Advice needed: PL 25mm/f1.4 vs Oly 25mm/f1.8 for (mostly) indoor use

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by mike_a, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. mike_a

    mike_a Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2014
    Hi all,

    Decided to join this lovely forum after enjoying from a distance for a while.

    I currently own a Panasonic G3 with the kit zoom (14-42).
    After getting use to it for a year and a half, I decided it's time for a quality prime lens.

    My main goal is taking family pictures (first child is coming in a few months) so that would mean a lot of indoor work.

    I currently edge towards the PL 25/1.4 because I've read it handles low light (mainly focusing but also in general) better than the Oly.
    I must say that I am a sucker for shallow DOF photos so that is also something to consider.
    I found the PL 25/1.4 used (in good condition) for 460$.

    What would you guys advise me to do - go for the cheaper, more compact Oly, or the faster more expensive PL?

  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, they're both excellent lenses. I bought the 25/1.8 since it's smaller and little cheaper. The extra 2/3 of stop of the Panny might come in useful indoors though. You pays your money and you takes your choice!
  3. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Because you own a panasonic body, I think you'd be better off with the 1.4 version so that you can have stabilization. As to the price, I've seen used ones here sell for 400-425.
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    • Like Like x 3
  5. bg2b

    bg2b Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 22, 2009
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    There's no stabilization with the 1.4 on a G3.
  6. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    The Panasonic lens is not stabilized (just like the Oly). There may be some benefits for the Panasonic lens on a Pansonic body due to other types of corrections (CA for instance) but I have no definitive information on that.

    I have the Panasonic and like it. You should be able to pick up a used one for $400. I am considering the Oly 25 because the m4/3 camera for me is a travel camera and size is very important to me. If cost is important, wait for a little while. The Oly should drop from its initial $400 price. Another great indoor option is the Panasonic 20mm. This is a slower to focus but the extra width is great for indoor shots and the IQ is very nice.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    For practical shooting I can't imagine that you would ever notice any differences between them. Serious pixel peeping and shooting test charts, maybe. As nuclearboy suggest, too, the 20mm might be even better for what you're planing to shoot though it will have a shade more DOF. Again, probably not a consideration for practical shooting.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. mike_a

    mike_a Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I will be sure to check out the ads on the forums.

    Regarding portability: I am used to using the 14-42 kit lens on my G3 which is roughly the same dimensions (maybe a tad larger in diameter) and weighs 5.82 oz as opposed to the 7.05 oz of the 25mm.
    How much difference would the additional 1.2 oz make?

    Will the reduced weight and size of the Oly 25mm be life-changing for me?
    I do appreciate the compactness of the m43 system, but I wonder if the difference between the two is that big...

    Thanks again folks!
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I find with u43 lenses, the size issue is more of a comparative thing than absolute. Most u43 lenses are pretty compact compared to other systems, but there is definitely an aesthetic and balance question for the larger u43 lenses, esp when mounted on the smaller bodies. For me, the P25 looks a bit big on the smaller bodies, but I accept that in practical terms it's unlikely to be an issue.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Baby coming and sucker for shallow DOF? PL25. Easy :wink:.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    You can never get enough light indoors. At least I certainly can't. So I vote PL 25/1.4. 2/3 stop doesn't sound like much, but if it's the difference between ISO 1600 and ISO 2500, it really does have an impact. Besides, secondhand 25/1.8s are almost impossible to find, and PL 25/1.4s can be as low as $425, so the cost difference is fairly minimal.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    The difference in bokeh between 1.4 and 1.8 is actually greater in appearance than you might think. It's like comparing 2.8 against 3.6 on Full Frame. Just look through Amin's test shots. For myself I decided to get a Panasonic 25mm 1.4 instead of Oly due to the following reasons: 1) better low light capabilities, 2) much better bokeh and OOF rendering, shallower DOF and 3) I simply like the way it renders the scenes. Now the challenge is to find a copy for about $400 used.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Not that the Oly is a bad lens. However you have stated specific needs and the Pana suits those needs a little better.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I own the Panasonic 25 and it's a beautiful lens. In addition to all of the other points mentioned it has a nice ergonomic feel to it. Supporting the camera on my left palm/hand the PL25 just has a more solid feel than narrow lenses (The O45 is similar to the O25 in shape).
    • Like Like x 1
  15. gooder77

    gooder77 New to Mu-43

    Apr 18, 2013
    Baltimore, MD
    I've got a G3 as well and was in the same situation as you at one point. (i.e. Indoor family shots with baby on the way). I had the P20 and while that lived up to what most everyone was saying it was quite a challenge to get shots of my daughter (2yrs old now) since she's constantly moving. I have the O45 and for the type of lighting I have in my house (low light) it was never really difficult to focus. Problem was that I had no room trying to use the O45 in a small space.

    I happen to pick up a P25 used for the same price of an O25 new. So for me the issue was no longer cost but weight and if the 2/3 advantage really would make a difference. I do find myself needing/using that extra 2/3 and the weight is no issue to me...not yet anyway. My previous set up was a nikon D40 and Sigma 30 1.4 and the lens itself weighed 2lbs. Comparatively, this makes my G3 + P25 combo a joy to use.

    If I had waited for the O25 to release I probably would've been just as happy. But like I said I was lucky to find a good deal on a P25 at the time and will probably be keeping the lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. mike_a

    mike_a Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2014
    Thanks again for all the great advice!

    I decided to go for the PL25 - I think I'll be happier with it.

    As I'm not from the states and only arrive next month for a business trip, I have to decide whether to "risk" it and buy used from a private person I don't know (found someone here on the boards) or from amazon (which is around $60 more)....
  17. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    If you can wait a bit, you might have Pana under 400. A lot of Oly owners are changing to the new Oly 25 so at least here in Europe you can find a lot of them. I tried to sell mine with 380 euros and it didn't interest any. At the end I sold it with the price of 330 euros. The price drop doesn't affect to the fact that it's a great piece of glass.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I think you are making a great choice. Using the lens around the house makes the size issue less important and the extra light will be helpful.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I bought my PL25 before the O25 came out, so the lens I was comparing it to was the P20. I decided on the PL25 mainly because it is reported to focus faster than the P20. I use it on a G5 and the size doesn't bother me at all. It is bigger than my O45 and of course much bigger than my P14, but on the G5 I feel it is a good match. I have been using it lately to take pictures on my Boxer around the house and find the f1.4 very nice to have. There is never enough light and Isaac is often moving, so even IS wouldn't be that helpful. What I need is shutter speed. I also like the DOF of 1.4.

    Having said all that, if the O25 had been out, I would have been tempted to get it. But honestly, I think the PL25 meets my needs better. I used it a lot this past weekend and it was often at f1.4. This may be a good time to pick up the PL25 used because some are switching. I bought mine new when B&H had it on sale and have been very happy. I find it even sharper than my O45, but it may not actually be sharper. It may be that it just renders more pleasingly. I'm not sure, all I know is that I really like the photos I get with it.

    Here's an example of a shot I took inside with it this weekend at f1.4. Notice the narrow DOF. In fact it is too narrow, but I needed the speed as I was still only able to get 1/25 SS at ISO 1600. It probably lost a bit of sharpness due to handholding at 1/25, but I am still ok with the shot.

    <a href="[email protected]/12867218445/" title="Untitled by dynasportfxdx, on Flickr">[​IMG]"600" height="800" alt="Untitled"></a>
    • Like Like x 1
  20. mike_a

    mike_a Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2014
    I decided to go for a new one eventually.

    I'm really glad that I did go for the Panny-Leica.

    Here are some first examples from the honeymoon phase :)

    <a href="[email protected]/13414436614" title="Newborn by Michael Assouline, on Flickr"> 13414436614_7862246b5c_b.jpg "1024" height="684" alt="Newborn"></a>

    <a href="[email protected]/13414015525" title="Stadium by Michael Assouline, on Flickr"> 13414015525_5c45a2d679_b.jpg "1024" height="684" alt="Stadium"></a>

    <a href="[email protected]/13413997385" title="Rodeo by Michael Assouline, on Flickr"> 13413997385_30cb08edbf_b.jpg "1024" height="684" alt="Rodeo"></a>

    <a href="[email protected]/13414123475" title="Untitled by Michael Assouline, on Flickr"> 13414123475_f7111a75d6_b.jpg "1024" height="684" alt="Untitled"></a>

    Thanks for all the great advice guys!
    • Like Like x 3