My Panasonic 42.5 f/1.7 Review

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ijm5012, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Last week I was alerted to a deal on eBay gift cards at Target, which were 10% off. I had been watching a couple 42.5's on eBay for the past few weeks, and saw this as a "sign" that it was time to buy one. I bought the gift cards online, and ordered the lens later that night from a seller in Hong Kong. The lens showed up 3 days after ordering it, and was exactly as described: brand new, comes with everything you would get when buying it new here in the states, except I saved $105.

    I previously owned the Olympus 45mm, and while it was a great little lens I didn't use it much, so I sold it off. However after the announcement of the 42.5 f/1.7 I became more interested in an 85mm FoV lens again, mainly because of the inclusion of OIS. Having owned both of the lenses, I figured I'd offer my thoughts on build quality differences between the two lenses.

    To make a long story short, the Panasonic is better built IMO. It primarily comes down to the material used on the body, and the Panasonic edges the Olympus here due to metal body (likely just a thin shell, but it still feels better than a plastic lens IMO). The focus ring is nicely damped, the lens comes with a storage pouch and lens hood, etc. It's a very nicely built lens, and fits in well with other Panasonic & Olympus prime lenses.

    I finally got a chance to use the lens today, and was am very happy with how it performs. The sharpness is fantastic with this lens, although strong light sources in OoF areas are not as round as they are with the Olympus lens (a tradeoff I'll take for the inclusion of OIS), and the lens does suffer from some CA (easily fixed in LR though, so no biggie IMO). In addition to shooting some shots of subjects with the lens as is, I also threw the Olympus MCON-P02 macro adapter on, and did some comparisons looking at minimum focussing distances, sharpness, etc. All of these are shown below.

    I'm very happy with the lens, and look forward to using it more than I did the Olympus 45mm when I owned it.





    Images With & Without MCON-P02

    Without MCON-P02









    With MCON-P02








    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
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  2. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    fixed the broken image links...
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Most examples I see of this lens focus on the macro capabilities, fewer traditional portraits for some reason. Have you tried the lens out for such a purpose?
  4. sesser

    sesser Zen Master Subscribing Member

    Mar 10, 2015
    Portland, OR
    I hate this site! Every time I come here, I find something else I *need* to buy.
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  5. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Not yet. I've been so busy I haven't had any time to get out of the apartment with it (hopefully this weekend). However, I don't see how this will differ much from the O.45 with the exception of slightly better sharpness, and slightly less round bokeh-balls @ max aperture (stopping the lens down to f/2 fixes this).

    The macro ability is quite good, especially when paired with the Olympus MCON-P02.
  6. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 30, 2014
    I've read that micro contrast on the Panasonic lens is better than the O45. Is that your observation too? I'm lusting after either this or the O45 for a travel portrait lens. No macro capabilities desired... Wondering which would get me better results.
  7. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I can't comment much about micro contrast differences between the lenses, since I really didn't use the O45 all that much. However you can see the micro contrast present in the 4th image shown above. The P42.5 is a great little lens.
  8. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I'm pretty curious to see how it does with busy out-of-focus backgrounds. My current 50/1.4 has quite harsh rings around the out-of-focus highlights. The Olympus 45/1.8 seems quite smooth in this regard, but I like the close-focus, OIS, and sharpness of the 42.5/1.7, so it's a tricky choice.
  9. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

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  10. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    nice shots @Levster@Levster ! I think it shows the lens can handle busy backgrounds quite well!
  11. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    @ijm5012 post provides an excellent example of using f/16 (despite the diffraction) vice f/8.
  12. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2013
    A. Alabanza
    How does the O45 fare macro-wise without the P02?
  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    In my initial post, I show some examples of images taken with and without the P02. I would say that it fares good enough, but that's a personal opinion. I don't do macro nearly enough to warrant buying something like the 60 f/2.8 Macro from Olympus, however this lens, especially with the P02, certain is "good enough" for me.
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