Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Review

4.5
July 20, 2011 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH is a new standard lens for the Micro Four Thirds compact camera system. Providing an effective focal length of 50mm, a fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 and a Nano Surface Coating to help reduce flare, the Leica-branded Panasonic 25mm lens is small in both size and weight. Read our Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH review to find out if this long-awaited premium optic is a must-have Micro Four Thirds lens.

The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH is a very fast standard lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Offering a 35mm camera equivalent focal length of 50mm, the Panasonic 25mm lens is comprised of 9 elements arranged in 7 groups, including 2 aspherical elements and 1 ultra-high-refractive-index lens element. It features a special Nano Surface Coating to minimise ghosting and flare, and an iris diaphragm with seven rounded aperture blades. The Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens is available for £548.99 / $599.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHThe Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens attached to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

The Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH is fairly small and light for a standard lens offering a 35mm equivalent focal range of 50mm, easily fitting in the palm of your hand.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHIn the palm of a hand
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHAttached to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHAttached to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

It's a pretty compact affair for a lens that offers a standard focal length and such a fast maximum aperture, measuring just 54.5mm in length, and it's also very light at only 200grams.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHFront of the lens

In terms of features, the lens is very sparse, with just a responsive manual focusing ring and no focus scale.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHAlongside the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

The Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens may have quite a lot of plastic parts, but the lens mount is, thankfully, made of metal. Panasonic does not claim any sort of weather resistance for this lens, and indeed you cannot see a rubber seal around the mount (note that no current Micro Four Thirds camera is weather sealed anyway).

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHSide of the lens, isometric view

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHSide of the lens, isometric view

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHSide of the lens

Usefully the lens comes with a large lens hood and a cloth storage bag, and it accepts 46mm filters. Less usefully, the rectangular-shaped lens hood cannot be reverse-fitted onto the lens, making it more difficult to safely store away when not in use.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHThe lens hood

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHThe lens hood

Focal Range

The lens has a diagonal angle of view of 47°, equivalent to that of a 50mm lens in a 35mm system.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHField of view at 25mm

Focusing

The Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens offers almost silent focusing, and in use, we have found the system very quick on the new DMC-G3.

The 46mm filter thread does not rotate on focus, which is good news for users of polarisers and graduated neutral density filters.

Manual focusing is possible in a focus-by-wire fashion. This should not put you off using it as it feels pretty natural in use, and actually enables the camera to display a magnified view of the subject automatically, i.e. without your having to press a dedicated button or enter the menu. The focus ring is quite wide and more than adequate for the job.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only conspicuous by their almost complete absence, as shown by the 100% crop below.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.4, there is just a little light fall-off in the corners.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHLight fall-off

Macro

TheLeica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH has a closest focusing distance of 0.3m / 0.98ft and a maximum 0.11x magnification rating.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPHClose-up performance

Bokeh Examples

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, Panasonic employed a diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh, at least in our opinion. However, recognising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a few examples for your perusal.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH
   
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

lens, compact system camera, lumix, micro four thirds, panasonic, 25mm, standard, leica, 25mm lens, Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 ASPH Review, panasonic 25mm review, summilux

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