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New Leica 25mm pictures at CNET and Dpreview (+ 20mm pancake in Stock for $389)


Credit: Shawn Low/CNET Asia)

Before to read the test, if you are from US, you can get the Panasonic 20mm pancake for $389 on Amazon (Click here). It’s in Stock via Vann’s!

Shawn Low from Cnet Asia (Click here) tested the new Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens: “We think the lens produced good, pleasing bokeh (the quality of blur) unlike some kit lenses which can make out-of-focus elements appear harsh. The lens produced sharp images all the way to the edges. The lens also produced natural colors that were very close to what our eyes perceived. Although we had a positive experience with the Leica 25mm F1.4, we think that the lens’ minimum focusing distance of 30cm can sometimes be limiting.“More pictures at Cnet Asia.

Dpreview (Click here) posted more 25mm versus 20mm pancake image comparisons. There is a huge discussion about those images. Someone on DPreview said the 20mm f/1.7 lens is actually sharper. To me it looks like the new Leica is sharper than the pancake when you look at the the center of the image.

You can preorder the Leica 25mm f/1.4 at Adorama (Click here), J&R (Click here) and Digitalrev (Click here). I didn’t find any preorders in Europe yet.

  • robin

    Looks great!!!

  • the contrast/bokeh is what mft needs…

  • Traciatim

    I really don’t understand the discussion back and forth on which one is sharper. Can’t we actually just measure that?

    If the 20mm is a great lens and this is arguable about the same sharpness then can’t we just say that Panasonic has a winner with another great lens?

    • MJr

      If all you care about is it being sharp then sure.

    • MikeS

      Being happy with a good lens takes all the fun out of pixel-peeping ;)

      • fscking truth.

    • Mr. Reeee

      The fixation on sharpness is a bit ridiculous. Good photography is a LOT more than sharpness.

      I’ve seen MANY incredibly sharp, technically perfect photos that are absolutely DEAD BORING to look at. Check out some of the “winners” on DPReview. Seriously.

      @mikeS… LOLOLOL PERFECT! :-)

      • Thinking like a consumer I’d want sharpness for $600!

        It’s not everything, but it’s still a heck of a lot. When you’re at 1.4 especially, strong sharp lines and details really draw you in.

        Also coming from using old 35mm lenses on m43, those lenses are nice, but the resolution of those lenses becomes clear every time I look at photos from the 20mm.

        While the wall is boring to look at, they’re showcasing gear. The cupcake is a nice picture, but really isn’t a good example for sharpness. For one I can’t download the original picture myself. I also sure as heck wont make a decision on this lens based on one picture where the area in focus is so tiny.

        The bokeh is awesome, and it shows minimal vignetting.

        My wife wants the epl1 and 20mm since it is easier to use than my e620. I feel an ep3 and 25 may be in my future ;)

    • cL

      To my eyes, Leica 25mm is sharper, hand down. Like other people said, sharpness isn’t everything (many factors are working together as a whole). Though I have to add something, it depends on what type of photos you’re shooting. Different people have different schools of thought, and certain photographic style demands sharpness more than others. That’s why some Holga photos can win awards. It’s about composition, skill and other things, not necessarily about good lens/camera bodies.

      That said, the reason a Leica lens warrants a higher price is because it’s optical superior than others. If sharpness isn’t what you need, you can buy cheaper lens and save yourselves a lot of money, or buy a lens which has something you need more (like larger aperture, weather seal, or better geometric correction). Yes, sharpness isn’t everything, but don’t pay too much for something you don’t need is what I’m saying.

    • ihateidiots

      Because it mostly boils down to self-justification that “this is better than this” and the subconscious reluctance to buy another lens?

  • Pete

    Warehouse Express in the UK appear to be taking pre-orders for the new 25mm f1.4 lens.

  • Al

    Agree, people pays way too much attention on the sharpness these days, just like the camera companies’ pixel war, that cools down a little I believe. From what I’ve read and seen so far, 25mm has an edge over 20mm, in terms of coloration, bokeh. Compactness, 20mm wins.

  • Per

    From an expensive lens you expect sharpness very similar center – edge. The expensive 25 mm is sharper in the center but softer towards edges compared to the cheaper 20 mm.
    On the other hand the 25mm seems to have better (micro)contrast.
    When comparing bokeh – remember that that the 20 mm has a wider sharpness depth.
    Would be interesting to see examples at 4,5 – 5,6 – 8. It may be that the 25mm outperforms the 20mm there. I hope so, otherwise the 25 mm is a disappointment.

    • tmrgrs

      Per’s quote: “The expensive 25 mm is sharper in the center but softer towards edges compared to the cheaper 20 mm”

      You and many others are being fooled by the narrower DOF at f/1.4

      The point of focus is sharp and that’s about it for most subjects at f/1.4

      Don’t believe me? Go look at those most recent comparison photos at DPR where the 20/1.7 and 25/1.4 are both shot at the same aperture (1.7 & 1.8).

      • Per

        Good point tmgrs – well taken!

      • Mike

        You are right – in the new pictures I can’t also can’t see a differende in sharpness. The 1.4 shot looks also good with 0.5 stop wider aperture. So this alone is a good reason to buy this lens.
        What I don’t like is the purple fringing, but this could be the Leica Philosophy.
        In the bokeh and the color rendering I can really see no difference.
        My choice is the Lumix because of the compact size, it’s comparable image quality and the lower price.

  • Scott

    i do not know what people are talking about, the 25 is much sharper and it doesnt distort like the 20

    • distort? are you speaking about the head shot? if you are that is the product of how close the photographer was to the subject, in camera correction does a very nice job with the 20mm.

      as far as I know there is no in camera correction done on the 25mm in that test. So the CA, and vignetting that is seen could/should be eliminated by a camera update and its softer in the edges than the 20mm but that to be expected. Color, contrast and smoothness all look very nice, as It truly looks like a excellent lens.

      wont be getting it as size is more important. But the extra $200 asking price seem to be justified.

  • jim

    the crop poto above shows this lens is not sharp at all

    • Maley

      Look at the brown top of the cream and u can see that it is very sharp indeed.

    • MJr


  • GreyOwl

    Looks good to me:-) Might well give a great deal of thought as to where the money might be found….

  • This is why Leica lenses are so expensive :p

  • uth

    i have Leica D 25/1.4 for 4/3 system. i can say that the thing i like is it’s not “too sharp”. yes, this lens is pretty sharp for me and it’s “enough”. but to compare to some lenses that sharper. i have a feeling that they are not “natural” when i look at those pictures.

    i really like the style or characteristic of leica. it’s sharp, clear and look natural in the same time. its tone is very smooth too. and that why leica lenses are always expensive. there is no such a lens has the same characteristic like leica has.

    but if you think those things are not important for you and you only look for sharper lenses. you don’t have to buy or use these leica. it will waste your money.

    PS. this comment is just from my feeling. it may not be the fact :)

  • Bob B.

    This is not the icing on the cake?
    OK..I know I am old and can’t see….but the inset of the cupcake at the top of the page does not look sharp AT ALL to me…but I am going to chalk that up to bad photography…. I think my 45mm Pan/Leica Marcro is sharper..????

    • MJr

      No prior experience with F1.4 on a digital camera have you ?

      Yes your F2.8 macro is sharper than this at F1.4.

      • Bob B.

        yes ..prior experience..I have a Canon 85mm f/1.2…it is sharper than the above image a lot at f/1.2,on a full-frame camera.
        ..and remember…this is a f/1.4 on a much smaller format…which gives it a much greater DOF to help it along.

        • Bob B.

          I realize that the photo above is a random shot….so I will be patient and would like to wait and see some photos from this lens in a more controlled environment before I pass judgement. ….but from what I can see..I see no reason to switch from my 20mm f/1.7.
          The bokeh is quite nice, on the new lens though!

          • MJr

            Don’t forget that this cupcake is very close up, that narrows down the DoF quite a damn lot. And lens performance is very dependent on focal distance. The focus also seem to be at the very end of the creamy tip, maybe even a little behind it.

            But if you do have the experience why would you even mention a F2.8 lens when judging a photo obviously shot at a much larger aperture.

            It’s funny how you say to see no reason to switch and then name one right after. The bokeh is quite nice indeed. That is it’s main attraction after all. Not a side note, as you made it sound. Leica wouldn’t have approved it otherwise, and it wouldn’t be worth the extra cash otherwise.

        • Fish

          The back top of the frosting looks sharp to me – especially considering we are looking at a 100% crop. Of course this would be easier to judge on the full size file rather than a compressed web image. And even despite the advantage of the smaller format, the depth of field in this picture is obviously very thin. Only the small portion of icing with the water droplet is in focus.

          I am not saying that your Canon is not sharper than this lens (I wouldn’t be surprised). I have never owned the 85mm 1.2 but am familiar with its legendary reputation. How much would yours have cost brand new? More than $599?

          • Bob B.

            um..hmm…(puts toes together and looks at feet)….well…maybe a little more than $599…perhaps.

  • Roger

    Admin, you’re overusing the do word in your sentences.

    “Some do say”!
    “do” everywhere! It’s not meant to be used this way. It’s meant to be an auxiliary or to mark an action and, sometimes, it’s meant to put an extra emphasis or stress on a verb. You just use it almost everywhere!

    Please, stop it.

  • sam

    New panasonic camera needs firewire 800 transfer as well as usb.

    • Mr. Reeee

      It should have Thunderbolt port!
      Forget USB, it’s a joke for anything other than mice and keyboards.
      But why is there no FireWire SD Card reader, there are FireWire CompactFlash readers!

      • rampart

        +1 on the thunderbolt. When the new macbookairs come out next month, I’d like to introduce one to my GH2

  • WT21

    I’m looking for better contrast and color out of the gate, and more smoothness in the bokeh. Just like many people have owned different 50mm lenses because of different characteristics, there is certainly a place for a top-shelp 25mm and a great pancake 20.

    We shall see once users get a hold of that lens.

  • Pablo

    Dudes, seriously…

    They really call that lens a LEICA?
    If the icing on the cake is a 100% crop, then they are really making fools of us all.
    My 17 EUR Minolta MD Rokkor 35/2.8 can make sharper, more contrastier pics with more lively colors wide open, than this “Leica” of yours. It weighs about 170 grams puts a 50mm FF equiv FOV and has more spatial separation thank to the 35mm FL.

    Yeah, kneel to your plasticy “Leica”.

    Time to think about why this “Leica” lens as they call it costs only a fraction of a real, godly Leica lens :>>

    Oh yeah, now I see, what you mean by great native glass for the m4/3 system :>

    • Fish

      Haha Pablo, are you trying to embarrass yourself?

      It is impossible for you to conclude anything about contrast or colour based on this photograph. Seriously, what are you smoking???

      YOU NEVER SAW THE SCENE – you have no idea how accurately this photo captures the contrast or colour of the actual subject. To do a comparison between the Leica and your Minolta (which isn’t even a very good lens by the way), you would have to shoot the same scene with both lenses. That’s the only way you could draw a conclusion… but you somehow can tell by looking at a photo whether or not the colours are “lively”?

      And your 35mm at f2.8 will have LESS “spatial separation” (I am guessing that you are referring to DOF) than a 25mm f1.4 lens will on the 4/3 sensor, not more.

      Next time, instead of just spouting the same nonsense over and over again, just take a second and think about whether or not it makes sense.

    • Oli G

      Admin, it’s time to do something about this guy. I suggest the bozo filter (global ignore).

    • Bob B.

      Pablum…is it Pablum, again?

  • cbr09

    I think it is the images of the brick wall that have caused most comment. Especially looking at the pipes it looks as if the 25 is quite soft away from the centre in the way the 20 isn’t. Almost as if its zone of focus is not planar.

    I’m sure both lenses are good and in the hands of a good photographer will give great images. Sharpness is not all and contrast bokeh etc are probably more important in the kind of image you’ll use these lenses for at wide aperture. I think the only think I find slightly suspicious of is that people only say this when the lens is a Leica – but when, for example discussing the Oly 17 f2.8, the fact it is not tack sharp wide open is a major flaw that means the lens can be discounted – whereas those who say its contrast/bokeh is good and they like the photos from it are considered ‘fanboys’. Are we sure there is not here a placebo effect in knowing the lens is a Leica (or labelled as such)?

  • 25mm F1.4 is maybe sharp so 20mm F1.7, but better bokeh.

    But name Leica give placebo effect is old news :-D

  • dumbo

    this sums up dpreview for me.
    the photos on cnet asia are beautiful, well framed, interesting subjects, the person testing the lens knows how to use a camera and lens to it’s potential.

    the photos on dpreview are of a badly framed chair and an unfocussed portrait – if you cant get someone to take a decent photo, then why do i care about your review?

    i suspect pablo is the admin lol, he’s too frequent and too much of an idiot ;)

    • MJr

      dpreview looks at varieties of lighting conditions, subjects, and just challenges to average use of a lens to judge its rendering with various textures and conditions, not to get a pretty photo, because technically a real photographer can make a pretty photo with any lens, but to see how the lens holds up. that is, imo, the professional thing to do, for a reviewer.

      but i agree the chair is crap, at least as a comparison subject. as one out of 36 in a sample gallery it would be a proper sample. but for this indeed not, i’m used to better from them.

  • Oriol

    I do not care about sharpness at all, I am more interested in bokeh qualities. Admin, we need a comparison between the Leica and the Voigtlander. Would you change your Voigtlander for the new Leica?

    • Mr. Reeee

      HELL, NO!
      I PREFER having an aperture ring and real mechanical focus!
      And I’m only talking about my Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f1.4. I get the 25mm in July!

      I also suspect the cupcakes in the photo are not made with whole grain flour, organic butter and sweetened with unprocessed cane juice. ;-)

      • Maybe cake is from factory, but reason for 25mm vs.
        20mm is not only difference, 5mm, F1/2 step and 200$.
        So a real test on all aperture soon.

      • Brod1er

        Mr Reeee, that is a wild accusation indeed! No cupcakes were harmed in the testing of this lens.

  • Jh

    Has anybody done a comparison of the Nokton 25 vs the panasonic 25? That would be a more interesting test.

  • The Voigtlander 25mm is noticeably sharper than the Panasonic 20mm, and I prefer the colours and contrast too. Plus, a little publicised feature of the Voigt is its ability to focus very close; it’s almost a macro lens.

  • When comparing the PL25 mm with the P20 mm, why hasn´t anyone commented on how dreadful slow the focus of the P20 is? That´s my main reason why I have ordered the PL25. I haven´t read anything about the focus speed of the PL25, but it can´t be as slow as the P20.

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