My review of the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 25mm 1:1.2 PRO, the first lens in Olympus new F/1.2 Pro lineup. I tested the Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 regarding sharpness, flares, bokeh, and CAs.
Design, Build Quality and Features
Regarding design, build quality and features the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 25mm 1:1.2 PRO is similar to the other Olympus Pro lenses. The build quality is very good as the lens barrel is made of metal. The lens hood is made of plastic but is high quality regardless.
The lens is weather resistant (against dust, rain, and frost). It also features a L-FN button and Olympus manual focus clutch, which provides real manual focus with a depth of field scale and hard stops. The latter is extremely useful for shooting video and close-up images.
However, the Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 does not feature image stabilization or an aperture ring (like some Panasonic lenses).
With a size of 2.76 x 3.43″ (70 x 87 mm) and a weight of 14.46 oz (410 g) it is pretty big and heavy for a Micro Four Thirds Prime. It is a bit longer but slightly thinner than the Panasonic Leica 42.5mm 1:1.2. However, the Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 is significantly bigger and heavier than the Sony FE 55mm F/1.8.
DOF and Bokeh of the Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm 1:1.2 PRO
The difference between F/1.2 and F/1.8 (the maximum aperture of most Olympus primes) is clearly visible.
The transition between sharp and blurred parts of the image are smooth and pleasant. The rating of bokeh quality is something very subjective, but in my opinion, it is safe to say, that the bokeh of the Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm 1:1.2 PRO is very pleasing.
Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 Pro and CAs
Neither the jpg nor the raw-files of the Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm 1:1.2 PRO show any lateral aberrations. If this is aided by the camera software, the correction is also applied to the raw files.
Longitudinal aberrations, which appear at the transition between sharp and blurred parts of the image, are also well controlled. All fast lenses suffer from this problem to a degree, but the Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 only exhibits them slightly even in extreme situations. This is a major improvement compared to the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm 1:1.8.
Sharpness of the Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm 1:1.2 PRO
The Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm 1:1.2 PRO is a very sharp lens. The center sharpness is already very good at F/1.2 and stepped down it is an extremely sharp lens. Here is a 100% crop from an out-of-camera jpg:
The image borders are a little soft at F/1.2, but considering we are talking about F/1.2 they are very good. They are certainly useable in all situations. Stepped down the image borders are also very sharp.
Olympus 25mm F/1.2 in low light
As it is already sharp at F/1.2 is well suited for low light photography. The biggest challenge is managing the thin depth of field at F/1.2.
Close focus distance of the Olympus 25mm Pro
With a close focus distance of 11.81″ (30 cm) from the sensor and a maximum magnification of 0.11x, the Olympus 25mm Pro certainly isn’t a macro lens. However, casual close-up shots are possible and at F/1.2 the sharp area is very thin.
Flares of the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 25mm 1:1.2 PRO
If there is one area one might criticize the Olympus M.ZUIKO 25mm 1:1.2 PRO it is its behavior against bright light. If the sun is in the frame flares are very likely. Here is an extreme example:
At F/1.2 there is a loss of contrast a slight green and purple coloring. At F/2 the flares get a little more defined. At F/5.6 the contrast improves, but the flares are clearly visible.
In artificial light it is harder, but also possible to catch flares.
The resistance of the Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 PRO is by no means bad. For example, the Mitakon 25mm F/0.95 produces a completely different level of flares. (Here is my review of the Mitakon.)
My conclusion about the Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 Pro
There is no doubt, that the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 25mm 1:1.2 PRO is the best 25mm lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Maybe it is even the best Micro Four Thirds lens overall. This certainly justifies the high price tag of 1200$ / 1100£. In my opinion, the weight and size of the lens is a bigger problem, as the whole idea of Micro Four Thirds is compact and lightweight equipment. However, everyone has to decide for himself/herself if this is a problem. The Olympus 25mm 1:1.2 Pro is certainly an amazing lens. And for those who are not willing or able spend this amount of money, there is the Panasonic 25mm F/1.7, which is unbeatable value for money. (My review of the Panasonic 25mm F/1.7)