Review Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX
Why isn't there a review of the Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 on CameraStuffReview? Can you tell us something about the Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 vs. Olympus 25 mm f/1.8? Those are questions from our readers that we get with some regularity. The answer is simple: We're reviewing like madmen to keep up with all the great lenses that are currently being released. And yet the curiosity keeps nagging at us. That's why when we got an offer from a reader to review his lens, I was all for it, and I got to work.
PanaLeica 25 mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX?
Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX @ Olympus OM-D E-M5, f/2.8, 1000 ISO, 1/40
A 25-mm focal length on a micro-43 camera corresponds in terms of field of view with the field of view of a 50-mm universally usable standard lens on a camera with a full-format sensor. In terms of exposure, the Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 corresponds with a 50 mm f/1.4 on a camera with a full-frame sensor; in terms of focal depth, with a 50 mm f/2.8.
Construction and auto focus Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 Leica
|In contrast with the last two Panasonic Leica micro-43 lenses, the Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 does not have a metallic housing. Even so, this lens, with a metal lens mount and a lens body made of high-quality plastics, makes a solid impression, even if it's not extra-well sealed against dust and splash water. The focus ring for manual focusing, with a ribbed rubber ring, is terrifically smooth and is nice and broad. On the lens, there are no switches, so that you have to choose on the camera between AF or manual focusing. Because the AF makes use of internal focusing, the filter ring does not turn when you focus. |
The lens design is rather complex for a standard lens—9 elements in 7 groups, including 1 UHR ("Ultra High Refractive Index") and 2 aspherical lenses—which is a confirmation that the focus is on the highest possible image quality.
When reviewing bright lenses on SLR cameras, we are not surprised when we encounter vignetting of two stops. In the jpg files, vignetting, partly thanks to in-camera corrections, is already completely absent at full opening. In uncorrected RAW files, we see 1.5 stops of vignetting at full aperture. Not that crazy for a reasonably compact, bright f/1.4 lens. At f/2.8, the vignetting is also completely absent in corrected RAW files.
Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX @ Olympus OM-D E-M5, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 1/1000
Distortion Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX
In jpg shots that are stored in the camera, and in the RAW files that you open with Lightroom, Photoshop or SilkyPix, the distortion is negligible. If you open the RAW files with another RAW converter, then there is a risk of clearly visible (2.9%) barrel-shaped distortion. That is easy to fix with software, but we would rather see a lens design, like that of the Olympus 25 mm f/1.4, that also shows little distortion without corrections.
The Panasonic Leica 25 mm f/1.4 comes with a beautiful, rectangular sun cap that will be familiar to Leica photographers. It's also smart to use this sun cap in practice. Not only does it look great and protect the front lens from scratches, but during our practice test, it took little effort—just as with the Olympus 25 mm f/1.8—to make back-lit pictures in which flare and ghosts are visible.
Sharpness Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4
With this lens, you take sharp pictures. Very sharp pictures. At f/2.8, the highest center sharpness will be reached, but in practice, you can say that the center sharpness remains nicely constant from f/2.4 through f/11. In the corners, the sharpness remains lower than the center sharpness, which can be particularly visible at full aperture. In particular, the bokeh fetishists will sooner see that as an advantage rather than a disadvantage. The Olympus 25 mm f/1.8 achieves a slightly less high center sharpness, but has a more even sharpness distribution across the image.
|We made both jpg files (standard image style) and unsharpened pictures with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and subsequently analyzed them with Imatest. The MTF50 was tested with the image ratio of the test camera set to 2:3, so that the measurement results can be compared with the measurement results of a camera with an APS-C or full-frame sensor. If you use the camera in the standard 4:3 ratio, the number of lines per image height is higher. |
|Both in uncorrected RAW files and in jpg files, you will have no problems with lateral chromatic aberration. Colored edges at sharp contrast transitions in the corners of the image are practically absent. |
Bokeh Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 Leica DG SUMMILUX
|At full aperture, the bokeh of a light source in the background—thanks to the 7 rounded aperture blades—is beautifully round, but the more you stop down, the more an angular aperture becomes visible. If you want to nicely isolate a subject from the background, then a long focal length and a large aperture will help, because you get such a small focal depth that way. Another factor is a high center sharpness at full aperture—until recently a rarity among bright lenses—as well as the quality of the lens design and the way in which the lenses are produced. In particular, the last one is incomprehensible, but if you look at the picture from our test set-up for bokeh, you'll see a bokeh at full aperture from which I would immediately have believed that the picture was taken with a much more expensive lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor. |
Conclusion Review Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 Leica SUMMILUX with Olympus EM-1
|Look in our list of reviewed lenses or in our list of reviewed micro-43 lenses to compare the performance of this lens with that of other lenses. |
Tools JX Error: Definition with ID 330 does not exist.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".