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Review Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX

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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.

Panasonic 25mm review

PanaLeica 25 mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX?
The standard for connoisseurs.

stilleven, Pansonic 25mm f.14 review, Panasonic Leica summiluxPanasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX @ Olympus OM-D E-M5, f/2.8, 1000 ISO, 1/40
(photo: Paul Verbunt)

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.
Specifications
Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:9/7
length x diameter:54.5 / 63
filter size:46
Weight:200
Lens hood:+

Vignetting

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.

jpgvignet

PaulverbuntPanasonic25mmPanasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX @ Olympus OM-D E-M5, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 1/1000
(photo: Paul Verbunt)

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.

jpgdistort

Flare

 

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.

flare

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.

jpgrezz
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. 

PaulverbuntPanasonic25mmnr2
Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX @ Olympus OM-D E-M5, f/8, 2000 ISO, 1/125
(photo: Paul Verbunt)

Chromatic aberration

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. CA

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. minibokeh

bierpomp
Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX @ Olympus OM-D E-M5, f/8, 100 ISO, 1/125
(photo: Paul Verbunt)

Conclusion Review Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 Leica SUMMILUX with Olympus EM-1

Panasonic25mmprodukt

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.
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ECWYSIWYG 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".


25
50
7.6
6.8
8.7
8.8
9.3
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of Photoshop, Lightroom or SilkyPix for the conversion of RAW files, then the RAW scores are the same as the jpg scores.
25
50
7.5
7.7
9.1
8.2
5.5

Pros

  • High brightness coupled with high image quality
  • Good sharpness and beautiful bokeh at full aperture
  • Amazingly sharp after 1 stop stopping down
  • Outstanding when it comes to manual focusing
  • Luxurious finish

Cons

  • Not inexpensive
  • Sensitive to backlighting
  • No built-in image stabilization (not relevant for Olympus cameras)
  • AF of the tested model was not silent on the Olympus test cameras

Invest in a good lens like this one. You'll enjoy it for a long time.

The quality of modern system cameras is so high that the image quality of high-quality lenses is increasingly coming into its own. If you want a compact camera with high image quality, then there's a big selection for the micro-43 platform, both where the cameras and lenses are concerned. Granted, for the very highest quality, you have to pay significantly more than for the highest quality. Although the current store price is remarkably lower than the original list price, that won't convince everyone. The price of the bright Panasonic 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX is higher than the price of a number of other optically outstanding performing micro-43 lenses with the same focal length. For lenses, it is true in general that a luxurious finish, high brightness and a beautiful bokeh are factors that considerably drive up the price. But those who have an SLR camera or a Leica will laugh about the modest prices that Panasonic asks for its Summilux and Nocticron lenses.
The collaboration between Panasonic and Leica has produced three bright pearls: the Panasonic Leica Summilux 15 mm f/1.8, Panasonic Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4 and the Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5 mm f/1.2, each of which has an extremely high-quality finish and high image quality that goes much further than sharp pictures. 

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (8)

  1. Wolfgang Lonien

I have this lens, and it's usually on my E-PL5. But you forgot another one - the 45mm Macro (see http://www.lenstip.com/289.1-Lens_review-Panasonic_Leica_DG_Macro-Elmarit_45_mm_f_2.8_ASPH._M.O.I.S.-Introduction.html). Haven't compared it to the...

I have this lens, and it's usually on my E-PL5. But you forgot another one - the 45mm Macro (see http://www.lenstip.com/289.1-Lens_review-Panasonic_Leica_DG_Macro-Elmarit_45_mm_f_2.8_ASPH._M.O.I.S.-Introduction.html). Haven't compared it to the Olympus 60mm Macro, but both should be pretty good.

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  1. Ivo Freriks    Wolfgang Lonien

Hi Wolfgang,<br /><br />Thanks for the addition!<br />You're right: I overlooked Macro.<br />There's still another interesting PanaLeica to do for me.<br /><br />Regards,<br /><br /><br />Ivo

 
  1. Gerd

Hi Ivo,<br />thanks for this and many many other reviews!<br />The resolution differences between jpg and raw seem quite huge (e.g. 1700 vs 2500 lw/ph). In-camera sharpening should not produce that tremendous differences. Do you have any...

Hi Ivo,<br />thanks for this and many many other reviews!<br />The resolution differences between jpg and raw seem quite huge (e.g. 1700 vs 2500 lw/ph). In-camera sharpening should not produce that tremendous differences. Do you have any explanation for that?<br /><br />Best regards<br /><br />Gerd

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  1. Ivo    Gerd

Hi Gerd,<br /><br />We analyse jpg files by using standard jpg files. These are sharpened files.<br /><br />For the RAW files, we analyse completely unsharpened (and no noise reduction either) RAW files developed using DCRAW.<br /><br />Some...

Hi Gerd,<br /><br />We analyse jpg files by using standard jpg files. These are sharpened files.<br /><br />For the RAW files, we analyse completely unsharpened (and no noise reduction either) RAW files developed using DCRAW.<br /><br />Some websites (for example Photozone) analyse sharpened RAW files. Roger Cicala of LensRentals used unsharpened RAW files also.<br /> <br />Roger reports his measurements in lp/ph and we report lw/ph (=2*lp/ph). <br /><br />LensRentals reports 1750 lw/ph (=875 lp/ph @70mm in the center) for the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 mk2 9and probably the Canon 5D mk3).<br /> <br />http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/12/quick-resolution-tests-on-two-new-70-200s<;br /><br />1700 lp/ph thus is not too low for an unsharpended RAW file. It is very good.<br /><br />Best regards,<br /><br />Ivo

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  1. Gerd

Hello Ivo,<br /><br />thanks for your fast and concise answer!<br />I was not aware that there is so much difference between sharpended jpg and unsharpened RAW.<br />Just like you, I watch several sites (focused on MFT, in my case) and found...

Hello Ivo,<br /><br />thanks for your fast and concise answer!<br />I was not aware that there is so much difference between sharpended jpg and unsharpened RAW.<br />Just like you, I watch several sites (focused on MFT, in my case) and found especially Rogers comments on the sample variation of lenses (Sep. 11th, 2013, don´t have the link at hand) very important. Since the variation within the manufacturing process is easily about +/- 20%, I like to compare test results of different websites to get an idea of the average performance of a lens. Still, you don´t know whether the specific lens you buy will be at the upper or lower edge of the range.<br />At the moment, I am comparing the Summilux vs. the M.Zuiko 25/1.8.<br />It seems to be common ground, that the Oly delivers better edge to edge sharpness, while the Leica produces the better maximum resolution in the center plus about 1/2 f-stop max. aperture. In central Europe the surcharge of the Summilux is about 100 € (about 200$ in the US), so the decision will be more based on emotion than on numbers (as always ...)<br /><br />Thx again for doing and publishing good work!<br /><br />Gerd

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  1. Liset vd H    Gerd

Hello Gerd <br /><br />Thanks for your reaction. Sometimes it's better to make a decision on emotion than based on numbers ;-). <br /><br />Regards, Liset

 
  1. Robert W. Campbell

I just acquired a PanaLeica 25mm f1.4 for my EM-1;- was using the MZuiko 12mmF2 as my standard walkabout lens, but am absolutely pleased with the product,sharpness,occasional bokeh, worth every oenny spent!

 
  1. Liset vd H    Robert W. Campbell

Hallo Robert,<br /><br />I can understand that you are happy with this lens! A little more focal lenght and a better aperture :-) <br /><br />Regard, Liset

 

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