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Thread: Leica 25mm

  1. #1
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    Default Leica 25mm

    Leica D SUMMILUX 25mm f1.4 ASPH lens : During our meeting with Suguru Takamatsu, Coordinator Marketing Team Overseas Sales & Marketing Group and Ichiro Kitao, Product Planning Manager, from Panasonic we had a little hands-on with the new Leica D SUMMILUX 25mm f1.4 ASPH lens. The new Leica lens incorporates a large total large total of 10 lens elements in 9 groups, including a large-diameter aspherical lens. The bright standard f/1.4 lens provides a superb high-quality optical performance. The large diameter front lens ensures sufficient peripheral light levels, and a large-diameter front aspherical lens reduces light degradation all the way to the lens periphery. The result is high resolution and absolutely minimum lens distortion.

    Leica D SUMMILUX 25mm lens
    According to Suguru Takamatsu the new Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens will be available next year, around April 2007. This lens matches the quality Panasonic are looking for and combining this lens with the Panasonic L1 will result into a powerful high-quality combination. Handy is the aperture ring and the focus ring on the Leica D SUMMILUX 25mm f1.4 ASPH lens. By incorporating these rings we provide the same kind of intuitive operation as with the traditional film camera.

    Leica 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens
    When holding this lens, it weighs around 525 g, you immediate feel the quality of the material and you experience the professional look and feel of such a high-quality lens. The seven aperture blades of the lens create a rounded shape. This combines with the f/1.4 brightness to produce a beautiful smoothness in out-of-focus areas at larger aperture. The D SUMMILUX 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens incorporates multi-coated lenses that reduce ghosts and flare to an absolute minimum, helping the Leica lens deliver an optical performance that meets the high-quality Leica standards.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Other Reviews:
    DCWatch -Translation is harsh to read, but the pictures show a lot.

    4/3photo review pt 1
    4/3photo review pt 2

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    it's pretty impressive. I'm thinking about picking one of these guys up.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    I haven't used this lens, but you've gotta compare it to the Sigma 30mm f1.4, a lens that has amazed me with its optical quality and build quality. Sure, the Leica will show some nicer IQ than the Sigma, but it reaches a point where its not really worth spending twice as much.

    So, by all means, if you don't mind spending $400 more for an aperture ring, get the Leica. If you want to be practical, go with the Sigma.

    Just my $0.02.
    "I'm reaching for the random or whatever will bewilder me."

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    With all the trouble I've had with the Sigma 30mm f1.4, I just decided to get on the list and ordered the Leica. Final straw was when I thought about the mechanical MF on the Sigma and that it just might be contributing to the sticking of the AF. Don't know if that's possible, but when I put the Leica 14-50 back on the E-500, my first thought was "That's the way AF should work." Guess I'll just be pleasantly surprised one day when I'm told the Leica has shipped.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Who sells Leica lenses for E-500 and E-510?

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Try B&H or Adorama they both receive stock for these Leica lenses. I put myself on the list at B&H today. They said a small quantity arrives monthly and disappears very quickly, read within hours, so the internet will be hit or miss.

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    Default Leica 25mm f1.4 in stock August 16 3:30 pm cdt

    In stock this afternoon and mine has shipped !

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm f1.4 in stock August 16 3:30 pm cdt

    Now that's a piece of luck! Still waiting for Adorama.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Good luck with Adorama. I heard real bad things about them.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Ordered mine last night, shipped out today. Can't wait until Thursday!

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    $799? Wow! I did pay that for the 50-200 f/2.8.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Not sure what you mean, "Wow!" The cost of the lens?

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    I use my camera a few times a year and really only on vacations. Next vacation is late 2008.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    I've had mine for about a week and some now.

    Although it is a little larger/heavier than I prefer, and certainly more expensive than I'd like, it is rapidly becoming the lens that is on my camera by default all the time. The sharpness and contrast are top notch. The rendering qualities are extremely pleasing. It balances well on both the L1 and E-1 bodies, but particularly on the E-1.

    Using it, I am reminded again of just how useful and flexible a high quality, fast normal lens on a good camera body can be. Buying this was well worth it.

    :-)

    Godfrey

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    I ordered one of these on a whim from B&H recently. The first one had severe back focusing issues on my E-1 and was completely unusable. I returned it for an exchange and the second one was fine. I still have a little while left to decide if I want to keep the lens, but probably I will.

    Since the first lens had trouble, I've been taking lots of pictures of anything and everything (mostly at f/1.4) to test it. I found that I did get occasional out-of-focus shots. Not like the first lens, where it was obviously screwy, but I was worried that there still might be an issue. To understand what was going on, I tried some of the same subjects with my ZD14-54 set to 25mm. I found that I could get the ZD to misfocus about the same amount on the same subjects. So I have concluded that it's just the E-1's focusing system that is having trouble, not the lens. I had never really noticed it much before since the increased DOF of the ZD tends to cover up misfocus. The Leica makes it blatantly obvious when you miss.

    Focus speed is pretty good, about the same as my 14-54, and certainly better than my ZD 50mm, which is my other potential low-light lens. The motor noise is a little higher in pitch than the 14-54. The 14-54 on my E-1 tends to do a two-step da-da when locking focus, while the Leica mixes it up more, giving either da, da-da, or an occasional da-da-da as the camera tries to make up its mind what to do. Low-light focus seems a bit better than the 14-54, but not as much as I had thought it might be. It may be that the E-1's autofocus system can't really "see" much of the extra light being captured by the lens. Similarly, I don't notice the viewfinder (with the FS-2) being that much brighter than with the 50.

    The lens's biggest strength is its sharpness and contrast; absolutely outstanding. I thought my 14-54 was pretty good, and it probably is, but the Leica is simply better. Here are a couple of aperture-to-aperture comparisons from my refrigerator test (our fridge has lots of magnets):

    edge @ f/3.2
    Attachment 8675

    midway center-edge @ f/4
    Attachment 8676

    (These are all 100% crops of SOOC jpegs with my standard settings, including sharpness +3.) I was a bit suprised to see better resolution from the Leica around the center even at f/4.

    As far as I can tell, the lens out-resolves the E-1 sensor at all apertures, all the way to the corners. The caveat is that at f/1.4, you have almost no depth-of-field, so you'll probably never see it. Here's one corner where I had something very close to in-focus:

    corner @ f/1.4
    Attachment 8678

    Bokeh is excellent in all shots that I've taken, both in front and behind, but bokeh is often context-dependent, and just I might not have found the situation that makes it look bad yet.

    The Leica does suffer a little from some chromatic aberration, both lateral and longitudinal. A bit of lateral CA can be seen in the f/4 crop above (the ZD is better in this respect). I'd guesstimate the total amount of lateral CA as something like 1-2 pixels difference in the magnification of the red/green/blue images across the frame. I don't consider lateral CA to be much of an issue since it can be fixed automatically in post.

    There is also some longitudinal CA that is visible at 100% if you have high-contrast edges just outside the depth-of-field. You tend to get a greenish cast behind the plane of focus and a red+blue cast in front. I only found it by explicitly looking for it (shooting a B&W ruler printed on a piece of paper held at an angle). I've never used a large-aperture lens that didn't have this problem, and the Leica is certainly much better than some I've had. Stopping down reduces the problem, but it's still a bit visible at f/2.8. Longitudinal CA generally cannot be fixed.

    I have not really noticed the CA in practice. I can imagine some situations where the lateral CA might be noticed though, assuming you didn't fix it.

    The biggest optical weakness that I can see is falloff. Here's a picture I made showing relative falloff for the 14-54 and the Leica. In the case of the Leica at f/1.4, the falloff even reaches the center (losing maybe 1/3 stop at most), so it's really not quite an f/1.4 lens!

    Attachment 8677

    The contours here show levels of brightness in the jpeg when shooting an LCD screen that is displaying a uniform middle gray. Each contour line represents 5 in luminance. The ZD's behavior is shown just to give an idea of what I would consider negligable falloff. The Leica shows strong falloff at f/1.4 and moderate at f/2. Beyond f/2.8 I wouldn't worry about it, though the corners like to stay dark until you get to f/5.6. Curiously, I don't actually notice this in the real pictures I've taken. I'm not sure if it's just that the subject tends to mask it, or if there's perhaps something to do with distance that makes my test invalid (the LCD was pretty close in order to fill the frame, while my real subjects are generally at larger distances).

    The main drawback to the lens is the price. Cheap it ain't. It's also not small or light, but it feels well-built and doesn't seem out-of-place on an E-1. And of course it's not sealed, so I wouldn't be taking it out in the snow with me.

    So is it worth it? I'd say it depends on the person. If you're one of the "there's something magic about the E-1 output" types, the answer may be "yes". I certainly have developed a bit of a fondness for the lens in a short time.

    I'd really like to see someone report on the lens on a more modern body just to see the autofocus speed and accuracy, and also how the lens does with a higher resolution sensor. My guess is that the lens may well out-resolve the 10mp sensors too.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    It's hard to follow such a great, informative post, like David's above, and all the others, as well. So, I thought I'd add some subjective impressions, like the vignetting at large apertures is noticeable, although for me not problematic. CA hasn't proven to be a problem for me, since my intended use for the lens doesn't involve high contrast scenes. Any concerns about the lack of weather sealing have to be balanced again with the intended use for this lens, which for me is available light interior shots. I'm not sure how to address David's concern about resolution with a 10mp. camera, so I'll post a picture taken at F1.4 with an E3. The limitations of the very shallow DOF should be pretty evident in this shot. I like this lens, but I'm learning that its large aperture is not a cure all for low light scenarios.

    Rocky

    Nearly two months later, I may have discovered a minor chink in this excellent lens' armor. This lens doesn't like to focus on soft-surface subjects, like faces, or flower petals, in low light, when mounted on my E-3. On my 420, it's much better in identical circumstances, and if (back on the E-3) I set the (single) focus point to "fine", it's a little better. Still, it seems best to manually focus in these instances. Probably a camera related thing. On hard surfaces, like the bowl of cereal below, it's just fine. I just discovered this focus issue when reviewing all my 25 mm shots in Lightroom. Please note that I have not had any of the focusing problems that plague some of the other members here with their E-3's, and it really only surfaces in very low light situations, where I need ISO set at or above 1000. Still, an F1.4 lens begs to be used in low light situations, doesn't it? I still like this lens a lot, I'll just have to work a little harder with some of my shots.
    Last edited by BL3; 11-03-2008 at 01:18 AM. Reason: verbiage for clarity

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    It may vignette.
    It may not be the fastest focuser in the world.
    It may have a little CA.

    But for me, and for the pictures I'm making with it, the Summilux-D 25mm f/1.4 ASPH is just about perfect. I love its rendering qualities, its sharpness and contrast. Even wide open it is darn good, at f/2.8-f/4 it is stunning.

    If I could only have one lens, this is the lens I would have.

    Godfrey

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Quote Originally Posted by bg2b View Post
    I ordered one of these on a whim from B&H recently. The first one had severe back focusing issues on my E-1 and was completely unusable. I returned it for an exchange and the second one was fine.
    I ordered mine today from B&H. I hope I don't get the one you returned. You don't happen to have the serial number of the returned lens, do you?
    I promised myself no more lenses until photokina, but the internet just makes ordering too easy these days.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Quote Originally Posted by finemom View Post
    I ordered mine today from B&H. I hope I don't get the one you returned. You don't happen to have the serial number of the returned lens, do you?
    I promised myself no more lenses until photokina, but the internet just makes ordering too easy these days.
    if bg2b had ANY shot with returned lens, the serial number of the lens should be in EXIF.

    Hope this helps,
    yours Bojan

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bojan Volcansek View Post
    if bg2b had ANY shot with returned lens, the serial number of the lens should be in EXIF.

    Hope this helps,
    yours Bojan
    Sorry, my mistake, only CAMERA serial number is in exif, not the lens serial number

    Yours Bojan

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Just to illustrate what the f/1.4 lens can do that the 14-50 kit lens with image stabilization can't do... here are two shots of the Customs House in Charleston, SC I took recently. Try hard as I might to hand-hold the shot with the 14-50, I couldn't do it. The f/1.4 shot was amazing (given the difficulty I had with the 14-50 f/2.8), and hand-held. I had walked about 50' further while I switched lenses and took the second shot.

    This is subjective, but it's really what having the large aperture is all about... getting shots you otherwise wouldn't be able to get at all. While the second image may not be as sharp as you'd expect from shooting on a tripod, any lens would do with a tripod. The f/1.4 big glass is for street shooting while moving.

    This photo... hand-held Panny L1, ISO 400, 14-50 @ 32mm image stabilization on, 1.3 sec @ f/2.8




    Panny L1, IS0 400 25mm f/1.4 lens, 0.125 sec @ f/1.4



    Roger
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    Current Equipment: Olympus E10, Leica M9P, Leica M8, Leica M4-P, 28, 35, 50, 75, 90, 135 lenses
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Quote Originally Posted by finemom View Post
    I ordered mine today from B&H. I hope I don't get the one you returned. You don't happen to have the serial number of the returned lens, do you?
    I doubt that they would recycle it unless it went back to Panasonic for testing/fixing first, but in any case, the serial number was XS8EB01115.

    By the way, I did decide to keep the second lens. Unfortunately my E-1 is currently back with Olympus for grip rubber replacement and a clean/lube/adjust, so I'm suffering from both lens and camera withdrawal .

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Thanks for the serial number. Mine should be here Wed or Thurs. I'm just a paranoid non-trusting person when it comes to camera stores and online ordering, I probably shouldn't even order online but no one here carries anything beyond the Oly kits.

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    Default Re: Leica 25mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Bojan Volcansek View Post
    Sorry, my mistake, only CAMERA serial number is in exif, not the lens serial number

    Yours Bojan
    Actually, I was correct in the FIRST post and NOT correct in the second (hat tip to Knight Palm for correction).
    BOTH camera, and camera lens serial numbers are embedded in EXIF. The reason I thought that there is NO lens serial number is that Apple Aperture does NOT recognize that field.

    However, Knight Palm was so nice to point out that using Phil Harvey's ExifTool (actually he use Adobe DNG), (or MacMetaShow, nice droplet for Mac that incorporates Phil Harvey's ExifTool) you can see ALL EXIF info of your original ORF or ORIGINAL CAMERA JPEG.

    Beware that some RAW Converters will strip/change/modify/ruin? (you get the picture) original EXIF data.

    So yes, everything is your original EXIF, camera serial number, lens serial number etc etc.

    Enjoy,
    yours Bojan

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