One of the more exciting announcements to come out of Photokina is the arrival of the new Olympus 25mm f1.2 PRO lens. This surely is a lens that many have been waiting for for a long time and considering the design, it seems very worth it. Olympus went through the trouble of completely redesigning the lens to make only a single element move when it focuses. This ensures that the lens has fast focusing. Surely, you also get the light gathering benefits of f1.2 and weather sealing. With the Four Thirds crop, you’re getting the equivalent of f2.4 on a full frame camera–which means that there is no real reason to stop the lens down when shooting portraits or anything for that matter.
But to get more insight in to how the lens works, we talked to Olympus Visionary Tracie Maglosky about how she’s using it for her work.
Phoblographer: You’re a portrait photographer and you’ve used lenses like the 25mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8, etc to create portraits. So when you’re handed a new tool like the 25mm f1.2, what are some of the initial thoughts that came to mind?
Tracie: The lens build is top notch and feels solid in my hands. The focus ring is smooth and the size reminds me of the 12-40mm.
Phoblographer: You use the OMD E-M1 quite a bit for your work, so how does the new 25mm f1.2 pair with this camera ergonomically speaking?
Tracie: Ergonomically, again the lens feels exactly like the 12-40mm Pro in terms of balance, weight, construction and pairs perfectly with the E-M1.
Phoblographer: What about depth of field? Do you see a major difference there between the f1.8 and the f1.2?
Tracie: OMG, yes! The difference is so much more than you would imagine and the focus fall off is beautiful and intelligent. The focus area is crazy sharp while the defocused areas are soft and delicious, reminding me of the 75mm but with an even dreamier delivery and way faster autofocusing capabilities.
Phoblographer: Lots of your newer work has been underwater conceptual portraiture. Have you used it for this at all? What do you think of the results?
Tracie: I have not had the opportunity to take the 25mm underwater, but now that you mention it, I want to really badly!
Phoblographer: Besides portrait photographers, who do you think a lens like this is for?
Tracie: This lens is for those who shoot in low-light situations, for anyone trying to shoot on extreme backlight and for photographers who seek to isolate and separate their subject from their background.
Phoblographer: What are your favorite features about the 25mm f1.2 PRO lens?
Tracie: I love shooting on the backlight and this lens is so incredibly intelligent it produces virtually zero fringing and focuses with accuracy and quickness while cutting through to the subject for an astonishing rendering. The lens at f/1.2 is capable of perfect focus and the dreaminess of the fall off of focus is literally mind-blowing. I refuse to take it off of my camera. No, really!
Phoblographer: One of the reasons why folks purchase f1.2 lenses is because they can let more light onto the sensors and not raise their ISO levels. But high ISO output these days is so good that that isn’t really an issue anymore. So what are your thoughts in regards to using it in low light?
Tracie: I love shooting at wide open apertures and I do whenever possible. The 25mm is a perfect candidate for any low-light situation because of its ability to focus so quickly even at f/1.2. Sometimes the sacrifice of shooting wide open (especially, f/1.2) is a softer focused area and relying on the defocused areas to give the illusion of a completely focused subject. This lens produces edge to edge sharpness while defocusing the background, beautifully creating the best of both worlds in sharpness and light let in. This is the lens for which we’ve all been waiting – not even kidding.