PanaLeica 12mm f1.4 gets a smashing review at Imaging Resource

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Turbofrog, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Imaging Resource has their full Panasonic-Leica 12mm f1.4 review up.


    The field map basically says it all, but as you can see, the lens is sharp in the center and across most of the frame from wide open, and is essentially perfect across the frame by f2.8 and f4.

    I believe Imaging Resource reports post-correction values for all their testing, but this lens also shows essentially zero distortion on that basis. I'm fine with software-corrected values, as long as they also present those post-corrected values for the sharpness testing. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say...

    I guess it's what you'd expect for a $1300 M4/3 lens, but like the Nocticron, the performance is beyond reproach. I can't afford it, but it's very impressive nevertheless!
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  2. NoSeconds

    NoSeconds Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 9, 2014
    The Desert - Western Australia
    Real Name:
    It's alright mate, I'll get one and think of you when I use it... :friends: :biggrin:
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  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Yeah, but what's the point? Aside from astro shooters, who really needs a 12mm f1.4 of this size and cost? The Noc at least adds something to the short telephoto genre - shallower DOF, OIS, mega sharpness, smooth bokeh etc. But this beast isn't going to add anything meaningful sharpness-wise compared to the 12/2 or the 12-35/12-40 and the extra stop won't help much either. Shallow DOF at this focal length is a bit of an pipedream even at f1.4 and the extra light gathering is rarely needed at such wide angles.

    I guess the astro shooters will be happy, but how big a market is that?
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
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  4. bikfoto

    bikfoto New to Mu-43

    Jul 20, 2016
    I wonder how it stacks up against the 12/2
  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You could make this exact same analysis comparing the 42.5mm f1.2 and 42.5mm f1.7 or 25mm f1.4 and 25mm f1.7 or even 12-35mm f2.8 and 12-32mm pancake.

    P.S. - with constant framing, focal length is irrelevant to DOF.
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Panasonic has much better corners at f2 and is as good at f1.4 as the Olympus is at f2. Once you stop down, both are extremely good. Olympus maybe even better. (flatter the graph and closest to 0 the better)

    Distortion is better on the Panasonic. Vignetting is similar.

    at f2.0:

    at f4 (peak for both):
  7. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Astro shooters

    Wide indoor photography in low light

    Close focus, wide aperture, sharp wide-open for a unique perspective and DoF

    PanaLeica starbursts when stopped down

    While you may not see the point of such a lens, there are many out there who do and welcome its addition to the m43 lens portfolio.
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  8. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Just to follow up my above post, we really don't have a rectilinear option for astro shooters in the m43 lens portfolio. Yes, the 8mm PRO FE is super wide, but is 2/3 of a stop slower than the PL12, and when defishing the lens the corners are going to be noticeably worse than the PL12.

    Also, the PL12 and PL42.5 could make for a great two-lens combo for wedding photographers. One lens for wide-angle low light, and one portrait lens.

    Micro 4/3 has really filled out the lower-end, smaller, affordable prime space with lenses like the 12/2, 17/1.8, 20/1.7, 25/1.8, 45/1.8, etc. I'm glad to see Olympus and Panasonic building out the high-end of the lens portfolio. We've got the zooms covered with the f/2.8 options and super-telephoto options. Now we just need the high-end primes, and this lens fits that bill.
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  9. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Beats me. Why does anyone want a high quality lens?

    It's as sharp as the Olympus 12-40 where they both peak across the frame at f/4, and is sharper at f/2 than the Olympus is at f2.8. So this makes it the best wide angle in the system. And it's still 50g lighter and half an inch shorter than that lens in exchange for the reduced flexibility.

    It's weather sealed, so you can leave it lying around doing time-lapses (or what have you) in nasty conditions that you couldn't do with the 12mm/f2.

    If you like the focal length, and want the best you can get, why not? By the same token, why would anyone buy a 24mm/f1.4 or f1.8 prime for a full frame system when they could happily get by with a 24/2.8, or a 24-70mm?

    Note also that the testing on the Olympus 12/f2 is done on the 12MP E-P1, rather than the 16MP GX1. So it may be a bit more forgiving. I have no idea how DXO Analyzer actually does its business. You can look at the VFA test target and see that the pixel level quality looks about as good on the 20MP GX8 with the PL12 as it does on the 12MP E-P1 + O12/2...
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
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  10. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Real Name:
    Just like with the wide-angle m4/3 Voigtlander's, the fast aperture isn't necessarily about shallow depth of field, although it can provide that in some cases. With such a fast aperture one can shoot in low light with faster shutter speed and/or lower ISO, offsetting m4/3's noise handicap. Astro enthusiasts benefit from this, but so will anyone trying to shoot in low light. Compared to other m4/3 12mm lenses, f/1.4 might not be that much faster, but every little bit helps!
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  11. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Exactly, I saw a video not to long ago that was shot in Paris at night with the Voigtlander 10.5, and I have to say it looked pretty good to my eye. In video the shutter is bound by your fps, and thus in low light you need to compensate with iso & aperture.
  12. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Shallow DoF and wide is not a pipe dream, the PL15 can deliver decent shallow DoF at f/1.7 for me so I don't see why this can't. I must admit 12mm is a bit too wide for my taste in that sort of thing (environmental portraiture) though. Kind of wish they'd made the PL15 an f/1.4, maybe Olympus will make a 17mm f/1.4 at some point?
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  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Given equivalent framing and shooting both lenses wide open, the PL12 should yield a slightly more shallow DoF than the PL15 with backgrounds that are close to moderate to the subject (source). As the background continues to move further from the subject, then the PL15 take the edge.

    I totally agree about the PL15 though, and I'm rather pissed about it actually. That's the one lens that I'm missing in this system is a fast, sharp, 35mm eqv. FoV. The PL15 was crippled from the get-go though because it had to be designed to fit the diameter of the lens mount on the GM series (a line of cameras where after only two iterations, has seen both cameras discontinued after sluggish sales, with no replacement in sight). So they had to opportunity to actually design a lens to fill a gap in the lens portfolio, but instead decided to make a lens that is neither here nor there. Don't get me wrong, the PL15 is a great little lens (I own one), but it's simply another moderate aperture, kinda-35 prime just like the Olympus 17 and Panasonic 20.

    The recent PL12 announcement has given me hope though that Panasonic will announce and release a fast, professional-built 35mm equivalent lens. If they build a 17.5 f/1.4 that performs the way the PL12 and PL42.5 do, I'll definitely be ordering one.
  14. aidanw

    aidanw Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    I've really enjoyed using a 24mm f1.8 on my full frame, and would love to replicate the dynamic feel that this lens gives. I get a lot of bokeh on the FF (and a huge amount of vignetting and softness wide open), I would be happy with less bokeh on m43 using a 12mm f1.4. However $1k+ is a lot for a one trick pony prime lens, very hard to justify instead of using the excellent 12-35 f2.8.
  15. absolutic

    absolutic Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2011
    Nice lens, but for me, like for some others here, it would be useless. Now if they could make 17/1.2-20/1.2, it would be a great walkaround lens for me...
  16. Steven Norquist

    Steven Norquist Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2016
    Real Name:
    Steven Norquist
    I am a exclusive wide angle shooter and a 12mm that is flat across the whole frame, with no distortion and high level sharpness, with deep depth of field, no coma, high contrast and deep color is a dream come true.
    When this lens comes out I will rent it and test it out.
    The 15mm Heliar III is still my wide angle reference lens.
  17. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    Shallow DOF on wide angle could work...with a macro :biggrin:
    I don't see how ppl could achieve shallow DOF on wide angle.
    It is just plain impossible, optically wise. It is not a matter of opinion,sensor format, is just not possible.
    Never. Not in the past, present and near future.

    Take any serious DOF calculator, compare a 24mm f1.8 to a 85mm f1.8. And tell me again about DOF...

    Fast wide angle is for video, indoor/low light outdoor, astro...and that's probably all.
    DOF is not relevant by any mean on wide angle.
    And that's why, not being video, low light wide, not astro...i NEVER thought of buying a fast wide angle. And it not going to change.
    I have a lot of lenses to buy BEFORE a fast wide angle. And if i was a video man, i would buy a cheaper manual lens for that task.

    You REALLY want to play with DOF ? Buy a 50 f2/60 macro or the 75mm f1.8 :2thumbs:
  18. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Okay so you can't blow the background to smithereens but there's plenty for subject isolation. PL15, at way not macro distances:

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  19. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    We're not talking about blowing out the background. We're simply talking about being able to soften the background enough to focus the attention on the subject. Here's a shot at 9mm f/2.8 that definitely has shallow DoF, so 12mm f/1.4 will definitely be able to do so.

    [​IMG]_7110013-Edit by Ian Menego, on Flickr
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  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Oddly confident given how easily disproven your remarls are.

    "Just plain impossible," with an 11mm @ f2.8, 1mm wider and 2 full stops slower...


    Absolutely, it requires closer focus to achieve shallow depth of field. But that's the only way you can fill your subject with the frame using a wide angle lens anyway.