer.
  19. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    I think it's more of the market evolving than, than changing manufacture philosophy. If I went back to 2008, and asked people if they thought the market could support a $2500 prime or an $1800 zoom, I think the answer would have been an unequivocal no.

    I think m43 has 4 market segments, that still aren't clearly/completely defined.
    1. People who want something more than a bridge or point and shoot can provide. I personally think this is who the 14-140/150 bundles are aimed at.
    2. Entry level Enthusiast - These are the people buying the lower end lenses and low to mid-grade bodies.
    3. Enthusiast - These are the people buying one or more mid-grade or top of the line bodies. They have several lenses, and a few are top of the line models.
    4. Serious Enthusiast/Semi-pro/Pro - They have several bodies, most likely top of the line. They want premium grade lenses and aren't afraid to pay a premium for them.
    I think when m43 came out, the manufactures where really only targeting 1 & 2. As the system evolved the market for 3 & 4 has grown, and the manufactures are still trying to catch up.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    The thing is, 25mm is yer "normal" lens on m43. And just like with film cameras, you'd have a cheap and cheerful normal (the Nifty Fifties), and then a more substantially built, larger aperture normal for more cash.

    And we have that on m43. The Oly f1.8 and Pan f1.7 are the cheap and cheerful plastic fantastic lenses, and then theres the PL f1.4 and the anticipated Oly f1.2 Pro if you want something with more solid build and (slightly) better optical quality.

    The Olympus 25mm f1.8 does the job it's meant for - My First Prime Lens.
    • Like Like x 1
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