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Support me when shopping at Amazon by clicking through to them here! The prices are the same, but they share some profit, and that's what pays for my work! Thanks, Gordon
Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm 1:2.8 'pancake' Gordon Laing, June 2008
 

Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm coverage

With the two-times field reduction of the Four Thirds standard, the Zuiko Digital 25mm delivers an equivalent coverage of 50mm. In photographic terms this makes it a ‘standard’ lens that’s suitable for general-purpose use.

If you’re used to zooms and are thinking of using the pancake as your main walk-around lens, there’s understandably some concern of reduced flexibility, but in practice the 50mm equivalent coverage is more usable than you’d think.

So with the 25mm pancake, you can still squeeze in a reasonable landscape shot, while also being able to take a decent portrait with a small depth of field. Indeed as our Gallery sample images page proves, we were able to capture almost exactly the same compositions as a normal 14-42mm zoom by simply adjusting our angle and position. This in turn allows you to explore the shot for better results rather than simply standing still and adjusting the focal length as is often the case with a zoom.

That said, if your position is fixed, a kit zoom will get wider and closer than the 25mm pancake, so to illustrate this in practice, here’s three photos: the first taken with the original 14-45mm kit zoom at 14mm, the second with the 25mm pancake and the third with the 14-45mm zoom, this time at its longest 45mm focal length.


Olympus ZD 14-45mm coverage wide
Olympus ZD 25mm coverage
Olympus ZD 14-45mm coverage tele
   
14-45mm at 14mm, f8 (28mm equivalent)   25mm at f8 (50mm equivalent)   14-45mm at 45mm, f8 (90mm equivalent)


As you can see, the 25mm pancake roughly falls in the middle of the 14-45mm kit zoom range, and while the zoom obviously has a greater focal range at its disposal, be sure to check out our sample images Gallery page to see what’s possible with the 25mm. You may find it’s not only capable of delivering most of the shots you’re after day-to-day, but again makes you think more about your position and angles in terms of the composition.

The bottom line is the 25mm pancake is perfectly usable as a general-purpose lens, and while you may not have the adjustable focal length of a zoom, you will enjoy a brighter aperture than most zooms and better quality too – not to mention the smaller size and weight. None of this will come as any surprise to those who used 35mm film SLRs before zooms became dominant, as almost everyone relied on a 50mm lens for general purpose photography.


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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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