Search ImagingPixel for Images by Camera or Lens

Lens Review, Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8, A Nifty-Fifty Equivalent

Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent
Image making with a manual focus Zonlai Discover 28mm 1:1.8, a nifty-fifty equivalent on a Micro 4/3 digital camera.

The multi-iterated Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8, looking like a well-built low-cost manual focus lens manufactured for mirrorless cameras out of China, is also known to be available as a Zenzei, Kenro, Hengyijia, and maybe others. Physically, it is a very interesting lens, small, and lightweight, with well-damped focus and clickless aperture rings. The lens feels solid in the hand handles well, and comes with a hood, which may not be the standard accessory among the brand picks.

The lens is fully manual with a plain mount that looks like a design that can be easily replaced to fit other camera bodies. The focus throw on the Discover is quite short, only about one-third of the lens circumference, which means that focusing with the lens wide open could be a bit of a challenge. The focusing ring has a distance scale marked in both Imperial and Metric distances, which might prove to be none too accurate.

Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8

There is also a mention that there are 2 versions of this lens, the first with an unusual placement of the aperture ring near the front of the lens while the focusing ring is closer to the camera body. The second generation has traditional ring placements, an aperture ring close to the body, and the focusing ring up front. My copy is the second version.

Olympus E-P5, Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8


A Nifty Fifty Equivalent

On the Micro 4/3 mirrorless digital camera, which has a sensor with a crop factor of 2, the Zonlai Discovery 28mm 1:2.8 will be equivalent to a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera - a nifty fifty, a standard normal, or just a plain normal prime lens, whichever way you want to look at it. For the test shots, I tried the lens on both the age-old Olympus E-P5 and the slightly newer Olympus E-PM2 that I have.

Olympus E-PM2, E-P5, Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8

Though there was not much to discern between the images from the two cameras, my preference is for continuing the sessions with the E-P5, on the occasion that the E-P5 has a focus peaking feature. I have been using focus peaking, which you can find on a few more mirrorless digital cameras, more than most as it is about the best aid you can have for your aging eyes when using or testing manual focus lenses.


Early Images

Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 01
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 02
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 03
Test images with the Olympus E-PM2
<< Click image for high-resolution Lightbox display >>

Exciting first test shots here, taken on the E-PM2, with the first being a low-light composition, the second, a close-up in harsh bright light, and the third, cropped. The images are pretty sharp, and the colors seem right, both of which can be tweaked to your satisfaction on the image editor.


Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 04
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 05
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 06
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 07
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 08
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 09
Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8 Lens Review, A Nifty Fifty Equivalent 10
Early Imaages with the Olympus E-P5
<< Click image for high-resolution Lightbox display >>

This second batch of early images was taken on the E-P5. As I mentioned earlier, focusing at wide-open apertures was easier on the E-P5 with the focus peaking function, viewed through the automatic eye-sensor EV4, where images are slightly magnified on the high-resolution LCD display.

Olympus E-P5, Zonlai Discover 25mm 1:1.8

On the lens itself, working with a very compact manual focus lens means a learning curve for you to get acclimatized to the location of both the focus and aperture rings and their turn direction. This lens is one for the keep.




Vintage Camera Marketplace by ImagingPixel

Malaysia's Online Marketplace for Vintage Film and Digital Cameras, Lenses,
and Camera Accessories.
Follow ImagingPixel on Facebook, Pinterest, and X.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular on ImagingPixel