Panasonic Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

A few days ago I was corresponding with someone on a forum about the 14-150mm Vario-Elmar zoom. He mentioned that he'd bought one of these 25mm lenses from the Panasonic USA website. The price was excellent, so I checked to see if there was anything equivalent here. There wasn't but I did find a mint S/H example at ffordes. Again it was a good price. These lenses almost never appear S/H, so I bought it as a replacement for my Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95, which I've sold, because manually focusing lenses on m4/3 is causing me problems. 

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

I had one of these Summiluxes a couple of years ago, but only briefly. I was using it with a Leica Digilux3, the Leica badged version of the Panasonic L1. I did use it a bit on the G1 I had at the time, but it was only manual focus with that camera. Shortly after buying it, I decided to buy a Leica M8 as they were offering it with a £500 cashback. The Summilux was one of the pieces of kit I sold to pay for that.

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

The Summilux does AF with the GH2, though slowly. Nothing like as bad as the Olympus 50mm f/2 but not as fast or smooth as the 14-150mm zoom. There's a process of 3 adjustments every time and then it locks on. Not ideal but it does work.

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

However I didn't buy it for ultra-fast street photography or sports but for its legendary sharpness and image quality.

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

The above was taken at f/1.4. Its pin sharp, with no CA or fringing. Again its a lens that benefits from the GH2 sensor. The Digilux3 was a good camera but its 7MP were never really going to show just how good this lens is.

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

The point of focus is very sharp, and while the 20mm f/1.7 is excellent wide open, this is better. In fact from f/2.8 to f/5.6 its incredibly sharp. I've only used it for an afternoon but f/4 looks to be the optimum aperture so far.

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

Its not light, in fact its only marginally lighter that the 14-150mm zoom, but it sits well on the GH2.

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

Panasonic GH2 Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4

Its a bit of an indulgence, but I got a very good price for the Voigtlander and decided to treat myself. I love these PanLeica 4/3 lenses and they hold their value very well.

Whether the future Panasonic m4/3 25mm f/1.4 will equal this lens for resolution and sharpness remains to be seen. But in answer to the question, is this a better lens than the 20mm f/1.7 pancake? the answer is yes for image quality, but no for AF. The 20mm is lightning quick on the GH2 and would be my preferred lens for situations where I need the speed. However when I have the time to wait for the AF the Summilux has enough of an edge to make it worth putting up with.

Images - David and Ann