Panasonic 10-25mm f1.7 - m43 monster


Sep 29, 2014
80
2
8
Singapore
Disclaimer: This is not a technical review, but rather more impressions from the perspective of a m43 shooter.

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A little background first. I'm mainly a stills shooter who's been with m43 since the start. I had a G1, then GH1, then EM5, then GH4 before GH5 now. I dabble in video but not alot. Over the years, I've gotten more or less a full kit of lenses including the 12-35, 35-100 f2.8s, 25mm and 45mm leicas and 45mm prime. My travel combo is always the 12-35 and 35-100 since they are light and go from wide to tele. But I always found the 12-35 to be abit less wide than I need for landscapes. So when the 10-25mm was announced, I was set on it.

Handling

This is huge! Its larger than a 17-40mm f4l and smaller than a 24-70 f2.8l. Even on a larger m43 body like the GH5 is a bit front heavy, a grip would be better for larger hands (supporting the pinky). But its a solid metal body that makes even the 12-35/35-100mm zooms feel like toys. Its better finished than the older leica primes and similar to the 12-60mm.

Image Quality

In short, yes its sharp. But so are the 12-35/12-40mm lenses. Whats interesting to me is the rendering of images which is very organic. The 12-35 is a typical modern lens, sharp and contrasty. The 10-25mm on the other hand deliver smoother gradations and tones, and seem to pick up micro detail especially in shadow areas.

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Of course at f1.7 the bokeh is still not full frame levels, but its still easy to have points out of focus if not careful. For general shooting, its more than acceptable. Background blur is smooth with little 'crunchiness'. The stepless clickless aperture is actually great, since I can do minute adjustments even lower than 1/3 stops. Its a matter of monitoring the f-stop in the viewfinder. I accidentally switched from photo to video mode, and am extremely pleased to see the aperture adjust smoothly (I was on shutter priority) and silently by itself.

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Range and Distortion

As far as I can see, quite little even at 10mm. Most of the distortion (barrel?) seem to be at the edge of the frame. The additional 4mm at wide end is great for me, as I could squeeze a little more in. I do miss the loss of 20mm at the tele end so if you're familar with the 24-70mm range please note.

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Conclusion

This lens is a remarkable achievement for Panasonic. Yes its heavy, yes its expensive and yes you will miss the tele range. My friends say that tis lens defeats the purpose of a m43 system (light and small). But it gives you a wider perspective and wide aperture that replaces several primes.

So yes, its a keeper. My 12-35 and 25mm PanaLeica is now put up for sale :)
 

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swifty

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2004
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davophoto.wordpress.com
Hi JH, congrats on the new purchase.

I also took the plunge last week but haven't really had much time to shoot with it yet.
But like you, my initial impressions are extremely positive.
I won't comment too much until I've had more experience with the lens but I think it's worth pointing out the already obvious great wide open performance is achieved at f/1.7 vs other f/2.8 zooms and it holds its own against similar aperture primes.

Looking forward to putting this lens through its paces.
 

Sep 29, 2014
80
2
8
Singapore
Hi JH, congrats on the new purchase.

I also took the plunge last week but haven't really had much time to shoot with it yet.
But like you, my initial impressions are extremely positive.
I won't comment too much until I've had more experience with the lens but I think it's worth pointing out the already obvious great wide open performance is achieved at f/1.7 vs other f/2.8 zooms and it holds its own against similar aperture primes.

Looking forward to putting this lens through its paces.
Thanks, hope you enjoy the lens.

The main issue is the weight coming from the tiny 12-35mm but the aperture and performance more than make up for it. I will probably update when I get to shoot more but it has opened up interesting possibilities such as astrophotography where even f2.8 zooms may not cut it. From what I seen so far it definitely hold up against primes, even the Leica branded ones except maybe the Nocticron.
 

swifty

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2004
537
14
18
davophoto.wordpress.com
Thanks, hope you enjoy the lens.

The main issue is the weight coming from the tiny 12-35mm but the aperture and performance more than make up for it. I will probably update when I get to shoot more but it has opened up interesting possibilities such as astrophotography where even f2.8 zooms may not cut it. From what I seen so far it definitely hold up against primes, even the Leica branded ones except maybe the Nocticron.
I find the weight manageable but we have our own experiences to draw from and I can understand coming from the small Panasonic f/2.8 zooms. The size is definitely on the large side but balances quite well on the G9. It feels less front heavy when used on the G9 compared to eg. the 12-40 on a E-M5 or E-M1 Mk I's (from memory) even though it's much larger and heavier overall.
I haven't tried the Nocticron but used to own the 8-18 and 50-200 but so far I have to say it's among the best zoom I've used from any manufacturer in any format. Of course this is from memory as I've long since sold some of the other lenses and I'm sure there's a liberal dose of confirmation bias in there somewhere ;)
 

Sep 29, 2014
80
2
8
Singapore
I find the weight manageable but we have our own experiences to draw from and I can understand coming from the small Panasonic f/2.8 zooms. The size is definitely on the large side but balances quite well on the G9. It feels less front heavy when used on the G9 compared to eg. the 12-40 on a E-M5 or E-M1 Mk I's (from memory) even though it's much larger and heavier overall.
I haven't tried the Nocticron but used to own the 8-18 and 50-200 but so far I have to say it's among the best zoom I've used from any manufacturer in any format. Of course this is from memory as I've long since sold some of the other lenses and I'm sure there's a liberal dose of confirmation bias in there somewhere ;)
:p I think the issue is that the GH5 has a smaller grip than the G9, so its slightly less comfortable to hold.

That said, its sharp and contrasty. Very deserving of the Leica badge.

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Straight out of camera JPEG edited in Lightroom on ipad. Hadn’t managed to get to process the RAW but it’s definitely a step up from what I am used to seeing from m43. The extra few mm of wide angle over the 12-35 was fantastic as it allowed me to grab a wider frame for landscape shots. Great travel lens if you don’t need tele; I hadn’t taken out the 35-100mm I brought along for this trip at all.
 

Last edited:

swifty

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2004
537
14
18
davophoto.wordpress.com
:p I think the issue is that the GH5 has a smaller grip than the G9, so its slightly less comfortable to hold.

That said, its sharp and contrasty. Very deserving of the Leica badge.

View attachment 62313
Straight out of camera JPEG edited in Lightroom on ipad. Hadn’t managed to get to process the RAW but it’s definitely a step up from what I am used to seeing from m43. The extra few mm of wide angle over the 12-35 was fantastic as it allowed me to grab a wider frame for landscape shots. Great travel lens if you don’t need tele; I hadn’t taken out the 35-100mm I brought along for this trip at all.
Actually when I tried the GH5, the grip fit my hands a bit better than the G9 but in terms of grip size, I think they are pretty close. But I opted for the G9, being predominantly a stills shooter.

Excellent colours and contrasts.. lovely shot.
I concur with your experience.
I was in Taipei recently and also took along the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 but I pretty much used the 10-25 for the entire trip.
 

Sep 29, 2014
80
2
8
Singapore
Actually when I tried the GH5, the grip fit my hands a bit better than the G9 but in terms of grip size, I think they are pretty close. But I opted for the G9, being predominantly a stills shooter.

Excellent colours and contrasts.. lovely shot.
I concur with your experience.
I was in Taipei recently and also took along the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 but I pretty much used the 10-25 for the entire trip.
Thanks. Interesting, I guess its different for everyone and try before you buy. I was toying with getting a Sigma 30mm f1.4 to cover the lost range but I will give up.

Not sure if its a positive or negative, but this lens does flare. It has a UV filter on for protection (B+W slim) but it flared several times during my trip which I don't recall seeing so often in the 12-35mm (I have the hood on all the time as well).

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The lens is great for astro photography as well, but m43 is still not the best for this due to the sensor noise.

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swifty

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2004
537
14
18
davophoto.wordpress.com
Thanks. Interesting, I guess its different for everyone and try before you buy. I was toying with getting a Sigma 30mm f1.4 to cover the lost range but I will give up.

Not sure if its a positive or negative, but this lens does flare. It has a UV filter on for protection (B+W slim) but it flared several times during my trip which I don't recall seeing so often in the 12-35mm (I have the hood on all the time as well).

View attachment 62425

The lens is great for astro photography as well, but m43 is still not the best for this due to the sensor noise.

View attachment 62426
I have to say, I've yet to notice a flare issue although I'm a hood/no filter person. But given the much larger front element (just compare the filter thread diameter 77mm v 58mm) it wouldn't surprise me if the 10-25 f/1.7 is a bit more prone to flare compared to the 12-35mm f/2.8.

I've also yet to try any Astro shots but hand-held nightscapes have been very nice since I'm too lazy to go around with a tripod.

It could be my imagination but I've noticed a richness of colour but not having done any formal tests I could just be viewing and interpreting through rose-tinted glasses :)