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Lens review

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH

6 August 2014
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • small, shapely and a very solid casing,
  • good image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • moderate lateral chromatic aberration,
  • no spherical aberration symptoms,
  • correct work against bright light,
  • very fast and efficient autofocus,
  • rich accessory kit.

Cons:

  • very high distortion,
  • significant vignetting.

There is just one really sharp lens among the Micro 4/3 14-20 mm lenses: the Voigtlander 0.95/17.5. Still it has one serious flaw – its price. Additionally not everyone gladly accepts the lack of autofocus. No 17 mm Olympus device was as good as we would wish it to be but the Panasonic ‘pancakes’ were quite nice; still they come with flaws which are inherent in that class of dimensions, namely weak results on the edge of the frame.

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As you see the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH had a real chance to be a hit in that class but our test shows clearly that it squandered its potential a bit. It is quite sharp in the centre and it can beat the Olympus 1.8/17 but its performance is hardly better than that of different ‘pancakes’, not to mention the best fixed-focus lenses of that system. The resolution on the edge of the frame is a serious advantage of the tested lens as it is much better than that of the Panasonic 2.5/14 or the 1.7/20 but a high vignetting level and huge distortion, along with some other categories where it reached just medium results, make it hardly a perfect lens.

Perhaps our opinion would be a bit more positive if the price of the PanaLeica was lower. When you spend over 2000 PLN buying a device with the ‘Leica’ brandname on the casing your expectations are naturally high and I think you should get something extra. Apart from that we get a feeling that the Panasonic line-up would be far better off with a lens with 15-17 mm focal length and f/1.0-1.2 aperture. The system lacks such a device and with 1.7/15 parameters you can hardly play with the depth of field in a creative way.