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Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens Review

Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens Review - John Riley reviews the affordable Panasonic Lumix 25mm f/1.7 ASPH. prime lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

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Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH in Interchangeable Lenses

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Lumix 25mm F1,7 Front Three Quarter View

The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 for Micro Four Thirds is the equivalent of the 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.7 lenses that for decades were considered the standard lenses for 35mm film cameras. Typically these were high quality optics, made in vast numbers so at relatively low cost. They also were the lenses that gave users a first impression of a manufacturer's quality standards and served as a showcase to whet the appetite for more. It will be very interesting to see how the modern equivalent fills the same niche for current MFT cameras.

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Handling and Features

Lumix 25mm F1,7 Top View With Lens Hood

The lens is compact and light, weighing just 125g. It is well finished, using high quality polycarbonate materials, but with a metal mount. The lens bayonets smoothly and securely onto the Panasoni Lumix G6 camera body used for this review. Construction is 8 elements in 7 groups, two of these being aspherical and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index). There are 7 diaphragm blades, which is fairly conventional. The 25mm focal length is equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm format camera and offers the expected 47 degree angle of view. This gives a natural view of the world, very close to what we see with our eyes.

Focusing is down to 0.25m (0.82 feet) and this is much closer than the 0.45m that standard 50mm lenses used to focus to. This in itself can be very useful, although stopping the lens down at such close distances may be needed for best results. The filter thread is 46mm and surrounding the filter thread is a Decoration Ring. Before the lens hood can be attached this ring has to be removed. The lens hood bayonets into place very smoothly and securely.

The wide manual focus ring is ribbed, but in any event the electronic action is light and it is very easy to use. Apart from that, there are no other controls on the lens. The decoration ring is part of the design that in a way may be superfluous, because once removed it is quite possible that is will become misplaced and never used again. It has no other real function if a lens hood is to be used. The lens hood is included in the package and may be regarded as an essential accessory.


Lumix 25mm F1,7 On G6

For architecture, landscape and close ups the lens is ideal. It is a bit on the short side for portraits closer than half length because as we close in the perspective becomes too steep and noses become too big and distorted. A 35mm equivalent of 75mm or longer would be more suitable for head and shoulders and closer shots of people.

It is not a macro lens, but focuses close enough to be useful for flower portraits and other small subjects. This is a major advantage over standard lenses from the past.

There is no weather resistance, so care should be taken in wet weather, but apart from this there is no hazard nor is there any reason why this could not be a general purpose, carry-anywhere lens offering a realistic and un-distorted view of the world.
Lumix 25mm F1,7 Rear Three Quarter View

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Performance

Sharpness is quite another matter and the centre at f/1.7 is already very good, rising to excellent levels by f/4 and maintaining this through to f/8. This falls very slightly to very good levels at f/11, is still good at f/16 but only fair at f/22.

The edges maintain very good levels of sharpness from f/1.7 all the way through to f/11, only dropping to good levels at f/16 and fair levels at f/22. The edge values are commendably close to the centre values throughout and the performance is quite even.

This is a very good level of performance overall, and images should be bright, sharp and attractive throughout the range. The inclusion of f/22 as an option is fine if we need the depth of field, but for the best results should really be avoided. This is due to diffraction effects and is to be expected to some degree in all lenses. At the middle apertures the lens offers a very even and high level of sharpness.


 

 
MTF
MTF
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. 

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

CA is well under control, being virtually eliminated in the centre and only slightly drifting at the widest apertures at the edges. This is unlikely to be noticed in general photography and is hardly evident at all in branches against bright sky.


 

 
CA
CA
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

 

We can take the phrase undistorted view of the world quite literally, as the distortion levels measured are an extremely low -0.301% barrelling. This would be insignificant for even the most critical use, a commendably low figure.

We do need to be a bit careful about flare when shooting against the light. It is very easy to induce quite obvious flare, creating image artefacts and also reducing contrast to a soft haze. In this respect, the lens fares quite badly.

Looking at the bokeh of the lens we see a very pleasant look to the out of focus areas. The bokeh is smooth and does not have the over busy look that some lenses suffer from.

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Sample Photos

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 lens costs around £159. There are a few alternatives in MFT fit, such as the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 M. Zuiko (£289), Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton II (£659), Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 Leica DG Summilux (£389), and Zhongyi Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 (£261).

All of these offer their own particular features, but as an inexpensive and high quality standard lens for MFT the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspherical does offer a lot of performance for a very moderate price.

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Verdict

Much of the performance of this lens is exemplary, especially considering the modest cost. The only real drawback is the susceptibility to flare, which is very evident in shots taken into the light. If this can be accepted then the lens is without doubt an excellent proposition.

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Pros

High levels of sharpness
Low distortion
Low CA
Close focusing
Well made

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Cons

No weather resistance
Flare levels high against the light

 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH lens is a sharp and inexpensive standard lens for MFT cameras.

 

Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length25mm
Angle of View47
Max Aperturef/1.7
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size46mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent50mm
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus25cm
Construction
Blades7
Elements8
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens cap, Lens hood, Lens rear cap, Decoration ring
Dimensions
Weight125g
Height52mm

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Comments


lemmy 10 2.7k United Kingdom
17 Nov 2015 4:41PM
Looks like this joins Olympus's 45mm f/1.8 in being a bargain priced lens without any optical price to pay. And it is stabilzed!

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joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2015 5:36PM
Sorry there was an error in the specifications table, this has been corrected. It is not stabilised.
17 Nov 2015 6:35PM
You changed the MTF chart display marking of the vertical axis, to make it impossible to compare with other lenses including Olympus 25mm 1.8. The two should be very comparable in performances, but you gave 25mm F1.7 3.5 stars and 25mm F1.8 5 stars in performances. Can't see your logic nor evidence in such disparity.
joshwa Plus
7 826 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2015 10:14AM
Hi BostonC, the performance score is lower due to the poor flare performance, which means any bright light sources in the frame could cause a problem, as can be seen in the image titled "Flare Test" . The Olympus in comparison, was very resistant to flare.
18 Nov 2015 10:13PM
Josh, thx for the response, that makes some sense. Would it be possible to provide a comparison in the same MTH coordinates vs. 25mm F1.8? Right now these charts are pretty useless. TIA.
Flymoman 4 2 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2015 7:28PM
I'd have to agree on the new resolution test charts.the graph is meaningless without some frame of reference. Lens tip do it in a similar way but you at least get to know where the decency level is. It would be better on the new charts if you could perhaps superimpose the results for one against the other for comparison. The problem is that all older reviews don't use numerical values and therefore it's impossible to compare one to the other. Shame cos I do like the ephotozine lens reviews.
23 Nov 2015 10:00PM
The figures do relate to the quality level shown previously, but in the text. So, good, very good, excellent and so on give us a marker as there are values that relate to that. It does mean that other reviews that give MTF 50 values can be compared across the web, so we can see in theory how review samples might vary. Of course the charts are only part of the story as a lens has many characteristics that can also affect its performance. That is covered in the text as well, so hopefully the whole will give an impression of the lens and how it behaves.
23 Nov 2015 10:08PM
Hi, thanks for the review, not much information out there about this new lens!

Can you give an impression about the autofocus speed of the lens? I already own the 20mm/f1.7, so I'm hoping that this can offer better autofocus speeds. Is focusing as fast and quiet as with other modern M4/3 lenses?
23 Nov 2015 11:17PM
The AF is smooth and quiet. It locks on reliably and seems very fast. It's on a par with the other MFT lenses I've seen so far.
24 Nov 2015 2:18AM

Quote:The figures do relate to the quality level shown previously, but in the text. So, good, very good, excellent and so on give us a marker as there are values that relate to that. It does mean that other reviews that give MTF 50 values can be compared across the web, so we can see in theory how review samples might vary. Of course the charts are only part of the story as a lens has many characteristics that can also affect its performance. That is covered in the text as well, so hopefully the whole will give an impression of the lens and how it behaves.

So does that mean that the Olympus 25mm/1.8 is as sharp wide open as this lens gets at f2.8, and at f2.8 and f4 the Olympus is dramatically sharper (off the charts)?

That would be a bit disappointing if true. I'm just trying to understand where this lens sits according to the other 25mm lenses in the system based on your testing. It looks like the others are a lot sharper from your comment.
24 Nov 2015 7:47AM
No, not really. I can't comment on the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 as I haven't handled it. All I can say is what I said in the review as regards conclusions. In practical terms, we don't generally go around shooting pictures of test targets, so although the graphs can be an indication of performance some differences will never be seen visually as dramatically sharper or otherwise. The actual difference between lenses can be obvious when compared side by side with another lens, but likely as not when viewed in isolation will look perfectly satisfactory. Charts and text have to be seen together to get a picture, so I would also look to what the reviewer said about the Olympus lens.
22 Dec 2015 1:58AM
Thanks for the helpful review.
One small problem. I have been unable to remove the decoration ring. It simply won't budge when I try to twist it to the off lens position. This is my second copy of this lens. I returned the first for the same reason. I'm attempting to turn the ring counter-clockwise (with lens aimed at me). Is there a trick to this?
Thanks.
22 Dec 2015 8:28AM
Trying to think back at this, it's easy I think to grip it too hard, so like a stuck filter if we deform the ring it won't turn. So you could try try a lighter touch and just persevere till you find the knack. After the first removal it was easy every time, so maybe as supplied new they are a bit firmly installed. Hope that helps!

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