The new Panasonic 15mm 1.7 available for Pre-Order!

The new Panasonic 15mm 1.7 available for Pre-Order!




Panasonic is kicking some serious behind in lenses lately. I have been shooting with the new Panasonic/Leica 42.5 f/1.2 Nocticron and it is one of the best lenses I have ever shot with, on any format. Sharp wide open, creamy Bokeh and a sort of Noctilux style rendering, but on M 4/3. It also resembles the $11k Noctilux in design though not nearly as hefty as the Leica counterpart. The Nocticron is a special lens for Micro 4/3 users and even has a manual aperture ring (but this is not usable on Olympus bodies which control aperture with the dial).

In fact, the Nocticron is so good that I am 90% sure I am going to purchase one even though the price is sky-high.

Add to that the new Panasonic/Leica 15mm f1.7 which also has a manual aperture ring and uses a 46mm filter size. This is a duo that will give you a 30mm and 85mm focal length equivalent for your Micro 4/3 body while giving you pro quality color, contrast, detail and bokeh.

The new 15 1.7 comes in at $599 and is available for pre-order NOW in Black or Silver at B&H Photo. It is also available HERE at Amazon. 

The Nocticron is available NOW for $1598 – EXPENSIVE YES but $9500 cheaper than a Leica Noctilux and 85% as good 🙂  Amazon also sells the Nocticron and it is IN STOCK. 

I am reviewing and using the Nocticron now on an E-M1 and will post my review soon (but it is a light sucker and rocks at night just like the real Noctilux). The 15 will be shipped to me at release for review so will get on that one as soon as I get it! I am telling you..Micro 4/3 just keeps getting better and better for those who are in the system. Pretty exciting stuff IMO as it is the lenses that make the system and no one beats M 4/3 for lenses in the mirror less world.

With these new Leica partnered lenses…makes me wonder if the new and rumored “Leica T” will be a Micro 4/3 body. I HOPE SO. I would much prefer it to be M 4.3  than a new lens mount APS-C. Using a Nocticron and 15 1.7 on a new Leica mirrorless…could be interesting.


    • I posted about it many months ago and gave my thoughts on it compared to the Olympus 17 1.8. I preferred the 17 1.8 by a slight margin but the 15 has deeper contest and a different color signature. Both are superb lenses.

    • Very nice photos and beautiful landscaping. I’m looking forward to Steve’s review on this one and a comparison to the Olympus 17mm 1.8.

  1. Aside from the aperture ring, does the AF/MF switch work when mounted on Olympus bodies?. It’s a bummer there’s no distance scale on the barrel, but I guess the aperture ring was a better suited design decision given that this is going to sell as a kit lens option with the Panny GM1 (which lacks manual controls to make proper use of this beauty).

  2. That’s a really interesting point about camera phones. Apparently the latest Google Nexus has two sensors, and the second is used to some thing taking to lightfield photography like a lytros.
    I.e. allow choosing a focus point after shooting.

  3. I’ve had the Nocticron on my E-M1 for three weeks or so and it has hardly come off the camera. My previous favorite, the 75 1.8, hasn’t had a look in. For me the Nocticron has the perfect combination of speed, sharpness, bokeh and focal length. While it may only be equivalent to a f2.4 DOF on FF I actually prefer that I can take full advantage of the speed without only having one eyelash in focus on a portrait – for me it makes it more useable.

    The only downsides are the size and cost (and that I’m paying extra for Power OIS that isn’t a patch on the Oly IBIS). Also the hood is so ridiculously huge that I’m yet to use it. Presumably the hood size is partly the result of the lens diameter being bloated to fit the OIS.

    I’m really interested to see how the 15mm f1.7 performs vs. the 17mm f1.8. I do really like the rendering of the Pana Leica lenses.

  4. I have been shooting the 42.5 for the past 3 weeks all I can say is that I am singing high praise for the quality and it’s built despite the high price.

    • It’s an amazing lens..really is. While not built to a Leica standard (just compare it side by side with a summuilux or noctilux) it is built very well and the optics are stunning, even wide open. The Bokeh is some of the best and smoothest I have seen next to the SLR Magic 50 Hyperprime T (the M mount) and the fact that is has AF tops it off. It is expensive but worth it if you want a fast and just about perfect lens in this focal length.

      • Steve very well said . Hope to be able to sent u some photo I took with . FYI it was you that inspired me to take up photography . It was you that convinced me to get into Leica . It was also you that convinced me to get into MFT and the OMD-EM1. But there was never a day I regretted thanks to u Steve again for the honest and unbiased review on your website.
        If anytime if u happened to pass by Singapore please give me a shout .

      • I put a Noctilux .95 and Nocticron side by side interestingly the Nocticron is the larger one but its so much lighter. The rendering style is closer to Summilux 50 or Summicron 75 than Noctilux. If I was to use either of them wide open I’d probably get only 10 percent success rate for fast moving objects. But the Nocticron on E-M1 gives me 90 percent. Anyone who is put off by the small sensor size shouldn’t as it actually gives you a bit more DoF when wide open. I administer a flicker group for the Nocticron and you can see many good shots here

  5. Hi,

    In use with the Oly OMD EM1, can the NOCTICORON 42.5mm/F1.2 Lens fully auto focus or manually only?

    Does ithe NOCTICORON 42.5mm/F1.2 Lens run perfectly with the EM1? Or better with the Panasonic?


    • It works perfectly with the E-M1 and the E-M1’s 5-Axis beats the in lens IS quite handily. The only thing that is useless when on an E-M1 is the Aperture ring. You will control the aperture as normal with the E-M1 (thumb wheel) instead of the on lens dial.

      • How does the NOCTICORON 42.5mm/F1.2 compare to the OLY 45 1,8? Is it noticeaby obvious better photo result?

        • It is sharper at 1.2 than the 45 is at 1.8. It is MUCH larger than the 45. It has much smoother Bokeh and is a more contrasty lens. The Panasonic is close to being a masterpiece. If you want that f 1.2 look or to shoot in low light, it is fantastic.

  6. Oh Shyte! I’m in lust again. Why does the Leica name have so much allure? Why does the design have be so damn sexy?? I will have to stop reading photo sites or my wife will divorce me!!!

  7. Looking great, a fast 28mm (almost) with aperture ring and af/mf switch on the lens barrell. Hopefully Olympus wil release a FW update allowing to change aperture via lens ring. Thanks for the link, I just perordered one.

  8. You mention the Leica-Panasonic partnership with regards to the development of this new lens, but I cannot find any mention of Leica’s involvement in the description at the B&H web site.

    • It says LEICA and SUMMILUX right on the front. It is a partnership with Leica just like the 25 1.4 and older 45 2.8 macro. Leica does not make the lens, Panasonic does. Leica “helps” with the lens design.

  9. The new leica T should be a m43 body with a hybrid viewfinder like the x100(s) and the Xpro1. That would be much more interesting than a re badge gx7. Leica shouldn’t become like hasselblad that re badges ugly NEX with wooden grips…

  10. I can’t wait for the 42.5 review. I shoot both m4/3 and Fuji and I am torn between the two new fast ~85’s

  11. I would be very happy if you could include a quick comparison between the Panasonic Leica 42.5 Nocticron and the Voigtlander 42.5 f/0.95 Nokton. I am already owning the Voigtlander and it would be interesting to read what you are thinking about those 2 lenses after you have reviewed both of them.

  12. M4/3 has come a long way and may have a future but it will hit its limitations much faster than 1.6x/1.5x/1.33/1.3 crop or full frame sensors will. I hope for a larger sensor in the Leica T without comprising size too much. 1.3 or 1.33 crop would be optimal but since those sensors are no longer common then the next best thing we can realistically hope for is a 1.6 or 1.5x crop

    • > M4/3 .. will hit its limitations

      What limitations are you talking about? What sensors were you hoping to shoot with that you don’t shoot with now?

      • The one major one is DOF. 15mm 1.7 will have the equivalent DOF of a 30mm f 3.4 lens on a 35mm ‘full frame’ sensor.

        • Someone usually feels compelled to post these DOF equivalence to FF sensors on each of the m/43 reviews (rarely on APC reviews though) but most here probably know the DOF will shorter on a larger sensor.

          … but that is not necessarily an advantage. If you really shoot everything with a blown out background, great. … but sometimes you just need to open up a lens but maintain some background detail.

          I shoot FF about 1/2 the time and I would love to shoot at f/1.7 to gather more light but have to shoot at f/4 just to see if the person has ears!

          I’m not there yet… but for many images, backgrounds blurred to mush are starting to be about as distracting as over worked HDR images (to me).

          • Well said, I reckon 99% of those wittering on about DOF are amateurs who do so to justify the ridiculous expenditure… Most pro photos need more dof not less and as a pro who uses a lot of portable flash I get a lot more bang for my buck just because I don’t need to stop down just to get those ears in focus…

        • So you’re saying more blur is a good thing for IQ?
          I’m sure more camera phones will have the capability to make bokelicious photos with software in another year or two. Will you still want your tiny dof then?

          • Larger sensors give you the option of having shallow DOF. Whether you use it or not is up to you.
            Smaller sensors do not give you this choice.

            If you don’t want the choice, then cool, you’ll be perfectly happy with the smaller sensor.

            Best regards

          • Shallow dof with a 28mm len on a FF sensor. Show me that monster in size and weight 😉 If real thin dof is part of your images go longer.

          • Leica Summicron 28mm f 2.0 for the Leica M cameras.

            Not a big lens at all. That is the beauty of the Leica rangefinder system – small lenses given the sensor size.

            Use it for shallow DOF, or deep DOF depending on which way you turn the aperture ring.

            The equivalent on an M43 would be a 14mm f1.0 lens.
            Is such a thing made? I know Voigtlander makes a 17.5 f .95, but that still is ‘just’ the equivalent of a 35mm f 2 lens. Nice though.

            Bottom line is all these different systems should be embraced for what they do really well. M43 gives great size and quality with extended DOF over equivalent apertures on FF. That can be really handy in many situations.

          • To Huss.
            I happen the have the Summicron 28. But I would definitely not rank it among the lenses with really thin dof. As said before, you have to go longer if this is what is wanted, FF sensor or not.

          • That’s my point, you are seeking something that is a limitation of the optical design of the lenses. It can easily be recreated by blurring a photo in the same way. The smaller sensor captures more of the scene.

            In the very near future–with software–smaller sensors will have more control over depth of field…

            And yes, I’m perfectly happy with the subject isolation m43 affords currently.

          • not much “choice” when you’re running out of light and/or need to motion-freeze and/or have to shoot handheld.

            being able to afford larger pixel pitch for the same pixel count is a native advantage. comparatively shallower dof for same f-stop is not an advantage… its simply a difference.

    • “but it will hit its limitations much faster ” says the m4/3 to the pocket camera, … says the APC to the m4/3…. says the Full Frame to the APC…. says Medium Format to Full Frame… says the 4×5 to Medium Format… says the 8×10… Obviously you can get more data, all things being equal, with a larger sensor, but modern m4/3 sensors are reaching parity or exceeding the application it was meant for.

      • Between m4/3, APS-C, “full frame”, and digital “medium format” (30x45mm), size differentials are a moderate 1.5x, much less than the 2x between “pocket”, “35mm” and the real “medium format” (56×42/56/72/84mm) film. I don’t think moving one step up will dramatically change results. Contributers to National Geographic switched to digital when “pro” cameras had modest 5MP or so.

        After all, many used medium format film not for better image quality, but to handle larger negatives and contact prints, to compensate for the lower resolution of Tri-X versus Delta 400 or to have a camera with waist-level-finder and a large focusing screen.

        For a head-only portrait with a 90mm lens on 24x36mm, one should not go below f2.8. Otherwise nosetip and earlobe are unsharp rather than just a little bit soft. So the f1.7 or even f1.2 on m4/3 45mm lenses are more than adequate for this purpose.

        • That was kind of my point. Many seem dismiss a format size that is one step below where they are comfortable (although there is a noticeable jump in detail between 35mm and 120mm film). As far as using a f/1.7 on a m4/3 for reasonable DOF for portraits? that was my other point.

          • “that was my other point” actually, that was my point in the other comment above… 🙂

  13. As i read on 43rumors, the Leica T will have an Aps-C sensor.
    I know, doesn’t seems so logical, Leica already have lenses for M4/3 and the new camera will be built by Panasonic.

  14. Will the current Olympus bodies ever work with the aperture rings on these new panasonic lenses? I’m guessing it would only require a firmware upgrade?

    • I don’t see why the aperture ring would not work with an Oly body. I hope it does I have an EM-5 and this is one of the first Panny lenses I’m sorta excited about.
      If you think abouut it, with say an Em5 or Em1, the camera is sending a signal to the lens to say open aperture please.
      In this case the signal will be able to be input from the ring or the body.
      The question would be, will the camera record the correct EXIF.
      My guess is yes fro two reasons.
      One a lot of older pannie bodies would not work otherwise, at least not without a firmware upgrade.
      Two 43 and M43 iare standards, not just mounts. I believe the standard includes the lens camera protocol.
      If it does not work for all M43 cameras, pannie will be undercutting the standard, which they have a LOT invested in.
      In any case I strongly suspect the protocol must allow for the lense to tell the camera it’s state (i.e. aperture size), else how does a damera know what the aperture is set to when it powers on, after a lens change or just after having been shut down.
      What;s more pannie would lose karma in the community and sales.
      I’m sure it will work.

      • The aperture ring does NOT work on Olympus bodies. Period. You just put the ring on A and use the Oly thumb dial as you normally would, no big deal really.

        • Is Panasonic doing something outside of the M4/3’s lens mount specification in order to handle receiving aperture input from the lens (in this case via the aperture ring)? I’m guessing/hoping they aren’t, so it should really only take a firmware upgrade from Olympus to be able to support it.

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