The new Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 is a fast standard lens for the Micro Four Thirds system with a very low price. Is this lens a great bargain or just a cheap lens with too many compromises?
The Build of the Panasonic 25mm F1.7
The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 is rather big compared to other MFT lenses. It is only a little smaller than the Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 and it is significantly longer than the Olympus 25mm F1.8. But overall the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is still a compact lens.The lens mount is made of metal, but the rest of the lenses exterior is made of plastic. However once mounted to the camera the build quality of the Lumix 25mm 1.7 seems alright. The focus ring of the lens is also well damped.
The Panasonic G 25mm F1.7 has a 46mm filter thread and it comes with the lens hood supplied.
The autofocus of the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 is fast and quiet. It is not completely silent, but quiet enough that the noises should not bother anyone in most situations.
Transmission and Vignetting
The Lumix 25mm 1.7 has a fast F-stop of F/1.7, however sometimes the F-number differs from the real light transmission (T-stop). This is why I made some comparison pictures with the SLR Magic 12mm T/1.6. This was far from a scientific test and because of the different focal lengths you have to take these results with a grain of salt. However it seems that Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 does not have a significant difference between it’s F-stop and the T-stop wide open.
There is some vignetting visible in the raw files, but it is nothing drastic. Also it is auto corrected in the JPG-files and is easily corrected when converting the RAW-files.
Distortion and Flares
The RAW-images of the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 show a slight amount of barrel distortion. However most of the time you will not notice it. It is also auto-corrected if you shot JPG and most raw converters also auto-correct it.
I had little chance to test the flare resistance of the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 due to the weather. So most of my tests have been with artificial light. That being said, it seems that the Lumix 25m 1.7 is pretty resistant to flares even without the lenshood.
There are two kinds of chromatic aberrations. There are longitudinal aberrations which appear at the transition between sharp and unsharp. The other type are lateral aberrations which appear in areas of high contrast especially at the corners.
The worst lateral aberrations you can get is a slight purple fringing in extreme cases, but it is already corrected in the JPG-files and should not be a problem for most raw converters.
Longitudinal aberrations are quite common with fast lenses. The strong longitudinal aberrations were my only complaint about the Olympus 25mm F1.8. The Panasonic 25mm F1.7 also suffers from longitudinal aberrations. While I did not do a comparison, it seems they might be a little better controlled in the Panasonic lens.
Sharpness of the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7
To test the sharpness of Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 I compared it to the Panasonic Lumix 14-140mm F3.5-5.6.
For this test I mounted my OM-D on a tripod and released the shutter via the Olympus app on my phone. The camera was set to electronic shutter, IS off and ISO 200. To reduce the risk of error because of shake further, I always took two pictures. I also took separate pictures for the image border to make sure it is perfectly in focus. All images where shot in RAW and exported to JPG with DxO Optics Pro and the setting “No corrections”, which means they are less sharp than out-of-camera JPGs would be. All images are of course 100% crops.
The Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is at F/1.7 already as sharp as the Panasonic 14-140mm at F/5.6. Also stepped down to F/5.6 the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is noticeably sharper.
The result at the image border is a little worse. While images at F/1.7 are still useable they show some softness and are not as good as the corners of the images of the 14-140mm (@F/5.6). The good news is that once the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is also stopped down to F/5.6 it is again sharper than the Panasonic 14-140mm.
Lumix 25mm 1.7 Close to Infinity
This handheld shot with focus close to infinity shows nicely that at F/1.7 the center is already sharp and the borders are useable but softer than stepped down. These images also show the amount of CAs the Lumix 25mm 1.7 might exhibit at the corners.
Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 Sharpness Conclusion
In real world shooting there is nothing wrong with the sharpness of the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7. The comparison with the Panasonic 14-140mm is also positive. The Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is useable wide open and stopped down it is shaper than a zoom lens. Taking its price into consideration, this is a good result.
Close Focusing and Macro
The Panasonic 25mm can focus as close as 9.84″ (25 cm), which is identical to the Olympus 25mm F1.8 and a little closer than the Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 is able to. While this is close enough for most cases it does not allow real macro pictures.
The Bokeh of the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7
Whether you like the bokeh of a lens or not is to a strong degree a matter of individual taste.
The highlights in the bokeh are circular wide open as well as stepped down, but they look a bit better wide open.
There are also rare cases of onion rings in the highlights.
Overall in my opinion the bokeh of the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is not exceptional but still pleasant.
Low Light Capabilities of the Lumix 25mm 1.7
Because of the fast aperture of F/1.7 the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is well suited for taking pictures and videos indoors without flash or on lit streets at night.
Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 – Conclusion
There are a few things that one might criticize about the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7:
Owners of Panasonic cameras would have liked image stabilization, but to be fair, even the Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 does not have OIS.
The lens is made mostly of plastic, while the similar priced Sigma Art 60mm DN 2.8 is made of metal. But the plastic build does not affect the picture quality and is therefore a minor flaw.
Of course it would have been nice if the corners were sharper wide open, but the images are useable and the center performance is already good at F/1.7.
So what is the conclusion? If you already own the Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 or the Olympus 25mm F1.8 you can ignore the new Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7. But if you do not own a 25mm lens I highly recommend that you buy the Panasonic 25mm F1.7.
Because it is so inexpensive it is a great bargain and I am sure in the future this will be the first prime lens many new Micro Four Thirds users will buy.
Alternatives to the Panasonic 25mm F1.7
If you are looking for a faster 25mm lens with autofocus, there is only the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4. It is available at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and
If you are willing to use a manual lens, then there are various F/0.95 lenses. The most well known of these is the Voigtlander Nokton 25/0.95, which is available at amazon.com and
A cheaper F/0.95 option is the new ZY Optics Mitakon 25mm F/0.95, which is