7.07.2015

Kirk Tuck's Very Colorful, One Day Review of the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 Lens For Micro Four Thirds.

Painting team at the Graffiti Wall. Austin, Texas.

This will be a short and sweet review of the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 Lumix lens. Why? Because it's all good and no bad. I've owned the Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens twice. Each time I was enthralled with it at the outset and then gradually used it less and less. The barrel was too small to hang fingers on when shooting and when you really, really pushed the image size you could see that it was a little less than perfect wide open. I didn't really care because with the tiniest bit of post processing you could snap up the whole image pretty well and there were other lenses in the kit. If I wanted something right in that ballpark (especially since getting the EM-5.2...) I generally grabbed for the solid, little 40mm f1.4 Pen FT manual focus lens and used the focus peaking or I attached the 60mm Sigma lens and stepped back a bit. For whatever reason I used the Olympus lens less than any other M4:3 lens in the drawer except for the 17mm f1.8. But that wider one is an awkward focal length for me...

But like a guy who isn't really delighted with his girlfriend I kept my eyes open for a suitable (better) replacement. At one point a friend let me shoot with his Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 Leica Supreme Platinum Deluxe Lens and it really caught my attention in two ways. First, the image in the finder was perfect and second, the price was insanely stratospheric for a user with multiple systems. Somewhere in the file cabinet just past the temporal lobe of my brain my subconscious filed the message: Panasonic Lens ---- Good. Revisit.

I had a bit of time on my hands one day so I played with the Panasonic Leice Supreme Platinum Deluxe lens's little brother; the lens under test, and came away thinking I liked the look, the feel, the finder image and (just in case I buy another Panasonic camera body) the in lens image stabilization. The lens had me at "finder image."

The Panasonic 42.5/1.7 is svelte and well constructed. It comes with a good lens hood. In the box. Included in the price. The lens focuses quickly and very accurately on the EM5.2 body. I like everything about it. I would talk about the color rendering and the sharpness, etc.; I might even prattle on about the micro-contrast or the mini-contrast or the third order harmonics of the system but I thought it would be more in keeping with a photographic tradition to just shoot with the damn thing and show you some photographs. Let you make up your own mind about what you might be seeing.

I bought my copy at Precision Camera. Same price as the one listed at Amazon and B&H.

Here are some images I took at the wall. Almost everything is shot at f4. It works well at all the other apertures too. ..






Yay! Action Figure poses.







This is Nikki. She sells spray paint, Red Bull and other necessities at the Graffiti Wall. 

Woman on Rock. Discovering America.




The climb to the top is steep and treacherous. Except for those with m4:3 cameras...


America's favorite post climb pass time. (love the rhyme).

Multi-planar sharpness test. 

The Panasonic lens handles the selfie subject matter with ease. 

Is it possible that the girl with the selfie stick is contemplating using said stick to prod her 
companion over the steep edge? Sinister selfie stick behavior afoot. And the perpetrator could simultaneously document her own crime....




The painter's emergency step ladder. Details below.



It's been a wet Spring in Austin. You can see the results in the foliage...






8 comments:

Albert P. said...

Have to agree about the Olympus 45mm, it's also my least-used m4/3 lens and it's hard to say why. If I remember correctly, Mike Johnston sold his because he was used to 85mm for portraits and 90mm just felt "off." That could indeed be the reason, because I'm inexplicably finding the 42.5/1.7 totally addictive in the three weeks I've had it. It's never left my GX7 except to share a little time with the new 30mm macro, which so far is great, too. I bought a silver one from Japan and saved about $40 over the U.S. price (I didn't get a warranty, of course, but it has a classic look and stays cooler here in the Florida sun). Thanks for the great write-up!

Douglas Knisely said...

I'm very impressed with the images in this post, which has almost nothing to do with the gear involved. Nicely composed... Beautiful colors and lighting... Interesting subject matter... Great stuff.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thanks Douglas. In my opinion the differences between gear are the least important things about fun photographs.

Anonymous said...

Lens is immaterial. You have the eye. It sucks in good pictures.

Michael Ferron said...

Great shots. Personally I am enjoying my new and slightly too long, but very affordable Sigma 60 2.8 for my m43 camera. Even at 2.8 it might be at least tied for the title of "my sharpest lens."
PS thanks for all the reviews and cool shots you post.

Frank Grygier said...

Some of the best "Wall" photographs to date. Up close and personal.

Jason Hindle said...

The Olympus 45 is a favourite of mine. I don't use it often, but the results always make me smile. However, Panasonic appears to have come up with a better lens, and ergonomics alone don't tell the whole story (even if the optical differences are marginal). Of course, neither are perfect. As dpreview recently noted, for perfection you need the 42.5 f1.2 (glass made in the fires of Mordor, apparently), but that just ruins the economics of small format (in my most humble opinion :-).

Grant said...

I don't really subscribe that a great lens "ruins the economics of a small format", as per Jason's comment.

There's nothing wrong with having the greatest small format camera that you can assemble. Isn't that what Leica made their name doing? Before they became like they are today? Nothing wrong with that.