Review Panasonic 25mm f/1.7

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Background
The rage as of late has been with the super fast aperture prime lenses. Olympus has the 25mm f/1.2 that came out a while ago and they just announced that late 2017 and Spring 2018 will give us the birth of the 17mm f/1.2 as well as the 45mm f/1.2

While I do have a fast aperture lens in the Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95, I'm not really in the market for any more. So what is wrong with the f/1.7 or f/1.8 prime lenses? Well, not a whole lot really. They tend to be compact and lightweight and cost as little as they weight, relatively.

While it would be great to have the extra stop of light, the weather sealing of the f/1.2 lenses...I just don't see me needing that large aperture in those prime lenses. Others that specialize in portraiture with their Micro Four Thirds kits will definitely love to see them...and listening to them, it has been a long time coming.

For this review, though - we are going to look at a bargain of a lens, the Panasonic 25mm f/1.7.

This little guy was bought brand new from Midwest Photo Exchange on sale for $150USD. We'll look at it from handling, image quality and focusing on it's own as well as how I feel about it versus the stellar Olympus 25mm f/1.8. I used to own the Olympus and really loved it.


Handling/Size/Weight
The field of view (FOV) on this lens is similar to a 50mm on a 135 size sensor camera. It is not a pancake lens, but it is not large either.

It feels very light and is made from plastics, but the build quality feels very robust.

The focus ring is dampened and feels good when you turn it.

When compared to the Olympus, the Panasonic lens is a bit bigger. When looking at the spec sheets, the Panasonic comes in lighter, by like 10 grams...not something most people would notice.

Both front elements are 46mm, so would use the same size lens caps and filters.

Panasonic does supply a lens hood with the lens, but it is a little odd to use because you must first remove a ring on the front of the lens.
Image Quality
This thing is very sharp and at the price you can find them, it makes a whole lot of sense to get this lens if you wanted a 50mm FOV lens.

I want to say that the Olympus might be a hair sharper in similar situations, but as sharp as both of them are, it's really splitting hairs at this point.

As I like to do, let us leave the proof show through in the images presented here.

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1/60, f/1.7, ISO 800

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1/125, f/1.7, ISO 200

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1/60, f/2.8, ISO 800 (shot through some pretty dirty glass)

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1/60, f/1.7, ISO 250

Focusing
As with all contrast detect cameras, when the lens locks in, it is dead on.

I did notice that on the EM5.2 that there were times when the Panasonic would hunt for focus or not lock in properly. I'll keep an eye on it, but I do notice that this happens every now and again with new lenses. I think a good lens contact cleaning would benefit here.

Bottom Line
Did I really need another 25mm prime lens? No, not really. However, for the price, how can you pass it up? The Mitakon 25mm performs well, but it is a manual focus lens and that point may not be for everyone. I love using it and will in the future. The Panasonic 25/1.7 is a pleasure to use, produces great images, has excellent sharpness and focus' fast. If maximum performance is desired in an f/1.7 or f/1.8 prime lens and you shoot Olympus bodies - get the Olympus 25mm. If all things are equal and price is a sticking point - get the Panasonic on sale or used for around $150 - you won't be disappointed!
 

rloewy

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I got one for free with my G9 and it is well worth the price
I got one when they had them for $99 introduction - and it is well worth that price as well. I like the 42.5 1.7 much more, but this is a very good lens, especially if you get it for cheap.
 
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This might be a nice holiday gift to myself.

I have the 20mm Pany and it’s a teeny bit wide for my personal my needs (wants) . Seems as if I have to zoom with my feet a lot with the 20.

This bit of extra reach (for the little bit of price) is good for me.

I take images for me and appreciate the affordable options the manufacturers make for the hobbiests like me.

Thanks for the review. I think I’m in the market!
 

Mike Wingate

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Not my favorite lens, it lacks excitement. But it works.
 

iv1984

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I also purchased this during the introductory sale for $99. Within a few months it stopped focusing properly and was replaced by Panasonic under warranty. The same issue occurred with the second lens within 6 months. I personally didn't like the bokeh it produced. Since replaced it with the Olympus 25mm F1.8 and haven't looked back. More expensive but I find it a much (though hard to justify the price difference from $99) better lens and have had no issues.
 

algold

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I also purchased this during the introductory sale for $99. Within a few months it stopped focusing properly and was replaced by Panasonic under warranty. The same issue occurred with the second lens within 6 months. I personally didn't like the bokeh it produced. Since replaced it with the Olympus 25mm F1.8 and haven't looked back. More expensive but I find it a much (though hard to justify the price difference from $99) better lens and have had no issues.
Not sure O25/1.8 is a much better lens, but I agree, it's a better lens. Used to have both O25/1.8 and P25/1.7 and kept the Olympus.
For the price Panasonic 25/1.7 is very good, I didn't have any focussing problems with mine.
 
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I think it's pretty amazing, wide open...
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And absolutely devastatingly great at f2...
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Paul C

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Recent price falls in the UK on the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 to <£130 now (and <£110 over the new year sales period) have made the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 a great buy.

It resolves about 60 lpmm even wide open at F1.7 centre, and 50lpmm at the edge - and stays ahead of the 14-42mm kit zoom for resolution until about F11.

Shoot JPEGs and the panasonic camera adds the best lens correction factors in-body.

Don't be put off by complainst about focus-shift. I haven't in practice seen a focus shift problem - since as you stop down the DoF rises:

At 2m subject to camera distance on a micro 4/3 camera, DoF is
@ f1.7 = 32cm
@ f5.0 = 101cm
...so focus would have to shift a great deal to be noticed on a computer screen or 10x8" print.

while even for a full face photograph, where the subject to camera distance needed is 62cm, with a 25mm lens the DoF again rises to more than compensate for any shift.
@ f1.7 = 3cm
@ f5.0 = 9cm

I am sure that if I focus a subject really close I might see a problem - but then I would prefer to be using my dedicated vivtar 55mm F2.8 macro lens and manual focus anyway!

Furthermore, why buy a F1.7 lens to be using it stopped down? The kit zoom is for that!

The Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is easy to carry - It's very small, featherweight and by offerring more control over depth of Field adds a real difference to composition over the basic kit lens. Look at the current prices for fast F2.0 24-28mm legacy prime 35mm film lenses on auction sites now - and by the time you have added a M43 adapter - this lens can seem a relative bargain!

Panasonic's OiS system will add 3 stops equivalent hand-holding ability to a typical lens. So, for light gathering the advantage of the prime over the 14-42mm kit lens is minimal: the kit zoom has OiS while the 25mm prime is not stabilized.


Costing a legacy alternative fast manual focus "standard lens" for a MFT camera?
Today - searching a favourite auction site in the UK: the cheapest camera brand manual focus ≤F2.0 24-28mm prime lenses came in at £196 with postage from Australia (a Minolta 28mm F2.0); near double the cost of the Panasonic 25mm. While even the humble Komine / Vivitar 28mm F2.0s started at £82 with postage (and that was described as "refurbished" -in my suspicious mind "refurbished" for a 1980s lens means it has probably has been disassembled and the fungus scrubbed clear). Add the M43 adapter to the cost and the Panasonic looks to be the bargain of 2019 if its shallow depth of field and out of focus bokeh you are looking for !

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While sourcing an equivalent branded lens from a UK seller on a famous auction site costs sigfificantly more than buying from our friends "down-under". Here is todays "cheapest" buy......
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Best wishes - Paul
 
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Mike Wingate

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I am happy with my P25mm. I do not understand why people adapt other lenses to work on their m43 bodies. Maybe if you have many other lenses. The advantage of m43 lenses is that they work, are generally small, light and comparatively inexpensive unless coated in Leica dust.
 
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I am happy with my P25mm. I do not understand why people adapt other lenses to work on their m43 bodies. Maybe if you have many other lenses. The advantage of m43 lenses is that they work, are generally small, light and comparatively inexpensive unless coated in Leica dust.
I adapt because (a) I can and (b) there are some levers that I prefer the rendering of over native or other lens makers .
 

Turbofrog

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I think adapting is great for legacy 50s, especially f/1.4s or f/1.8s that are stopped down to f/2 or f/2.8. Gives a nice portrait lens, usually with a nice look, for very little money, and the bokeh actually tends to smooth out a bit 1-stop away from wide open.

Adapting is also absolutely great for macro lenses - those were always sharp, and manual focus works really well for macro. It's a nice way to get longer FLs (90-105mm) than we have available in our system, and if you don't need the longer working distance, then the shorter ~50-55mm macros can be found for very little money. Optically they're all going to be very nice when stopped down to f/8 or f/11.

Legacy 24s and 28s, especially those f/2.0 or faster tend to be both very expensive and (relatively) very poor optically. It was hard to make fast wide-angles for long-flange SLRs with a big image circle, and no one had a great handle on it. Put one on an M4/3 camera with a much-higher resolving sensor, and you've got a recipe for absolute mediocrity. Just don't, unless you already have the lens, so you just need to buy a $12 adapter.
 

Bushboy

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Some of the adapted lens images are beautiful.
The lenses themselves are beautiful too.
 

ma401

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I am happy with my P25mm. I do not understand why people adapt other lenses to work on their m43 bodies. Maybe if you have many other lenses. The advantage of m43 lenses is that they work, are generally small, light and comparatively inexpensive unless coated in Leica dust.
I like my P25mm as well but I wish Panasonic made a fast 17mm prime in the same price range, instead I am considering the 14mm f2.5. Not as fast but still faster than most.
 

Turbofrog

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I like my P25mm as well but I wish Panasonic made a fast 17mm prime in the same price range, instead I am considering the 14mm f2.5. Not as fast but still faster than most.
The 20mm/1.7 is an extremely good lens...it's not quite a 35mm equivalent, but I find it a very versatile focal length. And you can't beat the price.
 

ma401

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The 20mm/1.7 is an extremely good lens...it's not quite a 35mm equivalent, but I find it a very versatile focal length. And you can't beat the price.
That's a small, fast, cheap, nice looking lens for sure, but I am largely held back by the many reports of slow AF (especially on Olympus bodies which is all I have), and it's maybe a little close to 25mm. But it's still a fine looking lens... :hmmm:
 

Turbofrog

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That's a small, fast, cheap, nice looking lens for sure, but I am largely held back by the many reports of slow AF (especially on Olympus bodies which is all I have), and it's maybe a little close to 25mm. But it's still a fine looking lens... :hmmm:
It's surprisingly distinct from the 25mm/1.7, actually. I think the 25mm might be a long 25mm rounded down (whereas the Oly 25mm is a short 25mm rounded up).

You need to crop away fully half of the pixels to make the 25mm/1.7 match the 20mm/1.7's FOV (i.e. 16MP goes down to 8MP).

I haven't personally noticed AF to be a problem, specifically not if you use the touchscreen to select an edge of high contrast, but I am using a Panasonic body (an older one, though - GX7, prior to DFD focusing).
 
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