A damning review should be followed by a positive review. Just to get the bad taste out...

Yes, there is some amazing gear out in the world. And some much less than amazing gear. I wrote about a worrisome flash earlier today and then I sprinted out the door to shoot a job in exciting, downtown Austin. But I meant to follow my review of a flawed product with my quick review of a product that just plain works exactly the way it's supposed to and that is....well. 

I'm writing about my Panasonic/Leica 25mm f1.4 Summilux for micro four thirds. I am on my second copy. I bought the first one back in the earlier days of m4:3 and in the two year interlude in which I tried to bend the Sony cameras to my will I ended up selling it to blogger and local photo celebrity ATMTX. He seems to love the lens.

At any rate it was one of the first lenses I re-bought when I ventured into the world of Panasonic GH cameras. It's a focal length (equivalent) that I really love, and this particular model is exemplary. I keep it bolted on to one of my GH3 cameras at all time. 

I don't really have much to say about it other than to point out that it is sharp, constrasty and very simple. There are no levers or buttons on the lens. The focusing ring is fly-by-wire which pushes me to spend most  of my time shooting the lens manually. The performance of the lens is extremely good and it seems to render detail and dimension in a convincing way. In fact, the quality of this lens has me moving quickly and seemingly unstoppably toward the acquisition of a mysterious Nocticron. The Nocticron is the 85 mm equivalent in the Panasonic family and according to current legend the lens is completely sharp at its widest aperture and able to resolve a zillion giga-lines of resolution and happiness. 

But, back to the little brother. The one complaint everyone has about the lens is about the size of the lens hood (included in the box) but I'm thinking that Panasonic and Leica optimized the hood for ultimate lens performance. It's part of the system that makes sure the light making your images is image forming light and not extraneous photonics bullshit. Otherwise known as flare.

The 25mm has my highest accolades: 1. I bought it twice. 2. I take it everywhere. 3. Some of my favorite pix result from using the lens. It does exactly what it is supposed to do and it does that thing very, very well. That's all I can say about it. 

Summer BlockBuster read: 

Get your copy today before the Kindle Store runs out of stock!!!


Brad Calkins said...

I love this lens, and I'm ok with the size of the hood, just wish it reversed!

Wolfgang Lonien said...

This is my everyday lens, it only leaves my E-PL5 when I shoot portraits with the 45mm or a bit wider with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm/2.5. But a normal focal length with about the sensor diagonale can also be used wide-anglish, or even for portraits. And together with my 50mm macro on Four Thirds mount, it's the best I have (tho the cheapish 45mm/1.8 is very good, try it before you buy that Nocticron). With equivalent focal lengths of 28, 50, and 90mm I'm pretty much set in that classic range, but this PanaLeica is the most important one of them all, closely followed by the "portrait lens".

Joseph Kashi said...

I've examined several copies of the Pana 25/1.4, including my own and two owned by various friends.

Although sharp, all three copies that I've examined show an unusually high propensity toward flare, noticeably more than other designs, including Panasonic's own 20/1.7. A nice lens, but it needs to be used more carefully.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I use it extensively, on both Lumix G and Olympus E-PL bodies with great satisfaction. The inability to reverse the hood so it stays with the camera is, for me, a minor niggle.

Tom Barry

atmtx said...

I didn't know I was a local celebrity? It's a great lens. My highest quality lens on micro 4/3.

Rufus said...

Anyone have experience of the new Oly 25mm? Is it as good?

Yonatan Katznelson said...

Just when I thought I was out (i.e., not wanting the PL25 anymore), you pull me back in..!

Thanks a lot! :)

Brad Calkins said...

Then again, the good is a fine place to tuck the Panasonic 14mm pancake lens!