Micro 4/3 Comparison PL25 & P20

Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
I'm using the current Vision 2020 - Take 2 (AKA Vision 2022) to try and do some direct comparisons between the PL25mm and P20mm as I consider picking up the new Olympus 20mm f/1.4 Pro. I also have the P14mm so I might add a couple from that as well.

I'm going to try and shoot both from the same spot with the different lenses and / or filling the frame equally. And of course I forgot the last part on my first day. :doh:

These were shot with the camera hanging below the tripod, center column reversed.

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Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
OK, here is a better comparison, 20mm / 25mm (same spot) / 25mm stepping back a bit. I couldn't get exactly the same framing or I would have been standing in the road.

But the 1st and 3rd are an interesting comparison.

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OK, here is a better comparison, 20mm / 25mm (same spot) / 25mm stepping back a bit. I couldn't get exactly the same framing or I would have been standing in the road.

But the 1st and 3rd are an interesting comparison.

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Ok, and what conclusions are you drawing? It is hard to tell a difference after the forum software has handled them.
Are they very comparable - except for price and AF speed? How close do they focus? What are you looking at? Etc.?
 
OK, here is a better comparison, 20mm / 25mm (same spot) / 25mm stepping back a bit. I couldn't get exactly the same framing or I would have been standing in the road.

But the 1st and 3rd are an interesting comparison.

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Apart from a tiny bit of exposure difference [at least on my screen] can't tell any meaningfull difference. So apart from handling or pixel peeping both acceptable to me.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Location
London
Ok, and what conclusions are you drawing? It is hard to tell a difference after the forum software has handled them.
Are they very comparable - except for price and AF speed? How close do they focus? What are you looking at? Etc.?
Well I've owned both lenses so I'll try to chip in in terms of everyday/ outdoor use in addition to what David has posted.

It's been some years since I used the lenses so this is my experience from memory as well as being off the top of my head; both great lenses in how they render and great in low light/ night. On paper they seem to be quite similar as regards focal length and rendering and initially that also appears to be the case in use. Both of them not really designed for manual pre focusing in the traditional way and the 20 is slower to focus generally. What I found strange was that the 20 has technically 'better' bokeh but they're both really good in that regard. However the longer you use them both, the differences between the two start to emerge. It's portraits where the 25 seems to pull away, the tones and softer rendering (though it is sharp) are very nice. Essentially (and annoyingly for the wallet), if you're in m43 then having both is warranted, it's not a 'this or that' scenario and they both as I recall have their own signature rendering and render differently to Olympus m43 lenses.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
For an image like this I'm not looking to ultimate sharpness, bokeh, etc.

It's much more, how easy is it to get a shot I like given the subject, limitations of the location, and then it's rendering/sharpness/bokeh. So maybe what I'm looking for in the end is given the stuff I shoot; is 50mme or 40mme better for me?

So for this image:
  • The angle I could get.
  • The angle makes the side less prominent, I like how shrinks toward the background.
  • I kind of like how there is less of the pavement, but it's actually a larger part of the image.
Now if I could have backed up a bit more I might have been able to get closer to the same shot.


For the technical stuff they are all pretty close. The P20 has the best combination of focus distance and length to have the greatest magnification at 0.13x. The PL25 and O20 both are at 0.11x. To add a little the O25 f/1.8 has a 0.12x while the O17 f/1.8 has a 0.08x. AF speed? Well the PL25 is faster, the O20 Pro will be better. But then the O17 and O25 also have faster AF.


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Tili

Rookie
I find the P20's autofocus speed to be totally unacceptable. Sure the images are nice. But if the thing you want to image moves even a little, you are just going to be frustrated.

I want my primes to be as flexible as possible, as we already have made some tradeoffs compared to mounting a zoom.

If you only take photos of static subjects it will do the job. But I find that too restrictive for my photography.

If it had a proper MF ring and not focus by wire, then I could have tolerated that lens.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
Most of the things I shoot are static and when not I have the PL25 and a P14. But that's one of the reasons for this challenge, can I replace the PL25 & P20 with the O20 Pro?

My shot on the 1st wasn't really that good a test as if not for the challenge I probably would have used my O12-45. But this one is more typical of the things I like to shoot. I like the framing better with the P20 over the PL25. I think my P14 would have been too wide, I have to remember to stick that in the bag. I think the O17 might have been good (which of course makes me think about it and the little P12-32).

I think I might be working more toward a 2 distinct kits, we'll see.
 

Tili

Rookie
Most of the things I shoot are static and when not I have the PL25 and a P14. But that's one of the reasons for this challenge, can I replace the PL25 & P20 with the O20 Pro?

My shot on the 1st wasn't really that good a test as if not for the challenge I probably would have used my O12-45. But this one is more typical of the things I like to shoot. I like the framing better with the P20 over the PL25. I think my P14 would have been too wide, I have to remember to stick that in the bag. I think the O17 might have been good (which of course makes me think about it and the little P12-32).

I think I might be working more toward a 2 distinct kits, we'll see.
Excuse my ignorance, why do you need bright primes if you shoot static scenery? I think f2.8 or f4 zooms + ibis would be much more flexible?
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
Excuse my ignorance, why do you need bright primes if you shoot static scenery? I think f2.8 or f4 zooms + ibis would be much more flexible?
Depends on the subject. And that's one of the reasons the P12-32 has crossed my mind (again). The shots so far have been f/2 and f/4, and haven't really needed weather sealing (though it was a bit misty yesterday).

But as the month goes on there will be wide open shots and I'll probably pull out the O12-45 Pro and E-M1.2 during a snow storm if I can (part of the fun of the more flexible challenge format). So the sealing of the O20 Pro would be nice. But if I find that I actually like the 25mm a lot more than 20mm I could opt for the PL25 vII and get a sealed lens. Primes are also smaller and lighter, at least most of the ones I have or want. Yes the O20 Pro does push that, but not as much as the f/1.2 primes do and at least it is a little smaller than the O12-45 Pro.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
Day 3

Here I took 3 shots 1 with the P20 and 2 with the PL25, I had to correct the angle on the PL25 to match the P20 better. And of course the image I like the most is the odd one from the PL25 at a slightly different angle.

But between the 2 at the closer angle I also prefer the PL25. I think the angle cuts the reflection a bit.

P20 / PL25 that more closely matches the angle / PL25 image I prefer / 1st 2 side by side.

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agentlossing

Hall of Famer
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Name
Andrew L
I find the P20's autofocus speed to be totally unacceptable. Sure the images are nice. But if the thing you want to image moves even a little, you are just going to be frustrated.

I want my primes to be as flexible as possible, as we already have made some tradeoffs compared to mounting a zoom.

If you only take photos of static subjects it will do the job. But I find that too restrictive for my photography.

If it had a proper MF ring and not focus by wire, then I could have tolerated that lens.
Maybe it's just that I've adapted over years of shooting the 20/1.7 and know exactly how long it's going to take, but this feels like hyperbole to me. It's not THAT bad.
 

Tili

Rookie
Maybe it's just that I've adapted over years of shooting the 20/1.7 and know exactly how long it's going to take, but this feels like hyperbole to me. It's not THAT bad.
I can safely say the P20 is the slowest autofocusing lens I have used. It is incredibly frustrating to capture quick/candid moments, wide open.
For anything else, it's lovely.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
I would call the P20 the slowest "non-macro" m43 lens I've used, especially as the light gets lower. You also get the occasional hunting, again as the light get lower. I think that can also give you a perception that it's slower in general. And then there's trying to use it in AF-C.

If you're at all familiar with older glass, say like old Nikon screw drive lenses, you could call it fast. But the reality is we're spoiled in the m43 world since our lenses are just so quick.

I've shot with it enough to know when not to use it and to accept it's behavior when using to the point I barely notice unless, like I am now, doing direct comparisons.
 

agentlossing

Hall of Famer
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Name
Andrew L
I would call the P20 the slowest "non-macro" m43 lens I've used, especially as the light gets lower. You also get the occasional hunting, again as the light get lower. I think that can also give you a perception that it's slower in general. And then there's trying to use it in AF-C.

If you're at all familiar with older glass, say like old Nikon screw drive lenses, you could call it fast. But the reality is we're spoiled in the m43 world since our lenses are just so quick.

I've shot with it enough to know when not to use it and to accept it's behavior when using to the point I barely notice unless, like I am now, doing direct comparisons.
Exactly. If you know the lens well enough, the slow AF fades into the background next to its other sterling qualities, and when you know just what to anticipate in terms of its speed, you can work around it well. I have quite a few candid/street shots with it.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
Day 4

We got a bird house from a friend a few years ago but never hung it outside. We also have this side table that has a base made to look like a tree with birds so.... I also used the yellow filter on my macro ring to try and add a sunset look (kind of).

The first 2 are shot from about the same spot, P20 / PL25 / P20 + PL25

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These I did trying for the close focus point. Note this time the PL25 is first so: PL25 / P20 / PL25 + P20

The P20 does focus closer, but the f/1.4 compared to f/1.7 more than makes up for it IMHO.

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Last edited:

Iron

Top Veteran
Location
New Zealand
Name
Tímo
For an image like this I'm not looking to ultimate sharpness, bokeh, etc.

It's much more, how easy is it to get a shot I like given the subject, limitations of the location, and then it's rendering/sharpness/bokeh. So maybe what I'm looking for in the end is given the stuff I shoot; is 50mme or 40mme better for me?

So for this image:
  • The angle I could get.
  • The angle makes the side less prominent, I like how shrinks toward the background.
  • I kind of like how there is less of the pavement, but it's actually a larger part of the image.
Now if I could have backed up a bit more I might have been able to get closer to the same shot.


For the technical stuff they are all pretty close. The P20 has the best combination of focus distance and length to have the greatest magnification at 0.13x. The PL25 and O20 both are at 0.11x. To add a little the O25 f/1.8 has a 0.12x while the O17 f/1.8 has a 0.08x. AF speed? Well the PL25 is faster, the O20 Pro will be better. But then the O17 and O25 also have faster AF.


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I find that the rendering of both lenses are quite similar although the P20 is generally sharper edge-to-edge at all apertures. Pardon me, but I don't really pixel-peep but my one of my brothers does so I got the info from him.

My main concern with any lens, especially with primes, is more on the focal length. I am generally a 50mm EFL guy but I can settle with 40mm EFL, hence my use of the P20. For me the biggest difference between the P20 vs any 25mm MFT lens is the perspective distortion. In some cases, the distortion at the sides of the P20 lens can be noticeable. Oftentimes, when I am photographing products, I switch to the P12-32, 7Artisans 25mm, P42.5 and/or O45. 25mm up makes a huge difference in photographing products. When doing street, it's much easier to see the frame with the 25mm MFT lenses than on the P20. It really depends on the comfort of the shooter - with 25mm MFT, the shooter is not part of the scene whereas with the P20, the shooter is starting to be part of it. At 12-17mm MFT, the shooter is definitely part of the scene. I just like the versatility of the P20. Furthermore, I can use the P20 in households but with any 25mm MFT lens, it can be a bit too tight, at least with the sizes of houses here in NZ.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
.....My main concern with any lens, especially with primes, is more on the focal length. I am generally a 50mm EFL guy but I can settle with 40mm EFL, hence my use of the P20. For me the biggest difference between the P20 vs any 25mm MFT lens is the perspective distortion. In some cases, the distortion at the sides of the P20 lens can be noticeable. Oftentimes, when I am photographing products, I switch to the P12-32, 7Artisans 25mm, P42.5 and/or O45. 25mm up makes a huge difference in photographing products. When doing street, it's much easier to see the frame with the 25mm MFT lenses than on the P20. It really depends on the comfort of the shooter - with 25mm MFT, the shooter is not part of the scene whereas with the P20, the shooter is starting to be part of it. At 12-17mm MFT, the shooter is definitely part of the scene. I just like the versatility of the P20. Furthermore, I can use the P20 in households but with any 25mm MFT lens, it can be a bit too tight, at least with the sizes of houses here in NZ.
Interesting, not sure I really thought about it in these terms, but very true.

I shot this with the P20 and PL25. I also shot it with my O12-45 Pro at 14mm and 17mm at different lengths and angles. For this I prefer the 14mm and 17mm over both the 20mm or 25mm.

And to follow the theme I'm watching the movie Fever Pitch tonight.

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