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Robin Wong comparison of Oly and Panasonic 25mm lenses

Discussion in 'Back Room' started by pdk42, Feb 15, 2014.

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  1. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I think it is a good point being made using the Canikon 50mm lenses as an illustration. The 1.8's work perfectly well but they are 1.8's. You don't buy them if you want a 1.4. It costs quite a bit more to make a 1.4 work even to a similar level. The makers tend to make the 1.4's to a higher build standard. You buy what you want, or need, or fits the budget. You don't always buy the 1.8 just because it is cheaper and no less sharp. That suits a lot of people, but plenty need the higher lens.
  2. I don't have much knowledge on 50mm lenses outside of Canon and Nikon, but these are the two brands to which he refers. I think that essentially he is implying that the PL25 should be optically the better lens because it is the more expensive and faster f/1.4 versus the cheaper and slower f/1.8 Olympus. Where he is being misleading is stating that this is the case with Canon and Nikon. His words below:

    Followed by these:

    His analysis of Canon's and Nikon's f/1.4 and f/1.8 standard prime lenses is incorrect in regards to their basic optical properties, which then makes his statement that the MZ25 rewrites the rules by being (according to his test and results of course) better in some areas than the PL25 to be invalid. I have a lot of time for Robin Wong's writings as it relates to my own use of Olympus equipment and especially a lot of time for his photography, but I don't think that he is the guy to be making definitive comparisons between Olympus products and those of other brands.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Absolutely, totally agree. I don't understand why there is any debate on that point.
  4. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    That's the review I long for - and dread, Arg.

    The 20mm is my favorite lens and if the 25mm got a raving good comparison review with it I would probably feel obligated to buy one. I quite like the 20mm but if the 25 was to prove considerably better I might have to overlook the size/weight penalty. The "nifty fifty" (equiv) is a focal length well familiar to me and I can see the new 25mm setting off another round of G.A.S.

    I hope no one ever compares the two. :wink:


    • Like Like x 1
  5. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    What I am a little puzzled of is that, he does not provide a feeling. He provided shutter speeds and those are real figures, so it's a physical observation. Is he implying that all Olympus 25mm lens made from the factory allow faster shutter speeds than an f/1.4 lens? What I get from his writing is that, he tries to invalidate the need to get a f/1.4, because with a f/1.8 you get a slight speed boost that provides faster shutter speeds than a normal f/1.4.

    Secondly, it is mostly well known in the industry that most great lenses perform at their best when stopped down at about 1 to 2 stops from wide open. But not everyone shoots extreme bokeh and want a lens that is super sharp at its widest opening. So that's not an indicative of the whole photography population or market. In the end, the photographer chooses his or her equipment based on the assignments he or she needed completed for his or her client's work. Each platform has its strength and weaknesses, so what some people do is play on those strength and weaknesses to educate the uneducated about some untruths.
  6. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I have read Robin Wong's website for quite a few years and enjoyed the reading. This, however, really seems to cross the line into posting as a pure, paid, shill. :tsk:
    • Like Like x 1
  7. DougVaughn

    DougVaughn Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2013
    Franklin, TN
    Doug Vaughn
    I personally don't have any objection to Robin's affiliation with Olympus, especially since he goes out of his way to make it clear. I enjoy reading his blog and find his observations (and photos) useful. We're all free to take it or leave it.

    I have had the Panny 25 for a little over a year and just received the Oly 25 on Friday. Ultimately I will only keep one but haven't which. I did some side by side testing yesterday but didn't have time (or weather) to completely put them through their paces. On my E-M1 camera, the Oly was sharper for a distant city shot (tripod mounted, identical settings, no IBIS) from across the river. On a closer focusing distance (valentines flowers), I gave a slight edge to the Panny. It's hard to describe, but I could pick up just a little more texture in the tulips I was shooting.

    Honestly, I could be 100% happy with either lens. The Oly is MUCH smaller and very quiet, but I wish it had a pinch cap.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 31, 2013
    I would have to disagree here:

    The Nikon 50mm f/1.2 is a late 70s design and it sharpens up faster than a 50mm f/1.8 at f/2.

    That AFs slower than a Nikon 50mm f/1.4D. It also doesn't sharpen up as quickly as the D lens at smaller apertures and while it has sharper corners, it sharpens up less overall. It does have better correction of chromatic aberrations. It'll work on a D3x00 or D5x00 body too, but I don't consider that much of a bonus.

    I think a quick solution in hand would be to have someone with both the PL25 1.4 and O25 1.8 to find a nice, white wall, defocus the lenses and use a constant brightness light source and fixed apertures to check the shutter speeds.
  9. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    This is absolutely not true! I have an E-M1 (same TruPic VII processor as the E-M10) and it removes CA from all my Panasonic lenses, or any other adapted lens, I mount on the camera. The 14/2.5 and the Sigma 30/2.8 both have significant amounts of CA on the edges and corners and the E-M1 removes the CA better than LR5 does. The catch is that one has to shoot JPGs for the CA to be removed. The cameras don't remove it when shooting RAW and Olympus Viewer 3 does not automatically remove it either. By Robin shooting RAW and processing in OV3, the 25/1.8 had no inherent processing advantage. In any event, Robin doesn't do formal lens testing. When one of the sites that does quantifiable testing on the lens, we'll see what the 25/1.8 number are. I do have a 25/1.4 and it has very little CA, or it has little CA at the apertures I generally shoot at.
  10. Lisandra

    Lisandra Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    first, why is everything you write a question?

    and second, that's not the point. Here's what:

    I've written reviews for both sites and magazines, and let's say that this is what I've found lately and going to write in an upcoming review:
    -the olympus omd em1 is 4 stops cleaner than the nikon D3s

    see? ...No? The point is not whether he is forcing me to read it or not, the point is that there are people who don't know enough to believe him. The photos speak for themselves? It wouldn't be the first time that Wong posts photos claiming things that don't agree with real life.
    I've had a relationship with sony for years now and when they send me a camera that sucks I write the following: the camera sucks. Anything else is irresponsible. Robin Wong is irresponsible. God forbid there's someone out there who is genuinely weighing options and stumbles into Robin Wong's claims that you can handhold an em1 for 3 to 5 seconds no problem. Or that an f1.8 lens is brighter than a f1.4 one. Doing things in such way so that results are in your favor IS manupulation, at least to the unknowing.
    I'm not butt hurting like the following poster wrote, unlike many I'm not a Oly or pana raving fanatic, i own both and work with both. So, cool if some need to defend Wong so vigorously and laugh at those who don't, but I think that what he does is dishonest and shady like olympu's upper yakuza management.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    I would really like to read your opinion about these lenses after a few weeks using them. I have the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 but I am tempted by the Olympus, just because of the closer focusing distance. That is something that has been a limitation with the Panny in a few occasions.
  12. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2014
    No need to call me names. It obviously started as his personal web site, but if his employment by Olympus offers compensation for writing about Olympus products, then it has become something like a sponsored web site. That's why I questioned the use of the word "review" — because it implies a non-paid evaluation. When people search Google for "reviews" of products, they are typically looking for independent user evaluations, not manufacturer-sponsored ones.
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I just read the full review to see what the angst was all about and, overall, I think the review was far better than what it's been made out to be. If anything, I would have made greater emphasis on the fact that Panasonic and Olympus have different approaches to their camera and lens design. Panasonic's emphasis has traditionally been towards in-camera correction of any lens fallibilities; whereas, Olympus has tended to be more of a purist and emphasised lens quality ie trying to avoid any lens fallibilities. That will mean one manufacturer's lens will perform differently on another manufacturer's body.
  14. hese

    hese Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 23, 2013
    The brightness part might be true. The f-stop is about physical apparture, then there's transmission: how much light is actually transmited throught lens.

    Example check DXO

    For T-stops pana is actually 1.7, 12-40 is 3.2 and 45mm is 2.0. So if oly 25mm has T-stop of 1.7, then both would create just as bright picture, but pana would still have the bokeh of 1.4 lens. Not all lenses have slower t-stop..
  15. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    When I saw the picture of the guy reading the newspaper, I was pretty sure the second one was the Panny - it looked much more detailed on my laptop. Turned out to be the Oly. Nice!
  16. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    Man, can you let it go? Are you envious? Can't you see that Robin is a stand up guy from his blogs? Are you questioning his integrity? I hope not. Because in that case, you need to look in the mirror.

    BTW, I am pretty sure most items you have in your possession come from PAID advertisements.

    Glad Robin was recognized by Olympus. We need more reviewers like him (and Ming). What a fresh air vs those many ego maniacs.:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
  17. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I'm not quite sure I understand the battle lines being drawn. They both are very fine lenses. I had the PL and had to sell it to cover a sudden unexpected expense. It hurt, as it, along with the Olympus 45, was one of my two favorite m4/3 lenses. But I'll probably give the new Olympus a go when I can, mostly for the cost factor. Everything I've seen and heard indicates it is a fine lens, and I don't really need the extra 2/3 stop with the E-M5 image stabilization.

    I find Robin Wong's reviews helpful and the pictures useful, though given his frankly admitted association with Olympus, he wouldn't be the only one I'd reference in the lead up to buying a new lens.

    The only place I could find online selling for Malaysia has a price of 1,900 Malaysian Ringgits for the PL25. XE.com converts that to $577.75 U.S. So it is apparently - if the sites are up to date - available for less than Robin Wong stated. But a snide "I doubt that....." gives no information about it.
  18. Panasonic vs Olympus is sooooo 2012 :smile:
    • Like Like x 3
  19. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2014
    I am not questioning his integrity. That should have been clear from what I wrote. The point was that if a manufacturer pays for a review, then it's not properly described as a review. — That's all I'm saying. It's a point about language, not integrity.

    All camera manufacturers have paid spokespeople. That's perfectly fine; they provide an important service. I just don't see them doing paid reviews. I have no issue with paid advertisements, so I'm not sure why you bring that up. If you're defending his writing as a form of paid advertisement, that's fine too.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    I am not sure why there appears to be such a high level of feelings about this "review".

    1. We are all photographers who want to improve what we do (isn't that why most if us joined the forum?).

    2. We have two major manufacturers (and some some excellent optics from third parties) competing for our dollars/euros/pounds/yen etc, etc. so we have a whole range of options available to us.

    3. This is the first A/B comparison we have seen - something most have been waiting to see.

    4. Even if he is employed by Olympus this had been clearly stated up front and not hidden in small print.

    5. RAW files have been provided to allow you to do your own pixel peeping.

    6. Both appear to be extremely good optics.

    7. Which is sharper? I'm not going to make an opinion and let each of us make their own mind up.

    8. Do they render differently - yes- which you prefer is up to you.

    9. Should you make up your mind after one review - your choice.

    I'm in the market for a 25mm, I own an Olympus camera, have I decided yet? No.

    As photographers we all have slightly different needs and wants so what might be "right" for me may not be "right" for someone else.

    For me this is what makes forums like this ( and on a philosophical note perhaps life) so interesting and these differences should be celebrated and not pulled into arguments.

    PS I've even seen arguments as to whether the Pana 20mm 1.7 is sharper than the Pana 25mm 1.4 so I went and looked at some resolution charts and decided the answer was "depends". Under certain circumstances one will be sharper than the other but both are very good and I suspect the Oly will also fit into this group.

    I don't think buying any of them should be considered a bad decision and each of us will make decisions on which may suit us best and we should allow each other the respect to make that decision without criticism.
    • Like Like x 5
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