First Impressions: Panasonic 15mm f1.7 (Micro Four Thirds)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 15mm f1.7 first impressions product images (2 of 4)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 15mm f1.7 first impressions product images (4 of 4)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 1.8

When the whole mirrorless camera movement was started, the more experienced lot of consumers asked for small and quality prime lens offerings. And with Panasonic’s announcement of their 15mm f1.7, this need was surely fulfilled. It’s small, has a retro appeal, and offers an attractive focal length with Leica branded quality. During a photowalk over the weekend, we got the chance to play with the new Panasonic 15mm f1.7.

And despite the fact that we spent under 10 minutes with the lens, we are quite impressed.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the lens

Performance
Focal Length 15mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 30 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.7
Minimum: f/16.0
Camera Mount Type Micro Four Thirds
Format Compatibility Micro Four Thirds
Minimum Focus Distance 7.87″ (20 cm)
Elements/Groups 9/7
Features
Autofocus Yes
Physical
Filter Thread Front:46 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Not Specified By Manufacturer
Weight Not Specified By Manufacturer

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 15mm f1.7 first impressions product images (1 of 4)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 1.8

The new Panasonic 15mm f1.7 was built in collaboration with Leica the same way that Sony does so with Zeiss. With that said, the company proudly totes the Leica name on the front along with the Summilux name. When looking at the lens, you’d believe it to be a pancake, but it isn’t. It’s a big larger than that.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 15mm f1.7 first impressions product images (3 of 4)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 1.8

The lens is comprised of three key controls: the aperture ring, focusing ring, and the AF/MF switch. The aperture can be set accordingly via the ring or when set to A the user can also control it via the camera. The A mode can also work swimmingly for Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, Auto, etc.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 15mm f1.7 first impressions product images (2 of 4)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 1.8

This is where we feel that the more experienced photographers may really become smitten. When we held the lens, we believed it to feel just like an old Leica M mount lens. Upon feeling the curves of the lens and clicking the aperture ring, we have to say that it puts anything that Fujifilm has produced to shame. With every aperture click, we were falling deeper and deeper in love.

Oh yeah, and it feels pretty solid overall.

Autofocus

We tested this lens on the Olympus OMD EM5 and found its performance to be just as speedy as any Olympus lens on the camera. In fact, if we had to compare it to anything we’d say that we found the lens to focus only a tad slower than the Olympus 25mm f1.8.

Image Quality

We literally got to shoot with the lens for around three minute max around Grand Central. Here’s what we were able to produce. We’re calling in a review unit, and more will come.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First Impressions

We surely didn’t spend enough time with the lens to make a full analysis, but it is so far looking to be quite awesome. The version we played with initially focused quickly, offers punchy colors, feels great, and begs to be attached to your camera all day. But we need to shoot with it in better lighting situations than what Grand Central can offer. And with that said, stay tuned for our full review.

For more, please follow us on FacebookGoogle+Flickr and Twitter.