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  DSLR Tips

Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm 1:2.8 'pancake' Gordon Laing, June 2008

Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm pancake gallery

The following images were taken with the Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm pancake lens fitted onto an Olympus E-420 body. The E-420 was set to Large Fine JPEG quality, Auto White Balance, ESP metering and the Natural Picture Mode with Normal Graduation; Noise Reduction and the Noise Filter were set to their ON and STD settings respectively.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Landscape: 5.16MB, Program, 1/500, f7, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  This first shot was taken under bright Sunlight with the 25mm pancake on the E-420 - the body was set to 100 ISO.

If you're familiar with the Camera Labs Gallery pages, you'll notice this shot hasn't quite managed to squeeze in the entire sail. This is due to the longer focal length of the lens and the inability to step back any further without getting wet!

This is however the only composition here which we couldn't capture as desired, and as the crops prove, the lens can be very sharp.

Landscape: 3.83MB, Program, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  This second shot was again taken with the E-420 at its lowest sensitivity under bright conditions.

In other Galleries we'd normally shoot this at a 28mm equivalent, so here had to stand back further and crouch down to achieve the desired framing.

But it was possible and proves adjusting your position rather than the zoom can often achieve the desired result - indeed by exploring the composition you can end up with something more creative.

Landscape: 4.55MB, Program, 1/500, f8, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

    Our next shot was taken with the E-420 increased to 200 ISO and the focusing set to continuous.

In our other Galleries, we'd normally zoom-in on the approaching boat, but this time, the shorter focal length of the 25mm meant we simply waited for the boat to get a little closer.

There's plenty of sharp detail captured here, and despite the high contrast of the white boat in direct sunlight, little coloured fringing to comment on here.

Portrait: 4.32MB, Aperture Priority, 1/1250, f2.8, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

    The 25mm can feel wider than you'd first think, but you can still use it for effective portraits. You'll just have to get quite close to your subject and take care over framing to avoid distortion. Portraits taken in the vertical orientation can work well with this lens.

Here we opened the aperture to its maximum f2.8 and it's effectively blurred the background. Indeed when focused on the subject's eye, the left shoulder was already showing some blurring.

Portrait: 4.40MB, Program, 1/180, f9, ISO 200, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  For this second portrait shot we stood back a little further, set the E-420 to Program mode with face detection, and manually popped-up the flash as a fill-in.

The camera's done a good job of balancing natural and flash lighting, and the face detection locked-onto the subject with no problems.

There's quite a large depth of field here as a result of the slower flash sync speed, but as shown above, a larger aperture can effectively blur the background if required.

Macro: 4.26MB, Program, 1/200, f5, ISO 400, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  For this macro shot we positioned the E-420 as close as the 25mm pancake lens could focus. The sensitivity was also increased here to 400 ISO.

As you'll see in our results pages, the 25mm can't deliver as large a reproduction of small subjects as a typical kit lens, but this example shows you can still use it for basic close-up work.

And the good news is the crops show the lens remains sharp when focused close.


Indoor: 4.57MB, Program, 1/30, f2.8, ISO 800, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  Finally, here's an indoor shot, taken with the E-420 at 800 ISO. Normally even at 800 ISO, the dim interior here results in slow shutter speeds which really need stabilisation to avoid camera-shake.

Sadly neither the E-420 nor the 25mm lens have anti-shake, but the relatively bright f2.8 aperture has gathered sufficient light to allow a faster shutter speed of 1/30. This in turn has eliminated any camera shake.

This brighter focal ratio is a key advantage of a fixed focal length lens like the 25mm pancake over a typical kit zoom.


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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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