Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 Pro Review
As a smaller, lighter and cheaper alternative to the flagship M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro zoom, the new F4 version makes perfect sense for a lot of enthusiasts.
It might not go quite as wide as its F2.8 sibling, but for most photographers the extra telephoto range will be much more attractive, as it essentially covers everything from 16mm ultra-wide-angle through classic 35mm to standard 50mm, especially as it accepts front-mounted filters.
This lens' other main rivals are from Panasonic, most notably the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm F1.7 ASPH, which provides a much faster maximum aperture of F1.7 but doesn't go quite as wide while being much bigger and heavier, and the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH, which sacrifices the telephoto reach compared to both the Olympus 8-25mm and the Panasonic 10-25mm.
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 Pro proved to be a great partner to the brand new OM System OM-1 flagship camera, forming a compact, well-built, weather-proof system that delivers excellent image quality.
Optically, both the centre and edge sharpness are very high throughout all of its focal length range. Sure, you don't get the faster maximum aperture of f/2.8 offered by the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro and therefore quite the same shallow depth-of-field effects, but this lens is much smaller, lighter and crucially cheaper whilst offering the same build quality and feature set.
Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent, vignetting is not a real issue, and distortion is very well auto-corrected through software algorithms. The only notable optical issue is significant flare when shooting directly into the sun.
The lack of in-lens image stabilisation does make it somewhat impractical for owners of Panasonic cameras which don't have IBIS built into the body, but Olympus owners obviously benefit from the superlative in-camera image stabilisation that most of their MFT bodies provide, of course including the new OM-1.
In summary, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 Pro is an excellent all-day walk-around addition to the Olympus/OM System lens range that could conceivably replace several lenses in your camera bag, provided you don't mind the slowish F4 maximum aperture.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||5|