Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Review - Bandwidth Warning (Full Size Images)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ijm5012, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Last week I sold my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and purchased a Panasonic 15mm f/1.7. The Olympus was a nice lens, although it definitely wasn't as sharp as other lenses I own, and I was extremely annoyed that I couldn't fit a CPL filter and the lens hood on at the same time (with the CPL filter attached, the lens hood would not fit over the filter and attach to the lens itself). I had been looking for a used PL 15mm for about a month with no success, so I took a risk and ordered one from a seller in Japan through eBay. The seller I bought from ( has a camera store in Japan, has a great rapport on eBay, as well as with users here on the forum. After speaking with a user who had a fast and smooth transaction with the seller, I decided to give it a shot.

    The lens was ordered Sunday night, and was delivered Thursday afternoon to Pittsburgh, PA. 4 business days from Japan to my door, with no additional fees due like import duty or what not, just the price I paid on eBay ($441). The lens comes in full retail packaging, just like if you were to purchase the lens here in the states, with the only difference being that the warranty card is in Japanese.

    The build quality of this lens is just like what everyone says it is, fantastic. Complete metal exterior, with the only plastic being the trim ring that covers the bayonet mount for the lens hood (yes, even the lens hood is metal). The focus ring is nice damped, as is the aperture ring (although it could use a bit more resistance IMO, as it is fairly easy to bump the ring and change the aperture).

    As for optical performance, unfortunately I wasn't able to have the 17mm f/1.8 and 15mm f/1.7 at the same time, but I believe the lens is a better performer optically than the 17mm was. Center sharpness is good at f/1.7, although there is some pretty heavy vignetting, as well as edge/corner softness. Bumping up to f/2.0 does nothing for the edge/corner softness, but it does help eliminate some of the vignetting. By f/2.8, the vignetting is gone and the edge/corners have sharpened up nicely. Not much changes at f/4.0 and f/5.6 with the exception of maybe a slight improvement in edge/corner sharpness. At f/8.0, I think we're starting to see a drop in sharpness at the edge/corner.

    So, my final conclusions for the lens are:
    • Fantastic build quality, wonderful lens to use
    • Across-The-Frame sharpness occurs between f/2.8-5.6
    • Sharpness at f/1.7 or 2.0 is good, just make sure to nail focus on your subject

    Below are images to show sharpness across the frame. All of these images were shot with the camera on a tripod, controlled via the wifi remote so the camera was not touched between shots. Nothing was done to these images regarding sharpness, the only changes made were to exposure, with all images pushed +1 in LR5 before being exported as jpegs.

    16758695627_602eaf5627_o. PL15 f1.7 by ijm5012, on Flickr

    16964739702_6d221377f9_o. PL15 f2.0 by ijm5012, on Flickr

    16965137361_b6d9ede084_o. PL15 f2.8 by ijm5012, on Flickr

    16965134641_f4d373eb39_o. PL15 f4.0 by ijm5012, on Flickr

    16966069605_b0180f85aa_o. PL15 f5.6 by ijm5012, on Flickr

    16778365768_c412c19034_o. PL15 f8.0 by ijm5012, on Flickr
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Useful Useful x 1
  2. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    Looks good, and suddenly I'm thirsty.
  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Wow, full size image overload. Took 3 minutes to load on 15Mb fiber! :)

    You have to be careful with lens tests. Many lenses aren't designed for close flat field work like macro lenses are. Doesn't mean they are poor optically.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    So true. I was just reading a review of a Sony 70-200 vs. a Canon 70-200. The Canon tested better on every paper chart test -- shooting against a flat field at a close distance. But when the reviewer did testings of the same exact lens in the Field, the Sony had MUCH better corners and edges than the Canon when shooting near infinity.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I wanted to upload the full-size files for those people who say, "well I can't judge sharpness based on the small files you uploaded".

    I agree with your statement about lens tests. I mainly did this to test for any obvious de-centering, which I'm glad to say I didn't see. I don't plan to shoot macro with this lens, and have found that when you use it in a more "normal" circumstance, the lens is pretty sharp wide open from f/1.7 (although it definitely does sharpen up a bit at f/4.0, but you lose that wonderful bokeh).

    I'm definitely more happy with this lens than I was with the 17mm. I'm looking forward to warmer weather here, and getting outside with the lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    Just found Kai from DigitalRevs review of this. He give it his usual treatment (even though he does really like the lens):

    • Like Like x 3
  7. sdb123

    sdb123 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 25, 2014
    Northants, UK
    This isn't my used used lens by any stretch of the imagination however it delivers when I need it to and I enjoy the pictures it produces....that's what makes me keep it. :thumbsup:
    • Like Like x 1
  8. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    how are you bonding with the 15mm focal length vs 17mm?
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    It's obviously a bit wider in comparison, which can be good or bad depending on the environment you're in. However the positives definitely outweigh the negatives (can accept CPL with lens hood for shooting outdoors, smoother bokeh, better sharpness). IMO, it is well worth the $100 "upgrade" fee that I paid to purchase it.
  10. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    Moderators please delete these images, they crash my browser.
  11. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    They don't crash my browser, nor has anyone else complained about it. A simple solution for your broken browser would be to simply no enter the thread, then your browser would not crash. Or, you could try updating your browser.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Part time philistine

    Aug 10, 2011
    They don't crash my browser either but a link to the full size images would have been more appropriate . I'm very interested in the review but pics that big eat into my broadband allowance plus I have a slow connection.
    I was always under the impression that the max size recommended was 1024. ? Was this to do with making images easier to load for people with slow internet or to do with site rules ?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    All of my browsers have the latest updates. Using Chrome, Firefox and Dolphin on my Nexus 7 have the same results - the images posted hang the browsers. Switrching to a a fast desktop PC still shows hour images to be too big for reasonable download times.

    The maximum image size shouldn't exceed 1200x1600 or there abouts as I recall. I still suggest deleting the images and posting links to the full size files which is a no brainer.

    The lighting is terrible BTW for your comparisons shots and your so called review is really specious, sorry to say. I have also wonder why your PP JPEGS were pushed +1. Were they under exposed?
  14. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    You may want to upgrade your internet from dial-up if it's taking you HOURS to load the images. I'm on 25 Mbps cable, and the images load in about 10-20 seconds. You also said that the browser doesn't crash when you use a PC, only your Nexus 7 tablet, so maybe don't use that device to visit this thread? I don't have any issues loading the thread or photos on my MBP 13", HP Envy 14", iPad Air, or iPad Mini Retina.

    Thanks for you suggestion though, I'll take it in to consideration. In the mean time, I would suggest not visiting this thread if it crashes your browser (which begs the question, how are you able to post in the thread if it crashes your browser?).

    Lighting was natural, available light at the time the photos were taken (afternoon, late March in the north east so probably overcast outdoors). The photos were RAW files converted to JPEGS. The +1 push of the EV was due to the RAW file not retaining the +1 exposure compensation that was set in the camera.

    If you find the results of my anecdotal review spurious, you're more than welcome to purchase the lens and do your own review (just make sure that the images aren't too big, I don't want them to crash your browser).
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    If you want to rigorously check the lens, I'd recommend doing some tests on an angled target, with focus point carefully chosen, at different apertures. I found mine to have a lot of focus shift.
  16. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    Good to know. Thanks for the write up. I'm looking to get this lens myself and one of the things that scares me is if I get a decentered lens. I'm not sure how much shipping back to Japan would cost me. BHPhoto makes it much more painless, and they've been really good in the past.
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Very true, it is a risk to. Fortunately, my lens wasn't decentered at all (I saw similar performance between the left and right edges).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    I don't have dial up, I have a high speed connection.

    My posts were made after switching from my tablet to desktop PC. My point is these images are too large for mobile users even when using a fast 4G connection with a Nexus 5 phone.

    The lighting is obviously not even across the image, and you are right your review is anecdotal.

    Why did you need +1 EC in camera? if the target had been lit properly that would not have been needed.

    I'll most likely rent the lens and evaluate properly.

    Time to move on, I'm done with this thread.
  19. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Me too, and I don't have any issues. In fact, you're the first person to really complain about it.

    As I said in my previous post, I have no issue loading this thread on my iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, or iPhone 5.

    +1 EC was used in camera because the images were shot in aperture priority at the lowest ISO possible.

    You probably should, that's typically the best way to evaluate whether or not a lens will work for you or not.

    I'm glad to hear it.
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