View Full Version : Digital Lenses 25 mm Pancake

01-01-2009, 04:14 PM
OK, since no one else has offered a review on the pancake, I'll give it a shot. I hope others will offer their opinions and thoughts on this lens. I'm not really a lens reviewer, but I figured I'd offer my $.02. No award winning pictures here, but hopefully it's enough to get an idea of what the lens is capable of.

Price paid: $230. You can get it for less, but I like to support the local guys. I like being able to talk to a euman bean and they met me halfway on the B&H price.

I just got it last evening. I took it out today to Ellicott city around noon and shot a bunch of pictures. I'm uploading them to:


I got about half of them uploaded and ran out of space. I need to weed out again and repost.

I will say that I had a cheap promaster UV filter on the lens for all but a couple of the pictures. That said, the only flare I got was when shooting right into the sun. I set the WB to sun for shooting, but in PP found that the cloudy setting warmed everything up and worked much better for all but a few shots. Even with backlit full sun. (I don't know if the UV filter has anything to do with this). The only PP I did was WB and exposure. No cropping. I will also say that my main objective was to get pictures to show the performance of the lens so composition suffered. Also, I made the files small so I could fit as many as possible in my limited web space. If I've reduced the resolution too much, please let me know.

Also note that I used the on-board flash for the ice shots (which may not be posted yet).

I bought this lens mainly for it's compactness. I occasionally travel on business and I wanted a compact package that I could easily carry and not be burdened with the big kit. The better aperture (I wish it was a 1.4) also helps when using the on-board flash. I still need to find a compact case to carry the 520 with the 25 mounted, an extra battery or two and a spare card (suggestions welcome). I must say it was very comfortable hanging this combo around my neck as opposed to any of the zooms.

The lens is incredibly thin. But, of course I had to put a filter and a pinch lens cap on it. Those added half the thickness of the lens. But I'm still happy with the compactness of the package. I think it would have been nice if Olympus had included a lens case (like they did for the EX-25). No biggie; I just need to find a nook in the Sling Shot for it.

I had a great time shooting with this lens. I headed out with my full kit (less the 40-150), but I didn't take the pancake off all day. It was like being back in my first years of photography (Canon FTb w/50 mm 1.8). I had to move in, or back up to compose the shots. But, for the most part, it worked. Occasionally I found myself out in the street or hanging over a railing or pinning myself back up to a building.

As far as close focus, I'd say about 7 inches; maybe a little less. I would also say that the focus is noticeably quieter than the kit lenses and the 70-300.

Happy shooting,

01-01-2009, 06:20 PM
I have the lens on my L1. I prefer not to use a filter on my lenses so do not have a filter adding thickness, but I do have a pinch cap on the way. The lens comes with a screw on cap which is a PITA!

Wide open I find things a little soft, but at f/5.0 it is quite sharp. Whilst a semblance of Bokeh is available wide open it isn't the most attractive Bokeh.

My plan calls for this to be my main everyday lens on the L1, and it will probably live at f/5.0 or close to it 90% of the time.

I have updated the firmware to work better with the L1.

Now Olympus, where is a 50mm pancake and a 14mm pancake?

DOF at f/2.8

01-01-2009, 06:22 PM
Here's a shot at f/5.6


01-02-2009, 03:26 PM
I only got this lens myself just before Christmas, and I'm very happy with it.

I took it out today to Ellicott city around noon and shot a bunch of pictures.

A nice series on small-town America!

The lens comes with a screw on cap which is a PITA!

Yes, really.

01-05-2009, 05:15 PM
"A nice series on small-town America!"

Thanks PdO.

01-06-2009, 01:50 AM
I am very impressed with the IQ on what is supposedly a consumer lens. It makes me wonder what Oly would have done with a 25mm F/1.4 lens. :)

02-12-2009, 12:37 PM
This lens is actually pretty good! Oly could make an F2 or even an F1.4 version with a 52mm filter size.

As it is, the ZD F2.8 should have good flat field characteristics to make a decent moderate close up lens---as opposed to more extreme close ups---as some of the photos above attest. The deeper front lens curves of an F1.4 standard lessens flat field properties and makes them less effective as close up optics. I recall the old Zuiko 50mm F1.8 standard was a good moderate close up lens, better than the F1.4 and F1.2 in this regard.

No knocking the spectacular Leica 25mm F1.4 super lens whatsoever, but I would prefer the ZD as a better all around optic for my purposes. I do wish Oly had made this lens a Pro lens for more robustness though.

02-12-2009, 01:21 PM
Since receiving the Olympus 25mm f/2.8 lens around May 9, 2008, I've made well over 2500 photos with it. It is one of my most used lenses on both the Panasonic L1 and G1 bodies. I've found it to be an excellent performer in almost all ways. I use it fitted with a screw-in, metal B+W "normal" lens hood, fitted with 43->49mm step up ring, just about 100% of the time.


This makes it perhaps a little more bulky but adds substantially to the lens' resistance to flare, which is good even without the hood.

I also have the Panasonic/Leica Summilux-D 25/1.4 ASPH. It is certainly an even better lens in almost all ways, but it is far bulkier and heavier to carry. Most of the time, I'm willing to give up a little of that performance for the Olympus' light and compact nature.


03-10-2009, 07:10 AM
It is a great lens! Worth every penny! Here is an example of what you can get with it :


03-10-2009, 08:27 AM
i like this lens. it looks great and the price is right in my range. does any one have pictures of portraits taken with it?

03-12-2009, 06:01 PM
6tsix, I just put a photo in the Pictures section. Not specially good, but it shows what the lens can do.

I bought the lens hoping to use it as a "fast" (with raised ISO) normal for pictures in available light. It turned out to have been the right decision. The lens is so small and light that one almost doesn't realise it's there, even with a hood.