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Lens review

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH

6 August 2014
Szymon Starczewski

4. Image resolution

The resolution test of the Panasonic 1.7/15 was based on RAW files from the Olympus E-PL1 camera. In the case of that body the highest values, reached by the best fixed-focus lenses, are near 80 lpmm (and the record of 82.6 lpmm belongs to the Voigtlander 0.95/25, with the Olympus 1.8/75 being close behind). The decency level is situated near 45 lpmm. It is also worth reminding here that the Panasonic 1.7/20 was able to get to 74 lpmm and the Panasonic 2.5/14 - to 70 lpmm; the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f/1.8 had its best value on a level of 66 lpmm.

Let’s glance at a graph shown below, with MTFs in the frame centre and on the edge, and see how the tested lens compares here.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH - Image resolution

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You can say the situation is good but not exactly excellent. On the one hand the lens can rise to about 55 lpmm so pretty high indeed already at the maximum relative aperture. On the other hand you would expect that such a top-notch device could brush against 75-80 lpmm and here the tested lens just slightly exceeds 70 lpmm near f/4.0, a level similar to that of small “pancakes”.

Do you have any argument for actually buying the Leica? Yes, if you look at the performance on the edge. Already from the maximum relative aperture the Leica fares here better than both Panasonic “pancakes”, reaching a fully useful level of about 50 lpmm. On stopping down the MTFs are able to exceed 60 lpmm – something even the best of the Panasonic “pancakes”, the 1.7/20 model, didn’t manage to achieve. Overall the PanaLeica 1.7/15 is the most even Micro 4/3 lens among devices with an autofocus and a focal range of 14-20 mm.

To sum up the performance of the tested lens on the edge improved our mood significantly even though the performance in the centre left us unsatisfied.

At the end of this chapter we present crops taken from photos of our testing charts, saved as JPEG files along RAW files. It should be reminded that the E-PL1, even if set on its lowest sharpening level (-2 in the menu), enhances the JPEG files quite significantly (the MTFs measured on JPEG photos are about 40% higher than MTFs on corresponding RAW files).

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH - Image resolution