14mm 2.5 OR 15mm 1.7?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by otter, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. otter

    otter New to Mu-43

    May 27, 2015
    15mm costs around $600.

    14mm 2.5 about $300.

    That's what each lens costs brand new at the time of writing.

    I like the pancake-y-ness of the 14mm, but like the speed of the 15mm. However, I wonder if it's worth the extra $300. People who have had owned one or both of them, how do you think one compares to the other? Not just in terms of optical performance, but in terms of ease of use and the 'fun' factor (or something like that).

    If I get the 15mm, it's not coming off of my camera forever.

    Now, if I do go with the 14mm, I could get the 20mm and I'd have a two-lens kit for the price of the 15mm. I probably won't shoot much with the 20mm though. I'm partial to shorter focal lengths as I mostly shoot street stuff, but I think the 20 is a nice change from time to time if I get bored.
  2. Robert

    Robert Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 16, 2012
    After using a Pana 14mm, Sigma 19mm and Pana 20mm I recently bought the PL 15mm. I like the rendering and the sharpness. The 14mm is a nice lens on a small body, IQ is a little beter than a kitzoom.

    Verzonden vanaf mijn iPad met behulp van Mu-43
  3. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    What camera? If it's something like the GM1/5 then the 14 makes a pocket friendly setup. Paired with the 20mm that could be a really nice kit.
  4. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    You can get the 14mm new but separated from a kit (so no packaging or warranty) for $150-$200 on eBay. That's how I got mine. I love the tiny size, and it makes a great small kit when matched with one of the smaller bodies (GM, EPL etc). I use it often, mainly because of the size. The image quality is nothing special, but it's not bad. It's sharp in the center, but it has low contrast and needs a bit of work in post to get good results.

    Honestly, if that is a favorite focal length, I would say the 15 is worth the difference. If it's not a favorite FL, it's hard to go wrong with an optically adequate, reasonably sharp lens for less than $200.
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  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I would probably pick the 12-32mm pancake over the 14mm if I wanted something compact but versatile (still, giving up a full stop is a full stop), and the 15mm/1.7 over the 14mm if I wanted something really special. The 14mm seems like a bit of an inbetweener, but it is pretty cheap.
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  6. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    Good thought. My 12-32 general fills that "really small setup" that I use to use a 14mm for.
  7. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    "Speed is life" to quote an old fighter pilot. 1.7 will make a difference sometimes over 2.5.
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  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I bought several primes at once getting into m4/3 and the 15mm f1.7 was quickly my favorite. The focal length is great as an all around. The f1.7 allows for shooting in low light. The wider focal length allows you to get deep DOF at max aperture by stepping back, or very shallow DOF and isolation by getting closer to your subject. I shoot it faster than f2.5 almost all the time, so I don't think I could be happy with the 14mm after using it.

    Aside from the aperture and useful focal length, the 15mm just has a fantastic photo quality. It's a unique blend of bokeh, sharpness, color, contrast and even the subtle vignetting wide open. The pictures from this lens just have more life to them than shots from the close alternatives. That's why I bought it.

    I ordered mine from Japan for about $450, so there are ways to ease the pricetag pain.

    I wouldn't sweat the size,either. It's not a pancake, but it's only 1/2"
    away from one.
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  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    Isn't funny how m4/3 perspective changes things.
    1/2" on my FX kit = barely noticeable.
    1/2" on m4/3 = almost DOUBLE the length.
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  10. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    The extra stop advantage of the 1.7 sometimes will come in handy especially when you take the lens into the night. That said, the size of the pancake is also nice to have at times. I say get the 15, it's currently my edc lens + GM1.
  11. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    The wisdom of the ages. Never skimp on your favorite FL. The time on camera means the better lens will affect many photos.
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  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:

    my usual curve ball:
    if you buy the 14 used for $200 you can put another $150 into the GWC-1 and get an 11mm without needing to change the lens (just add an adapter)

    also, is that extra stop worth $300?

    you are best set to answer those questions, but our answers can perhaps strike a view you hadn't seen (or a chord with your view)
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  14. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Here's my short review of the lens https://www.mu-43.com/threads/75027/

    I got mine for ~$450 brand new from ebay (winktokyo), and had no problems what-so-ever. It was a brand new lens, all original packaging, and showed up a few days after ordering (I live on the east cost).

    As for the price of the 14mm, you'd be crazy to pay that much for one. Don't buy one new, but a used one for ~$150-200. Having owned both lenses before (as well as a Panasonic 20mm), the 15mm is hands-down the best all around lens. Lightning quick AF, pretty good sharpness (not as good as the 20mm, but better than the 14mm), and much better build quality. It's also worth noting that you're giving up a stop of light with the 14mm, and every stop matters with m43 when it comes to shooting in higher ISO's.

    Bottom line, if you have the funds get the 15mm, you won't be disappointed. I would just either pick up a used copy, or buy a new one from winktokyo on ebay.
  15. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    I just picked a PL 15mm used from a user here. So far I've been pretty happy. I've been using my Panny 20mm for several years, but I wanted something wider. I was using the old school 17mm f2.8 from olympus before that.

    My logic was that I can always crop to get closer in regards to FOV, even though perspective won't change. All too often taking group shots indoors is difficult with the 20mm.
  16. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    Questions like these always boils down to answering the following questions:

    1. Does either lens meet your standards of IQ and do you prefer the IQ of one over the other from sample photos you've seen here or elsewhere?
    2. Which focal length do you need/want more?
    3. How important is the extra speed?
    4. How important is the size/weight difference as well as build quality?
    5. Are you on a shoe string budget or price doesn't matter?
    6. How important is having a physical aperture ring (if you shoot a Panasonic body)?

    It sounds to me like you really want the 15mm and trying to justify the price.

    For me, I tend to buy what I want/need the first time around which saves me money in the long run by not having to buy and sell and take a hit on the depreciation. Always quality that meets my needs/wants over quantity, even if it means I have to save for a bit longer.

    And in my case, I'd choose the 15/1.7 over the 14/2.5 any day of the week for several reasons.

    1. Faster speed, one full stop difference, which is very big in the world of m43.
    2. I prefer the sample images I've seen of the 15/1.7 over the 14/2.5.
    3. I already have the 28mm focal length covered by my Ricoh GR Digital III with it's 28/1.9 lens as well as my Fuji X100T with the WCL-X100 wide conversion lens which is a 28/2 lens.
    4. If I were to ever get a GM5 as a small m43 backup camera, the GM5 along with the 15/1.7 is a very sexy pairing, especially with the physical aperture ring.
    5. The 15/1.7 has much better build quality.
    6. The 15/1.7 comes with a very nice metal hood included.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
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  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I have the 14 which I like a lot, but the Coolpix A had become my go to photographic object for that FL.
  18. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Real Name:
    It seems most reviews say of the 14mm "nice lens for the price, but ..." Whereas you hear nothing but praise for the 15mm.

    Never had the 14mm, but the 15mm is wonderful, never off my GX7.
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  19. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
    Real Name:
    This is a good point. When I had the 14mm, is was the most versatile lens in my line up when paired with my GWC-1 and GFC-1. It was like having 3 lenses on one mount. It was also a helluva lot cheaper set up than the PL15 though I should state that I bought everything used so I saved a little more. Even so, the 14mm by itself just didnt have enough "pop" in the images I produced with them so I ended up selling the 14mm and adapters to help fund my PL15. Now the PL15 rarely leaves my GX7.
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  20. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Real Name:
    I sometimes see the P14 around for ~100-110usd. Bought mine for 100 with a gf3 included. and for that, its a jewel. really really love mine... and im picky when it comes to IQ...
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