The Panasonic – Leica 25 1.4 Summilux Lens Review for Micro 4/3

The Panasonic – Leica 25 1.4 Summilux Lens Review for Micro 4/3

Finally! The lens I waited months for finally arrived! The Panasonic/Leica 25 1.4 Summilux is a very important lens for Micro 4/3 users because it FINALLY gives us a 50mm equivalent focal length with a fast aperture of 1.4! Woo Hoo! When the 1st Micro 4/3 cameras were released this was a lens many of us asked for (I know I did) and Panasonic has now delivered it to us. We already have the now almost legendary Panasonic 20 1.7 lens which just about every serious M4/3 shoot has owned at one point or another so how does this lens stand up to that one?

Well, size wise, the newer 25 Summilux is more than twice the length of the 20 and about $200 more expensive. So is it worth it to splurge the extra $$ and pick up the 25? Read on to find out my thoughts on this lens. But be warned….while reviewing this lens my Nephew was visiting me from Chicago so he was my main model when shooting 🙂 Most of you already know my lens reviews are not scientific, rather they are “real world” results of a photo enthusiast going out and shooting the lens or camera and telling all about my experience, enthusiasm and sharing my results.

I snapped this one late at night using my car headlights to light up the area. My crazy nephew came out of the store and took off his shirt to strike a pose. Shot with the E-P3 in grainy B&W mode at 1.4

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The Build and Feel of the lens. Is this a real Leica?

This lens feels just about the same as every other Panasonic Micro 4/3 prime lens, and that is good. Same build as the 20 1.7 and 45 2.8 so it is a solid lens but this lens is a Panasonic through and through, not a Leica. It may have the Leica name on it but the lens is made by Panasonic using a Leica design. No exotic glass but even so, this lens comes the closest yet to giving that Leica look on a Micro 4/3 body. The lens feels good on the camera though it is a little on the larger side for a prime when you consider the small size of the M4/3 bodies, and the size of the 20 pancake!

Wide open on the Olympus OM-D during the Zombie Apocalypse

*Oh and also, for those who are unaware or are new to Micro 4/3 bodies, this lens is a 25mm lens but when mounted will give you the equivalent view of a 50mm lens.

Most of my shooting was done on the E-P3 though I did shoot it on the GX1 as well. In my opinion, it feels better on the slightly larger E-P3. Ok ok…Im an E-P3 “fanboy”.

UPDATE: This lens is a MATCH MADE in HEAVEN on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5. No rattlesnake sound, super share and focuses FAST. See my OM-D E-M5 review HERE.

Using The Lens

When I received the lens I was pretty busy with other cameras and articles but I still managed to get out and use the lens as much as I could. When I unboxed it I noticed it came with a pretty massive lens hood, which I did use most of the time. I never had a problem with flare.

My main thing? I was curious if it could beat the little 20 1.7 which is not only smaller but cheaper as well. When I first started shooting it on the GX1 I noticed my shots were soft and not looking so hot. I thought I had a defective lens but when I attached it to the E-P3 I was rewarded with sharp images. I soon realized the images were soft because my 1st looks were with the out of camera JPEGS, and the GX1 was softer than the E-P3. Once I brought up the RAW files I saw just how capable this lens really is. IT IS A SHARP LENS when you stop down and guess what? It’s even sharp wide open at 1.4 as you will see a but further down.

The lens is no slouch. Full sun in Phoenix, AZ – 25 1.4 at f/8 – from RAW – Click image for full size sample.

ISO 640 and wide open at 1.4 on the Olympus O-MD E-M5

When writing about a lens and real world use (not scientific) it’s not always necessary to have 2000 words in the review because when a lens is good, it’s good. The one thing I can say about the 25 1.4 Summilux is that to my eyes, it does render images in a richer way than the 20, which is also fantastic but maybe a bit “flatter” in the color and overall presentation.  The Summilux is indeed a better lens when it comes to overall image quality. Like I said, “rich” is the word I would use to describe it’s character. It gets about as close to a real Leica lens as I have seen on Micro 4/3. To see my old 20 1.7 review you can click HERE.

The Bokeh of the 25 1.4 looks good to me when wide open – click image for larger view. E-P3.

My nephew is in town visiting me from Chicago so he was my model for most of these test shots. But here you can see the way the lens performs indoors wide open. This was shot on the E-P3.

Is the lens usable at f/1.4? I’d say YES!

So if you had any doubts on image quality, fear not. This lens delivers at all apertures. Even when wide open it is sharp at the focus point. Check out the shot below with the 100% crop under it. There is a reason this lens is $500+. Look at it this way…it is $3000 less expensive than a 50 Summilux ASPH!

Below is an image I shot with the E-P3 at f/1.4 along with a 100% crop below the image. This lens is SHARP

What’s that noise? The Grind when used on Oly PEN cameras

One thing I noticed, as have many others is the grinding noise this lens produces when you use it on an Olympus PEN camera. Take it out in the sun and you will hear a noise that makes you think you have a defective lens as the aperture changes. This lens is silent on the GX1 but noisy as heck on the E-P3 (when in bright light). It did not bother me but it is there though not constant. This may bother some shooters so beware if you plan on using on a PEN. When you hear the grinding rattlesnake noise just know its normal.

UPDATE: This noise does not happen when you use this lens on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5!

E-P3  – Grainy B&W – wide open at 1.4

Again, wide open

more on the OM-D E-M5

and again, on the E-M5

So…which should I buy? The 20 or the 25? Or, should I upgrade my 20 1.7?

This is the big question that everyone wants to know. To be honest, I wish I could have taken this lens with me on a trip. If so I would have been able to get a more wide variety of shots with it but just in the couple of weeks I have used it I can easily say it is the better lens if you are deciding between this and the 20 1.7. But, at the same time it is a couple hundred more and larger making the camera less compact. Also, it is not LEAGUES better. The 20 still has its charm for its size and quality but yes, I would buy the 25 if I wanted THE lens for Micro 4/3.

If you crave creamy beautiful files from your Micro 4/3 camera, this is a lens you will want to own. The IQ is superb, the lens focuses about as fast as the 20 1.7 and I had no issues focusing in low light with the E-P3. Overall I’d say if you don’t mind the size, go for the 25. If you want to stay compact, keep the 20. Not much more I can say about it really. It’s fantastic and the best Panasonic prime to date. For the Bokeh addicts you will have an easier time with shallow depth of field as well and I find the lens a but more contrasty than the 20. If you are sticking with M4/3 – this one is a no brainer and it is amazing on the new E-M5! A must own.

You can buy the 25 1.4 at B&H Photo or AMAZON

More detail wide open at 1.4 – click it for larger view

A quick note about Micro 4/3

At the time of this writing there are some exiting things ahead in the world of digital cameras. The new Fuji X-Pro 1 looks to be a really great mirrorless camera, though at a much higher price tag than any Micro 4/3. While the quality of the Fuji will most likely stomp over any M 4/3 I still feel that this format is here to stay due to the size, and the lower cost. Also, the lenses we have available for M 4/3 just rock. The Olympus 12mm, 45mm and this Panasonic 25 1.4 represent the best of the best for M 4/3 and is reason enough alone to stick with this format. I’ll probably always have a M 4/3 body because they are fun, they can be taken anywhere and the quality rivals the big guys when you attach a great lens.

Sometimes we all get caught up in the hype of new releases, and you guys know I do as well but I love this format for what it is and what it does right. For $700 or so you can get a kit with a solid body that takes superb photos better than many of us can even shoot. I still feel something like an E-P3 or E-M5 and 12, 25  and 45 could last someone many many years.

I love the PEN cameras and hope to see advancement in the bodies in the years to come.

With that said, I will leave you with a few more photos from the lens…some have been processed, some have not. My processing consists of adjusting the RAW file during conversion and sometimes adding a filter using Alien Skin Exposure 3.



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  1. Finally after years of lusting I was able to get an olympus em5 bargain. With the body I had to choose a lens and there was no other thing but to get this leica designed panasonc made lens. Lens for me is the most impt part of the camera. All the rest just follows. The camera is beautiful. The pictures are awesome coming from M9 perspective.

  2. Well, I think we can safely say that Panasonic gave us a classic with this 25mm f/1.4 lens. Five years after you posted this review, people are still raving about it. And with good reason, because there’s no fast and compact 25mm to match it. To me it strikes a perfect balance between speed, size and image quality. I used to own the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 but I recently replaced it with the even better Panasonic 45mm f/1.7. The Panasonic has slightly better contrast and sharpness and I simply prefer the rendering of the Panasonic lenses.

  3. There is a way to fix the rattlesnake sound. Turn off flicker reduction and it is gone.

    • Hi Vidar, I think you are right. If we set flicker reduction to 50hz or 60hz the rattlesnake will come. Setting it to Auto or Stop will kill the Rattlesnake. This lens will flicker (in the EVF) under some lighting situations. If set to 50HZ it is like the IRIS (or Rattlesnake) is hunting continuously. I tried that on my Pen-F with the Leica DG 25/1.4 and it worked. I also reported that to Olympus Hong Kong office and they already called me on that. Looks like they have lots of customers asking about the “RattleSnakes” in their OMD or Pens. Thanks for the trick!

  4. If you are going to say a 25mm lens on a MFT camera has an equivalent focal length of 50mm then it is only fair to say that its equivalent f stop is 2.8. It is not honest to say its equivalent in focal length and not mention the f stop equivalence as well.

  5. Hi Steve,

    Great review on the lens. And I’ve been eyeing this lens for a while now. Just out of curiousity, have you ever mount this lens to your Olympus PEN-F? I’m a PEN-F user and wondering whether that rattling sound is also found in the PEN-F.

    And how is the feel in you hand, since this lens is bigger than the oly 25mm, does it make a difference in gripping the camera while shooting?

    Thank you,


  6. I came to reread your review. I was just on dpreview looking at the review of 25 mm MFT lens comparing to 1.4, 1.8, 2x to FF ETC. SO MUCH CONFUSION. and so.many disparity MFT when they don’t own one. FF is king! That’s their theme song. I always ask how many of us even print a picture we take at 12 X 18 OR more?? In which case why ever Leica! Well because if someone can afford it why not BUT than don’t knock MFT.

    I own EM1, OMD10, P/L 25 mm 1.4 and 12mm – 40mm f2.8 pro and 12mm – 50mm kit. I print on Epson P 600 To 12 in by 36in and love all this. Couldn’t carry the Canon gear any longer. Usually I take just EM1 AND 12mm – 40mm zoom.
    Bob g in Chicagoland

  7. I have the Olympus E-M5 and I already own the 12-40/2.8 Pro lens but I still want a nice fast “normal” prime. Considering that the 12-40 is optically very good I was wondering do I really gain much by getting the Olympus 25/1.8 (apart from weight) or should I go directly for this one? Mentally it is a bit hard to justify the 360 euro price tag for the 25/1.8 for only 1 1/3 stops but the 2 stops provided by the Panasonic will then cost me 500 euros. Or just live with the “slow” 12-40 and save the money for a new UWA?

    • I’m sort of in a similar position.
      I’m looking at jumping into digital after years of not picking up my film SLR (probably rusty!).
      At the moment looking at the OMD EM5 MII but maybe going up or down to 1 or 10 models!
      I’m trying to decide on the 12-40 2.8 PRO or this Panasonic LEICA 25mm instead of kit lens.

      I’ve heard the PRO lens is virtually prime standard and gives me a decent zoom to start.
      But then again the 25mm sounds fantastic for less money and it’s a fast prime.
      The EM5MII+PRO is available as a (bargain) kit at the same price as body+25mm individually.
      From my return to SLR useage it’s a toss up between having a wide to zoom or a better DOP.

      Any thoughts?
      I’ll probably get both eventually so I’m thinking get the PRO while cheap as part of the kit.

      • Well I finally found the 25/1.4 used for a good price and I am 100% happy with the purchase. Even though the 12-40/2.8 is very good it’s not enough for really dark environments which the Leica handles superbly. The only niggle I have is the rattlesnake sound it sometimes makes when there is a lot of contrast in the frame. And this is with an E-M5 Mark I body and not a PEN.

        Long story short: I love the 12-40 PRO for the flexibility (and weather sealing), the only con is that it’s not exactly a small lens anymore. The Leica 25/1.4 complements it very well for dark environments when using a flash is not appropriate.

        • I went for the EM5MII+PRO kit in the end, Summilux is on my list though!
          Partly due to the amount I was saving by getting it as a kit.
          Cheaper this way around than Body+Summilux separate and PRO later.
          Plus a decent zoom gives me a better starting position after years away.

          It’s amazing for 90% of my use so far, and for the other 10% it’s still great.
          That’s mainly a holiday and some landscapes while out walking.
          The 10% lacking was just a bit more reach for specific events, wildlife, etc.
          But even in those circumstances crops look amazing as lens is so brilliant.

          Olympus 40-150 PRO looks lovely, but for me and my budget, wasteful.
          A bargain Panasonic 45-175 filled that 10%, even with rubbish aperture.
          For my limited needs makes much more sense as mainly needed outdoors.
          Although now I have a longer lens I find I’m using it more than expected! 😉

          I fear the same with a bright lens, until I have one I won’t find the use for it.
          Example, haven’t even attempted star trails for fear of disappointment.
          But I know when I get a Summilux it will spend a lot of time on the camera!
          Not used camera at all properly indoors, Summilux will change that too.

          Made sense 45-175 as second lens but itching to get Summilux more!
          So next purchase very probably this, can’t wait to have a 1.4 lens again!
          Then probably 60mm Macro, as I’m itching for that as a close second!
          But amazed with the 12-40 PRO so far and even with the 45-175! 🙂

    • To some it is, to others no. There is a difference but it is slight (in IQ) but the Oly is also cheaper made, so go with what you like 😉

  8. Hi Steve, many thanks for great review! My OMD with PL 25 1,4 has this “rattlesnake” sound. With other lenses (Oly 12, 17, 45 and 75) it does work noiselessly.
    Your review (as updating) encouraged me to use this “combo”, but i’m not happy with it. What do you think about? Many thanks in advance for your reply.Lorenzo

  9. This lens also appears to have the grinding noise problem with the OMD EM1. (Never had any issues with my E-M5, but really really noisy on my E-M1. (Sounds like it’s breaking or something.)

    “One thing I noticed, as have many others is the grinding noise this lens produces when you use it on an Olympus PEN camera. Take it out in the sun and you will hear a noise that makes you think you have a defective lens as the aperture changes. This lens is silent on the GX1 but noisy as heck on the E-P3 (when in bright light). It did not bother me but it is there though not constant. This may bother some shooters so beware if you plan on using on a PEN. When you hear the grinding rattlesnake noise just know its normal.

    UPDATE: This noise does not happen when you use this lens on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5!”

    • Hi Steve, many thanks for great review! My OMD with PL 25 1,4 has this “rattlesnake” sound. With other lenses (Oly 12, 17, 45 and 75) it does work noiselessly.
      Your review (as updating) encouraged me to use this “combo”, but i’m not happy with it. What do you think about? Many thanks in advance for your reply.Lorenzo

      • Thank for those links. In the rattlesnaking video, no camera settings are shown. In the NOT rattle snaking video, the camera settings are shown. And it appears that ISO-A is set on the left side of the LCD. It seems that with Auto ISO the aperture no longer needs to keep adjusting as the camera is moved around.

  10. Great review but, I have to disagree about focus speed. The main reason that I got switched from 20mm to 25mm is the autofocus speed. I missed so many shots of my kids with the 20mm and it was useless for video. The 25mm is light years ahead in autofocus speed and accuracy. As a bonus it doesnt blow out highlights as much on my EP3, is sharper, and has better bokeh. Also the 2/3 extra stop is useful for fast moving subjects. If you like to shoot static subjects the 20mm is probably better since that focul length is more versatile. For everything else especially kids, and video, there is nothing like the 25mm for m 4/3.

  11. I am about to buy the Oly OMD Em 5. This Panasonic 25 mm is on my wish list but I am really afraid of the rattlesnake biting me. Did Oly ever fix this issue? Maybe via a firmware update ?

  12. Has there been any updates re rattling aperture sound when mounted on omd? I know it doesn’t effect iq but its just annoying!!

  13. I have a great dilemma – I choose between X100s and OM-D and I have troubles to decide. If I bought OM-D, I would definetly buy this lens (though its 50mm vs x100s 35mm). I shoot in JPEGs. The question is how this lens shoot in JPEGs? How can this lens compete in JPEGs in terms of IQ against X100s?

    Thank you for any comments and advices.

    • JPEGS from the OM-D may be better than JPEGS from the X100s. Both are good with JPEG though with any camera I always suggest RAW>

  14. I was thinking of getting the SLR magic 25 0.95 but I had this lens for a week and it was awesome. I’m ordering one now

  15. A friend introduced me to your site.
    Find it most interesting , informative and helpful.

    Keep up the good work

    Sincerely waiyin

  16. How would you compare the IQ and bokeh between the 25mm 1.4 and the oly 17mm 1.8 ? I will be using the lens on an Omd e 5 . I have the 75mm 1.8 and 60 2.4.


  17. Steve,
    What lens shade do you have on this lens in your review? Is it the one supplied with the lens from Panasonic?


  18. Hi Steve,

    I would appreciate your feedback. Soon I will be owning a 25mm. I already own a 20mm as you know. Should I trade this one in and get a 14mm pany to get a more complete setup? 12mm oly is twice expensive, but also better and larger. How good is the 14mm compared to the 20mm?

    Thank you for your feedback !
    Regards Jeffrey

  19. Hi Steve,

    I consulted you once regarding ditchig my D7000 to OMD. And yes I did and do not regret 🙂

    I would have a question… I do own now

    12-50 kit lens
    zuiko 45 1.8
    Panasonic 45-200

    I wanted to buy the Pana 20mm but saw the PanaLeica 25mm…. now I am between…
    what do you recommand..I do not much worry about size here..but owning the zuiko 45mm already made we wonder if worth the extra 150USD and loosing on wide angle (not much but…)

    thanks again for your help.



    • The 25 is stellar..more expensive and larger than the 20 but it is really good on the OM-D. The 20 is also good but the 25 is better. Also, you will be getting a 50mm instead of a 90, quite a difference there between the 25 and 45

  20. Hi Steve,

    Love you site, its the main reason I ended up selling up my DSLR gear and going with OMD…no regrets either. Here in NZ the price difference between the 20mm and 25mm is $300…would you say the 25 can justify the price difference? I all ready have the Pana 14mm and Oly 45mm.


  21. Decisions indeed.Have a Pan G2 with a 20mm 1.7 and was thinking of buying a Voightlander 25 0.95 until trying out this Panaonic 25mm. Now I can’t decide. I use video as much as stills and generally prefer manual focus, but that Panasonic is some tempting lens.

  22. So i sold off my Pentax K-r to buy one of these lenses, and i’m glad i did! This is a superb lens. Its surpassed my SLR Magic 50mm f0.95 as my fave lens now. This will be pretty much glued to my GF2. Love it!!!

  23. I’ve been eyeing this lens up lately. I have the SLR Magic 50mm f0.95, which i love, but i wonder if i might be better off selling it and upgrading my GF2 to the GX1/Pan-Leica 25 1.4 combo. I sorta like the idea of having a fast AF lens =o] But i really do like the SLR Magic… decisions decisions….

  24. Thanks for all the great reviews.
    I bought the omd em5, and am considering the 25mm or the 20mm, want to retain AF speed and get boken. Though I am concerned of the talk about rattlesnake noise from the 25mm since I want to take video with it.

    Would love to hear any information on the 25mm coupled with the em5, and if it is still noisy.


  25. I have fallen in love with the Leica 25mm 1.4 since I got it. As soon as I mounted it on my E-PL2 and took my first pictures I was amazed. I had the Panasonic Lumix G20mm f1.7 and like it a lot but as soon as I mounted this lens I knew it was in a totally different category. I call it the Leica 25mm because the lens deserves it. It is that sharp, colorful and smooth in the bokeh.
    How good? I use it on my E-PL2 for Fashion Photography! The combo is a giant killer. My friend shoots fashion with a Nikon 7000 and when he sees my pics he is stunned that I can get so much out of camera with this combo.
    Here are some samples, the first three pics in the portfolio were shot with this lens, the others are film pics. It gives you a good look at how this lens and camera see things compared to film as well:

  26. Hi Steve
    Love your site and I’ve been constantly looking at it since I discovered it a few weeks back. I’ve just got myself an E-P3 and loving it, but I’m looking for a great prime lens to invest in for the long term (currently I have the kit 14-42mm and I picked up a second hand 17mm pancake for a bargain price).

    I’m really interested in one of the holy trinity: Oly 12mm f2, Oly 45mm f1.8 or Panna/Leica 25m f1.4, but really can’t decide between them. If it were you which would you buy? It’s for the long term and likely to be the only one I’ll get for a good couple of years.
    – 12mm; I could just about afford the price at a push, but the manual focus really excites me.
    – 45mm; the most affordable, to the extent that I could also buy an EVF too, but 45mm is at the limit of the focal length I’m looking at, and might limit its usefulness.
    – 25mm; this focus length is just about perfect for me, but it doesn’t look as good as the silver oly lenses (I have a silver E-P3). Would the ‘clacking’ noise on the E-P3 with this lens mean movies pick this sound up?

    All thoughts welcome from everyone.

    Matthew, London

    • The best lens IMO is the 12, then the 45 and the 25. If you can swing it, go for the 12 but it will be wide angle (24mm equiv) so make sure you are OK with that.

      • I was going to ask the same question. Going to pick up my OMD in a week but cannot decide which lense to get. Thanks for the answer!

  27. Of course we already had the Voigtländer Nokton 25mm F0.95. I’m also a moviemaker and this lens is great on the GH2 with a good bokeh for movie-like shooting with a bigger sensor. Did you use this lens somehow and what is your opinion compared to this 25mm F1.4?

  28. I agree with you on this lens 100%. I sold my 20/1.7 shortly after getting my 25/1.4 back in October. It is a wonderful lens and perhaps the best standard lens I’ve ever owned (I have not been lucky enough or rich enough to own a Summilux 50/1.4, though I have owned about 15-20 different normal lenses on three different formats).

    This and the Oly 45/1.8 are must haves for micro 4/3, and truly help make this a viable format. There’s a great character and feel to these newer primes and both Olympus and Panasonic are doing really good things here. I’m excited for the next few years.

  29. Hi Steve,
    I’m amazed that you are writing that this lens AFs at the same speed as the 20 1.7. I got them both and my Summilux is focusing way faster than the Lumix. Could there be something wrong with your copy?

  30. I use the 20mm for travelling light. simply put the lens on and maybe carry the 14mm with me. The 25mm is on when I go out to shoot something. it’s simply too large on the G3 to pocket it in my jacket. so there is good use for both lenses 🙂

  31. thank you for the review steve!
    id love if u could put up some more pics with that lens when u got the time.
    no stress.
    keep up the good work!

  32. Why doesn’t Olympus and Panasonic “merge?” Panasonic needs the Jpeg engine, Olympus needs the better Panasonic lenses without sounding sick. And the resulting company will still be smaller than Canon or Nikon.

    • Olympus already creating great lenses…the 12mm f2 and 45mm1.8 are gud lenses. And now third party are also entering in micro four thirds as far as lenses are concern. See voigtlander 25mm f0.95 and SLR magic. 🙂

  33. Hi Steve.
    I am desperately waiting for your review of Voigtlander 25mm/f 0.95 for MFT. I just ordered one btw. Please take a look to that lens.

  34. I have older Leica 25/1,4 in 4/3 and it’s my favourite lens. It’s fantastic wide open! I think this m4/3 version should be similar…

    • I have both 25 PL Summilux D & DG ,.I believe the old Big Glass is a way better in optical quality, less CA almost un notice,.and also give more contrast than the NEW m43 version , more 3D,more smoother bokeh ,and has the COOL color compare to the NEW m43 version which have a WARMER color,.

      The New M43 version have faster AF, also silent focusing,.but I like the aperture ring on the old version

      • Yeah, the image quality is somewhat better maybe, but the lens is also way slower, larger and heavier. What’s the point of a huge lens on a compact system camera? I don’t get it.

  35. Wow Steve, this lens is so sharp, I can’t imagine anything much sharper. The Peacock and the one with the red leaves over the water is about as sharp as a tack. Excellent examples. Panasonic still doing amazing lens work I see. Bravo.

    • Hi Stephen! Still out West? Remember almost every image on this site (when clicked on) looks very very sharp, unnaturally sharp in a lot of cases. I think it has something to do with the sharpening the site applies. I asked Steve about that; did not receive an answer.

      Anway; sharpness is not all in a lens performance, not by a long way. Although these images are indeed very sharp, it’s difficult to assess the other performance aspects of the lens with relatively simple shots, jpegs maybe, sometimes converted to b&w, etc etc.



      • When you click on an image, what you see is what you get. I do not sharpen them after I resize them. Most are from RAW, then resized to 1800 pixels. The B&W were JPEGS out of the E-P3. This is a sharp lens but also great in other areas…nice bokeh as well.

  36. OK, I’m willing to be the weird guy here: I have the 20mm f1.7, and several m4/3 cameras.

    I’m pretty old-school, and my final product is 8×10 and 11×14 prints, and the 20mm is fine for that.

    I tried the 25mm, and you’re right, it is a very nice lens. BUT….. There’s not much real world difference in speed between 1.7 and 1.4, and the bigger, heavier lens (for me) spoils the balance of a G3 or EP-2. Plus, I did get the rattlesnake noise on the E-P2. And it’s pretty expensive.

    Different strokes; Maybe I’d feel differently if I did a lot of available light work, but for now I’m sticking with my Panasonic. But thanks for the review.

  37. If you particularly want or need a 25mm f1.4, then this is obviously for you, as it is if you want a ‘Leitz’ lens, but to me, if it’s not made in Wetzlar, and made in metal, it’s not really a Leitz.
    I really can’t help but think that this 25mm is a Panasonic designed lens (and nothing wrong with that) given the Leica stamp of approval, branded Leitz in the same way as they ‘red dot’ some of Panasonic’s compact cameras, and sold at a premium price.
    I hate paying ‘designer’ prices for anything, so I’m perfectly happy with my ‘honest’ Pana 20mm, and LX5 (not D-Lux 5).
    I’ll duck now! 😉
    PS, excellent review as usual Steve. Can’t wait for your thoughts on the Fuji X-Pro 1.

    • Dude, who cares what the label says, personally I just look at two things; the image quality and focus speed. The Panasonic – Leica 25mm beats the 20mm on both fronts. This lens deserves the Summilux name. Of course, looking at size and weight, the 20mm wins. It’s more compact and lightweight.

  38. Nice review. I love this lens on my EP3, but it is significantly heavier and larger than the 20. I went out and bought the larger grip due to this lens. I actually prefer no grip with the EP3 and 45mm or 14mm. One quibble I have with your writeup is that you say it focuses as fast as the 20mm; mine seems much quicker and there’s no pulsing front element to keepe from using filters or polarizes.

  39. Hi Steve, can you help me decide between the Pana Leica 25mm f1.4 Summilux or the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 pancake? I can only buy one and have it for the rest of my life… You have been a great help in my buying the Panasonic G3, thanks for that

  40. Steve, not sure you remember me, I had sent you some photo on the 25mm F1.4 lens with my Olympus E-PM1, and talked to you on the cranking sound on the lens. This lens is certainly a wonderful lens, but sadly I had to sold it for money. Hopefully I’m able to afford it back later on.
    This below was taken with Olympus E-PM1 and Pana 25mm F1.4:- Also my nephew…


    Can see more from my Flickr

  41. Thanks Steve for the review
    Recently I took my GF1+ Leica D Summilux 25 f1.4 and GX1+Leica DG Summilux 25 f1.4 and made a shoot out for comparison,.and what really shocked me was the Image comes out from my GF1 +OLd Leica D [4/3 version] is far more better and pleasing to my eye.,..I let my friends to see it and choose which one better and they point the same thing without they know the image come from GF1 or GX1.
    My point is ,my thought about Gx1 is far superior than GF1 is completely wrong after is see the image,.yes GX1 give you more capability @ High Iso but contrary in a good light condition GF1 give me more CRISP and Sharper image Quality [agree with you],.Gx1 is softer than GF1. also the WB is Un-natural look and I prefer WB from GF1 better over GX1.
    I’m not trying to bashing Gx1 but for me GX1 is not worth for an UPGRADE from GF1 ,considering Body+ New EVF2 =950$ waste of money,..if I knew GX1 is gonna be like this I better go with EP-3
    also about the 25 summilux ;Leica D versus Leica DG,..I choose the old one Leica D over the new Leica DG for Image Quality,.it give more pleasing bokeh,.Leica look ,.It so 3D,.more sharp ,..No CA Ring aperture but very heavy for daily shoot and also cost me 1200$ with the adapter 4/3 to M4/3.
    for a fun and daily shot just go with a new Leica DG.
    sorry for my English,..cheers

    • Interesting. My impression is that you are shooting JPEGs (since you are talking of white balance) and not RAW. Am I right?

      • I shot both JPEG and RAW,.Raw is more sharper both GX1 or GF1,.
        also I have a weird experience,..anybody can answer; why is it the shutter speed value on GF1 +25 PL D[4/3] give me more higher value than I shot on GX 1 +25 PL DG [m4/3] on the same setting camera,.for example on GF1 ,.A mode AWB F1.4 ISO 400 SS 1/250 sec,.but in a GX1, A mode AWB F1.4 ISO 400 ,.SS1/160
        ,.i shot many times with the same situation ,object and setting ,.GF1+25 PL D versus GX1 +25 PL DG,.the result is the shutter speed on GF1 is FASTER than on a GX1

    • I also came to the conclusion that the RAW files from the G3 (and GX1) are a bit soft and not as crispy and detailed as the files from a GF1. So I decided to keep the GF1 and return the G3. Recently I tried the Olympus E-PM1 and compared it to the GF1. You don’t have to believe me, but the images from the E-PM1 are even better! Better detail and contrast the the already outstanding GF1! My guess is that this also goes for the E-P3 and E-PL3. Also, the noise performance is slightly better then the GF1. I becomes clearly visible at settings above ISO 800. So, if you are interested in getting the most out of your lenses and a 12mp sensor, give the cheap and small E-PM1 a try. Maybe there are more people who came to this conclusion?

      • I agree with your conclusion , since actually GX1 was my second disappointment ,. I ve had purchased G3 as well before I owned GX1 ,.. For me both quality is not worth for an upgrade ( GF1) .
        I guest i have to wait for the new OM D Olympus to continue in M43 system ,. Had done enough with Panasonic Brand,. Or maybe I have to sell my M43 gear and jump to Fuji,.. Seems promising

        • Maybe it’s better to not go for the Fuji camera system. You’ll have to sell all your stuff and start over. Also, Fuji has less lenses to choose from. Micro 4/3 is growing up. Sensors are getting better and there are plenty of good lenses. The Fuji cameras and lenses are bigger and heavier and the AF is not as good as the micro 4/3 systems. Of course image quality of the Fuji will be better, especially at high ISO settings.

          At this moment I’d go for a Panasonic DMC-G3, it’s the best camera for money I think. If you can cough up the money, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is also very nice. Yes the sharpness and contrast may look better on the old 12 megapixel sensor, but high ISO performance is better on the latest 16 megapixel sensor. Also, you can add a little contrast and sharpness later in post processing. Not a big deal really.

          How much detail do you really need in a picture? Pixelpeeping does not help in making nice photographs.

          • The OM-D os giving me just as much detail as the X-Pro 1 is (both shooting JPEGS). Been shooting the OM-D all weekend and so far, not one complaint. It’s the best M4/3 to date by far, and yes, I have shot them all.

          • Wow, that’s interesting to hear. I knew the EM-5 was better the al older micro 4/3 camera’s (I’ve shot them all too), but I did not know how it compared to the Fuji X-Pro 1. I have the EM-5 and I think it’s the best upgrade for all the older micro 4/3 camera’s. Images have an enormous amount of detail and pack al lot of punch. Attach a good lens to it and you will not be disappointed. It’s a very reliable camera with a consistent output. Also, I just love the modular system (grip) and the many excellent native micro 4/3 lenses.

  42. I bought it last month!! and I love it!! It´s an amazing lens. Great colors, fast focus, very usable at 1.4, small and confortable with my E-P2. I have the M.ZD 17mm, the PL 25mm, the OM 50mm f/1.8 and the E-P2 in my bag. I’m shooting everytime and everywhere!! I love the m4/3 system!!

    Check out my blog to see my last galleries with this lens!


  43. Thanks Steve

    Is this the lens that has a chirpy noise when focusing on the EP-3 ?
    I tried a Panasonic lens on the Olympus and had this problem?

    • Also on my GH2. I returned the lens for it and bought a 20mm f/1.7 instead. Rattling sound is gone and some money back in my wallet.

    • Just fitted this to an Olympus E-PL2 and got the rattlesnake sound when changing light conditions (even with fixed aperture). But did a camera reset and re-setup the settings (as best I could remember) and now no sound when changing light conditions. Works perfectly and is as silent as the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 .

  44. Hi Steve,
    A really short and sweet review. I own both the 20 and the 25. I feel there is really very little to choose between them. My Contax G lenses beat both of them hands down, if you are okay with the missed shots due to the manual focus.

    I really like this lens for available light family portraits. It really shines. It is wide enough to hold together a family of four and long enough not to distort perspective. I have attached one of my latest family group portrait.

    Mo Han

  45. I tried this lens out on my EP3 and I absolutely loved the smooth focus ring and picture quality. However, the rattlesnake sound as it stepped though every single aperture in changing light conditions was a deal breaker for me. The lens sounded like a motor-drive and was loud enough to draw the attention of everybody in the not so quiet room. The copy I tested was basically stuck on f2.8 for live view even when set to f1.4, when a photo was taken it would open up all the way making a *CLACK* sound right before the shutter. Clearly a firmware fix could remove all of these behaviors and tame the rattlesnake.

  46. Quick note…Steve I own both lenses the 20mm and the 25mm. On a G3 or a GX1 the 25mm focuses MUCH faster. (Faster on the GX1). I do not have a scientific term, etc…also the 25mm almost never “searches”…where the 20mm searches often. Just my experience. I like both lenses and they both have their place. If I had to have just one…it would be the 25mm ….
    Great article and everything you said I agree with.

    • the 25 mm is a bit faster but in my own daily uses.. esp when focusing +/- 30 cm (min focus distance)
      25 mm is fighting quite a bit .. but compared to pancake 20… the success rate is much higher

      simply love the lens

      • They are still BOTH great lenses…The 20mm is better for some situations…..Which camera are you using..I think that makes a substantial difference as to the focus speed?

        • using the non popular GF2 … 🙂

          i have 14mm pancake, 20 mm pancake, 25 mm Pan Summi, 45 mm 1.8

          and some old manual lens.

          ussually travel with GF2 + pan leica 25mm (or 20 mm, ussually I dont bring both) in my shoulder bag, a small bag with 14mm and 45 mm1.8..
          good to go

  47. my personal feeling .. exactly
    I also own 20 mm 1.7 and this 25 mm 1.4 + 45 mm 1.8

    I easily bring those 3

    but this lens give the best rendered and detail from those 3..
    at least by my opinion


    • Yea like i said, IMO it is the closest to a real Leica lens that you can get for your M4/3. The rendering is, and 3D at times. Thanks for the pic, love it!

      • Respectfully, to my eye, the above photo quality shown above doesn’t rise above point and shoot standards– and the closest you can get to real Leica lens for your M43 is an actual Real Leica Lens.

    • Hi Steve, I just bought the OMD with the standard 12-50 kit lens plus the Zuiko 45 mm. I understand from all the comments I have read so far, it makes sense to bag the kit zoom and go with prime lenses such as the Pana Leica 25 mm?
      Great site, keep up the good work!

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