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Leica 15mm f/1.7 Panasonic Micro Four Thirds Lens ▶︎ Thoughts and Samples After Years of Use

Photo Moment - October 05, 2018

The Panasonic Leica 15mm f/1.7 lens is one of the first high-end micro four thirds lenses I started using, and I've been in love with it since day one. Let's see some sample photos and hear my thoughts after years of use.

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The Panasonic Leica 15mm f/1.7 lens is one of the first high-end micro four thirds lenses I started using, and I've been in love with it since day one. Let's see some sample photos and hear my thoughts after years of use. Get yours here! http://geni.us/3KtyCz
Love to know what you were shooting with here. The first thing I noticed about this video is how sharp it is.
on MFT is it still a f/1.7 or is it f/3.5 ? i'm new o MFT so sorry if that's a dumb questions
Not a dumb question at all, and totally confusing. The general calculation is that you double both, so a 15/1.7 becomes a 20/3.4 But it's not that cut and dry. It depends on if you're talking exposure, or depth of field, and what you're really comparing it to. Remember the f/number is a calculation of size of the aperture vs the focal length. Anyway, I recommend this article for further reading that may actually help, unlike my comment ;-) https://www.discoverdigitalphotography.com/2013/what-does-equivalent-aperture-mean/
loved the video! whats your opinion when comparing it to the fov of olympus 17mm lenses for the type of photography you presented us ?
that's a 30mm vs 35mm full frame difference. Pretty minor. I would happily shoot at either focal lenght.
@PhotoJoseph good! comparing the optics and qualitywise , do you have any comment?!
I haven't shot the Olympus for street photography. All I can say is that I love the Panasonic Leica one. It's an amazing lens; one of the favorites in my collection. http://geni.us/3KtyCz
@PhotoJoseph thanx for the feedback !! keep on !
I sold this lens 2 years ago and bought another copy last year. I use this on a Panasonic GM1. I get as much pleasure from this combo as from my Leica M240 with a Leica 28mm f2. Still use my Nikon D3s and various zoom lenses for generating cash flow to finance my photography journey. Definitely horses for courses. Don't let fan boys/girls of other makes or systems tell you that MFT is dead. I shoot many different formats and systems and they are good and fun for different reasons.
Amen! Yeah this really is a wonderful lens and I totally hear you on the “enjoyment” factor. While I’ve never owned a Leica I can totally appreciate the enjoyment and absolutely love a small system combo!
Great video and great lens!
Thanks, and I agree! ;-)
I just picked this lens up yesterday and this video is a great overview of things to come! I previously had my 20mm 1.7 on my gx85 but was looking to get my first really “nice” lens as well as something with faster AF. I do love the 20mm for many reasons (form factor, the unique 40mm equivalent) but man was the autofocus slow and not terribly useful in situations where I was popping off shots quickly. Excited to have this little fellow (and its slick metal lens hood!) on my camera.
It's a fabulous lens. Still one of my favorites and most used!
Also about aperture ring: If you have an excellent handling of camera controls (Pana GX GH series, Olympus OM and PEN series) then ring does not make a difference.

But if you have a Panasonic GM (1, 5, 7 or processors), which doesn't have so many controls, one more control, the ring, makes a great improvement.
That’s fair. I still prefer lenses that have a mechanical ring though, especially on a lens like the 10-25/1.7 where it’s stepless, so you have totally smooth aperture control.
Even I have this lens for more than 5 years and loved to use it almost at every situation... I still love to watch review about it :) best lens ever.

I am also very disappointed, why panasonic did not applied 15mm's controls to 25mm F 1.4 MarkII ? Iwish to see aperture and focus ring on 25mm 1.4 mark II.
I own this lense in the silver version and i love it very much. It is soo sharp it has a special look other lenses dont have
Sweet!
Excellent and enjoyable review on this superb little 15mm,Many Thanks,Robby,UK.
Glad you enjoyed. Amazing little lens!
I thought it was amusing that you referred to it as your Brother in Law's wedding. Wouldn't that make it your sister's wedding? Great lens. Great on the GH5S with a Ronin-S for video.
No… my wife’s brother is my brother in law. His wedding. If it was my sister’s wedding (and I don’t have a sister), that’d be AWKWARD!! 😂 And yeah this lens is still a favorite! Amazing tiny thing.
I have this lens and love it too.
I use with GX80 and look forward to using it with the GX9. 🙂
Hehe. I shoot this lens on GX80 and wait for Amazon to deliver the GX9 on 02-Sep. Coincidence :)
I'm thinking about getting the Gx9 or the Gx80; how you liking the Gx9 compared to the Gx80?
Thanks for your video.I ordered a few days ago that lens and I was going into the endless spiral of second thought. The pictures you showed are exactly what I want to do with it. Low lights, street photography etc... The only thing that bother me is that it's not weather sealed. When travelling (especially in Asia in summer) rain can happen. I also love to take pictures of street at night with rain, with all the reflections. I guess I must find a way to protect my gear.
Awesome! It’s been easy enough for me to keep dry. It’s so small that, especially when in a small body like the GX85, it’s easily slipped under a coat. Good luck with it, I hope you love it as much as I do!
Excellent pics. I was wondering about the amount of processing involved in these pics... was there a lot of processing involved? The colours are amazing...
Thanks! The New Orleans shots are all jpeg straight out of camera, because at the time I shot those on the GX85, there was no RAW support available. They are mostly shot in Vivid profile. Everything else (Tbilisi, wedding, etc.) were processed in Lightroom. I start most of my editing with presets from Mastin Labs or VSCO to get a “film” look, and then evolve from there.
@PhotoJoseph That Freddie King photo is fantastic. The composition and colours hit you right between the eyes. 👌
Thank you so much, I appreciate that.
@PhotoJoseph l hear but haven't tried myself that Raw Therapee can handle new RAW formats from newly released cameras. This may be of help to you in the future. For more info refer to the link below.

http://rawpedia.rawtherapee.com/Adding_Support_for_New_Raw_Formats
@PhotoJoseph We have to capture and document those old bluesmen while they're still around. For music lovers that's important.
Lovely review and images. Regards Ulf
Does this lens have that "Leica" look?
Honestly I’ve never owned an original Leica so I can’t say… but I can say that this lens is one of my favorites.
Great video and fab photos, really show off what a good photographer can do with the lens. Do you have any comments on its use with OMD? - I appreciate the aperture ring is redundant. Thanks
Thank you, that’s kind. I haven’t used it on an OMD body before I it’ll work, shouldn’t have any issues at all. My first MFT bodies were Olympus and I used them with some Panasonic lenses; never had a problem.
Fantastic video! Well done. It answered so many questions for me. Nice to see someone else who has been to Tbilisi Georgia. I've been there 4 times. I love that country.
Thank you! And yeah, Georgia is great.
You have beautiful photos sir. Nice work. Want to buy this lens soon to pair it with my Olympus gear!
Thank you!
Thanks PhotoJoseph. This video uncovered a unique feature I was trying to use. With the AF switch, I can switch to manual, have focus peaking, and use back button AF for instant AF. And.... when switched to AF, I can have AFC or AF tracking on demand without going into the menus. Just a switch can get these to features. This will change the way I shoot photo and video. Thanks.
Awesome! Which body are you using?
Still wondering about this lens and the Sigma 16mm 1.4 loved by lot of people. Knowing the huge difference in measure and weight but how differs about video autofocus performance? native PanaLeica vs non DFD lens. Also this focus ring on PL lens is sooo tiny, also aperture ring to me is uselss, or well, useless when used the lens manually on adapters.
I have G7 and G80 to use with. Sigma is also 100€ cheaper for me, what's your opinion? thanks :)
I haven't used the Sigma so can't speak to it but the size and weight of this tiny 15mm is going to be hard to beat
I have olympus omd em10 mii body. I want to buy a prime lens is it for olympus body? I need to hear your advice. Thanks
This one will work great
Would you prefer this over the 12mm 1.4? Is it worth it or that much of difference to get the 12mm?
Oooh… that's tough. I am using the 12/1.4 add a vlogging lens now. The field of view it's just right, and at that distance (arm length) you get nice bokeh. The field of view difference is pretty significant though; 24mm vs 30mm full frame equivalent. For Street photography having very shallow depth of field can work against you, so personally I'd still prefer the 15 as a street photo lens. Plus it's size and weight are hard to beat.
Not sure why this guy is putting up this much effort for this lens. It's just ok, personally not a good FOV for most things.
Yet for me personally, and for many others, it’s a GREAT FOV. That’s why!
I think the pictures speak for themselves and demonstrate the usefulness of this lens for many purposes.
I just got the lens for my system, as I wanted a wide-ish lens with fast aperture and quick focus to be able to capture my two years old son playing. So far, I love it. Your samples taken with the lens are fantastic! I really love your style. I subscribe to see more content 😊
Awesome thank you, and enjoy the lens! It’s a beauty.
For the last 6 months I’ve been shooting with it almost exclusively and the sharpness, color and contrast are all great. Perfect for small bodies and really well made. Only thing that bothers me that lens hood comes off too easily and has fallen off while taking it out of the bag few times. Just got a fast zoom so I won’t use it all the time, but for low light and candid shots it’s hard to beat.
Agreed on all counts. Try a little tape in the grooves to add friction for the hood. Just a tiny bit to make the grooves smaller.
This lens is amazing
now that is one beautiful lens!
thanks for sharing this with us! loved watching this!
Thanks!
Baker image an all time classic!!! Love it every time I see it.
Thank you!
Had mine for years too. It does colours so well and micro contrast. A great travel and street photography lens. Nice review thanks.
30mm f/3.4 ... doesn't sound so good when you go full frame equivilent
actually yes, when the sensor is 2 times smaller = 2x less light the sensor receive
@fos1x so a compact with a 1/2.3 sensor have a F/30 aperture ? F/45 ? 😂
@Antoine Richer lol?
a single pixel size in 12mp with 1/2.3 sensor is ~1.55 microns
a single pixel size in 12mp with full frame sensor is ~8.4 microns which ~5.4x bigger = more light receive
and if a 1/2.3 inch with f1.7 equivalent is not F30 but F/~9.18
@fos1x aperture didn't depend of your sensor... A mft sensor is 1/4 if the surface of ff.. and 1/2.3 surface sensor is only about near 25 mm2 surface ( compare to a ff with more than 900mm2)...
Don't confuse everything in sensor aperture, focale equivalent.
Only in reference to depth of field
Best value Leica branded lens for MFT
You are a really great photographer been using the GX85 as well. Have put it a way but used it in a museum and wanted to travel light. Used it with the kit lens glad I brought it with me. This lens looks good. Very rarely pick up my GH4 any more.
very nice images.. May I ask what picture profiles and setting you used in Lumix?
I rented that lens and I was disappointed. IT's great inside, compared to the 14-42mm lens. But outside on a bright sunny day, save your money. I compared the kit lens and the Leica for landscape photography and frankly there's no reason to buy the Leica if all you're going to do is shoot outside. Now sure, as soon as you step inside a building the kit lenss is gone and the Leica is better, but I'd say marginally better as f/1.7 on a Micro Four Third is actually very different than a f/1.7 on a full frame.
The dof of a MFT camera is shallower only because the lenses have a shorter focal distance.
I just got this lens 2 days ago. Perfect timing!
Yeah, underrated lens! This is just about the pinnacle of what the MFT system is all about. A quality lens that's very compact. Put it on the GX85, set it next to the premium compact LX100 and you'll have a hard time telling which is which as they have the almost exact same footprint. That's why... despite of what a few people are saying, MFT has a future amongst the APS-C and Fullframe systems. There's so much choice in camera bodies and lenses that come in various shapes, sizes & weight, for all sorts of budgets, quality needs and skill levels. With lenses like the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, this 15mm f/1.7, the 20mm f/1.7, 25mm f/1.7, 30mm f/2.8 Macro, 42.5mm f/1.7 OIS, Olympus 12mm f/2, 17mm f/1.7, 25mm f/1.8, 45mm f/1.8 and even third parties with the likes of the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT and ZY Optics/Zhongyi/Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95... there's just a line-up of unheard of snacksize quality lenses that are such tremendous value. Which is an important note to make, btw, that it's really the lenses that make a system small.

Shaving a few mm off a camera body might hurt the capability of said camera body, but it won't do much to make the system compact, that's really all down to the lenses you throw in front of it. That's why Sony APS-C mirrorless doesn't interest me in the slightest. The A6500 has been kept tiny to appeal to potential customers. What that however results in is a camera that has poor ergonomics, lack of ports (e.g. no headphone jack, no dual cardslots) and can't get rid of heat (the A6500 introduced 'tripod mode' where it raises the threshold temperature where overheat protection kicks in, but rendering the camera so hot that you can no longer shoot with it handheld, hence need to use a tripod). But body aside (which is only 1 per generation, so... very little to choose from) they've been neglecting to develop compact APS-C lenses for years and years now. So... if you want a new and exciting lens from Sony, you'll be adapting a Sony FF E-mount lens. And doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of having an APS-C system? And because I find that camera body inadequate... it even makes more sense to just buy the sharply priced and well-rounded A7III of theirs already which makes for a package that makes a whole lot more sense. But... then suddenly you find yourself in the fullframe zone... which is surrounded by big, heavy and expensive lenses. Nah. Not for me, sorry.

The GX85 is lovely in its small size and takes full benefit from the tiny but very capable lenses. But I actually find the MFT flagships amongst the best cameras out there. Olympus of course with their E-M1 Mark II and Panasonic is really killing it with the GH5(S) and G9. The G9 is arguably the most ideal camera out there. Nice 'n grippy, weathersealed, dual cardslots, full audio interface, fullsized HDMI-port even, awesome battery life, superb implementation of a frontfacing vari-angle touchscreen, epic EVF, nice top LCD, joystick, bunch of dials and buttons with lots of customization options. Honestly, does it get much better than that? Well, yeah, when inside of it there's sensor-shift stabilization and interal 4K60p recording. That's why you gotta love mirrorless. That's what mirrorless should be all about! Getting all the innovation and features you can dream of. This seems to have gone unnoticed with some of the competition out there... and why Panasonic has a real shot at taking over the FF mirrorless space as well (again betting on depth from de-focus rather than on-sensor phase detection is... well, questionable, but might have its merits in the future with deep learning AI lending a hand. But I do feel it's a massive fail not to incorporate a vari-angle screen... which has become a staple feature since the release of the first Lumix G camera, the G1 and there has even been a petition to get Panasonic to change their mind about the 3-axis Fujifilm non-forward facing screen and incorporate a vari-angle screen once more (when not on the stills focused S1R, then atleast on the hybrid/video focused S1).

But like I said. That there's a lot going on in the FF space doesn't mean MFT is dead just quite yet. Just like smartphones aren't dead because people went and bought a tablet. That's what I always keep on saying time and time again. Use the right tool for the job. There's a time and place for a fullframe camera, sure. But there's many benefits to a crop sensor camera that shouldn't so easily be overlooked. My 20 cts. ;P
Yeah, you're speaking my language. 'Once you understand the limitations of the platform, you learn to work around them' , exactly! I mean, here we were excited and shooting with cameras like the GH2 and BMPCC for years, creating and seeing awesome stuff. It's not like all of a sudden that potential has gone and vanished into thin air. DualPixel C-AF, IBIS, incredible noise performance. It's all welcome, but if you want to shoot anything cinema style... it's not like a Kinefinity, Blackmagic, RED or ARRI will be any different in that regard. So actually, if anything, that would set you up for success, because then at some point you can rent a better kit like the beforementioned and know what's what without falling into dispair that there's no DualPixel C-AF or IBIS. But it's something people tend to overlook. Albeit very convenient these aren't really that hardcore of dealbreaking features and just require one to get the right perspective and approach.
I watched the Linus Tech Tips video where they covered everything that went into their new 8k Sony RED camera. All told, they spent something like $140k each on two rigs. Their videos are definitely higher quality now, but are they $140k higher? Not to my eye. I think the vast majority of us are better off using cameras with fewer features that we learn to use very well. That's one reason I like the X-T3 so much and almost walked out of the store with one. I don't have to fiddle with context menus on a damn touch screen to make changes to basic camera functions. It has dials on top, just like the old Nikon I grew up using. In fact, it felt almost EXACTLY like the old Nikon I grew up using. Now, the G7 isn't terrible to navigate, and once you set a few custom setups, it's really simple. Plus, it's not like help and tutorials to do that are difficult to find. Google was my friend when I came home with the G7. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect people to use Google to find out how to do some things. The problem is when someone comes into a camera without even knowing what questions to ask.

I think I'm going to buy the 15mm lens Joe reviewed. I don't have a prime yet, I'm still using the kit 14-42, and I think it's a good place to start.
Yeah. This year I've started getting into motorcycling. But rather than getting a 1000cc bike and killing myself I went with a more friendly 125cc one. It's the Suzuki GSX-R125 and is a completely new developed platform for 2018. It's still sporty and I managed to do 138km/h, 85mph with it just as well. Now a half a year or so into ownership, I probably still haven't begin to scratch the top of the capabilities this bike has. Of course it's fun to lust after something like the Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale or a BMW S1000RR... but it's just a bit silly. You've got to be realistic about it and put it into relation where you are now... not where you hope or think to be at some point in time. Same for cameras.

One of the reasons I loved the Panasonic LX100 was it was so basic and intuitive to use. You'd have your aperture control ring on the lens and two dedicated dials on the top, one for shutterspeed and one for exposure compensation. Really reliving the good old times (although I'm too young to have been around for that at the time, lol), also without a dedicated hardware solution for the ISO... after all, in the days of film you'd have that roll inside your camera with a fixed ASA value. The camera wouldn't even need a PSAM control dial, because those three variables control everything just the same (maybe even better, because you have more of an idea what you're doing). The Olympus E-M1 series also make for great cameras to use, although a little intimidating at first. But once set up to your likings, it's the best thing ever. And in the end... you'll be able to get used to just about anything. Although... I'm really not looking forward to be using a Sony anytime soon.

No primes yet? Oh wow. :P Haha. Nah, then that Leica 15mm f/1.7 certainly makes for a good start! :D Also checkout the Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7 OIS. It was the first non-Leica (so non-expensive) prime to receive OIS, which I think is quite a big deal. And the legendary '42.5mm' focal length of course is known from the just as legendary Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 OIS Nocticron. There again it's the question... how much more worth is the up in quality really? Well, as they say 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' I guess. That's quite subjective. Might be ultimate quality, but not necessarily ultimate value. If you're about value also look at the Olympus 17mm f/1.8. It's a great little lens that comes down to 35mm (fullframe equivalent) with the 2x crop. It uses the manual focus de-clutch system as seen on the Olympus PRO models, which allows you to switch from focus-by-wire to an actual focus mechanism with hard stops! Of you want to get funky, see if you can find a ZY Optics/Zhongyi/Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 for a good price. Very bokehlicious and very fun. Bit of a vintage-like character to it. Speaking of which, there's tons of vintage lenses that can be easily adapted to MFT (and were sensor stabilization really gives them some new life). My first one I think was a Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 and hardly set me back anything (and then the seller even threw in an Olympus XG-1 film camera body). Great way to get into primes and character. And... tremendous value.
I learned my lesson regarding sportbikes. I borrowed a friend's ZX6R a few years back. I didn't think I was going all that fast until I hit 6th, glanced at the speedo and saw I was doing north of 150 mph. After driving back at a very sedate 85, I decided that maybe a sportbike wasn't for me. I mean, it's TOTALLY for me, but I have a fair degree of confidence that if I'd bought it, I'd either be dead or in jail.

I'll take a look at the Lumix 42.5 as well. The local camera shop might as well rename themselves "friendly, neighborhood Sony full frame shop" for the lack of variety. They had a G7, a GH5, an X-T3, an X-T2 that they wanted far too much for, no Olympus or Pentax, and a few DSLR models of Canon and Nikon. Most of the glass was Canon, Nikon, and of course Sony. They had zero Fuji lenses and only a couple M43. Given how disappointing that store was to a non-Sony person, I'll probably have to take a flier and buy a lens from B&H or Adorama based on reviews I read.
I am a little late, sure. But your point has just become even more relevant with the new firmware update... I mean c'mon! 4K30p in 10-Bit 4;2;2 internally on the G9? And the VFR system? I love the G9 and now there's an even better reason to be crazy about it.


To be honest, FF is tempting but right now? Right now there's nothing that can match the G9's versatility. Wanna go and film a travel edit? Sure, it's light enough! Do some street photography? Let's go! Time for a studio session? Let's get to it! Need to film a music video? Slap a cage on it, external recorder and you're golden.
All of this in a compact, lightweight, grippy, long lasting son of a guy of a camera. Once I see an actual FF alternative, they can have my money :D
Hi Joseph, can you please cover in a video the flash options in the G9 and which settings can be used with Panasonic flashes and which are not available in third party flashes like Godox or Nissin. Thank you!
I can’t compare to the third parties yet (I will eventually I hope) but I’ve covered flash quite a bit. Check here: https://photojoseph.com/all?type=1&type=1&app_id=All&hardware_id=978#.W7lHFRZlDDs
The gx 85 and the 15mm f1.7 is my favourite camera-lens combo. I took it to Vietnam last winter and got some fantastic shots with it.
My combo as well. I sold other MFT lenses so I only use 15mm Leica permanently lol
Perfect walk around lens. I like how it’s small and comes with a metal lens hood.
Great review. Makes me want want one. Will it go just as well on an Olympus?
yes, but the dedicated aperture ring wont work
@Timo Pomer Bummer. Ok. Thanks!
This should be great for MilkyWay photos too.
And then the 10-25 1.7 comes along...
Probably a little more expensive though :-)
Will be great for video and expensive - but bang for buck the 15mm is fantastic
But that lense is HUGE!!! IMO it defeats the advantage of going MFT unless you are a professional video shooter and always have a tripod at hand. As a wlak around lens the 10-25 is not that great, again IMO
Yes but .. not when compared to equivalent FF lenses - its the equivalent to having 4 lenses Leica 8-18, 12mm, 15mm, and 25mm - You will lighten your gear when carrying around- all you'll need will be 2 lenses the 10-25 and 42.5 Noctricron - pretty cool
If the 10-25 can reasonably replace my favorite, the 25 1.4, then I may well end up getting it. The 8-18 is not bright enough for what I end up doing so I didn't end up getting it.
Looks like a pretty nice lens Joe.
It is indeed Peter… thanks for watching!
Totally agree, that thing is such a big upgrade to any panasonic kit!! For those who are a little bit on a budget a tip is to look for a used DJI 15mm D-L015. It's the exact same lens just branded by DJI and used usually sells much cheaper than the Leica. Recently pick up my copy for 200€ while a this Leica one used would have been 300-350€ here in Europe.
Very interesting. And you're sure it has the Leica glass?
@PhotoJoseph I heard it's basically the same lens
I found a video comparison… in Russian. One definite obvious difference is the coatings. Which means the glass is probably different. Which means it’s not Leica glass. That’s my deduction at least.
@PhotoJoseph there are indeed huge discussions going one whether it's the same one or not. Built-quality wise it definitely appears to be the exact same. Glass or coating can infact be different, remains untold. For someone with a very limited budget however that should be a fairly easy pill to swallow, since for my eye the difference between two different kinds of glass won't be visible. However the difference of having a 15mm 1.7 or not having one will very much be visible :P for a pro, who needs absolute best quality that might of course look differently.
@Florian Land You can buy it new for about 350€ at eglobalcentral.com... So, why would you buy it second hand for 300€?
For size, and quality, it's one of the best. I've JUST sold mine after 4 years of owning to change to the Olympus 17mm 1.2. It's much larger, but feels great on a G9.
Curious: I exchanged mine for an Olympus 17mm f:1.8 a couple of years ago after having the 15mm for about a year: after a trip to japan with that I came to the conclusion I cannot stand that 30mm equivalent fow and I much prefer a regular 35mm: it was like I was always in the middle and was unable to properly frame what I was looking at. The oly is less sharp but is similarly sized and I fell much more comfortable with that focal lenght
@Zumzifero yeah exactly that, I felt like I spent most of my time in post cropping images haha.
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