Olympus 25mm PRO: Value proposition against FF

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ijm5012, Sep 6, 2016.

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  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I know that this topic comes up time and time again when we discuss larger m43 lenses like the PL42.5, 40-150 PRO, etc., but with the leaked images of the forthcoming O25 PRO, it really brings in to question the value of large aperture lenses in the m43 system, primarily prime lenses.

    Let me get this out of the way first: I am very pleased to be getting lenses like this in the m43 portfolio. Short of the well matured systems from Nikon and Canon, no other company is releasing the same focal length lenses in faster, "PRO" versions in addition to smaller, slower, inexpensive "consumer" versions. Fuji is also getting on-board with this with their f/2 and f/1.4 series of primes.

    From what's been seen and compared so far, the O25 PRO will be marginally larger than the 12-40 PRO. The below image compares an E-M1+O25 PRO to an A7II+50/1.8, and D750+50/1.8. Now I know that there will be people who jump out and say "but you're comparing an f/1.2 lens to f/1.8 lenses!" and that's true, but the 1-stop slower FF lenses can compensate the difference simply by increasing their ISO by 1-stop to match the shutter speed of the f/1.2 lens on m43. The benefit in doing so is that the FF lenses still have a more shallow DoF than the m43 lens, but the same shutter speed.

    Also, there's the weight: The Sony combo weighs 785g, and the Nikon combo weighs 1,026. We can't make any assumptions of the O25 PRO's weight, but with an E-M1 weighing 500g, I think it's safe to say that the O25 PRO will not weigh less than 285g, but will weigh less than 526g, making the Olympus combo weigh somewhere inbetween the Sony and Nikon combo.

    Now this doesn't account for differences in things like weather sealing or intangibles like comfort & feel or ease-of-use (something I think the E-M1 is fantastic at), but taking a step back from our m43-biased views, and comparing it to FF systems, it's pretty startling to see that the Olympus combo is larger, and should weigh more than the Sony combo. I know there will be people who will buy the O25 PRO, and I hope they do to show Olympus that there is a justification for lenses like these. But compared to my PL25, I don't see the point in upgrading, especially if it's only for 1/3-1/2 stop of light at the expense of the size and weight. I don't mind larger lenses like the 7-14 PRO or the 50-200 SWD that I use with my E-M1's, but when it comes to primes, I love the tiny lenses like my PL15, PL25, P42.5, etc.

    upload_2016-9-6_10-32-49.
     
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  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    The whole point of uber-fast u43 lenses only makes sense for DOF control. It'll do nothing for shutter-speed/noise performance since FF sensors with slower lenses will more than compensate for the reduced aperture. Now here's the rub... to get narrow DOF on u43 means that the lenses get so big that you're no better off than using more moderate aperture lenses on FF - as your comparison above very neatly shows. Bottom line for me is that these lenses make no sense. I had the Noc for a short while and came to much the same conclusion. Even a Fuji X with the 35/1.4 wil get you further for less money and a smaller kit:

    full.

    Compact Camera Meter

    (again using the 12-40 as a proxy for 25/1.2).
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  3. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Yeah, that's what I got out of it as well. The majority of people will only be purchasing this lens for its shallow DoF (which if that's the case, why not pick up a used PL25 for ~$300?), but if that's what you're hunting for there are far better tools that will do the job (see Sony A7 II combo for example). I know there are going to be people who will state their viewpoint and list points to defend it (ergonomics/customization of the m43 system, weather sealing on the lens, true manual focus on the lens, optical performance wide open, etc.), but this lens is going to be very, VERY expensive, and I don't know that I could justify the price. I'm certain there will be some that can (likely the same crowd that the Nocticron catered to), but I am certainly not that target audience. I don't need f/1.2 speed, nor do I need to spend the amount that this one lens will cost.
     
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  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    My view is that the sweet spot for u43 is the f1.8 primes and the compact f2.8 zooms (esp the Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100). That's where you'll get something that delivers "good enough" IQ in a significantly smaller package than competing systems.

    As soon as you expand u43 bodies or lenses to comparable proportions as the A7 or Fuji X (and I'm talking GX8 and these new Pro primes in particular), then I question the raison d'être of u43. The four thirds DSLRs failed because they were no smaller and delivered worse IQ than competing systems. If u43 goes on the same path then it'll end up in the same place.

    Sensors are getting bigger anyhow - Fuji are rumoured to be launching an MF system at Photokina.
     
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  5. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    I seriously don't understand why some of you get so dramatic about large pro lenses. The system as a whole is still very small, and the people that are going to buy a lens like this are the 1%ers, and they usually don't care about the size, weight, or cost (as long as they are reasonable). In other words lenses like this have no effect on the viability or longevity of the system.
     
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  6. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    No camera is good for everything m43's wider DOF can be an advantage in many cases.

    We can't judge though until we see the result it produces. Sharpness, bokeh, contrast are all factors that we don't quantify very well. Look at the results the 300,4 produces. Nothing in the spec could predict the results. When we see it and its abilities, then each can decide if it's worth it.

    I have the pl25. Great lens. Will be interesting to see how they compare.
     
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  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Threads like this always make me LOL and ROFLMAO. I for one am glad Olympus is not afraid to make "bigger" lenses. I honestly don't know where everyone gets this "the idea behind µ4/3 is to make super small cameras". I am pretty sure Olympus has never said that. They have stated they are making gear that is smaller then DSLR's, and that is true (they have a full line of small/er camera's and lenses). My only guess is that it's the community on this site that believe/think the entire purpose behind µ4/3 is to make super small cameras and lenses. I come up with that because of all the anger over how big and heavy the 300mm ƒ4.0 Pro lens is (everyone saying it's to big I will not buy it), yet it is on back order at every major retailer. That tells me that even with it's "not holding true to the purpose of µ4/3" it is a top seller and very much in demand.

    The size of the Pro lenses also tells me that Olympus is going with more optical correction then software correction in their design. They are not going the full optical correction like they did with the SHG lenses, but they are not relying on software correction as much as they are in their other lenses. From looking at various photos and RAW files from the Pro lenses and the 4/3 lenses, it appears to me that they settled for about the quality of the HG glass (a compromise between full optical and some optical/software correction). Personally, I prefer the better IQ you get from optical correction.....you can push the files farther in post and to some extent crop more while retaining sharpness.

    The shorter focal lengths are much harder to keep size down compared to full frame lenses, especially when going fast and with great IQ. When you get to telephoto, it is a bit different. Most here would call my 150/2 a huge lens, but in terms of effective reach and speed it is actually much smaller and lighter then a 300/2.8. Or you could compare it to say the 200mm ƒ2.0 and a crop body camera, still way smaller and lighter. The 300/4 is much smaller then lugging around a 600mm ƒ4 on a full frame, I have done that and have no desire to return to that. Here is thread I created about why I love the size advantage of my Olympus kit over my previous Canon kit - ZD 150mm ƒ2.0, a park, and why I shoot Olympus

    I don't think a majority of those buying this lens are buying it for the shallower DoF, some will but I highly doubt it will be the majority. I can only speak as to why I would buy it and will not even attempt to guess why other would. I want it because it is fast, I don't care about the narrower DoF.......I am more concerned with how high can I take shutter speed without increasing ISO beyond my comfort level. Yes, I have IBIS, but IBIS does nothing to freeze motion. The main reason I want it and why I am so glad I put off buying any primes (except my cheap 17/2.8 that I got as my always on my EM5 lens) is because it's weather sealed. A weather sealed fast 25mm will make a great street lens and for photographing outdoor events. Someone mentioned the Fuji route of the 1.4 and 2.0 lenses. I know a lot of Fuji shooters who are upset that the weather sealed is the slower of the two. Shooting in the rain tends to be in darker environments, when you are really going to want/need the faster lens.

    If the lens is not for you, that's fine. But is it really any reason to make post talking about how bad of an idea it is or how much it is not what you want or think they should be making or how it is not "in the spirit of what µ4/3 is about" or it's to heavy I could go full frame for less weight or it is to expensive and I want it but I can't afford it so I will talk about how wrong this lens in every single way.

    I really don't think they would make this lens if there was not a market for it. I am sure they have done extensive research into what people using the system want/need/will buy. They are also not going to make things they don't believe will be profitable (sure they could be wrong, every company is on some things). Just look at all the hate on this forum for the 300/4, yet it is sold out everywhere. This forum represents a very small segment of those using Olympus cameras.

    I for one applaud Olympus for setting an IQ standard and other parameters and then building lenses (talking the Pro line) to meet that, even if they are "not in the spirit of µ4/3".
     
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  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think you should at least be using Sony's Zeiss 55 1.8, though. The $250 lens isn't likely to be in the same class.

    The rest of this is going to be the same argument we've had with the Nocticron..
     
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  9. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Agree. I love how people will pick gear that fits their argument without respect to equal ability or build quality or image quality.
     
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  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I don't think the demise of 4/3 had much to do with that. Nobody could compete with Canon and Nikon. And Nikon needed Sony's sensors to stay relevant. Olympus could still be limping along like Pentax K and Sony's A-mount are with 3-4% market share. But they decided to switch to an new market they could be a leader in.
     
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  11. alex g

    alex g Mu-43 Top Veteran

    555
    Mar 30, 2016
    New York / Bath
    While I respect this argument, in my opinion it only makes sense in the context of hypothetical systems consisting of only standard primes, or users who use one for most of their shooting. It doesn't hold water in the context of someone who has already invested heavily in a MFT system because of one of its recognized advantages — portable, high IQ, weather-sealed telephotos for wildlife photography for example. They're not going to want to carry around an additional, larger-sensor body just for the arguably valid benefit of using a more compact standard prime. I can definitely see the attraction of the new 25 f/1.2, in the context of a complete system, and after a day working with long telephotos, something the size of the 12-40 is positively compact.

    For me MFT has the flexibility to allow multiple takes on it, all equally valid. I just bought the tiny pany 35-100 and a used GM5 so I can carry it in my pocket — its incredible to get such quality images out of something so tiny — and I can understand that for many people that's precisely what they want from the system, and for them, a big f1.2 standard lens wouldn't make sense. But it is a relatively slow and delicate combo so I probably wouldn't take it on safari, whereas I might be tempted to take the 12-40 out of the bag and replace it with this 25 f/1.2, just to have something super fast for those times when the light fails and you just want something to hoover up those few remaining photons, but which won't faint at the first sign of dust.

    Horses for courses. :)
     
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  12. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    I think I said something like this back in 2010, or perhaps when the 25f1.4 came out.
    Accordingly for me the benefits of the system were more oriented towards the more telephoto side of normal with respect tho DoF control.

    To my mind the 14f2.5 represents the soul of the I intentions of micro 43rds in the wide area and the 20f1.7 / 25f1.7 in the normal. After that just buy a 5D for the shallow wide and normal stuff
     
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  13. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Most likely because they don't need everything in their inventory to be that absolute best. Just because money isn't necessarily a concern, doesn't mean they want to waste it on stuff they don't use very often.

    Take the photographer who shot my wedding. She shot FF Nikon, and used mostly primes. All of her primes and one of her zooms where top tier , but she also had two consumer grade zooms, and some really cheap looking extension tubes. She also had a cheap PS & bridge in her bag (suitcase), just in case she had to shoot in a hazardous environment.

    Set aside your shooting needs/use cases, and think about how others might shoot, and what gear combinations might suit them best.
     
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  14. astrostl

    astrostl Mu-43 Veteran

    363
    Oct 4, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Justin Honold
    As you can see in my sig, I have a healthy mix of big and small. I like being able to do that in one system, from a GM1 w/a P20 to an E-M1 w/a Nocticron. I also like being able to shoot fast lenses at wide apertures while still retaining a usable focus plane.
     
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  15. marktegethoff

    marktegethoff Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Dec 4, 2015
    Washington, DC
    Mark Tegethoff
    Olympus's intent here, quite clearly, seems to be to introduce professional grade prime lens(es) to their system that include weather sealing, and are much faster than their traditional 1.8s. It might be the priority of some users to have as small of a kit as possible (and may be what drew them to M43), but clearly Olympus is trying their best to be relevant in the professional market. One could argue whether or not this will ultimately be successful or not, but that seems to be their goal.

    Looking at the expected specs of this lens (about the same size as the 12-40 2.8) when attached to an E-M1, and you'll see that Olympus has built a camera/lens combo that is similar in dimension to the Canon's 1.2L + Full Frame combo (and is actually quite a bit smaller than Canon's 80D when paired with the 35 1.4L).

    Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 1.20.02 PM.

    The body specs are obviously different, but whether those differences are pro's or con's is up to each customer to decide. I'm making no judgements here myself, just suggesting that those that want to compare this to Canon's cheap 50mm 1.8 are not necessarily making the fair comparison.
     

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  16. marktegethoff

    marktegethoff Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Dec 4, 2015
    Washington, DC
    Mark Tegethoff
    Honestly, thinking about the physics of it all, if/when Olympus puts out 1.2 version of the 45mm, those that want the small/fast prime will probably end up getting something a bit closer to what they want, just with a tighter FOV.
     
  17. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Sorry, but if u43 isn't about small size with good-enough IQ then what *is* it about? If I want shallow DOF, fast shutter in low light or high ISO with low noise then I'd be in FF land (probably A7) since u43 isn't the ideal platform to do these things. I know that u43 with this sort of fast glass *can* get me there, but frankly it still won't be as good. It's definitely about horses for courses - but the best horse for narrow DOF is to buy an FF camera and not try to adapt a small-sensor to that task.

    Of course, I can understand that some people will buy these exotic u43 lenses, but it will be a very small minority and of course I'm very happy for them to have an option. However, as a direction for u43, it doesn't stack up. I'd personally prefer weather sealing on the 1.8 primes (but I accept that is just my opinion). I agree entirely with the view earlier from @tkbslc@tkbslc - people chasing faster glass who don't care about size or cost are unlikely to be target u43 users.
     
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  18. marktegethoff

    marktegethoff Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Dec 4, 2015
    Washington, DC
    Mark Tegethoff
    I guess I look at something like the 12-40 2.8, and don't really see the size as an negative factor, and to me at least, I don't think I'd feel that way about the size of this 25 1.2 either. The idea of releasing a 1.8 though with weather sealing is certainly a valid one, and would be useful to a lot of folks. I guess Olympus heard from enough of their pro users that they wanted to add faster glass though?
     
  19. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    393
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Take a look at all the lenses available in the system, and please explain how the release of a few large pro lenses is some how a direction shift.
    Micro Four Thirds Lenses - HENNIGArts : Gear
     
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  20. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Who cares about size, if you need fast aperture well here you go! This lens will be awesome no doubt.

    Have you guys seen how ridiculous Sony native FF lenses look? I also shoot Sony and have gone all adapted because there is no size advantage shooting native Sony lenses. If the new 25mm 1.2 is the size of the 12-40mm...be happy because that's small compared to what's out there!
     
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