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Panasonic/Leica 25 f1.4 vs 14-42 ii kit lens

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jonlong, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    I rented two lenses for the weekend, the 25mm f1.4 and 100-300mm. I wanted to see how the image quality improved with the 25mm vs my kit lens. I took some comparison shots on a tripod with both lenses set to 25mm and the same aperture. In most cases, I couldn't see a difference when comparing them in lightroom. In a few shots, I think the 25mm could resolve a tiny but more detail, but it was less profound than even a mild enhancement in post processing. To my eye, the lens doesn't really have any improvement in IQ over the 14-42 ii kit lens. The huge benefit of the 25mm was the bright aperture and great control over depth of field. Because of this, I think I will get a 20mm f1.7, since it has nearly the same max aperture at a lower price, with the benefit of a more usable field of view for my usage.

    Are you guys seeing a big jump in image quality with the 25 f1.4?

    On a side note, the 100-300mm is a really fun lens. I just wish it were available with a faster or constant aperture.
     
  2. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    You might not see it in any given test depending on the subject/lighting, but you will see the difference in challenging lighting (less noise, sharper, no blur, lower ISO etc). Your DOF and micro contrast will also be worlds better. I know I can pull off shots with the 25PL, that I can't get on the Olympus Kit lenses...particularly indoors in low light. It's a gem of a lens.

    Just look at the native lens samples here and you might see. It works great for portraits too.

    Also, if you are using IBIS or not will make a difference in both.
     
  3. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    227
    Apr 15, 2011
    I'm sorry, but both the 25/1.4 and 20/1.7 thrash the 14-42 zoom in pretty every regard.
    The zoom is quite sharp in the image center, but only at the wide end, mid to tele end is only decent I'd say. On top of that it suffers severe aberration, and distortion, especially at the wide end. Its resolution at the edges especially at 14mm are abyssmal.
    The 25/1.4 is very noticeably much sharper at any aperture, only wide open it's just as sharp as the zoom at f/4.0. Same with the 20.
    If you think the 25 is too expensive, get the 20mm. DoF control isn't that great though compared to the faster, and longer PanaLeica (don't underestimate 5mm on crop for DoF!).
     
  4. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
  5. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    If you need a cheap alternative, look at the Sigma 19 & 30....Can pick up between $100-240 *used--new.
     
  6. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    Thanks for the responses so far. I'll first clarify that I'm not seeking purchase advice. I appreciate the purchase advice, but just want to save anyone the trouble of typing it out. What I was looking for, though, was your feedback on the image quality of the lens. No doubt, it is a much brighter lens, which gives it a great deal of advantage. But under controlled conditions, I was expecting it to produce noticeably better images than the 14-42 ii. And I wasn't able to find support for that in my images. Maybe the lens was a bad sample, or I have a poor eye or lack the ability to produce the results it's capable of. It sounds like you are all finding much better image quality with it.
     
  7. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    That all depends on your definition of "better" images doesn't it?

    I'm not here to defend the PL25... but the difference to me is night and day. I can get images no kit lens can produce. Yes, a lot of it is due to the much larger aperture, but it has rendering qualities I find very pleasing. However if it doesn't do it for your type of photography(whatever it may be), then that's all that matters. Get something that suits you.
     
  8. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    281
    Jan 4, 2012
    Australia
    Maybe post up some of the pics you took so we can see what you are seeing...(or not seeing as the case may be :smile:)
     
  9. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    Good idea! These should link to the full size images, converted to jpeg in Lightroom, but no other post processing. I'm not saying that I don't see ANY difference, its just that the difference was so much more subtle than I expected (especially when not pixel peeping).

    Kit lens
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonlong724/10681556113/" title="Kit lens by jonlong724, on Flickr"> 10681556113_92014c1d23_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Kit lens"></a>

    Leica
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonlong724/10681362546/" title="Leica by jonlong724, on Flickr"> 10681362546_7389a4109a_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Leica"></a>

    Kit lens
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonlong724/10681415394/" title="Kit lens by jonlong724, on Flickr"> 10681415394_6d3eeb5925_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Kit lens"></a>

    Leica
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonlong724/10681379886/" title="Leica by jonlong724, on Flickr"> 10681379886_aaeabc560e_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Leica"></a>
     

    Attached Files:

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  10. charcoalblack

    charcoalblack Mu-43 Regular

    159
    Dec 26, 2012
    both of the shots compared, you are using f5 or higher aperture on the 25mm, you won't see much difference. switch to "aperture" priority and select 1.4 or up to 2.0 and try again, getting a little bit closer to the guitar and you will see a big difference in the depth of field.
     
  11. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    526
    Dec 13, 2012
    Iowa
    Jared
    Is there any reason why you shot the Panasonic at f5-f5.3 instead of wide open? Of course you're going to get decently close results shooting at the same aperture but shoot it at wide open and get that amazing 3d effect it can produce and the gorgeous bokeh. That is why you get the Panasonic and stop using the kit lens. Not to mention that shooting in low light the Panasonic is amazing.
     
  12. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Yeah shooting the PL25 at f5 is kinda like saying: "I drove a Porsche at 25 mph, and I don't feel any faster than driving my Ford Focus."
     
    • Like Like x 4
  13. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    As I mentioned before, I know that the Leica has the massive benefit of the wide aperture. Being new to interchangeable lens cameras, I was curious if the Leica (a much nicer lens) would produce noticeably better images than the kit lens. To keep the comparison equal, I setup both lenses in the same fashion. What I gathered from the many comparisons I did, and what I was looking for feedback on, was that the quality of the optics alone wasn't really apparent in an apples to apples comparison. The conclusion I drew from that is that, for shots that I would take within the scope of settings on my kit lens, I'm not losing much image quality compared to a nicer lens. What I wondered while shooting was if a high end lens would produce better results if shot at settings that I use on my current lower end lenses. The answer seems to be "not really." So what I get from that is that I don't need to aim to replace my current lenses, but supplement them in terms of focal length and speed.

    Please feel free to shoot this down. I'm still learning here.
     
  14. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    Haha, I don't think this is really an apt analogy, but I get what you're saying.

    I think the more appropriate comparison is to say that the Focus corners just as well as the Porsche at 50mph. So if my driving consists of 50mph corners, and all other things are equal, there's not much benefit to driving the Porsche.
     
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  15. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    Well, I do see some difference in the photos. I find the 25 slightly sharper. I agree that the differences aren't drastic. So, if shooting at F5 is all you expect to do, the kit lens is almost as good. As far as quality compared to the 20, from what I have seen from the 20, it is as good as the 25, and some prefer it. It is smaller and cheaper as well. The main advantage to the 25 is focus speed. If that is not important to you, the 20 is probably the better lens for you, unless you prefer a slightly longer lens and some better subject isolation.

    BTW, I have the 14-42 and I don't find it a bad lens at all within its capabilities. I don't use it much since getting the P14 and O45, but outside in decent light at equivalent apertures it compares fairly well to them.
     
  16. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    This all makes sense, thanks. I think my plan is to pick up a 100-300mm for nature/wildlife (what I enjoy shooting the most), then the 20mm f1.7 for the times when I'm shooting indoors and in low light. The 14-42 and 45-150 that I currently have seem to cover my general usage pretty well, though I would love to have the 12-35 f2.8 and 35-100 f2.8 instead. Faster lenses are more useful and offer more creative flexibility.
     
  17. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    526
    Dec 13, 2012
    Iowa
    Jared
    Have you looked through the Panasonic 25mm thread? IMO there is just something about the lens it makes things POP. While the kit lens isn't bad I feel the PL25 is leaps and bounds better. And I feel that the aperture can be considered part of the optics. Because shooting at a minimum of 4.4 you lose the DoF and what could make a shot stand out more compared to shooting at 1.4. If you haven't looked at the thread check out Vin's aka Spatulaboy's collection on the last page. You simply wont be able to get shots like that with the kit lens. But that isn't to say the kit lens is terrible. It is sufficient for what it is and it's there for beginners to learn with. I still use mine every so often. But most of the time I'm either using the Sigma 30mm or the Oly 40-150mm which is can be surprisingly sharp. When I get the 25, the only need for the kit lens will be to use it at its wider end till I get a wider prime. These are just my thoughts.
     
  18. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    181
    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    Fast, Cheap, and Sharp. Pick any two.

    The differences are subtle, but they are there. Even using your examples at f/5 or whatever, the 25mm images seem to have a tad better contrast.

    But your observations are generally correct: At f/5, with flat lighting and the subject in the center of the frame, there is very little difference between the kit lens and the Panasonic-Leica.

    There's an old saying about lens design about desirable features of a lens: Fast, Cheap, and Sharp. Pick any two. The kit lens is cheap and sharp, but not fast, and the Leica is fast and sharp, but not cheap.

    Cheers,

    Steve