Review Pan 14mm / PanLeica 15mm / Oly 17mm / Pan 12-32mm (IMAGE HEAVY)

davidzvi

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This won't be a direct "how is the corner sharpness at f/4" type of review. Instead it will be a much more personal review. How does the different angle of view look on an image like this? Can I focus close enough at this focal length with this lens to get the image I'm looking for? Are there handling and size issues that make me like one over the other? I'm going to start with the needs I'm trying to fill, some handling observations, a few sample images from each, and completely personal (irrational?) thoughts about each.

I've owned all of these lenses multiple times (3 to 5 times for each). But this was the first time I'd owned them all at the same time, actually just sold off the P12-32 today (more on that later). I have the E-M1.2 and Pen F; I also have the O12-100 Pro and expect to add the O12-45 Pro. I like the opticals and build/features of Pro lenses and pairing them f/1.4-1.8 primes. For me f/2.8 zooms aren't fast enough when I need speed.

I expect this review to continue with new sets of images added over time and as this is my first real review, it will probably ramble a bit. :oops: In the end I will probably end up keeping 2 of the 4.

The 1st requirement, I want something that will fit in my REALLY small bag (see the attached image).
The 2nd requirement, something in this focal range to pair with the f/4 zooms.

Lenses:
P12-32
- The collapsible nature of the P12-32 has never been an issue for me. It's the most convenient / flexible given the range and I use an auto cap from the O14-42EZ, so that's simple. It's the only lens I own that I have to think about IBIS settings. Not really a problem, but this is my only Panasonic lens with OIS. The different in close focus distance at different focal lengths can be annoying. I have the plastic mount version and atually prefer it over the metal mount. The metal mount copies I've owned of this lens have been tighter to mount and I think that probably contributed to one of them suffering the separation issue that you use to hear about regularly. With various bodies I've owned I've had at least 5 (maybe 6) copies of this lens.

It's a fine lens and might be in a class all by it's self with it's combination of size, flexibility, and image quality. But of the 4 it's also the least enjoyable to use and I'm not sure it would have a place in my bag once I have a copy of the O12-45 Pro. The PL15/O17 + PL25 + O12-45 Pro would make a great kit in my ONA Bowery.


P14 - Smallest by a little, closet focusing by a little. Way back one of these was the first lens I bought to go with my E-PM1 kit lens. It's fast focusing, simple, and fun to use. I've also never felt the need to add a hood on the P14 so that also keeps it simple.

One REALLY big plus for the P14 is that my absolute favorite fixed lens camera is the Fuji X70 which is also a close focusing 28mm EQ. I sold my 2nd X70 to consolidate into one system. But I've gone on vacations and road trips with just the X70 including a 2 week trip with just the X70 and 21mm EQ converter. While the P14 + Pen F isn't as small or light as the X70, it is 20mp vs 16mp and the AF is much faster even with the X70 having PDAF while the Pen F is only CDAF.

If this was an f/2 instead of f/2.5 this could be the only one standing at the end.

PL15 - This is the third time I've owned this and it was actually the subject of a thread I started about "the best lens you don't like".

Most of the issues were handling and odd / silly things. The last time I had one I also had a GX85, so the aperture ring was active and it was easy to hit it off it's setting. One of the reasons I decided to consolidate into m4/3 (again) from Fuji and m4/3 was the handling of the X-E3 and the lenses that made sense for that system. Some had aperture rings with markings, some had a ring without markings, and some were just controled from the body. I also wasn't a fan of the hood, it isn't reversable, the lens is wider at the end without the hood, and when I don't have the hood on I really want to have the trim ring on. I did mention the word irrational before.

Since then I've gotten the Pen F, so the aperture ring is not active. I've also owned the Fuji 18mm and PL25, both with pretty unque hoods. With the PL15 and PL25 I don't HAVE to put the front cap on at every lens change as the deep, fixed hood does a great job protecting the front.

Also with the Pen F I've found I'm enjoying more B&W shooting and the PL15 seems to have a bit more contrast, another plus.

O17 - I've owned at least 3 of these or is it 4? It's odd, I think I really prefer the 28mm EQ so why do I keep buying this? The only thing I can point a finger at is build and handling. But I do seem to adapt pretty quickly between the 2. I like the build of the O17 best, the proportions, and the way it looks. It's also got a really nice grip around the lens that makes it easier than either of the other two to mount or dismount. I also have the hood and while I like the way it looks on the lens, but it's a pain. It's fiddly, the screw loosens up and the hood can fall off. Or if you tighten it too much it marks up the lens.

So that's the first description section.
 

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davidzvi

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Initial set of images. Interestingly, even though the P14 has the closest focusing distance, the PL15 and O17 produce larger image magnification based on the minimum focal distance and magnification (see the Duncan set).

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davidzvi

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First set of actual comparison images.

PENS0335.jpg
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PENS0337.jpg
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PENS0338.jpg
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PENS0340.jpg
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PENS0352.jpg
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PENS0353.jpg
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PENS0356.jpg
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PENS0357.jpg
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PENS0359.jpg
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PENS0361.jpg
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davidzvi

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Another set including a B&W comparison:

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