If compact proportions are of paramount importance then the ‘pancake’ Zuiko 25mm f2.8 would be the easy winner in any comparison...
If compact proportions are of paramount importance then the ‘pancake’ Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 would be the easy winner in any comparison. Standing so little proud of the camera body that it hardly protrudes from beneath the pentaprism, the Olympus lens is little short of a miniature marvel.
Despite its tiny size the lens manages to incorporate a manual focusing ring, but there is no depth-of-field scale and the lens cap is a screw-in type that is fiddly to remove and fit back on at speed. The lens scores highly in terms of peak resolution, which is achieved at f/4 and is in excess of 0.4 cycles/pixel near the centre of the field. There is some drop in performance across the image field at wide apertures but at f/8 the lens is more-or-less equally good in the centre and at the edges – a very useful achievement to reach at such a popular aperture setting. Further stopping-down reduces the resolution in the usually-observed manner owing to diffraction, which tends to be acute in short-focal-length lenses.
The only disappointment during testing was the E-3 body’s high noise, which was more obtrusive than that of many other DSLRs. This, however, is no reflection on the lens itself, which offers excellent image quality. Real-world testing confirmed the Zuiko’s performance and its relatively modest f/2.8 maximum aperture was no hindrance even when shooting inside a dimly-lit musical instruments shop.
Once again, Olympus has proved why going back to the drawing board to redesign its lenses purely for digital bodies was the right choice.
See sample image gallery
Lens Hood LH-43
5/4, 1 aspherical element
64 x 23.5mm