Mu-43 Hall of Famer
- Aug 31, 2013
A curious option if you ever needed a somewhat big 25mm f/2.0 Macro with image stabilization and lighting on a focal reducer. The f/2.0 and 25mm part being particularly appealing to me (moreso than the Olympus 35mm f/3.5 Macro, but those $99 sales caught me! I don't regret owning one of those either) and when combined with the lights it really helps it "closer up" - especially with the speed loss from it being a macro lens. I will have to try it with tubes later but due to the focal reducer it drops from 1x magnification/reproduction ratio to .71x - not a big problem to me. You can use it on a plain tube and without having to yank the baffle.
These numbers are rough estimates based on playing around with focusing on white ceilings and running the lens up to the table:
The LED lights add about 2-2.3EV of light if you're right up against something matte and black at maximum magnification. Going from infinity to MFD I believe you lose about 2/3EV of light. You lose your first 1/3EV around close to a yard/meter out and then you lose the other 1/3EV just before MFD. MFD being around .13m/.43ft on this lens.
Yes, you will have to yank the baffle to use it on a focal reducer. Yanking the baffle is a lot less painful than it looks: You want to remove the mount screws (watch the flex that's connected to the contacts) and gently rotate it can fit your finger through the baffle from the outside and then lightly pull down on the tab and pull it outwards. It pops out once the tab slides away enough. Replace the mount screws and you're all set. Do note that removing the mount causes the inside "guts" of the lens to fall out from the front end of the barrel so set the lens on the table and avoid stressing the flex cable.
The rear element looks dangerously close - but it isn't. I placed a small piece of tissue paper on the rear element before I mounted the Speedbooster Ultra, it didn't touch so I locked it and checked that there's no interference between the optics and the rear element. That's with mine, I don't know what happens on other focal reducers.
STM means that CDAF bodies drive this lens just fine. It is a little slow to CDAF as it doesn't travel at the fastest speeds but I think the AF is comparable to some of the native macros... If you let it focus through the range. The E-M1II drives it perfectly in my experience, for anything that's a short distance (1m/yd to infinity) then the focus is "native like" as far as I can tell.
Unfortunately it is a "large" lens for 25mm f/2 - even if it makes full use of the image circle when mounted on a focal reducer and practically all the light is unwasted. Most of the lens is made out of air as far as I can tell from the lens diagram. Comes with a funny hood that makes it take 49mm filters, otherwise the actual thread is weird.
So far with my impressions I highly recommend this lens - especially for the 25mm focal length. The refurbished price is under $300 and if you ever get these on sale I think they go close to $200 and a little more, refurb sale or as a new lens on sale. It doesn't replace the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 if you plan on shooting it as a normal lens but it pulls double duty well. The LED lights and image stabilization being big factors and the image stabilization seems to work up close as well.
For anyone who wants to know more about the lens, Christopher Frost on Youtube has a good review and Lenstip has a good detailed and technical review. My first impressions so far are extremely positive for image quality. I think it beats the Olympus 35mm f/3.5, especially at one stop from wide open - which is around "peak center performance" without a focal reducer on Canon cameras. My impression is that this is a 90-100+ lpmm lens on the E-M1II with a Speedbooster Ultra for peak performance, based off what I am familiar with out of my other lenses.