A sharpness comparison between the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro and the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro. The Olympus 25mm F/1.2 is the first lens of Olympus new series of F/1.2 primes. Design and features are similar to other Olympus Pro lenses. There is a good chance, that someone who is interested in the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro already owns the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro. Therefore, I am going to compare the two lenses in this article. Usually prime lenses are sharper than zooms, however, the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 is already a very sharp lens. Will the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro be able to surpass it or is it “just” 2,5 stops faster?
Method of the test
All images below are 100% crops of 40MP JPGs shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M5IIs High-Res Mode. The High-Res Mode is even more demanding on lenses than normal images. This mode uses the electronic shutter, the camera was on a tripod, I used an 8-second release delay and artificial lightning. Therefore, shutter shock, changing lighting conditions and so on should not have influenced the result.
Image Center – Olympus 25mm F/1.2 vs. Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8
The Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro is already sharp at F/1.2. However, it is not as sharp as the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro at F/2.8. But, if the Olympus 25mm F/1.2 Pro is also set to F/2.8 it is sharper than the Olympus 12-40mm Pro. Stepped down to F/5.6 there is not much of a difference, both lenses are very sharp. It seems that diffraction is already the limiting factor here.
At F/1.2 the image border of the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro is softer than the image center. But, if you keep in mind that this is F/1.2 it is still a very good result! Of course, the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro at F/2.8 is sharper. However, stepped down to F/2.8 the Olympus 25mm F/1.2 Pro is equally sharp. At the image border both lenses benefit from stepping down to F/5.6. It is hard to tell which one is sharper, maybe the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro is a little bit better.
Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro vs. Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro – Conclusion
The Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro is already a very sharp lens. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Olympus 25mm F/1.2 is just a tiny bit sharper. In real life, it will be hard to tell the difference. The real achievement of the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F/1.2 Pro is to provide a good and fully usable result at F/1.2.