I know, I know. I should be working on the actual review of the E-P3, but the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 Leica DG Summilux lens I ordered finally arrived. As per typical Panasonic, it was delayed by 2 weeks, but it got here safely in the end, a little warm from the Japanese summer heat.
I decided to take it out for a test run. The sun had already gone down, but that provided me the perfect setting to really test its low light ability! I also brought along the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens to compare the two. After all, the Leica lens is about double the size, heavier and only a fraction brighter than the pancake. It’s also nearly double the price. So is it worth it?
Let’s take a look at the shots. All photos are out of camera Jpegs resized in Lightroom with no extra adjustments except where noted.
First up, the new 25mm fully wide open at f/1.4. The camera chose ISO 200.
Some gorgeous bokeh there! Absolutely wonderful :D.
And next the trusty 20mm at its maximum aperture of f/1.7. The camera chose ISO 320 here.
Not bad at all. The 20mm definitely holds its own and lives up to its reputation. But it’s clear that the 25mm holds the edge in terms of clarity and richness, as well as that delicious smooth, circular bokeh.
Next, a very low light shot. ISO 1600, 1/10 second at f/1.4:
The 20mm at f/1.7 ISO 1600 only managed 1/5 second shutter.
Examining them closely, the 20mm shot is slightly more blurred than the 25mm shot. Here the extra brightness of the 25mm made the difference enough to allow a hand-held shot.
Here’s a miniature model of a sushi shop, displayed in the window of a sushi shop! First, the 25mm:
Followed by the 20mm:
Both ISO 200 at 1/160 second. Slight cropping in the 20mm photo and exposure adjustment (applied equally to both photos).
Here we can see the extra smoothness of the 25mm lens, but also, curiously, the reflection of the lens text in the window! Why can’t we see this text on the 20mm picture..?
Here’s another few pictures with the 25mm lens. A beautiful blue lamp that reminded me of jellyfish bioluminescence.
I was getting eaten by insects at this time, so I stopped testing and just enjoyed shooting. I found some fascinating kanabun beetles in the bushes at one point, but just as I was deliberating going back for my macro lens, tripod and flash, the streetlamp went out. Perhaps tomorrow…
To close, a flickering street lamp.
The town is surprisingly full of life at night! And the Japanese summer heat tapered off enough to enjoy a pleasant walk through the streets. I shall have to do this again :).
So what do you think – can you see the differences between the lenses? Which do you prefer and why?