Updated Olympus lens road map - 8-25mm f4, finally a pro macro, ... does it make you want to stick with Olympus?

mawz

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I have posted this before, but it is appropriate again here, I think. I made a PDF of several shots I took in Utah a few years ago, comparing 12mm (P12-35 lens) vs 9mm (Oly 9-18 lens) from exactly the same vantage point. There is a BIG difference. Of course, 8mm would be an even bigger difference. See it here:

http://www.rahsoft.net/m43_9-vs-12_comparison1.pdf

I am a little puzzled by the lack of mention of the PL 8-18 f2.8-4 (which I have). Compared to the 8-25, it is smaller, lighter (411g vs 315g), faster (obviously), and somewhat cheaper, I think (without a sale on the 8-25). Yes, the 8-25 has a better far-end focal range, but much of the discussion here is about the ultra-wide aspect of the 2 lenses, and the 8-18 is better at that Focal range (faster; and the size).

If I didn't have the 8-18 I think I would not be tempted much by the 8-25 (over the 8-18) because that's not my primary use for an ultra-wide lens like this. I CAN see the the advantage of say the 12-100 over other general-purpose lenses like the PL12-60 and the O12-45 (if you ignore the size), because it excels at the focal lengths you might likely USE it for.

Note the 8-18 lists for the same price as the 8-25 (MSRP on both is $1099USD), there's just often a sale on the 8-18 (it's $200USD off right now).

There's a few advantages for the 8-25

1. All the Oly toys are available. You don't get locked out of some automation (Focus stacking, full ProCapture support, probably a couple other things)
2. Likely better sealing (IPX1 rated, the new front element coating that repels water, plus rear seal matches to the Oly Body's design)
3. Filter compatibility (72mm is one of the two common filter sizes for PRO lenses, as well as the Oly 100-400, 8-18 uses 67mm filters which means an adapter is needed if your other lenses use something else, conversely if pairing with a 12-40, the adapter needed for the 12-40 is smaller when paired with the 8-18 because the 12-40 is 62mm. Note the 12-60 is also 62mm and the 50-200 is 67mm so the 8-18 pairs better with the other PL lenses)
4. MF clutch - much quicker AF/MF switching and you can preset focus distance (I was surprised by how much I use this on the 12-40, I've owned traditional clutched lenses in the past and hated the feature because of how poorly it worked in my experience, but the combination of clutch and focus by wire makes it much more flexible).

My take on it is largely that if I already owned the 8-18, I probably wouldn't buy an 8-25 unless I was looking for that 2 lens hiking kit, but if buying a working kit, I still would prefer to match lens lines to the body lines, so I'd get the 8-18 for a G9 or GX9, but the 8-25 for an E-M1.
 

RS86

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I am a little puzzled by the lack of mention of the PL 8-18 f2.8-4 (which I have). Compared to the 8-25, it is smaller, lighter (411g vs 315g), faster (obviously), and somewhat cheaper, I think (without a sale on the 8-25). Yes, the 8-25 has a better far-end focal range, but much of the discussion here is about the ultra-wide aspect of the 2 lenses, and the 8-18 is better at that Focal range (faster; and the size).

If I didn't have the 8-18 I think I would not be tempted much by the 8-25 (over the 8-18) because that's not my primary use for an ultra-wide lens like this. I CAN see the the advantage of say the 12-100 over other general-purpose lenses like the PL12-60 and the O12-45 (if you ignore the size), because it excels at the focal lengths you might likely USE it for.
I wouldn't say some lens is better at a certain focal length unless there are some good comparison charts available. Are there?

I would assume a newer and bigger lens could be sharper etc.
 

RAH

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I wouldn't say some lens is better at a certain focal length unless there are some good comparison charts available. Are there?

I would assume a newer and bigger lens could be sharper etc.
That's why I specifically said "faster; and the size," because I knew if I didn't, someone would challenge my statement. I don't understand why it didn't serve as the qualification I was intending, but such is life. I think that the statement is correct.
 

RS86

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That's why I specifically said "faster; and the size," because I knew if I didn't, someone would challenge my statement. I don't understand why it didn't serve as the qualification I was intending, but such is life. I think that the statement is correct.
Well, the size thing is that bigger & heavier lenses are likely to be sharper, and the Panasonic is smaller & lighter, so I don't understand the logic there.

Of course this lens is has 7mm more on the tele-end so that might be the only reason for the size, although the faster wide-end on Panasonic can even that out. We'll see.

I wanted to make it clear that it's not possible to say which is better yet without reviews. Some beginners might not realize this. Newer lenses are also usually better.
 

ac12

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Well, the size thing is that bigger & heavier lenses are likely to be sharper, and the Panasonic is smaller & lighter, so I don't understand the logic there.

Of course this lens is has 7mm more on the tele-end so that might be the only reason for the size, although the faster wide-end on Panasonic can even that out. We'll see.

I wanted to make it clear that it's not possible to say which is better yet without reviews. Some beginners might not realize this. Newer lenses are also usually better.

Sometime heavier just means more METAL, for marketing, not for functionality.
I read that one of Olympus design factors for the pro lens was the metal body.
Never mind that CF or other lighter material could be used.
Maybe someone in marketing also thought that heavier would give the "illusion" of a better lens.
So is the metal body for functionality or marketing?

Personally, I think the Olympus pro lenses have too much marketing in the design.
The body is smooth/polished metal, which can be SLIPPERY. Why not a textured metal surface, which would not slip in the hand?
The zoom ring is knurled metal, which you might think would be grippy. But it is SLIPPERY when gripped with sweaty hands. Unlike the rubber grip on my Nikon zooms which do NOT slip in my sweaty hands. When I am shooting in the hot sun, my hands are sweating.
When I shoot with the Olympus pro lenses, I keep a towel on my belt to wipe off the sweat from my hands.
 
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Sometime heavier just means more METAL, for marketing, not for functionality.
I read that one of Olympus design factors for the pro lens was the metal body.
Never mind that CF or other lighter material could be used.
Maybe someone in marketing also thought that heavier would give the "illusion" of a better lens.
So is the metal body for functionality or marketing?

Personally, I think the Olympus pro lenses have too much marketing in the design.
The body is smooth/polished metal, which can be SLIPPERY. Why not a textured metal surface, which would not slip in the hand?
The zoom ring is knurled metal, which you might think would be grippy. But it is SLIPPERY when gripped with sweaty hands. Unlike the rubber grip on my Nikon zooms which do NOT slip in my sweaty hands. When I am shooting in the hot sun, my hands are sweating.
When I shoot with the Olympus pro lenses, I keep a towel on my belt to wipe off the sweat from my hands.
Ironic, isn't it? We view tripods as being better if they're made of plastic (CF) and lighter. We view lenses and cameras as being better when made of more metal and heavier (up to a point). Hahaha... :rofl:
 

mawz

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Ironic, isn't it? We view tripods as being better if they're made of plastic (CF) and lighter. We view lenses and cameras as being better when made of more metal and heavier (up to a point). Hahaha... :rofl:

And the irony being that lightweight tripods are a false economy. Tripod stability and the related ability to keep a camera still is directly linked to mass and their resonance behaviour (not rigidity, which is why massive wood tripods are functionally the best, they have tons of inertia and damp vibrations well).

The best tripod setup has as much or more mass than the camera on top. m43 lets us have a lot of camera on a low mass budget, making light tripods more usable than they are with heavier systems.
 

doady

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I got another aluminum tripod last year, MeFoto Roadtrip S. I've never been convinced of paying a premium for "carbon fiber" tripods, especially with such good IS in cameras now. So I would hate to pay a premium for "carbon fiber" bodies and lenses also. My standards are low, I don't have extra money, so I am fine with the cheaper metal stuff.
 

mawz

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I got another aluminum tripod last year, MeFoto Roadtrip S. I've never been convinced of paying a premium for "carbon fiber" tripods, especially with such good IS in cameras now. So I would hate to pay a premium for "carbon fiber" bodies and lenses also. My standards are low, I don't have extra money, so I am fine with the cheaper metal stuff.

Half the time I just carry my Platypod. It's extremely flexible as long as I have something to strap or spike it to. Otherwise my m43 stuff lets me use my old Manfrotto 293 that's lighter than a full-size CF tripod but suitable for m43 sized kit only.

Helps that I do a lot of low-angle shooting, the Platypod is awesome for that and packs very small.
 

davidzvi

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The PL8-18 and 8-25 Pro are pretty close in size, not really that far off the 7-14 Pro either. Yes they are pretty different in weight and the aperture difference would make a difference to many.

For me? I'll probably be selling off my PL8-18 and maybe the PL15 to fund it. I don't really use the PL15 often instead reaching for my P14 or P20 instead.
 
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The PL8-18 and 8-25 Pro are pretty close in size, not really that far off the 7-14 Pro either. Yes they are pretty different in weight and the aperture difference would make a difference to many.

For me? I'll probably be selling off my PL8-18 and maybe the PL15 to fund it. I don't really use the PL15 often instead reaching for my P14 or P20 instead.
I have thought about this trade but that f2.8 at the 8 comes in handy for astro. I may just go for the 10-25mm in the end more versatile for my needs. Bigger and heavier but replaces more lenses in my bag than either of these do.
 
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