Olympus 25/1.8 vs. 45/1.8?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by RobDMB, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. RobDMB

    RobDMB Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2013
    Presently I have an EM5ii with a 12-40/1.8 lens that is great. However, I was thinking of getting a prime lens that is a bit faster for indoor shots. Was wondering what the general consensus is between these two lenses? Which would be considered more versatile for indoor shots including portraits? Thanks.
  2. RobDMB

    RobDMB Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2013
    I should ask as well - does the 1.8 aperture of these two lenses make a meaningful difference indoors compared to 2.8 on the Pro lens?
  3. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Real Name:
    The more flexible would be the 25mm. The 45mm indoors would mainly be used for portraits. The 25mm will do portraits plus a whole lot more. Currently I toss up between the pl25 and the p20 for indoors.. I like them both and cant get rid of one.

    As for your aperture question, yes it 1.3 stops faster. Which means low iso or higher shutter speeds.
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you are talking what I would describe as "typical" indoor shots, then 25mm all the way. But fortunately you have a 12-40mm so you can test out the focal lengths. Try out your 12-40 at both 25mm and 40mm and see which one is closer to a focal length you can stay stuck with indoors. I would also recommend trying out 17 and 20mm with your zoom and putting those on your list of options (17mm f1.8 and 20mm f1.7). Again, I personally find 25mm to be the most versatile for what you've described, but it is going to come down to a matter of personal taste, how much room you have to work in, and how tightly you like to frame.

    Just as an alternate, if you are in the U.S., you can order the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 for only $99 right now. So that might win based on cost!
  5. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    If the subjects are kids the 45 allows you to shoot from a distance and to fill the frame more easily.
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    The ability to gather more light is always useful. One might be able to say/make the argument that it is even more useful for m43 because of the luxury of having the deeper DOF with the benefit of being able to use a lower ISO. I know that for me, being able to use the primes wide open is a great thing.

    I'd argue that the 25mm focal length would be more useful inside versus the 45mm, unless all you want it for is portraits.
    With the exception of the Olympus 17/2.8, I've yet to see an m43 prime lens that did not deliver on spectacular IQ. so, as tkbslc stated, I'd find the best deal on price you can find and buy accordingly.
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  7. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I think 45mm may be too much focal length for most indoor shots (assuming a normal house with standard sized rooms). I find even my 30mm lens to be "too close" for many situations. Between the two you mention I would go with the 25mm.

    But for me personally I find the 17mm/1.8 to be a "normal" focal length for indoor shoots (like shooting the family around the Thanksgiving dinner table, group shots, etc.). And then for portraits, I would think you 12-40mm would work very well at around the 40mm focal length for most head & shoulders type shots.

    Edited to add: You might simply try your 12-40m for a while around your house first set to 25mm and then to 40mm and see how well you can do framing areas to how you would think you would need to with people in the shot.
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  8. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, it does. I, too, find the 45mm too long for most indoor shots and would look first to either the O17 or O25.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It is 1.33 stops. So you will get roughly 2.7x the shutter speed.

    So if you are shooting indoors in low light, you might be getting 1/30 shutter speed at f2.8. That can give motion blur even for people that are sitting relatively still. if you used an f1.8 lens, you'd be getting 1/80 shutter speed, which is a good starting point for candids and posed portraits.

    Or it will let you shoot a much lower ISO at the same shutter speed. For example, you'd be at ISO 8000 on f2.8 and ISO 3200 at f1.8 for the same shutter speed. ISO 3200 is very usable on m4/3 cameras. ISO 8000, not as much. It's even more pronounced if you are talking ISO 6400 vs ISO 16000.
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  10. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 25, 2014
    Real Name:
    Optically, the 12-40mm is so good that the advantages really mostly come down to size and brightness. For indoor shooting, I too prefer the 17mm, but that's the one lens in the f/1.8 line-up that's not quite up to the performance of the 12-40mm in terms of sharpness. The 25mm and 45mm both are stunning lenses, both at least as sharp as the 12-40mm. The 25mm is the most versatile of the bunch because it can act as a portrait lens in a pinch (if you don't want to settle for environmental portraits - the 17mm excels at that!) while allowing for close-up shooting, too. The 45mm is a great lens, but as a single solution it's a bit too specialised in my view (though I have shot whole events with it exclusively - but in those cases, the room was rather big and easy to move around in, and people remained seated for the best part of the proceedings).

    So, if sharpness is most important, the 25mm, if pleasing rendering and shooting at close quarters is more your thing, the 17mm.

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  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think the focal length is a very personal thing. That is why I suggested trying them out on your existing zoom first.

    15-20mm is great for environmental and group shots. However, if you get close enough to do a portrait of a single person - even standing - you will see some fairly significant perspective distortion. Especially at 15/17, but also at 20mm to a noticeable degree. 45mm has the opposite problem. It does great individual portrait perspective (due to distance required) but is too narrow to do environmental, group shots, and even standing portraits of adults (in the typical house). 25mm, for me, gives the best balance of all of these. It's long enough that I don't get significant distortion for most portraits, but wide enough that I can shoot candids and environmental (sometimes stepping back). So for an all arounder, I come back to my 25mm every time.
  12. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    It really comes down to shooting style. I have both the Oly 45mm f/1.8 and the Pany 25mm f/1.4. After analyzing my shooting, it comes down to the 45 for portraits and the 25 for low-light interiors. I find the angle of view of the 45 too limited for shots other than portraits.
  13. So Thankful

    So Thankful Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2015
    I have owned the 45 1.8 and the 25 1.8 for a while now. I find I use the 25 more than any other lens in my bag. I have had several occasions that the 25 did not give me enough FOV so I picked up a 17 1.8.
    Now I do not own the 12-40 2.8. If we were shooting full frame I would say that the 12-40 (24-80)would be all you need, but in MFT I feel that the extra stops are very important if you want subject isolation. I will be buying a Voightlander 42.5 f.095 when the funds allow for this very reason.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
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  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Get them both - they're cheap enough, esp used.
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  15. gary0319

    gary0319 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 26, 2014
    Sarasota FL
    I have the 25, 1.8, but find I go to my P14, 2.5 for family gatherings indoors, especially for around the table or in the kitchen settings. Even the 25 is too tight for those times.

    If I'm in an exhibit or other larger venue, then the 25 is my go to option.