Two fast lenses

Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton .
Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton

Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens.
Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens

Since the weather has been bad plus I'm pretty much up to date with my editing plus I had my testing rig set up plus I decided to dust off my Panasonic G3, I thought I would compare the Sony NEX-5n fitted with my Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton with the G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3 lens.

Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton .
Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton

Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens.
Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens

Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton .
Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton

Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens.
Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens

Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton .
Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens photographed with a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton

Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens.
Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Photographed with a panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens

Below is a test at ISO 200 at various apertures.

Comparison between a Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens and a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton.
Comparison between a Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3  lens and a Sony NEX-5n fitted with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton

As usual, for high-res version, click on image > flickr > Actions > view all sizes > Original.

There's actually not a huge lot to say. Both are great lenses and are very sharp. Both have some CA and fringing wide-open. The Panasonic combination has more DOF at all apertures, the Voigtlander / Sony combination has nicer bokeh. The Panasonic / Leica is cheaper. The Voigtlander is manual focus only.

Do I prefer one over the other? Both do a really good job, though it has to be said that once you add in the NEX-5n's high ISO performance, its difficult to think of a situation that combination wouldn't let you take photographs in. However if you have invested in a m4/3 system then the 25mm f/1.4 is a fine lens. Though it does have to be remembered that while its quiet on Panasonic cameras, it makes a substantial noise with its clicking aperture blades on the Olympus Pens.

Ultimately I think my preference is for the Sony / Voigtlander combination. With focus peaking on the 5n, the AF advantage of the Panasonic lens is somewhat reduced. In low light situations AF often struggles anyway and manual focusing is more accurate. The new version of the 35mm f/1.2 Nokton is a pretty substantial piece of metal however, and while I like that, others may find it a bit heavy for their taste. The Sony NEX system doesn't have a "fast standard" as yet, and the Voigtlander is an (expensive!) way to fill that gap. Its not a lens you can easily try either, since its usually only in stock at very specialist dealers. I had no opportunity to try one out before buying it. 

I'm not sure I will keep both, and it seems the Panasonic will be the one to go. I've already sold my Olympus gear. Yes the beautiful E-P3, 12mm and 45mm lenses have gone to a new home! If I am going to keep trying new stuff, then something has to be sold to pay for it. Though I loved handling and looking at the Olympus, I didn't use it very much, so I finally got round to doing what I knew I would eventually, which was sell it.

Though the Panasonic GX1 is definitely something that appeals to me, I may soon move away from m4/3. I have two NEX-5n's, the Samsung NX200 and a Sony a77 as well as the G3, and the Panasonic comes down the pecking order when I decide on a camera to take out. I've also got a NEX-7 on pre-order again so it will get pushed back even more. 

So in a way this test was a bit of a farewell to the 25mm f/1.4. To be honest I've hardly used it. I think I've only taken it out a couple of times. My desire for some kind of photographic "purity", something along the lines of "A standard lens was good enough for Cartier-Bresson, why isn't it good enough for me?" tends to get balanced out by the fact that I'm not Cartier-Bresson, never will be and I'm not sure how many pictures of canal boats, stately homes and backlit trees he took anyway!

So I'm back in one of those, "what am doing with all this gear I never use?" modes. I'm a bit bi-polar about this as you've probably noticed. One day, possibly, I may find "my camera", the one I use all the time and never look at another. True love as opposed to infatuation if you like. It may happen, it may not, and I guess if it does this blog will become somewhat less interesting to many. 

Maybe what I really need to do is open up a camera shop, but then buying and selling gear at a profit, isn't exactly my speciality! I certainly won't get on any camera manufacturers review list, since I can't think of one photographic brand I haven't insulted at one time or another. 

Still, returning to the point, as ever I would recommend you have a look at the test to see what you think about the two lenses. 

I am planning to wrap up my monster NX200 rolling review sometime soon, but I am wondering about trying a couple of the pancake lenses on it. 

So much for self-dicipline!!