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Old November 29th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #1
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25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

I've not seen anyone talking about this lens. Since it's been out for awhile I'm surprised. Love to hear about your experience with it.
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Old November 30th, 2011, 02:18 AM   #2
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

In retrospect, I don't know why I didn't jump on this lens as soon as it was available. I'm so confident that it is a perfect general purpose lens that I put my 20mm up for sale after I ordered it today.

Lot's of reasons for this:

a. It's 25mm, standard portrait length.
b. It's F/1.4
c. It's larger, has an easy to access focus ring.
d. Comes with a lens hood that looks very nice and substantial
e. Autofocus has got to be more efficient and faster than the 20mm.
f. 20mm (40mm) is not a bad length, but it is a bit odd in many cases.
g. It's Micro Four Thirds

In short, it is the standard, fast portrait lens anyone who cannot afford the Nokton should probably have, especially anyone who does paid gigs. It is not cheap, but from all reports it is worth it's cost. I love shooting portraits, and this lens should be very nice for photos alone.
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Old November 30th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #3
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

Here is a short GH2/25mm F1.4 demo:
Panasonic 25mm F1.4 Demo on GH2 - YouTube
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Old November 30th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #4
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

Bought this, sold my 20/1.7. Ideally, I would have kept them both, but ~$300 goes a long way towards paying off the new lens.

All your aforementioned assumptions are correct. It also has generally better contrast, is sharper wide-open, and nicer bokeh. It's also less prone to flares and ghosting.

For what it's worth, I think it's an even nicer lens than the oft-ballyhooed Voigtlander - and even has working AF.

I'll try to assemble some sample stuff from it for your perusal
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Old November 30th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #5
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

Thanks guys. Thanks Joe for the link. I found another video or two while I was there. Looks like about what one would expect, pretty nice. It should work really well for video at receptions.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 12:32 PM   #6
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

Jeff, I don't know where you got that 50mm is good for portraits. Most portrait photographers go no lower than an 85mm. The longer focal length is more flattering to the face because it doesn't exaggerate the size of the nose/ears/etc. the way shorter lengths do. It also drawn the background closer, giving a nice bed for the face. The other benefit of a longer lens is you don't have to invade the personal space of your subject to get the shot. This is an excellent tutorial:
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

50mm is a standard lens (also called a normal lens), not because I say it is, but because that is how it's classified. It is also considered a standard portrait length, again, not because I say it is. 85mm focal length is in the telephoto range, but those and much longer lenses are commonly used for portraits.

It is a common misconception to those new to photography that one focal length is considered "the" lens to use for certain situations, such as portraits. When learning our way in photography, is normal to develop black and white thinking about a number of things. The most common phenomenon is that newbies become "prime lens snobs". I suffered from that affliction when I bought my first still camera, the Canon 30D a few years ago. Eventually, we all learn that zooms were developed for good reason.

Many people say 105mm is the perfect portrait lens. A knowledgeable photographer understands that is rubbish. "Most" photographers use zoom lenses anyway, not primes, but what "most" photographers use is irrelevant, because what you use/need depends on your circumstances and desired effect.

I have owned and used two versions of the Canon 85mm, the EF F/1.4 and the FD F/1.2 and am familiar with that focal length and it's uses. Great lens, but the GH2 has no OIS and the closest equivalent is my 45mm (effective 90mm) and it is not practical for handheld photography (at least for me) much of the time, unless shooting from a tripod or in very well lit conditions.

Thanks for the video Patrick, that is a good tutorial.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 2nd, 2011 at 04:04 PM.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 04:08 PM   #8
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

Patrick, here's a link to Ken Rockwell's discussion on portrait lenses, he explains things much better than I can. I too, am new at this photography thing, and have a lot to learn. As he says, lens choice depends on what you're shooting and your distance, and how much you want to show of your subject. He also mentions the 105mm thing, which a lot of people favor for portraits. The main thing to take away is one size does not fit all.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/portrait-lenses.htm
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Old December 3rd, 2011, 02:32 AM   #9
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

I had originally taken pictures of people with my Voigtlander 25mm (effective 50mm). Once I started using my Canon 50mm f/1.4 (effective 100mm) I noticed a huge difference. Peoples' faces were just so much more pleasing. To me the 50mm looked too much like a fish eye lens when taking head shots up close. For the 50mm OIS isn't necessary. I keep my shutter no lower than 1/100 so I don't have to worry about blur from camera shake. Remember, unlike video, we can adjust the shutter as fast as needed to eliminate blur in photos.

If we're talking about the benefits of zoom lenses you may as well talk about the benefit of using a fixed rate servo zoom on a real video camera vs. hand cranking a photo camera's zoom ring. I shoot a lot of corporate stuff, and am in fact, in the middle of a multi-day shoot right now (and spending the rest of the night playing gigs with a band...working on almost no sleep...getting 2 hours tonight if I'm lucky). I'm using my Canon XHA1...contrary to what some on these forums think, tape is very much alive. They hand me tapes, I shoot, end of day hand them back. There are still a lot of jobs that operate like that. They're having me shoot in 60i, DV 4:3. Don't even have that option on the GH2, not to mention no XLR inputs for audio, servo zoom, long battery life, etc. So yes, everything is specific to the job, but if you want to nitpick, DSLR's are in no way efficient for shooting most things. I know when I filmed my last wedding with the GH2, having to change lenses, and then attach my variable ND filter (wedding was outside) every time was very time consuming.

I don't know if this post had a point, time for bed =)
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Old December 3rd, 2011, 08:53 AM   #10
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

50mm can look outstanding, you just need to shoot from the right distance and shoot at the right angle and the light has to be right, just like with any lens. Just because it's not easy to work with at times doesn't mean it can't produce great images.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 01:31 PM   #11
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

I thought I would revive and update Jeff's old post with some test footage I shot with the 25mm this past weekend. I know I just posted this link in my previous comment on the Varavon loupe - so pardon the redundancy. But I though people searching for feedback on the 25mm in the future might benefit from this video being linked in this thread.

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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:56 PM   #12
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

I love this lens. Really sharp wide open. I use it a lot. Here is a review.

Panasonic Leica 25mm Summilux Review FrugalFilmmakers.com
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

Thanks for the link Alan. It was a decent review.

Slightly off topic, but I found the following statement from the author interesting: "The other lens that defines greatness in the micro four thirds system is the excellent Panasonic G 7-14mm f/4". I've often overlooked that lens since it is pretty slow. But I might have to look it to it. I do like the idea of a lens that wide that is not a fisheye. But my 12mm Olympus f2 and Panasonic 14mm F2.5 are covering my wide range for the moment.

Anyhow....back on topic. Yes! I also find it sharp wide open, which is a huge benefit. It's autofocus is also very fast and accurate - which helps considerably during run and gun scenarios.

Thanks,
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Old May 8th, 2012, 10:34 PM   #14
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

I've shot a few weddings with the 25mm F/1.4 now, and I am not thrilled with it. I think it is the 50mm that I don't like among other things.

I find the auto focus in low light to be somewhat slow and unpredictable, and I've missed shots because of this. I also do not care for the color rendition at times particularly in low light.

I strongly prefer my 45mm F/1.8 Panasonic when I can use it, and the 12mm F/2.0 is superior lens with superior optics, but obviously is too wide much of the time.

Mind you, everyone, I'm not knocking the lens, I'm just not excited about it and somewhat disappointed. There have been times I could not achieve auto focus at all in a fast paced situation and it really bummed me out.

Most of the time it works just fine, and it produces nice images under most circumstances. For bridal getting ready segments the 12mm is my favorite by far, and is easily my favorite lens.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; May 9th, 2012 at 09:41 AM.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 09:39 AM   #15
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Re: 25mm F/1.4 - anyone use it yet?

I bought it a few months ago...my first lens besides the kit lens.

I love it...stays on my cam most of the time.
Most of the portraits Ive shot have been with it (see pics in signature)

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