I was thinking about what lens to buy as a wide-angle prime for my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and I've already owned two Olympus alternatives which I didn't want to buy again. The 12mm f/2 is a lens I've always thought somewhat overated and while I liked the 17mm f/1.8 I really wanted a sharper alternative. And so I decided on the Panasonic 15mm f1.7 Leica Summilux DG ASPH. I'm glad I did.
Below are manually focused images shots at f/1.7.
HIGH-RESOLUTION IMAGE SAMPLES FOR APPRAISAL
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The first thing I have to say is that this is a superbly made lens. It does in fact make my Olympus primes look 'cheap'. It actually feels like it's made from metal, unlike the Olympus m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8. It's also has matte stone grey finish which is actually VERY classy.
The lens hood has a separate cap, which is a rubberised 'plug' so you can store the lens with or without hood and select which of the two caps you want. A nice touch. There is a beautifully engineered aperture ring which unfortunately only works with Panasonic cameras. The focusing ring is like a smoothly rotating cog, which actually has very 'grippy' indentations. All in all this is a thing of beauty.
I should point out here that one of the reasons I decided to buy it was that it was being sold on ebay at £150 less than the cheapest UK dealer price. It is a 'grey import' and not imported via the UK or even Europe. But it's a significant saving.
Optically it's very good indeed. Even wide open. The point of focus is very sharp and the images have a slightly different look to other m4/3 lenses I've used. It's more like a (D)SLR lens type rendering with a nice rich colour depth and contrast. Not so much the 'glossy' look I've come to expect. I suspect that Leica's involvement with Panasonic lenses is a lot more than just letting them use their name these days, because it is a very different lens in terms of look, feel and image quality to virtually every other Panasonic lens I've used in the past.
I'm looking forward to using it.
For Part 1 of my full review of the Panasonic Leica 15mm f/1.7 - CLICK HERE
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