Not happy with Pana 25mm f1.4

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ampl465a, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. ampl465a

    ampl465a Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    Just got the Panasonic Summilux 25mm and while I expected that it might "Rattlesnake" occasionally, (based on everything I have read), this lens is doing it constantly. It seems to be "hunting" and adjusting even when I am not touching the shutter button. The camera is not set to full time auto focus and it does not matter what shooting mode I am in. It annoys me and will probably lead to a sale. Even with the aperture set, as I move the lens and the shutter speed and/or ISO adjusts, the noise continues all the time. As I walk with the camera just a round me neck, the noise continues. I do not recall anyone else having it happen so often. Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.
  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Open the aperture to 1.4 when not in use. It shouldn't do it then. Also, of course, you are on an Oly body, right? Finally, it's most heard when the camera scene is moving from light to dark. Does it do it with the lens cap on?
  3. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    Have you updated to most recent firmware for camera and lense?
  4. ampl465a

    ampl465a Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    Using OMD. Still does it at 1.4 and when moving from light to dark etc. No noise with lens cap on.
  5. ampl465a

    ampl465a Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    Using 1.5 firmware for OMD but don't know about lens firmware. Need to check I guess. Must be me because my new Oly 45 F1.8 makes a noise too. Not as loud but still there. Thanks
  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Mirrorless systems use LiveView, you're seeing a direct feed from the sensor. The light is falling on the sensor all the time and that can cause sensors to overheat and possibly there are other problems. If there is a change in the amount of light falling on the sensor the camera adjusts the aperture blades so it can give a constant brightness image in the display, whether that's on the screen or in the viewfinder.

    On Olympus bodies the control process for that aperture adjustment as the level of incident light changes doesn't seem to work all that well for some lenses, most noticeably the PL25 but the Pany 20 and the Olympus 45 have also been reported as having the same problem and I've noticed it occasionally in extremely bright sunlight with my Olympus 75. The noise you're hearing is a result of the camera setting and resetting the aperture blades to control the amount of incident light falling on the sensor. The 25 seems to have noisy aperture blades but it's also the fastest lens amongst the group with reported problems and that means that it is also capable of passing the greatest amount of light to the sensor. I find it interesting that the 2 lenses reported to have the problem most often, the 20 and 25, are both Panasonic and that the fastest Olympus lenses are only F/1.8 and the problem occurs rarely with them. Olympus seem to have optimised their control process here for use with their own lenses which probably isn't too surprising.

    I find that if I keep the camera steady the action stops in a few seconds and the noise goes away. If you're moving about the camera is also moving and the lens will be continually pointing in slightly different directions from your body movement which means that the amount of light falling on the sensor will keep changing. That can prolong the action as the camera has to keep responding to the changing levels of light so the noise can continue for much longer periods under those circumstances.

    I also find that the problem is worse for me in high contrast lighting situations and that's a pretty good description of the lighting where I live which is sub-tropical with quite strong light. The situation may be different in locations closer to one of the poles where the light isn't normally as harsh and contrasty as it can get as you get closer to the equator. Some people seem to think that it's worse in bright light but I've been out in bright, low contrast light situations and not had as much of a problem with my 25, and also been out in low light situations where I've been moving from shadowed to lit areas and had problems so my personal feeling is that it's not just overall lighting level that is the issue but that the contrast level of the part of the scene that the lens is pointing to also has a part in determining whether the aperture blade adjustment will be triggered.

    So, what can you do about it?

    Some people report that some operating modes aren't as bad as others, and that Manual mode in particular doesn't result in the problem. That isn't my experience but yours may be different. Try changing to different modes and see if that helps.

    Turning the camera off or having it sleep also solves the problem for obvious reasons. If you aren't trying to capture fast action and you have time to compose your shots carefully without hurrying, simply turn the camera off between shots.

    You could also try keeping the camera stationary so the lens keeps pointing in the same direction. Provided the light level doesn't change the noise will stop after a few seconds, once the camera concludes the adjustment process. Unfortunately this isn't a particularly successful technique unless you've got the camera mounted on a tripod and are staying in the one spot for some time. If you're handholding and moving around, it's pretty well impossible to keep the lens pointed at exactly the same thing for any length of time and every time you move the camera so the lens is pointing at something different the light level falling on the sensor is likely to change and trigger the blade action again.

    There are a number of threads about this here and in one of them Amin Sabet notes that Olympus are aware of the problem and looking at it. Whether that means we'll get a firmware update to fix it at some stage is anybody's guess. Amin posted that comment some months ago now and we've seen nothing so obviously Olympus aren't hurrying to do something about it.

    The other thing that is quite apparent from all of the comments is that different people react to the noise differently. Some find it unbearable, others don't have a major problem with it. I don't have a major problem though I certainly would like to see a firmware fix. I wonder whether another factor may simply be that there is a bit of variation in the noise level of the aperture blades from one copy of a lens to another so some copies of the 25 are noisier than others.
  7. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    How loud is the rattlesnake? This loud?

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src=""></iframe>

    That was on my E-P3 and it was a given no matter how I used the camera. Pretty annoying, but I worked around it.

    On my E-M5, which is mostly on A mode like my E-P3, I very rarely rattlesnake and never when in aperture priority mode. The only two times it did happen was when coming from P mode in video. I've tried two different PL25s on my camera and they didn't rattlesnake at v1.0, v1.2 or v1.5 firmware on the camera.

    It makes me wonder if you have a bum lens, or if there is a setting on your E-M5 that could be changed (either that, or you possibly have exceptional dog-like hearing, not destroyed with live music like me)? I never have heard a rattlesnake out of the Olympus 45mm on the E-P2/3 or E-M5.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Real Name:
    Lucille Sanchez
    I never hear a sound from mine, but I always shoot in manual mode.
  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    It seems on my E-M5 that the PL25 will behave itself outdoors in natural light, but indoors under artificial light is when it is most prone to rattlesnake.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    My PL25 almost never rattlesnakes on the E-M5. I'd be pretty annoyed if it did that a lot!
  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I don't find it to be as loud as the video but I really don't know how accurate the sound level in the video is. That depends on several factors, the gain setting for the microphone, any adjustments to that gain setting made when mastering the video, the volume setting you choose in the controls for the video itself, the volume setting for your computer's sound system, and the sensitivity of the speakers you use for your computer sound.

    I actually think it's pretty damn difficult to ensure that the level of sound you hear when you watch the video will match what you hear when you're using the lens on your own camera. What I found when trying the lens in a shop after watching the video at home is that the video gave me a good idea of what the sound was like but it hadn't given me a good idea of how loud the actual sound was (I actually expected the sound to be louder than it actually was based on what I heard on the video with my audio level settings) and the sound continued for much longer on the video due to movement of the camera than I found it to do while I was actually taking pictures and keeping the lens pointed in basically the same direction which minimised changes in the light level falling on the sensor.

    I think the video is useful for giving you some idea of what to expect in terms of the nature of the sound but it may not give you an accurate idea of the actual level of the sound depending on how you have your speakers set up (I tend to leave mine at full volume and adjust the volume with the volume control for the video itself but others may adjust volume differently) and I was quite surprised to find how fast the noise stopped if I kept the lens stationary. It rarely continues for longer than a couple of seconds unless I keep the lens moving around a bit in which case I can create a situation in which it never stops. What happens while you're moving around normally with the camera turned on will fall somewhere between those 2 extremes but light level and lighting contrast start to play a role there as well as how much the lens is moving and what that does to the amount of light falling on my sensor.
  12. merosen

    merosen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2012
    Somerville (Boston), MA
    Real Name:
    Tried Panasonic lenses in the store the other day on my E-M5.
    PL25mm chattered loud enough to notice - annoying.
    P20mm was quiet.
    Didn't get a chance to use it outside.
  13. ampl465a

    ampl465a Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    Yes, that seems to be the case with the very limited time I have had it.
  14. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA

    Great points, David.

    One of the reasons I posted that video, when the PL25 was first released, was because there seemed to be some confusion as to whether it was any different than what the P20 did when mounted on Oly bodies. I was trying to give a rough idea of the experience of the PL25.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Real Name:
    Each individual has different thresholds of "lens chatter" noise. For me the PL25 on the E-PL3 was unacceptable. Instead of returning the lens, I opted to put it on a GX1 body and the amount of chatter was much less and tolerable for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    I think I hear more chatter with the PL25 mounted on my GX1 than my EM-5. I rarely notice it making any sound.
  17. ampl465a

    ampl465a Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    Can you advise what is the latest version of firmware for the lens please?
  18. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I have the 20mm and the 25mm and I've never heard them rattlesnake on my two OM-D's.
  19. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Real Name:
    This is consistent with my experience also.
  20. Shank

    Shank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 5, 2012
    Real Name:
    Jimmy the Cricket
    My P/L25mm rattlesnakes occasionally along with my Panasonic 45-175x and Oly 45mm.
    It doesn't really bother me especially in the case of the P/L25mm, the lens is just that good.