Digital Cameras Guide

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

First Looks: Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Lens

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Introduction, Design & Handling

Introduction

Launching in June/July together with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and GF3 is the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/f1.4 ASPH, a Micro Four Thirds prime lens. The Micro Four Thirds mount has a crop factor of 2x, so in effect the 25mm becomes like a 50mm lens in 35mm equivalent.

Together with the other prime lenses, the Olympus 12mm f/2 (24mm equivalent), the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 (28mm equivalent) pancake, the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 (34mm equivalent) pancake, and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm equivalent), the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 (50mm equivalent) rounds up a nice selection of prime lenses covering from a wide to telephoto range. 50mm is traditionally deemed a portrait lens, as its perspective is close to the human eye's. The lens' fast f/1.4 aperture also produces a beautifully narrow depth of field with a soft background, making the subject an even stronger point of focus.

Its closest competitor today is the Voigtländer 25mm f/0.95 (a 50mm lens in 35mm equivalent), which is a faster lens but is manual focus, while the Panasonic 25mm is able to do auto-focus. And while the price for the Panasonic 25mm lens hasn't been revealed, it's likely that it'll be priced more affordably than the Voigtländer, which is currently listed at Amazon for US$1,199.

The Panasonic 25mm/f1.4 lens opens up a wealth of possibilities for the Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a fast and wide lens. Let's take a closer look at how it handles and performs.

Design & Handling

Physically, the 25mm is a substantial lens, close in size to the kit 14-42mm zoom lens. Approximately 54.5mm in length and 200g in weight, it's bigger than previous prime lenses and is a lens you'll definitely feel at the end of your camera.

It's worth noting that the lens doesn't come with built-in image stabilization, and neither do any of Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras. So you're going to need that fast aperture or firm hands to get a steady shot with hand-held long exposures. Either that or tack the 25mm onto an Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, all of which come with in-body image stabilizers.