Oly 17mm 1.8 and Pan 25mm 1.4 Image Character

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Sener, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. Sener

    Sener Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2013
    What do you think are differences between the two?

    I am reading the user reviews for both of them, the general consensus is that Oly 17mm is not as sharp as expected (Dunno what they expected), is maybe two clicks above average, does its job and just that. No specialty, just a normal flat lens, less 3-d pop, which does not sufficiently deserve its price tag, seems, in the eyes of its users. I think they expected a Sigma 35mm art-equivalent 35mm equivalent.

    The Panaleica gets much applause. Most users and lookers say it has that special Leica rendering dust in it, the colors are very rich, easier to get that 3-d pop, the "tonal range" is very wide and "plays on a different level" that Oly 17 or Pan 20mm 1.7.

    I am trying to get a feel for their looks and image quality by browsing through their images, but it seems like many people shoot the m43 cameras so carelessly and ignorantly that the output is often comparable to point and shoot cameras. It is very hard to come across images that are properly framed and exposed in a way that can bring out the qualities of lenses.

    Also I am a little hesitant for the 25 because of its size. It may defeat the purpose of using a small camera. The camera looks like a small-ish DSLR when mounted with it. But sheer image quality, if so good as they say, may compensate for this hesitance.

    I have used neither. I am thinking of buying either. If I go for the 17 it will likely be by only lens glued to my E-M5 until the day I buy the 75m

    If I select the 25 I will complement it with a 14, since I like wide angle, and sometime in the future I will be adding the 75.

    What do you think/recommend?

    Here's my portfolio to get a feel for how I shoot;

  2. Anthonys

    Anthonys Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 17, 2011
    Would the 25 be on an em5 too? I would be weary of adopting the rattlesnake problem. I haven't tried the 17mm, owned the 25mm for almost a year. It's not overly large or heavy and produces great images but I think I would prefer the 17 FL.
  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I hate these questions but…

    The biggest difference in character is the field of view. If you like to work with a wider angle lens the 17 would probably be the better choice but the 25 would be preferable if you like a tighter field of view. They each have a different character due to how perspective appears at the edges. You can duplicate the 25's perspective rendering by cropping a 17mm image but you can't duplicate the 17's perspective by moving further away with a 25. Focal length/FOV is a big part of character for me and there is a big difference between 17 and 25 for me. I've got both lenses and the 17 has spent a lot more time on my camera than the 25.

    Image quality. I really like the 17. No, it may not be as sharp as the 25 but I've never had a complaint about its sharpness and I'm more than happy to live with that. The big difference in image quality for me is something I find hard to clearly identify but basically I really like the colour rendition I get from Olympus lenses. The 25 renders colours differently. It's as if I see a very slight colour cast to the images that I don't see with my Olympus lenses, a slight move to the green/blue side of things. I just find I'm never quite happy with colours from the 25 yet I can never say that the colours it delivers aren't good or nice. I have an Olympus 25 on order and I hope it solves that problem for me.

    The PL25 is certainly sharper but I end up liking the character of the images from my 17 more and the 2 things that is due to are the FOV and the colour thing. I'd probably shoot with the 25 a lot more if I was slightly happier with the colour rendition but I think I'd still use the 17 more than the 25 because of the FOV. Quite honestly, when comparing 2 lenses of different focal lengths, the focal length is nearly always the most critical thing affecting character in my view and the 25's colour rendition isn't bad in any way, it's just a little different to what I see from my Olympus lenses and I prefer what the Olympus lenses give me. My advice on choosing between these 2 lenses: do it based on which focal length you're more comfortable using.

    I find the size of the PL 25 annoying but it is a comfortable lens to work with when mounted on my E0-P3 and E-M5. It's just a bit more awkward in a small bag and it does seem big in comparison to some of my Olympus lenses but not, for example, to the 75mm. What I find really annoying about the PL 25 is that you can't reverse the hood in order to save space in the bag so I have to take the hood off and find a separate space in the bag to tuck it away in. That really shouldn't be a big issue and it doesn't affect working with the lens, but it often ends up being an annoyance to me.
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, I have the 17 and I'm not unhappy with it. I also have the new Oly 25 and whilst the 17 is not quite as sharp when pixel peeping, it's not far off and in real-world use is just as good. I like the handling and feel of the 17 too and it's very resistant to flare and doesn't generate too much CA.

    As others have said, I think the only real difference that matters is the FOV.

    As regards u43 sample images, I think you're being a bit rough to classify the majority of us as only a step above P&S users. There is some superb work done on this forum - and lots of good examples on the 17/1.8 sample images thread. And of course, good photographers will take great shots with almost any equipment.
  5. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    17mm 1.8 is one of my favorite lenses (most of my shots were done with this lens). I made many prints from this lens (mostly family pictures) and never had problems with how sharp the final result was. Perhaps, as it was noted, it might be not as sharp at 100%, but who cares about 100%? My goal is to have good prints. I get very good prints from 17mm. I like shooting environmental portraits, landscapes or city architecture. 17mm 1.8 is good for all of these. Just a few recent shots:





    Of course 25mm will be much better for portraits due to the shallower DOF and better bokeh. Actually I think these are two different lenses and I would like to buy 25mm to complement my lens kit.
    • Like Like x 6
  6. Sener

    Sener Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2013

    I am really sorry if I have been misunderstood in this regard. Maybe I should have indicated that I have been browsing the lens-specific Flickr groups.

    I didn't know there was an image thread in this forum for this lens. Checking it now. :)
  7. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    You did come across as pompous with the point and shoot comment. I fit into the point and shoot category but still don't like to hear it.

    Given that you are starting out without either lens, there should also be a consideration of the new Olympus 25mm f1.8. It is a hair wider in final images than the 25 from Panasonic, it is smaller, and it is cheaper. Image quality looks very good from most reviews. If size is an issue, I would take the Oly 25mm and the Panasonic 14mm. That would have you covered pretty well and I agree with your idea of also picking up the 75mm. Even though it is large, it is worth its weight.
  8. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2014
    Some people prefer 35mm FL and some people prefer 50mm FL in 135 format. The 17/1.8 gives an equivalent to 35mm which tends to be wider and the sharpness doesn't normally matter as much due to the need to fit more in the frame. If you're doing portraits, you will want to be in closer and the distortion is just enough to where you can accentuate certain things in the frame. The 25/1.4 on the other hand is more of a classic interpretation of what the eye sees. The Leica-ness of the lens is through the colors, the depth of field you can control when using the lens, and the interpretation of the out of focus areas. It's a tighter field of view that allows you to concentrate on a single aspect or if you step back far enough, give you a fairly undistorted image of the world around you. I would say that these two lenses are a matter of preference and normally, depending on the type of photographer you are, you'll prefer one over another.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Looking at your flicker page, I would suggest the 25mm f/1.4. (nice btw, excellent b&w work). Think that you are more of a 50mm (FF) person than a 35mm one. Plus the 1.4 and shallower depth of field seems to be more to your way of shooting.

    I had the PL25 but because of the rattlesnake and battery eating problem with the 2 different PL 25mm's I tried, I returned them. This may have been corrected later as a lot of EM5 users here swear by the 25. Bought the 35mm f/1.8 and that is my main lens for that camera now, for me the wider FOV is what I like. When I bought the EM1, I considered the Panasonic 25mm again, but ended up getting the 12-40mm Oly instead. I am glad I did, that lens is a awesome zoom.

    You cannot go wrong with either lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. svenkarma

    svenkarma Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 5, 2013
    mark evans
    You probably won't be too happy that I agree with you when I also say that I'm rather colour-blind :rolleyes:. But I think you're right about the green/blue thing, as there was one photo I took in a valley I often pass through and I was like, yikes, what did that just do to the river?

    imho the native lens that cost me the most shouldn't really be the one I use the least.
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