I’ve been contemplating a second-hand prime lens, eying off 17, 25 and 35mm lenses on Gumtree for some time, not sure what I really wanted (or needed), but something with a big aperture for low light, shallow depth of field, portrait shooting and nothing too big or heavy.
Since using a 50mm lens on Pentax film cameras back in college, I’ve mostly used zooms, though I do have the Oly 60mm f2.8 Macro that doubles as a nice longer portrait lens which I used at a wedding and the wide angle manual focus Laowa 7.5mm f2.0.
I decided a 25mm (nifty fifty on full frame) would be the best choice. Olympus make a small, light f1.8 lens which is also reasonably priced and also a drool worthy f1.2 lens which is quite expensive, much larger and heavier.
In between these two Oly lenses sits the Leica DG Summilux Panasonic H-X025 Lumix 25mm f1.4 ASPH Micro 4/3 lens. Aside from the big name, not as large and heavy (200g) as the 1.2 and closer to the price point of the 1.8. I hadn’t really considered this lens until one popped up on Gumtree … I was in no hurry, researched and waited … it dropped $100 … a steal! (Included lens-hood – I don’t use lens hoods – and a slim UV filter).
An older M43 lens announced in June 2011, it has a plastic body (you can see a seam in the image above), this does keep the weight down though the camera mount is metal. It feels well built, the rubber covered focus ring is smooth and has a nice resistance to it but does turn the opposite way to the Olympus lenses … however, it’s all about that Leica glass …
OK, camera porn over (it does look gorgeous on the Pen-F, shot with the OM-1 and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO), here’s a random variety of shots below using the Pana Lumix Leica 25mm f1.4 on the Pen-F …
It has a minimum focal distance of 30cm, nano surface coating to reduce flare, isn’t weather-sealed, doesn’t have image stabilisation and is made in Japan. The only feature/control is the focus ring, auto-focus is quiet and feels quick and confident, it supports continuous-AF. One thing I do love – and it’s small, is that the red dot to line up the lens with the camera when mounting is raised – making it much easier to attach lenses in the dark! That is such a little thing, but a big win for Panasonic! (This is my first Pany lens).
But who care’s right, just check out the in focus sharpness and that beautiful out of focus blurrrrrrrrr!!!!! Zoom in on the selfie above and check out the lovely bokeh from the 7 blade aperture diaphragm.
While I immediately love this lens and it’s beautiful image rendering, I already have two zoom lenses that cover this range, though both have smaller apertures. Zooms are versatile and convenient, which is one reason I hesitated on a prime lens until I found this one ridiculously cheap.
But this lens is a special tool. Though limited with one focal length, it is much better in low light and subject separation. Aside from using your feet to zoom, it takes a slightly different mind set and approach to get the best use from it. I guess more of a challenge for a greater reward.
I love a challenge, so I think this lovely Leica lens will stay on the Pen-F for a large percentage of the time – taking me back to the days of college where camera’s were simpler yet photography, perhaps more challenging. Time will tell, until next time … thanks for visiting 😀