My personal thoughts about Robin Wong's blog (comments welcome)

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napilopez

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There's way too much cynicism in this thread, and it's starting to sound like the dark side of DPReview. If anything, my opinion of Robin has been that he's sometimes surprisingly critical of Olympus gear for an employee. I think some "unbiased" reviewers occasionally sound more enthusiastic about some Oly gear than he ever does.

Robin's blog has been on my bookmarks for years. I like his friendly style, his positivism. I like his street shooting. I read him for tips and inspiration. He's a goodie.

However, he is now a paid salesman for a single brand. We have to be realistic about this, and not spin it as 'he isn't really'. Yes, he is.

Being realistic means accepting some certain facts. He might have problems with a sample of a body or lens, he will just send it back. It won't be mentioned. He gets a new lens to review through his dedicated Olympus channel, and he won't even know if it is a 'special' that has been adjusted on the bench with instruments prior to dispatch. Want to know how well you can make a lens perform with special adjustments? Very well. Is it representative? Not on your life. Everything he thinks and writes, and every picture he posts (and we admire) in a review of such lens is non-representative.

His current article comparing the two 25's really oversteps the mark with CA. But that is just the tip of the iceberg; as above, we have no reason to be confident that the lens is a representative sample.

Being realistic? Everything he says and shows regarding Olympus kit is untrustworthy. Every comparison with other brands is derision-worthy. He provides us openly with the information to make this conclusion, so maybe he would think us naive not to use it.

He is still a lovely bloke, though.
I own the Panasonic 25. It's mounted on my E-M5 far far more than any other lens. It's now my favorite lens for the system, tied to the 20mm, but it's not perfect. The older 20mm is still sharper overall on 16mp sensors.. The PanaLeica's bokeh is great under most conditions, but can look very busy under others..

On the point of CA, his images are exactly in line with what I've experienced, but he also emphasizes that performance on non-olympus bodies may be different. CA performance of the 25mm is good, not amazing. His corner sharpness examples and autofocus examples also match my experience when mounted on olympus bodies.

I think it's a shame he's being criticized for offering the first exhaustive comparison of these two lenses. That's not to say one shouldn't take his Olympus employment as a serious point, but I don't see what he could possibly do to try to make things more fair given his employment. And I, for one, would rather have this comparison than not.

For what it's worth, I also have the Olympus 25mm f1.8 for review and comparison with the PanaLeica 25. I will also be trying them out on a Panasonic body, and I have absolutely nothing to do with neither Olympus nor Panasonic. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if my own results weren't too different.

For those of you that haven't seen, he had to make a new post just to justify his results, and from the look of it, he won't be doing comparisons any more: http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2014/02/about-my-gear-review.html

That's really unfortunate.
 

T N Args

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Sounds like a lot of folk want to flame Robin just because they got "snookered" into paying too much for another brand.
Sure, that must be the reason. These same people get to save their money this time, while you get fooled into blowing yours on a Chinese cheapie. :biggrin: At least the brand on the lens (not the real maker) is the one you love....

Seriously, (I sure hope you weren't), it should be a darned fine entry level prime lens, a slightly larger (50% longer and heavier), and slightly larger-f-stop alternative to the Pany 20mm f/1.7, for Olympus body owners who care more about brand loyalty than they should.

I expect this lens will be every bit as good as the wonderful 45mm f/1.8.
 

50orsohours

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I could say it a lot better. Marketing works. We all are so sure it doesn't.... not on me! Only on the unintelligent or weak. Hah!
In that case many of us who like his blogs are pretty gullible. Do we really think our results will come anywhere near his? It doesn't really matter what Robin's bottom line is. He can create magic with the 17 2.8. Would the h8ers be happier if he only posted pictures? :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
 

napilopez

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Sure, that must be the reason. These same people get to save their money this time, while you get fooled into blowing yours on a Chinese cheapie. :biggrin: At least the brand on the lens (not the real maker) is the one you love....

Seriously, (I sure hope you weren't), it should be a darned fine entry level prime lens, a slightly larger (50% longer and heavier), and slightly larger-f-stop alternative to the Pany 20mm f/1.7, for Olympus body owners who care more about brand loyalty than they should.

I expect this lens will be every bit as good as the wonderful 45mm f/1.8.
It's worth noting that stated f stops don't directly translate to light transmission. When mounted on an E-M1 or GH3, the 20mm f1.7 is actually a little slower than the 45mm f1.8. DxO measures a T2.1 value for the former, and a T2 value for the latter. It shows a T2 value for both on most other cameras.

I prefer the 20mm focal length to 25, but the 20mm is a slow focuser relative to its competitors and is only average in contrast. I'm just happy for more options!
 

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napilopez

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Pleeeease, compare it with the 20 pancake instead. Price match means genuine buyer choice. Otherwise it is blatant upselling of the cheaper 25.
I only own the PanaLeica, but if I can get a hold of the 20mm, I'll do that too. Don't see why its upselling the cheaper 25 though, that would imply performance is equal or any differences negligible. And the 20mm focal length feels veryyyy different from 25mm, personally. It's the difference between being able to do regular portraiture and not.
 

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Sure, that must be the reason. These same people get to save their money this time, while you get fooled into blowing yours on a Chinese cheapie. :biggrin: At least the brand on the lens (not the real maker) is the one you love....

Seriously, (I sure hope you weren't), it should be a darned fine entry level prime lens, a slightly larger (50% longer and heavier), and slightly larger-f-stop alternative to the Pany 20mm f/1.7, for Olympus body owners who care more about brand loyalty than they should.

I expect this lens will be every bit as good as the wonderful 45mm f/1.8.
Yes …… I decided to up-grade, I got rid of my PL25 (couldn't stand the mis-focus and chattering it made), but I still have all my REAL Leica lenses.
 
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Pleeeease, compare it with the 20 pancake instead. Price match means genuine buyer choice. Otherwise it is blatant upselling of the cheaper 25.
I don't think that it is upselling of the lens to compare it to the PL25. For myself it is a completely valid comparison. I originally bought my PL25 because it offered a better set of attributes to me than did the 20mm I had and have since sold, including what I feel is a more favourable focal length for a normal prime given the DOF characteristics of the Micro 4/3 sensor. Now I am looking seriously at the new MZ25 to see whether it's attributes are better suited to my purposes than the PL25, and that is despite the PL25 being by far my most commonly used lens of the last two years.
 

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In my personal opinion, people who are professional reviewers should act at least most professionally and fairly and should try to inspire people to become good photographers with the help of good information. When you start delving into attacking other reviewers, namely DPReview as far back as in 2010, then of course, you are going to get something back. It's called an eye for an eye.

Here's what Robin Wong said way back in 2010..

Some people have speculated that E-PL1 image quality is better than E-5, no thanks to those unreliable and unjust laboratory tests and comparison shots posted by DPreview. E-PL1 is not even close to anything from E-5, and there should never be a comparison in the first place.

These are his words.

Again, it's very convenient to play victim in the wake of his recent review when he conveniently forgot that he did the same to DPreview and its loyal fans. It's easy to criticize others, only to now as as a victim of your own doing -- reviewing 2 lenses that he felt should not be done in the first place.

When you decide to go on a path on pointing fingers at others, you have chosen the path of conflict, because as what you do on to others, others will always do on to you! That's how a war gets started in the first place. He will need to learn this wisdom.
 

bikerhiker

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It's worth noting that stated f stops don't directly translate to light transmission. When mounted on an E-M1 or GH3, the 20mm f1.7 is actually a little slower than the 45mm f1.8. DxO measures a T2.1 value for the former, and a T2 value for the latter. It shows a T2 value for both on most other cameras.

I prefer the 20mm focal length to 25, but the 20mm is a slow focuser relative to its competitors and is only average in contrast. I'm just happy for more options!
Just so you know, mass manufacturering do allow some tolerances on the f/stop ratings, but the deviation is not as much as well Robin's puts it out in comparing against the Panasonic and the Olympus; which then raises the alarm bells I suppose. When you have such high deviation happening on this lens, one wonders if it's a normal occurrence or it may have be juiced up to reflect on the good reviews. Things like this does happen sometimes though, which can explain why some people would keep returning lenses back to the dealer in the search of that one good copy. I hope that the review does not incite lens testing for that ideal faster than f/1.4 lens that the MZ25 can do and returning the copies that don't meet the ideal standards.
 

T N Args

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I'd like to see your review of these 2 lenses. Can you pleeeeeease buy both and test them?
Sure will, straight after I commit to do a comparison review of the new Oly 25. :rolleyes:

I had gotten the impression from posts 42 and 45 that Napier had both Pany lenses. Wrongly, it seems.
 

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well, i like his reviews. Even before he was an Olympus employee, he was a fan of Olympus and you could sense his bias. But he was not saying their products were excellent when they weren't.

His disclaimer is on the beginning of every article. Oly employee, photo enthusiast. Who wants to read into it, be his guest. But it's not like he hides it.

He did a quite detailed side by side comparison of the MZ25 1.8 vs PL25 1.4 just because a lot of people asked him. Tested (going into a lot of details) the depth of field, the sharpness, close up and CA. Also, he managed to identify that there is a difference between field of view, meaning 25mm is not the same on Panasonic and Oly (maybe oldtime photographers knew that but I didn't).
He did not own the lens and had to borrow.
In that comparison, it was expected that PL25 will rule in the speed and bookeh (naturally, being the faster lens) as well as "leica feel" department while Oly will be sharper. Robin stated that in some areas, PL25mm was sharper and MZ25mm was faster with same aperture. And showed examples of it. Bookeh was on the side of Panasonic, but not by that much.

He clearly stated that it is known that oly lenses work better on oly bodies, and the same thing happens with panasonic. Take from that what you will, but it's there.

Also, his main job is not (as far as i know, if i'm wrong, please correct me) writing the blog. He does not claim to be a professional reviewer. He still does a lot of tests in controlled environment, taking time and time and doing the first extensive Oly25mm vs Pan25mm comparison. And people say "To hell with him, he's an Olympus employee."

It's like people are paying for all of his reviews, and then complaining bcs it's not what they expected it to be.

There's an entry on his blog (Feb 17), saying he finished the review on 4:52 AM. That may or may not be the case, but i think no one will gladly take this kind of task because it takes a lot out of you and it is a lot of work. And one guy had the courage to suggest to him to do some more tests, this time taking the measuring tape to further test the difference in the depth of field between two lenses. Some people...
 

pdk42

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Ronin Wong has posted up some comments about the Oly vs Panasonic 25 comparison. You can read them here:

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/

He concluded with this:

I do not think I will be doing any more comparison reviews again in the future. It is just too much trouble, and everyone is expecting different things from me.

I sincerely hope I am not putting anyone off by sharing my experience and some honest thoughts here. I think it is overly evident that I love what I am doing here, and I am privileged to be able to speak to all of you beautiful people. I am not a professional photographer, I am a learning photographer and the best thing I enjoy about photography (besides the obvious, shooting) is being able to connect and communicate with my audience.

It is best that I just let the photographs speak for themselves.


I think we should give him credit for his comparison and stop doubting his integrity.
 

napilopez

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Sure will, straight after I commit to do a comparison review of the new Oly 25. :rolleyes:

I had gotten the impression from posts 42 and 45 that Napier had both Pany lenses. Wrongly, it seems.
Just to clarify, I used to own (and love) the 20mm f1.7, but sold it and bought the 25 f1.4 about a year ago. I miss it a lot sometimes, but the banding issue on my E-M5 at high ISOs ended up being the deal-breaker =/
 

letsgofishing

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Wasn't he only employed by Olympus this year?
I clearly remember reading his blog last year and he stated that he was NOT employed by Olympus.....or am I going crazy???
 

napilopez

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Just so you know, mass manufacturering do allow some tolerances on the f/stop ratings, but the deviation is not as much as well Robin's puts it out in comparing against the Panasonic and the Olympus; which then raises the alarm bells I suppose. When you have such high deviation happening on this lens, one wonders if it's a normal occurrence or it may have be juiced up to reflect on the good reviews. Things like this does happen sometimes though, which can explain why some people would keep returning lenses back to the dealer in the search of that one good copy. I hope that the review does not incite lens testing for that ideal faster than f/1.4 lens that the MZ25 can do and returning the copies that don't meet the ideal standards.
That's all fair and true, but he says the oly is only 1/3rd of a stop brighter at equivalent apertures. That's not at all unusual to see in lenses from different manufacturers, as different coatings will affect transmission values differently. F2.8 on my old canon fd 50mm F1.4 or yashica 50mm F1.4 is darker than the f2.8 on my 45mm or 20mm with better modern coatings. Questioning things is fine, but I don't see a reason for it here, particularly since he provides the samples with exif data so you can see for yourself. Maybe he does have a super fancy perfect Olympus copy, but I highly doubt that will significantly affect the brightness of the lens. Still, we'll see!

More comparisons will appear, of course.
 

flash

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People like to winge from the anonimity of the internet and yet so few of them actually get out and do a better job, themselves. Many people are not intrinsically dishonest and I don't know how they put up with the barrage of total strangers questioning their honesty. Lord knows, I couldn't do it.

Gordon
 

T N Args

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Certainly not me questioning his honesty or his integrity. If he hid the fact that he is paid to promote Olympus, maybe I would, but certainly not with the transparency shown.
 
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