OM Digital Solutions introduced the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO today and some of you may ask yourself whether this lens is necessary. After all OM Digital Solutions is already offering two standard lenses, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO and the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8. Whether the new lens is an option for you is up to you. Therefore I made some OM System standard lens comparison images to show the different field of view and bokeh of the three lenses.
Field of view differences of the OM System standard lens
The first image shows the field of view of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO.
The following two images are showing the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO and the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8. For the comparison, I kept the distance equal and only changed the lenses. Therefore you can see the different field of view the lenses are offering.
Besides the obvious difference to the 20mm F1.4, it is interesting that the field of view of the two 25mm lenses is different too. Although the datasheet shows the same focal length and field of view.
For the next comparison, I tried to keep the size of the fungi the same. This enables us to compare the Bokeh effect of those lenses. Same order as before.
This image shows how nicely the 20mm F1.4 separates the fungi from the background.
Compared to the 20mm F1.2 the background of the 20mm F1.4 is a bit sharper. Compared to the 25mm F1.8 a bit unsharper. For a better comparison find a crop of the images below.
Not only the field of view, size, weight and price of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO is in between the two 25mm lenses, but also the Bokeh effect. Which of the three OM System standard lenses fits best to your needs is up to you.
On 27th October 2021 OM Digital Solutions introduced the new OM system brand. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO introduced is the first product, which carries the brand. Future products from OM Digital Solutions will be published under OM System and Olympus will gradually disappear. Some won’t like it, but for me, the brand is irrelevant as long as the quality is fine.
Haptics and Design of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO introduced
As the lens carries “PRO” in its name, it looks like the other “PRO” lenses from OM Digital Solutions. Like the 12-45mm lens development focused on the smallest possible size. Therefore it doesn’t have a focus clutch nor an L-Fn button. It feels premium and the focus ring makes a solid and reliable impression. Exactly as you would expect it from a “PRO” lens. In opposite to the F1.2, the lens hood doesn’t have a lock button. The lens hood snaps solidly in and it doesn’t look like that you will lose it. As always by OM Digital Solutions the lens is perfectly dustproof and splashproof. You can securely use it at a temperature below 0°C. Also here it follows the “PRO” standard. It is after the 150-400mmF4.5 and 8-25mm F4 the third lens with a fluorine coating, which avoids that liquids can stick on the surface.
Focal length and field of view
With 20mm the lens has a field of view of 57°. This correlates with the so-called standard lens, which simulates the human field of view, which is between 50° and 60°, very good. Strictly speaking, it is closer to a standard lens as the 25mm, which has a field of view of 47°. Anyway is the focal length not common as most photographers prefer a 25mm or 17mm lens. As OM Digital Solutions have already an F1.2 and F1.8 lenses with those focal lengths it is logical to introduce such a focal length. It fits exactly between them.
Quality and Speed of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO introduced
As you can expect from a PRO lens the sharpness is excellent in the centre as well as in the corners. Distortions in the corners are neither in JPEG nor in RAW files visible and well-controlled. I was not able to fine chromatic aberration. Lens fault correction is one but image characteristic the other side. With a maximum aperture of F1.4 is the 20mm only slightly slower than the F1.2 lenses. You can perfectly separate your object from the background. The 20mm lens supports the so-called “Feathered Boked”, which offers a smooth transition between sharp and unsharp areas. Due to this, you will get a nice harmonic unsharp background, even though you have overlapping objects with hard edges.
For focusing, OM Digital Solution is moving only one lens element, which offers especially when you are using contrast AF only a lot of advantages. Less weight has to be moved and therefore changes in direction are possible faster. This you recognise in the praxis as well, focus is fast and reliable.
Even though that the 20mm lens is a not common focal length, you find in history a lot of lenses with a field of view of 57°. For example, the Olympus OM 40mm F2, which has been produced in the eighties only in a few numbers. Also, other manufacturers do have such a focal length in their portfolio. This focal length is very versatile and is not only useful for street and portrait images but also usable for landscape, reportage and documentation. Due to its fast aperture and the short closest focus distance you are able to separate your object perfectly from the background. The Feathered Bokeh make the unsharp background very harmonic. Sharpness and aberration correction is fantastic. The lens rightly bears “PRO” in its name. Who doesn’t need an even faster lens with even more image quality and prefers therefore one of the F1.2 lenses, get a very affordable lens with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO. Though it is not as fast as the F1.2 lenses, it is lighter and more compact.
Photographers like landscape photography. It has only a few entrance requirements. In Addition as nature is not moving fast, you have enough time to shoot. Therefore you don’t have to know your camera in detail. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO is the third wide-angle zoom from OM Digital Solutions in the Micro Four Thirds standard. Even though that Panasonic has also three wide-angle zooms in their portfolio, the new lens is worth thinking about it. Especially in landscape photography, an open aperture of F4 is not a disadvantage.
Inner Values of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 Pro lens
The biggest advantage of the lens is the huge zoom range. With 8mm is covers the ultra-wide-angle area and it reaches 25mm the normal area. Therefore it is not only usable in landscape photography, but also for street and portrait photography. In opposite to the 7-14mm lens from Olympus, the front lens is plane. Therefore normal filters without a special adapter are useable. The filter diameter is 72mm the same as the one from the 12-100mm, 40-150mm and 100-400mm lens. In case you already own a filter in this size you can reuse it for the 8-25mm as well. In case the filter thickness is less than 4mm you won’t have any vignetting.
The lens has a retracting mechanism to be as small as possible in case you would like to transport it. In opposite to the 9-18mm lens the 8-25mm lens doesn’t have a button to unlock the retracting mechanism. A very defined resistance, which has to be overcome to make it small. This reduces the complexity of construction and makes it easier to make the lens weather resistant. The disadvantage of this mechanism is that the length of the lens is also changing when you zoom.
Although the 8-25mm lens covers a much bigger zoom area than the 7-14mm it is even smaller and lighter. As all Pro lenses of OM Digital Solutions, the 8-25mm is weather-resistant and freezeproof down to -10°C.
Besides the focus ring, which could be used to switch from autofocus to manual focus by pulling it back, the lens has also a programable function button.
As all Pro lenses from OM Digital Solution delivers the 8-25mm lens already at open aperture outstanding image quality. Also in the image corners, which are losing only a bit in sharpness. From aperture 11 onwards the lens is getting softer. This is caused by diffraction. In case you would like to have the highest resolution possible I recommend not using smaller apertures than 11. In case you would like to have a bigger depth of field, focus stacking and focus bracketing is supported with the E-M1X, E-M1 Mark III, E-M1 Mark II and E-M5 Mark III.
Resolution and sharpness are on the same level as the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO and also don’t have to be worried about any other lenses.
Distortion is from 25-12mm no issue at all. In case you are using a shorter focal length barrel distortion becomes visible in RAW converters which don’t use the attached lens profile. In case you are using the profile this distortion is perfectly corrected.
The third ultra-wide-angle zoom from OM Digital Solutions is unique. It covers not only the ultra-wide-angle area but with 25mm it is covering the normal focal length as well. Therefore it is very universal and the image quality is in all areas superb. In the wide end, it has one millimetre less than the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO and in case you don’t shoot nightscapes you will not miss the 1 f-stop. Though is the M.Zuiko Digital 8-25mm F4.0 PRO smaller and lighter than the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 and it is its biggest internal competitor. In case you are shooting landscapes or architecture, I personally would prefer the 8-25mm over the 7-14mm. Also for photographers, who are travelling much and would like to reduce weight and size as much as possible the 8-25mm lens is the better choice. Although it is not essentially smaller and lighter than the 7-14mm lens, it allows leaving one lens behind due to the huge zoom range.
You get the best Balance in case you are using cameras from the E-M1 series or E-M5 series. Smaller cameras like the E-M10 series doesn’t fit so well, here the 9-18mm lens fits better.
In summer Olympus introduced the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS and I had the opportunity to use it. After I made the first images, I have been very impressed by the image quality. Even though it is “only” a standard lens and not out of the Pro category image quality is on a very high level. Autofocus speed and accuracy is superb. Technical Details you can find on many websites, therefore I would like to skip them here. I intend to share the experiences I made with the lens.
With a starting F value of 5-6.3, the lens is not the fastest. In case of bad light, you have to increase sensitivity in the camera. Together with the E-M1 Mark III results are satisfying up to ISO 6400. In case you don’t have to shoot fast-moving objects in bad light conditions the lens is more than usable. Compared to faster lenses, which are more expensive and heavier, you will have only disadvantages in case of bad light conditions.
Focal length range
With a focal length range of 100-400mm, it is ideal for wildlife photography and especially bird photography. The angle of view is equivalent to a 200-800mm lens for the 35mm format. Also, the MC-14 and MC-20 teleconverter are compatible. In case you combine it with the MC-20 the equivalent field of view is up to 1600mm. That supports you in shooting images from long distances, which is especially helpful when you are shooting shy animals. Sharpness and resolution in conjunction with the MC-20 and MC-14 are very high. The only disadvantage is that you lose 1 (in case of MC-14) or 2 (in case of MC-20) f-stops light sensitivity. Therefore even more light is needed or you have to increase sensitivity in-camera even more than without converters.
Macro capabilities of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS
Besides the outstanding tele lens performance, the lens has also a very short minimum focus distance. Due to that function, the lens can be used also for macro photography. As the shallow depth of field depends also on focus distance this enables you also to separate your objects from the background with nice bokeh. Here some images I made with a short focusing distance.
Image stabilisation of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS
The lens has. a built-in image stabilization, but it doesn’t support Sync-IS. Therefore the stabilization effect is not that big. However, In case you are using the lens in conjunction with an Olympus camera you get a better image quality when you are using lens and camera stabilization. Then the lens compensates for yaw and pitch movements and the camera is taking care of rotation.
In case you are looking for a long focal length for a fair price the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS is a perfect fit. The additional macro capabilities and compatibility with the teleconverters the lens offers additional benefit and makes the lens very universal. The only drop of bitterness is the speed of the lens, which makes it difficult to use the lens in bad light conditions. On the other hand, a fast lens is much more expensive.
With the M.Zuiko 150-400mm F4.5 Olympus released a unique lens, which is not available from other manufacturers. Its focal length area covers the equivalent field of view of a 35mm lens with 300-800mm. It weights only a bit more than 1800g. Therefore the lens is very mobile and you can shoot handheld without a tripod. With 35mm lenses is this for sure not possible, as those are much bigger and heavier. As you don’t need a tripod you save also the weight of this in case you are on location. In addition, the lens has the best image stabilization on the market. The stabilization works in conjunction with the image stabilization of the camera. This ensures that you can shoot also with a long focal length with our blurring the image.
I’m lucky and had already the opportunity to test the lens and would like to share my experience with you. My very first impression at the moment I touched the lens the first time was, wow that lens is light. Sure it is heavier than lenses with shorter focal length. It is the biggest lens in the Micro Four Thirds family. In case you take it into your hands the first time, you will be surprised how light the lens is. To achieve this Olympus decided to use Aluminum Alloy only on the parts, which are responsible for stability. All other areas are made out of carbon reinforces polycarbonate. Anyhow the lens feels very solid. In addition, the lens hood is also made out of carbon. It ensures a very good balance between lens and camera body, also when the lens hood is used.
Handling of the M.Zuiko 150-400mm F4.5 lens
As already written above is the balance between lens and camera body excellent. Regarding the handling, there is a lot more. The lens offers a bunch of switches to adjust the focusing area, image stabilization, focus method, and the behaviour of the L-Fn buttons. Those switches are very good to reach and you find them also when you are looking through the viewfinder. The switch to activate the built-in 1.25x teleconverter is placed in the perfect location and can be easily reached in portrait as well as landscape shooting. Focusing and zooming are easy and very precise and without big efforts usable. Very useful are the L-Fn buttons which can be used to focus to a predefined distance or you can activate a predefined function. The predefined focusing distance can be set with a small button close to the switch for the built-in teleconverter. This is a very helpful function, in case you would like to come back to a certain focusing distance when disturbing objects are between you and the subject you would like to focus on. An example would be in case you would like to shot animals behind tries and the branches are in the way. In opposite to 35mm lenses Micro Four Third lenses do have a very short closest focusing distance. In the case of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO it is 1.3m, also when you are using the built-in or external teleconverter. This makes the lens also a mark lens, which is very useful to shoot butterflies or dragonflies. The long focal length enables you not only to keep the needed distance to shy animals but also gives you a nice unsharp background.
As you expect from such kind of lens the lens is in each area top. Sharpness full-fills all professional needs. Even when the built-in teleconverter is used there are no complaints, which also is the case when using MC-14 or MC-20. In case you are using the MC-20 the lens reaches an unbelievable focal length of 1000mm, which is equivalent to 2000mm in 35mm cameras. As the image stabilization is so good also in this configuration shooting handheld is not an issue at all. The tripod you can leave at home. This makes not only your travel luggage lighter but you could also shoot more agile as you can react to changes much faster. Autofocus is working in all configuration fast and precise, which is also very helpful when you are shooting fast-moving objects. Issues like distortion, vignetting, or chromatic aberration are not present.
Comparison with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS
I know this comparison is unfair as the 100-400mm is far less expensive than the 150-400mm lens. The 150-400mm lens is bigger, but delivers also much more speed and is in all-optical areas at least one class better. Also, usage is more flexible as it has a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, which can be switch on / off without releasing the lens. Therefore you can react much faster in case you need a bit more focal length, which is a real benefit especially when you are shooting wildlife or sports. Besides, the AF speed is much faster and more precise. Don’t misunderstand me, the 100-400mm lens is, having the price in mind, a brilliant lens, but the 150-400mm in comparison is much better.
Enough written. It is better to show you images taken with this lens. In case you have questions write a comment I’m more than happy to answer.