Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7 user review

During the summer of 2015 a group of 4 of us decided to head off to New Buffalo in Michigan for a little beach break. We were all from the UK but living in Chicago so wanted to experience a fun long weekend on the lake. We rented a really nice small house through airbnb and headed out on an evening Amtrak.

Panasonic 15mm at night in New Buffalo

Panasonic 15mm at night in New Buffalo

For this trip I decided to try the Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7 which I had rented from lensrentals.com. This was one of many lenses I rented from them over the course of the year (inc. the Oly 40-150mm f2.8 PRO). I always found this lens interesting as my most commonly used lens is the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 but sometimes that can be a little tight so I thought the potential of those extra 5mm sounded interesting.

The lens itself is a lovely little piece of metal and glass. Definitely feels like a premium product, it also surprised me just how small it was. It fits nicely on the Olympus EM5 and wasn’t really any more obtrusive than the 20mm f1.7.

Worked surprisingly well for portraits. Lovely sharpness (this one has a bit of clarity added in LR)

Worked surprisingly well for portraits. Lovely sharpness (this one has a bit of clarity added in LR)

Overall I found it to be a really great general purpose lens. A 30mm equivalent fov in 35mm to some people may sound odd but for me, personally, it is a great compromise allowing nice wide scenic pictures but also useful for people pics. As this was a bit of a social outing that fitted perfectly as I could carry it everywhere without issue.

It’s low-light capability with an f1.7 aperture was also very handy in the evenings. There were some amazing sunsets over the lake and this lens worked perfectly the ISO could be kept relatively low.

Panasonic 15mm at during an imminent storm in New Buffalo, MI

Panasonic 15mm at during an imminent storm in New Buffalo, MI

I would recommend this lens to those looking for something a little wider but still useful for things other than landscapes. It is a step up in image quality wise from any of the kit zooms. I do feel though that the Leica brand does add a bit to the price. I have always loved the colors from these Panasonic Leica partnerships but it wouldn’t hurt if it was more in the $350-$400 region rather than $500. Following renting this it is on the shortlist of lenses I would like to own… just have to find renting lenses and put the money towards buying!!

Any questions, let me know!

Tom

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