OM System standard lens comparison

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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. 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. I made some comparison images to show the different field of view and bokeh of the three lenses.

Field of view differences

The first image shows the field of view of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO.

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 lenses. Therefore you can see the different field of view the lenses are offering.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8

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.

Comparison Bokeh

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.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO

This image shows how nice the 20mm F1.4 separates the fungi from the background.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8

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.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8

Not only 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 lenses fit best to your needs is up to you.

Here you find details about the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 lens

M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO introduced

On 27th October 2021 OM Digital Solutions introduced the new OM system brand. The M.Zuiko Digital 20mm F1.4 PRO 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.

Image of the Völkerschlachtdenkmals in Leipzig
Völkerschlacht monument Leipzig

Haptics and Design

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.

Sunrise in Seevetal
Sunrise Seevetal

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

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.

Image of the Dom in Magdeburg
Magdeburger Dom


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.

20mm F1.4 PRO lens in the forest

In case you would like to see a depth of field comparison with the other normal lenses of O Digitalsolution read “OM System standard lens comparison”.

My experience with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO

Photographers like landscape photography. It has only a few entrance requirements and, as nature is not moving fast, you have enough time to shoot and 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 Digitalsolutions 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.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4 PRO top view

Inner Values

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 and 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 is equipped with 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, but 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.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4 @8mm
M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 @7mm

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.

Image quality

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 in case the newest firmware is installed.

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.

Great usages report from Peter BaumgartOlympus Amerika Webite

Four influencing image quality factors of digital cameras


In marketing, it is popular to have short and easy messages. Those short messages allow reaching a big target group, as nobody has to study the topic in depth. In the case of photography is this message “the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

At the time the first 35mm sensors, with the size of 36x24mm2, arrived in the market the manufactures called this format full-frame sensor. This name suggests to the end-user that this is the biggest available sensor and a clear statement, that the user buys the best available quality. In this communication, it is not mentioned that the sensor is only one of in total of four components, which are relevant for image quality

Beside the sensor three additional components are essentially important for the image quality. Lens, image stabilisation and image processor. How those components influence the image quality I will show with simple examples. I hope my thoughts demonstrate, that in photography sensor size is not the only value which the user should monitor to make the correct decision, if they plan to buy a camera.

The lens

Factors influenced by lens

  • Sharpness
  • Resolution
  • Contrast

The lens is the first element of the image quality chain and therefore the most important. In case your lens is not able to deliver details to the sensor, it is impossible that the result can show the details in the result. Due to the sensor specification, the lens requirements in digital photography are much higher than in analog times. Light rays, for example, should reach the sensor straight. Otherwise light rays which should reach i.e. the red pixel could reach the blue or green pixel. This would cause issues in colour processing, which should be avoided.
In analog time i.e. a 50mm F1.2 lens had 7 lens elements (Minolta Rokkor), today a modern 50mm F1.4 lens (Sony Planar T*FE 50mm F1.4 ZA) has 12 lens elements nearly twice as many. This value shows how big the development in lens technology has been since digital times started. As the lens is the most important element for image quality that some of the photographers invest most of their money in an expensive camera and not in the lens. In case the budget makes this decision necessary personally I would make it vice versa. In the end, you would keep the lens much longer as the camera.

The sensor

Factors influenced by the sensor

  • Sharpness
  • Image noise
  • dynamic range
  • resolution

After the lens, the sensor is the second element in the image quality chain. It has an influence on noise performance, dynamic range, and resolution, which means it influences the sharpness of an image. The sensor size influences the image noise and dynamic range only indirectly, but more in detail now.

Image noise / Dynamic range

If you want to look at the influence of the sensor size on the image noise you first have to make sure that technology improvements do not affect the result. Fortunately, I had a Sony Alpha 6000 and a Sony A7II available. Both cameras were introduced in 2014, so it can be assumed that the sensor manufacturing technology is the same. Also, both cameras have an identical number of pixels with 6000×4000 pixels. To find out how the results differ, I took a picture with both cameras, with the same lens and the same settings. The result looks like this.

Alpha 6000, ISO 25600
A7 II, ISO 25600

Even in the preview, you can see that the A7 II has a larger dynamic range than the Alpha 6000. This is especially noticeable in the mouth. If you look at an enlarged section, it quickly becomes clear that the A7 II is less noisy.

Alpha 6000, ISO 25600
A7 II, ISO 25600

It seems that the connection between sensor size and lower noise is confirmed and therefore most of the testers stop at this point with the comparison. But is really the truth? As the A7II as a function with which you can switch the area from 35mm format to APS-C format. In case the sensor size would have an effect this should be visible in images taken in this way. Let’s take a look at the comparison pictures.

A7 II APS-C setting, ISO 25600
A7 II 35mm format, ISO 25600

As you can see the dynamic range is identical in both images, but what is the image noise.

A7 II APS-C setting, ISO 25600
A7 II 35mm format, ISO 25600

Also, the noise is identical. Sensor size could not be the reason, that the noise performance of the Alpha 6000 higher is than the one of the A7 II.
The reason is the pixel size itself. As the Sony Alpha 6000 has the same pixel count on a smaller sensor area, the pixel itself is smaller, or in other words: the pixel density is higher. It isn’t as easy as it looks. The sensor size is no parameter for more or less noise performance, this has to be seen in conjunction with the pixel count.
The pixel size of an APS-C camera with 24 million pixels is equal to the pixel size of a 35mm format camera with 54 million pixels. Would I compare those cameras the noise performance would be identical.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS

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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 and in case of bad light, you have to increase sensitivity in the camera. I used the E-M1 Mark III together with the lens and used sensitivities up to 6400 ISO and satisfied with all my results. 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 when you are using the converters, therefore even more light is needed or you have to increase sensitivity in-camera even more than without converters.

Macro capabilities

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

The lens has. a built-in image stabilization, but in opposite to the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4 IS PRO it doesn’t support Sync-IS, which enables the system to use lens and camera stabilization together. Therefore the stabilization effect is not as 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, which is caused mainly when you are pressing the shutter release.


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.