Leica 25mm f/1.4 image samples on dpreview (+ US deals summary)


Dpreview (Click here) posted a few image samples taken with the new Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens. You can preorder the lens at Adorama (Click here) and on eBay (Click here).

Here is a short update about the latest US deals:
UPDATE: The GH2 with 14-140mm lens is in Stock at Amazon (Click here).
There are a couple of GH2 body only cameras for sale via third party resellers on Amazon (Click here). For the normal price ($899)!
During the last month the Panasonic 20mm was very difficult to find in Stock. If you are willing to pay a bit more than the official price you can fidn them in Stock at Amazon (Click here).
Panasonic GF3 preorders accepted at Amazon, Adorama, and J&R.
The price of the Panasonic 100-300mm dropped down to $521 at Amazon, Adorama and B&H.

  • fa001313

    Hmmm… Looks like i’m keeping my Pana 20mm 1.7. It doesn’t beat the Leica but it’s cheaper and smaller, one of the main advantages of m43.

  • Bob B.

    The 20mm and the 25mm look very close in the sharpness comparison on DPR…anybody got any thoughts on that? I know the bokeh looks better for the 25mm
    ….but the sharpness looks pretty close to my eye.

    • Nasal hair – look for nasal hair of the guy and compare between the 20vs25mm shots :)
      also the lips look much better&detailed on the PL25, besides that – they had to stand much closer to the model hence distorting his face

      • Anonymous

        I think you are mixing the 25 and 20 up here. Nasal hair and lips are definately much sharper on the pic with the 20.

        Bokeh seems nice on the 25 though, but from what I see now, for me the 20 looks to win.

        • Wt21

          Which is better for a portrait? Great bokeh or sharp nasal hair?

      • frank

        I think you are mixing up the pics made by the 20 and 25. The nasal hair and lips are definately much sharper on the photo made with the 20.

        • Frank you’r right! i mixed them up
          WOW the 20mm kill’s there…

        • fta

          what photos are you looking at???? nasal hair and lips?? Can you link please. I don’t see these anywhere…

    • I bet there will be numerous comparison between them soon. As it is, I’m thinking the 25mm is sharper – then again, we’ll need to see a F1.7 comparison.

      It does look pretty damn good though – I can make out paper’s texture in original JPEGs from those samples. Hairs, woodgrain, etc.

      My work monitor is at a bad angle, so I’m looking at these with glare. I could be mistaken.

      Big question is the value comparison.

    • uth

      i don’t know which pictures did you look at?

      but don’t forget about DOF of those pictures and the focus point before you compare the shapness at the corner.

    • cL

      Did you look at the photos took by them in their “original” size? You’ll see differences. Since 20mm is highly rated, I didn’t expect to see major improvement over sharpness but more like geometric correctness and CA control issues, but I do see 25mm is a little bit sharper. Under the right condition, both should perform well, but a premium lens should always perform better in more circumstances than a good lens. That’s why the several hundreds of dollars of difference.

      I went to see the sample gallery for Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and surprised to find photos shot with Olympus E-P1 looks a lot sharper and noise free than shot with a GF1. It is counter-intuitive given Panasonic should know their lens better and provide more correction than Olympus could. But it looks like the opposite. Some of the photos shot with GF1 show rather bad CA problems. The skill level of photographers (they’re shot by different people and processed differently) could be an issue. And it seems the GF1 shots were processed JPEGs, not shot in RAW (because of how much noise it is…).

      • Zörg

        E-P1 vs. GF-1: not same AA filter, not same engine. That could be the explanation.

    • Bob B.

      This is pretty funny. It may be a dead heat?!?!?!?! LOL!

  • I think the test pics were taken at wide open. To me it seems the 20mm at 1.7 is sharper than 25mm at 1.4.

  • Maley

    I also think the 20mm is sharper :(. especially in the corners, which is a bit dissapointing.

    • That was a comparison between 1.4 and 1.7. I can believe both at 1.7, the 25mm should be sharper.

  • the 20/1.7 is def. sharper. But lets wait for the complete test. As they said, the images were taken “quick”. Looks to me like the 25/1.4 shots are a bit misfocussed.

    • MJr

      I think it’s a bad idea to release a ‘quick’ test like this, given the amount of views they get and how influential they are. They of all people should know better. Could’ve at least included a photo at the same aperture, this is comparing apples with pears. Obviously f1.4 is going to be softer because the f1.7 was already as sharp as it could possibly be wide open.

      ps. Most people are too hung up on sharpness. It’s not everything you know…

  • Kralin

    25mm images are out of focus to me

  • Traciatim

    I think it would have been a better comparison to have them both at F/2 instead for comparison, and at F/1.4 and F/1.7 for low light examples but not a direct comparison. Though, that 25mm does look fairly nice, maybe I’ll look at that instead of the 20mm.

  • Boooo!

    Disappointing. The dude has purple mustache…

  • I looked at the nasal hairs (ewww!) very closely. To me it looked as if the main difference was that the best-focus points were slightly different.

    Granted, the images obviously were shot very casually, but at this point it’s hard to see $400 worth of difference between the two lenses. Good news for me, since I already own the 20/1.7; I still want the 25, mostly because its 25% longer focal length would be better for the way I like to shoot, but it’s now a lower-priority expenditure. Good thing, too, since it sounds as if several more cool M 4/3 lenses are on the way…

    • cL

      Exactly. They didn’t do a formal test over there. The PL25mm at f/1.4 was focused on the mouth, where Panny 20mm @ f/1.7 was focused on the nose (look at how out of focus his eyes were). Looks like an AF job. A good apple to apple test should be done precisely, so it tests for the lenses, not human errors.

      That also will determine the CA outcome of the white stripes on the jacket. PL does show a little worse CA control there, but since it’s shot at f/1.4, it is more out of focus than Panny 20mm at f/1.7, so CA probelm will be worse, naturally at the edge, though I expect 20mm to do worse, because it’s wider!!! That’s interesting indeed. Such serious CA on a Leica branded lens is unacceptable. I sold my Zuiko 14-54mm MK II because it has such problem (but at much wider end of 14mm!!! and the CA is not even nearly as bad). Also make note of the type of CA it is having…. It gets worse toward the edge of the photo, suggesting the geometric control is not as good as one expects from a Leica brand. Maybe 20mm has better support under Adobe ACR in term of CA correction since PL 25mm is not even released (but should a real Leica lens rely on software correction to shine?).

      Let’s hope the Zuiko offerings will be better. Though I have to say PL 25mm is slightly better than 20mm in term of sharpness and it does have that Leica look to the photo (and much needed detail of good quality lens, which is much the reason why some lens is worth more than others).

  • Agrivar

    The 20mm is $399. The 25mm panleica is $599 all at Adorama. How is that a $400 difference? It’s only a 200 difference.

    • Jason

      +1, only a $200 difference

      • cL

        If there is only $200 difference between them, PL 25mm wins hand down to my eyes. But 20mm should be good for people who want absolutely small package, just remember to shoot in RAW and process them properly, not to use JPEG. By the way could you guys point to me which gallery you guys went for 20mm f1.7? The DPreview gallery I went to see was shot with some photos that are not best examples as abuse test. To really test a lens’s capability, there should be more difficult lighting involved (so you can see how the lens control CA, ghosting, refraction, etc.), and not flat objects like walls… (which any lens can do a good job on that!).

        • cL

          Never mind, I found what you guys are seeing.

    • Yeah, I forgot the 25 is only $599 on Adorama pre-order. (I was getting it confused with the rumored 12/2 Olympus, which supposedly is going to be about $800-ish.)

      So yeah, $200 difference. Still, not sure I see even $200 worth of difference vs. the 20 in this admittedly casual test (although that’s pretty representative of how I myself shoot.) I still want one for the longer focal length and 2/3-stop wider max aperture, but it’s still not a high priority on my money-spending list.

      Anybody think the color fringing on the 25 might be better after auto-correction does its thing?

  • Inge-M

    I to look 20mm F1.7 is sharper, maybe 25mm F1.4 is not in focus, but and more CA also.

  • Al

    The 25mm has the Leica look for sure, look at the color on the portrait shot.
    Upper right conner, notice the metal support? 25mm is sharper, shows more details.
    The 25mm has much less distortion, look at the noses.
    If you use 25mm at 1.8, then compare to 20mm at 1.7, I believe the 25mm will beat 20mm at every inch. My Nikkor 50mm 1.4 is softer than my 50mm 1.8, both wide open, but 1.4 gets the shot while 1.8 can’t.
    There is no way you can get a 20mm in any retail store in U.S. at least, people pay $450 averg on Ebay to get used ones, so $599 isn’t that bad at all, consider the Leica brand, and Nano glass which suppose to reduce flare and ghosts.
    Lets just hoping Panasonic is able to provide steady supply this time, no like their 20mm pancake.

  • Jason

    I own the 20mm and definitely think the 25mm is optically superior, that said, I’m leaning towards keeping the 20mm for the size and weight advantage and the extra focal width….

    The Leica is good, but I don’t think it quite matches the FT 25 mm version, although I bet it focuses faster….

  • Sharpness is not everything. The 25 has more character. Its rendering of the foliage in the background is more pleasing and the micro-contrast is a lot better. It’s all about finesse and class. I would buy it rather than the 20 any day.
    BTW, there are very few lenses with a matching sharpness at f/1.4. I have a Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 which is supposed to be one of the sharpest lenses out there and it’s not even close. Currently, the only sharper fast lens in the m4/3 stable is the Nokton 25.

  • The Leica has far more CA (look at the stripes on the shirt near the right edge)… but CA at f/1.4 is somewhat acceptable, probably. I’d love seeing a comparison between the Leica and the Voigtlander at f/1.4 btw… also, the shots with the Leica look a bit out of focus, so it makes me wonder about its AF accuracy.

    • Perhaps I can help you. I have a Voigtlander and an old PL25 (4/3 version). The Nokton is sharper at f/1.4 throughout the frame and controls CA better. However, the Leica has more character in the OOF regions. It’s a true Summilux.

      • I have the Voigt 25mm f/0.95, and I never seen such CA on pics taken at f/1.4 (while at f/0.95 it’s no more CA it’s glow porridge all around the focus point ;))

        The only thing that could make me considering this Leica is the AF, but seeing the focus not being very accurate on the shots, I’m torn. Also, the 20mm performs really well in comparison, so I’ll probably wait more tests and reviews for making my mind :)

        PS: talking about lens character, I don’t see much here despite cool colors and contrast — nothing that can’t be worked out in LR or eq.

  • Kralin

    25 is focused on the shirt stripes, 20 on guy nose. It’s hard to compare.
    That say I do not see 200$ difference so i’m going for the 20, also looking at how much smaller it is.

    • MJr

      Because you’re blinded looking for sharp edges and forget if there is character.

  • Per

    I expect more from a Leica-lens! OK, it is not all about sharpness. But neither is is all about bokeh. The leica 45mm macro for m4/3 is a very average performer as well.
    20/1.7 is really worth its cost. I do not think the difference 1,4 to 1,7 means you get the shot you couldn’t otherwise get. Not least because cameras high ISO performance improves all the time.

    • cL

      I also expected more from the Leica branded lens. Sharpness is expected, and it does deliver. Bokeh IS expected, because it’s a large aperture portrait type lens. Your macro lens can do worse with bokeh, because it’s macro…, and macro lens is all about sharpness, and bokeh often looks weird and geometric, but that’s expected. So it’s all about expectation. And I expected more from PL 25mm…. Usually a pancake lens is a lousy performer, but in this case, I guess it’s okay, especially given its price. I guess I’ll withdraw my earlier decision that PL is a better deal. It still all depends on which one you need more though. Size or sharpness.

  • Well, no huge reason to change from my Panny 20/1.7. That’s a relief! Now, I really want to see how the Olly 45/1.8 performs…..

  • frank

    wow, I just checked out the CA on the white stripes with the 25. That’s really not too good when compared to the 20. And yes, the 25 is at 1.4, whereas the 20 is at 1.7, but they are both wide open and I’ll bet the 25 does not correct all of the CA at 1.7 suddenly.

    its the same as the teaspoon in another test pic that showed purple and green CA

    • CA is corrected by the camera, at least in the case of the 20mm. Perhaps we should expect a firmware update soon.

      • Boooo!

        You can’t fix that type of CA. It’s… I don’t know what it’s called exactly in technical terms, but it’s “bokeh CA”. It appears in out-of-focus areas and spreads badly, tens of pixels wide. To fix it, you need serious Photoshop knowledge and a lot of time.

        I have the 4/3 Panaleica, and from my personal use of that lens, it seems vastly superiour to the m4/3 version.

        • cL


          Yes, you can fix that. Most of the time Adobe already did that for you when you load your RAW files up, to the best of their ability, so the CA you ended up seeing is just a fraction of the totally uncorrectable CA that the computer algorithm doesn’t quite know how to fix.

          Yes, the shape of that CA is horrible. It’s not uniform that makes it really difficult to fix, even with software. And I also don’t remember the term for it, but you’re right, it’s the CA due to out of focus area, but usually it is uniform in width so it’s easy to fix if it’s not bleeded out like that. that’s the sign of bad optical design…. Something you shouldn’t expect from Leica. Panny’s “let’s fix everything with software” approach is really going a little too far this time.

          • Boooo!

            Software can only correct CA at high-contrast edges, CA that is uniformly a couple of pixels wide. This one just isn’t easily fixable. I’ve got that “bokeh CA” on my PL 25mm (much less than with this lens, though) and I can’t fix it fully. The best I can do is go into an image editor, select some pixels by colour, and then desaturate…

            I’d like to see an “old vs. new” comparison. I honestly think the old lens is better.

            • cL


              “I honestly think the old lens is better.”

              I think that may be the case….

  • Swejk

    Panasonic-Correction-Software not ready yet?

    • MaxElmar

      I thought Leica did not allow such correction on Leica-branded lenses?

      (Although they clearly correct for things like cyan-shift in the corners for wide-angle lenses on M8 and M9 – that’s why they are coded, no?)

      • cL

        Exactly, why should a Leica called a Leica if it’s software corrected like some cheaply made lenses?

        • Atle

          Who cares if its software-corrected? What matters is the end-result, no matter how its obtained, if software-correction gives a better result, it would be foolish to not use it.

          • +1 as far as image quality is not severely handicapped

          • cL

            Because you’re paying too much for something that should be sold half as much…. A software corrected lens costs the manufacturer very little money to produce. Low R&D, and you don’t need to use high quality glass to make one when all the defects will be corrected with software anyways. Like I mentioned many times, software corrected lens is disposable and has no collectible value. You also have very few room to post process your photos, since you’d be essentially post-processing everything twice, which can only make quality really bad.

  • AmandaNL

    Hope that the 25 will have nice/silent AF and that it performs better stopped down….
    If not there’s no reason to buy I think.

    Although the Bokeh is nice!

    • Al

      the grinding noise from Panny 20mm when focusing is annoying sometimes, hope the 25mm will be quieter. So use to my Nikon gear, absolutely silent. I know, can’t get everything.

      • Sim

        According to the announcement from Panasonic, the focusing on this lens is silent.

  • Stopkidding

    what if the guy trimmed the nasal hair since the last review? Either way, there is more to a lens than the quality of the nasal hair rendered :)

    • frank

      How about the stripes on his jacket! Stripes and nasal hair is all we are interested in!

  • Mar

    Just get 20mm + Oly 45mm for the price of mPL25mm

    Much better deal and better focal lenghts….

  • Bob B.

    The posts on this page are hysterical…..we all have issues! :-)
    Serious issues.

    • cL

      Of course…, we all have issues, or we wouldn’t be talking about them.

    • Zaph

      I think you’ll find that those posters 35 w/1.4 kids have better quality and blurred background than those 20 w/2.0 kids. They likely have a more “3D” look to them too. :)

      • Zaph

        And those w/4.0 or higher kids really don’t have much opportunity to function in low light situations.

  • Dan

    I think the samples would have looked better as OOC Olympus JPEGs. ACR just isn’t as good as the Olympus engine and IMHO weakens the comparison.

    I don’t know whether or not I can justify the 25 over my 20, but I can tell you that the 25 1.4 is a bargain price wise when you consider it’s rendering which surely will spank the Nikon/Canon 50s (neither which is sharp/contrasty wide-open and has good bokeh)

  • Hi,

    I agree that 25mm at f1.4 is below 20mm at f1.7 in terms of sharpness. I am really disappointed with these results. I think GF3 is not removing CA in RAW files, so definitely 25mm has higher CA levels than the pancake lens. In my opinion too much for the cost of this lens. The other day I was having a look to the MTF curves of LEICA D 25mm f1.4 FT lens and performance is higher than the new MFT lens. Too bad!

  • Jason

    The Leica has the brighter max aperture, better color depth, the ability to shoot at f/1.4 without filters and still look sharp, etc….. it is a better lens in many ways…. The 20mm is still the best “all around” performer in the entire MFT lineup…. The Leica is 2nd to me, although it is optically superior, it’s overall utility is not as good as 20mm. If anyone disagrees, please tell me which MFT lens is the best lens…..

    • 25mm Nokton…

      • Alphonse2501

        Still no stock in America

      • Not really an “all around” performer right ?

  • lily

    Does anyone know WHY the 20mm has been out of stock? I was at a big camera store in Shibuya (Tokyo) a couple of days ago and they didn’t even have any. They’re not planning on getting rid of it, are they?

  • If one posits that the Leica is an uncorrected lens like it should be than it’s the whole point compared to the 20mm.

    I also agree that microcontrast and colour depth are more important over the whole aperture range, than sharpness at some aperture. Because of that my 17mm, while not being stellar before 5.6, is a much better buy than the 20mm.

    OTH I have two 28mm with no CA at all, so it seems strange that a modern lens should have it.

    • “Because of that my 17mm, while not being stellar before 5.6, is a much better buy than the 20mm.”


      Sorry I just love it when people feel like they have to justify their purchases against all logics :D

      • I have both. The 17mm is a nifty little devil. If you don’t pixel peep, it’s perfectly usable at all apertures. Its contrast is indeed better, not to mention its colours.

        • glad to hear someone actually bases his opinion about the 17 on personal experience, and for once, other factors like contrast/colortone are mentioned too.

  • Both lenses look very sharp are different points in those comparison pictures leading me to think that the point of focus was different. Definitely tempted by the new 25mm, if only for the extra brightness and use for portraits. If it’s not much deeper than the pancake lens it could become my new walk-around!

  • Robbie

    The nasal hair discussion is truly hilarious!
    Thanks buddies!

    • hahaha epic.. :)

  • The comparison shots people are commenting about here: http://www.dpreview.com/news/1106/11062008panaleicasamplesgallery.asp#specs

    Thanks for not pointing out what you’re talking about, guys!

    • Bob B.

      We are talking about what was posted at the top of the page?

    • TR

      Thank you! Finally I can get in on the nasal hair!

  • MikeMill

    To me, 25mm has much more vibe.
    I’ll buy 25mm (in Japan). I don’t think I’m selling my 20mm, though.

    • TR

      I’m with you on that one. The 25 just has more vibe!

      Also it would be good to get a comparison on a bright distance shot, as for me this is where the 20mm falls down. It would be great to get a comparison in something like those building shots.

    • same thing here…i see the 25mm in my horizon, but i’ll probably first get a wide angle and short tele…in any case, i don’t see myself getting rid of the 20mm either…

  • Brod1er

    Don’t think the IQ differences are big enough for me to worry about and I dont have time for nasal gazing…… ;-)

    Main difference is in functionality ie:
    20mm j-u-s-t allows my GH1 camera to fit in large pickets (oh, for a removable eye cup….)
    25mm won’t but I assume focuses faster/quieter
    Personal preference over which FL you prefer.

    – Choose which is most important for you.
    NB Definitely worth having one of them as a companion to a zoom for the fast apertures possibilities (f1.7 vs f1.4 makes little difference though)

  • Thyl

    Come on, it is still a Panasonic lens, so you should not expect Leica quality, unless it costs the same (labour costs are now about the same in Japan and Germany). It is a compromise, and also Leica’s true involvement in these lenses is evidently one of the best kept industry secrets ;-).

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