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Low light prime lens for Panasonic GM1

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by bios, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. bios

    bios Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 5, 2014
    Hello to you all

    This week i gonna get my new Panasonic GM1 and am already looking for a prime lens.
    I do take a lot of pictures with birthdays/ parties and so on with family and friends, indoor and outdoor and mostly there is low light available.

    I am not sure which focal length is the best for me, have to found out that yet, but any recommendation is much appreciated.
    The 3 lenses i have in mind are ;

    * Pana Leica 15mm 1.7 ($535)
    * Pana Leica 25mm 1.4 ($495)
    * Olympus 25mm 1.8 ($450)

    Was first looking at the PL 25mm but am wondering if it's a little to big for the small Pana GM1 ... anyone here uses this combination ?
    It has the best low light capabilities, with its f1.4 aperture its 1/2 stop faster then the rest.
    The Olympus 25mm will look better visual along with the Pana GM1 but is slower ...
    Then there is this new PL 15mm, it will look visual good with the Pana GM1 but again it's slower then the PL 25mm and i am not sure if i like this focal length ...

    Hope to read some recommmendations from you guys ;-)
  2. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Panasonic 20mm 1.7 ($430): very sharp, a little wider (which is useful indoors), but maybe a little slower to focus. Pancake-type format, would go well with the GM1.
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I am a big fan of the Oly 17/1.8 - I use it on the OMD - its certainly sharp enough for me - this was shot in a dim restaurant at wide open at ISO 4000

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    PB250019 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    and this is at 2.8 @5000

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P2200067 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    many more 17mm shots here


    I also have the panaleica 25 - which is another fine lens - but while the extra 2/3 of a stop is useful, the truth is when shooting in low light, like a dimly lit restaurant you are going to be in hi ISO/ low shutter speed territory anyway so there will be compromises in overall image quality in terms of grain and motion blur you will have to make.

    These were shot in a very dim and flatly lit restaurant

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P2230182 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P2230170 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    theres a few more here


    Learning to shoot in RAW, use spot metering as well as judicious amounts of PP and B/W conversion are probably more helpful than an extra stop of lens speed


    • Like Like x 3
  4. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    the more wider focal length the more you need to get close for getting bokeh effect.

    I suggest 2 primes which is 45mm for portrait and for all around either 15mm pana or 17mm oly. You also can consider 14mm f2.8 pana.
  5. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I love the 25/1.4 but I never put it on my GM1. It does kind of defeat the size advantage of the GM1 in my opinion. If I was interested in that focal length on the GM1 I'd go with the Oly 25/1.8 honestly (though I don't personally own that lens). The 25/1.4 just isn't a "throw it in your pocket" kind of lens to me.

    I own the 20/1.7 and I just never use it - even on the GM1. I prefer the 17/1.8 or 15/1.7 on the GM1. The 20/1.7 is wide and flat and hangs over the edges of the GM1 rather significantly making the total volume occupied in a pocket not much less than when using the 17/1.8 or 15/1.7.

    As to focal length, well you'll need to decide for yourself. I find in my house I use the 25/1.4 a lot because I'm usually taking pictures of my kid and not my house. However, when I'm out and about usually I'm taking a picture of my kid in some environment - the point is she is visiting some location or interacting with someone or something - and so I prefer a wider focal length. Right now I'm leaning towards keeping the 15/1.7 and selling the 17/1.8 but I'd still consider adding the 17/1.8 to your list of choices.
  6. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I'd think the 15mm would be a perfect match on the GM1
  7. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I second this. It's only a tad slower than the Panny 25mm f/1.4, just as sharp, and a whole lot smaller (more appropriate for the GM1).
  8. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I concur. If you bought the GM1, size must have played some part in your decision. The 15 was designed, size-wise, to match to the GM1 as it will not stick out below the bottom of the camera like many of the other lenses that have a larger diameter. And, if you do not like it, you can probably sell at a good price since I am sure they will be in demand for some time.

  9. bios

    bios Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 5, 2014
    Have to say that i am leaning toward the 15mm also, but am afraid if it's the right focal length for me ... (indoors, low light)
    I did cosider the pana 20mm f1.7 but did read a lot about it's slow autofocus with low light situations
    And the Olympus 17mm `f1.8 was also on my mind but not everybody was very happy with the IQ sharpness
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    You do not want too long of a focal length if you are shooting indoors, as you do not often have the opportunity to back up if needed. The 15 is moderately wide, but not too wide to cause distortion. It seems like an ideal lens to have when at parties and events, as you usually take photos of small groups of people at close range.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
  12. bios

    bios Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 5, 2014
  13. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Ah darn. Oh well.
  14. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    and there is why you shouldn't always listen to loud voices on forums without some sort of sense of perspective.

    I read the reviews that in an abstract fashion declared the 17mm 'not sharp'... I bought one, having the budget and the need for a new toy... and to my surprise I found I was shooting a lot with it... I think my pic of the sushi menu kind of kills the sharpness argument... certainly for those of us who actually take pictures and dont just rely on spec sheets.

    There is so much BS written about lenses... at the end of the day almost all modern lenses are at least good..with the caveat that a 500 dollar prime lens will be better than a kit zoom, and a 1000 dollar lens will be better in some way than the 500 dollar lens.

    But in the end most lenses are probably better than most photographers ability to use them

    just my opinion

  15. MrDoug

    MrDoug Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2011
    Boise, Idaho
    The 20 1.7 is the Cats Pajamas on the GM1.. contrary to what a lot of folks say about the AF being slow.. it is not on the modern up to date cameras.. ie in the GM1.. I have the original 20 .. and on the GM1 it is INSTANT fast.. awesome IQ, Color and Sharp Sharp.. it (the 20 1.7) being a tiny bit larger than the GM1 body is insignificant to me.. Very fast and Awesome images.. just my 5 cents.. the GM1 with the 20 1.7 is super duper and small... YOMV.. :) 
    • Like Like x 2
  16. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    The PL25 is the only 1.4 AF lens we have available. Really, if you don't want to deal with its physical size, your only option is a slower F1.7-2 lens. If you want lots of background separation at a small size, the 45mm zuiko is what you want. Indoors I would go for the 20mm/15mm (don't worry, in close quarters you can still get quite a bit of bokeh). For just one lens that can do it all, get the 25mm Zuiko...
  17. bios

    bios Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 5, 2014
    Lot of different opinions here, but that's what i asked for and very much appreciated !
    Every new post i read here i think; hey that guy is right, i should go for that one but then a new post appears with another justified opinion...

    This will also be my first prime lens, so i am carefully with choosing the right one (unfortunaterly i'm not rich).
    Also great to read that the 20mm 1.7 is indeed fast attached with the GM1, should the 2nd version of the 20mm 1.7 also be fast with the GM1 ?
    It was the first lens i was interested in, low price (compared with the others), very sharp, small BUT all those stories about the slow autofocus and continuous seeking in low light situations... Is there anybody here that can confirm that the 2nd version of the 20mm 1.7 attached to the GM1 is also fast with autofocus in low light indoors ?
    And i always am looking at that PL25mm 1.4, just love the fast f1.4 aperture but the size of that lens attached with the GM1 makes me wonder.
    The 25mm Zuiko will indeed look visual a lot better and costs $100 less, but will i miss that 2/3 stops in low light..... people here with the 25mm Zuiko attached with the GM1 ?
    And the new PL15 1.7 looks very promissing but has the highest price of them all, maybe a bit to much for my taste compared with the others ...

    For now it's between the PL15mm 1.7, Pl25mm 1.4, Zuiko 25mm and the Pana 20mm 1.7

    Got my new GM1 yesterday, very nice micro machine indeed ;-)
    People must be thinking it's just a silly toy camera which takes crappy pictures which makes it more fun indeed
  18. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    The second version of the 20mm works exactly the same as the first. I had the first version for a good couple of years and it worked well with all my bodies that I had own from the GF1 to the GM1. I had no issues with focus speed, focusing speed seemed to be quicker on the GM1, but cannot verify that, sold it in the end to finance the PL15mm.
    I can't really recomend which lens out of all those to recomend because they are all so good.
  19. vm666

    vm666 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2013
    The PL 12-32 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom is stabilized. The PL 20 mm f/1.7 and the PL 14 mm f/2.5 are not; I did not check the other lenses.
    "Mega OIS" should save 2 to 3 EV; as far as speed is concerned, the kit zoom is better than a f/1.7-2.8 not-stabilized zoom. As far as the IQ is concerned, this kit zoom has excellent reviews, I'm not sure you would get much more sharpness with a pancake (with the 20 mm, maybe).

    If you really want a prime, you should go for a compact one. The PL 14 mm f/2.5 is more compact than the 20 mm f/1.7. The PL 20 mm is slightly bigger than the 12-32 kit zoom.
  20. bios

    bios Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 5, 2014
    Main goal for the prime is to have descent IQ in low light indoor situations. All the prime lenses mentioned here are not stabilized.
    I thought i would have more overhead with a prime lens attached then the kit-lens even if it is stabilized ...
    Iso 3200 with the GM1 would be acceptable and with a minimum shutterspeed of 0.60s, am i wrong here ?
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