When it comes to choosing a wide-angle zoom lens for your Micro Four Thirds camera, two popular options are the Olympus 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO and the Panasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT. Both lenses offer a versatile focal length range and high-quality optics, but they differ in some key aspects. In this article, we will compare the Olympus 8-25mm vs Panasonic 8-18mm, examining their features, performance, and price to help you make an informed decision.
Overview of Olympus 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO
The Olympus 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO is a weather-sealed zoom lens designed for Micro Four Thirds cameras. It features a focal length range of 16-50mm in 35mm equivalent terms, making it suitable for a wide range of shooting scenarios. The lens has a constant maximum aperture of f/4.0 throughout the zoom range, which is useful for maintaining a consistent exposure when zooming in or out. It also has a close focusing distance of 23cm and a maximum magnification of 0.42x, enabling you to get up close and personal with your subject.
Overview of Panasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT
The Panasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT is another weather-sealed wide-angle zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. It has a focal length range of 16-36mm in 35mm equivalent terms, which is slightly shorter than the Olympus 8-25mm. However, it has a wider maximum aperture range of f/2.8-4.0, allowing for better low-light performance and shallower depth of field. The lens also features a close focusing distance of 23cm and a maximum magnification of 0.12x, which is lower than the Olympus 8-25mm.
Design and Build Quality
Both lenses have a similar design and build quality, with a metal barrel and weather-sealing to protect against dust and moisture. The Olympus 8-25mm is slightly heavier than the Panasonic 8-18mm, weighing in at 411g compared to 315g. However, the Olympus lens is also more compact, with a length of 88.5mm compared to the Panasonic lens’s 73.4mm. The Olympus 8-25mm also has a wider zoom ring and a customizable function button, which can be programmed to perform a specific function.
The optical performance of a lens is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a lens. In terms of sharpness, both the Olympus 8-25mm and Panasonic 8-18mm produce excellent results, with sharp details from edge to edge. However, the Olympus lens has slightly better corner sharpness at wider apertures. Both lenses also have minimal distortion and chromatic aberration, making them suitable for architectural and landscape photography.
The Olympus 8-25mm has a constant maximum aperture of f/4.0, which is useful for maintaining a consistent exposure when zooming in or out. However, it is not as wide as the Panasonic 8-18mm’s maximum aperture range of f/2.8-4.0. The wider aperture range of the Panasonic lens makes it better suited for low-light situations and achieving a shallower depth of field.
Autofocus and Image Stabilization
Both lenses have fast and accurate autofocus systems, which are essential for capturing moving subjects or making quick adjustments to focus. The Olympus 8-25mm uses a high-speed MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) autofocus system that is virtually silent and fast. The Panasonic 8-18mm uses a high-speed linear motor autofocus system, which is also fast and accurate.
In terms of image stabilization, both lenses have built-in image stabilization that helps to reduce camera shake and produce sharper images. The Olympus 8-25mm has 5-axis Sync IS, which works in conjunction with the in-body image stabilization of Olympus cameras to provide up to 6.5 stops of stabilization. The Panasonic 8-18mm has 3-axis Power O.I.S., which provides up to 3.5 stops of stabilization.
Price is always a factor to consider when choosing a lens, especially when both lenses have similar features and performance. The Olympus 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO is priced at around $1,099, while the Panasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT is priced at around $1,099 as well. While the price point is similar, the wider maximum aperture range of the Panasonic 8-18mm may make it more appealing to photographers who shoot in low-light situations.
Both the Olympus 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO and the Panasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT are excellent wide-angle zoom lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras. They offer high-quality optics, fast autofocus, and built-in image stabilization. The choice between the two lenses ultimately depends on your specific needs and shooting style.
If you prioritize a constant maximum aperture, slightly better corner sharpness, and a more compact size, the Olympus 8-25mm may be the better option for you. However, if you prioritize a wider maximum aperture range, better low-light performance, and a lower price point, the Panasonic 8-18mm may be the better option for you. Either way, both lenses will deliver excellent results and provide you with a versatile wide-angle zoom option for your Micro Four Thirds camera.