OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO Review
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO is a wide normal-length prime lens for Micro Four Thirds sensor mirrorless cameras.
The 20mm F1.4 for Olympus was first announced in September 2021. This lens is made in Japan.
It features 11 elements in 10 groups, including two aspherical elements, three ED elements, one super ED element, and two Super HR elements to help reduce spherical aberrations and distortions.
The ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflection Optical) coating suppresses flare and ghosting and the Fluorine lens coating on the front element repels dust, dirt, rain and snow.
The Olympus 20mm Pro boasts an IPX1-rated freeze-, dust- and splash-proof structure and has a minimum focusing distance of 25cm / 9.8" with a maximum magnification of 0.22x.
It has a rounded 9-blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out-of-focus areas of the image and an internal focusing mechanism which means the lens barrel doesn't move.
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO lens is available now priced at £649 / $799 in the UK and USA, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 247g, the metal bodied OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO is very light for such a premium lens.
Its overall size and weight is well-suited to a camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III that we tested it with, as shown in the product photos.
It measures 61.7mm x 63.4mm, making it one of the smaller lenses currently available for Olympus' mirrorless cameras.
The novel 40mm effective focal length takes a little while to get used to, falling between the more "normal" 35mm and 50mm focal lengths that photographers are more used to, but it quickly loses any real significance after you've used it for a while.
It does mean that the OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO doesn't have too many direct rivals.
The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO take a similar design approach to the Olympus 20mm but offer a slightly wider and narrower angle of view respectively, whilst offering a slightly faster maximum aperture.
Build quality is outstanding, certainly on par with what you might expect from a PRO series prime lens and with the other lenses that we've previously reviewed in this series.
It incorporates a metal mount and a metal lens barrel with just a single control, the huge focusing ring that spans well over half the length of the lens.
This lens boasts an an IPX1-rated dust- and moisture-sealed design to support shooting in more inclement conditions down to -14°F / -10°C.
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO lens accepts 58mm filters via metal threads on the front of the lens.
The lens doesn't feature built-in optical image stabilisation, relying instead on the camera body's stabilisation system.
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO lens has a very wide, ridged motor-assisted focus ring that has a long throw and is very nicely damped.
Manual focusing is possible by selecting it on the camera body, and full-time manual focus override is also possible when in AF mode if the AF+MF main menu option is set to On.
As the the focus ring is not mechanically coupled, there are no hard stops at either end of the range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 58mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO lens utilises an AF motor that produces almost silent, smooth and very snappy auto-focusing, making it well-suited to shooting both stills and video, with the overall lens length remaining constant during focusing.
When it comes to auto-focusing, it proved to be a quick, almost instantaneous, performer on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III camera that we tested it with.
We didn't experience very much"hunting" at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time.
This lens ships with front and rear lens caps, plus a large petal-shaped lens hood (LH‑61G). There is no lens case or bag included in the box.
The 20mm focal length provides an angle of view of 57 degrees on a 35mm full-frame camera.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not really apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.
With the OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.
Commendably there's hardly any barrel distortion evident in either the JPEG or RAW files.
Sunstars and Flare
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO produces very nice sunstars even when stopped-down to f/16, as shown below, and flare is well controlled even when shooting directly into the sun.
The OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO is not really a macro lens, offering a close minimum focusing distance of 25cm / 9.8" and a maximum magnification of 0.22x (35mm format). The following examples demonstrate how close you can get to your subject.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.
In the 20mm F1.4 PRO lens, Olympus have employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which has resulted in appealing bokeh for what is after all a moderately wide-angle lens.
We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several examples below for your perusal, all shot wide-open at f/1.4.
In order to show you how sharp the OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.