What a beautiful little lens. Comes with a hood and a rubber cap to cover the front element that doesn’t come off when you take it out of your bag. This lens just smells of Leica.
It’s got Leica in the name and although it’s not built by Leica the quality is visibly superior to your normal Panasonic built lenses. They are built to Leica specifications which was a real coup for Panasonic. Quality is much better than the 20 f1.7 in my opinion.
Size: 57mm x 36mm
F: 1.7 - 16
Equivalent to a 30mm of FF bodies you could class it as a wide-angled lens but it’s an in-between focal length. Photographers normally use a 24mm a 28mm or a 35mm lens. 30mm is quite uncommon. At first I had to choose between this lens and the Olympus 17 f1.8. I chose the Panasonic. Since then I purchased an Olympus Pen-F and that happened to come with an Olympus 17 f1.8 . I’ve now used both and to tell you the truth I prefer the Pana-Leica 15 f1.7 even though the Olympus is closer to a 35mm lens.
Already sharp at f1.7, stop down to f4 or f5.6 and this lens is really hard to beat for sharpness and clarity. Colours are very nice and micro-contrast can be found in abundance. Although it’s possible to stop down to f16, in reality you will never need to. F8 is equivalent to f16 in FF terms and anything past f8 will just introduce diffraction into your images.
Not cheap at €450 which is the price I paid at the time (worth every penny of it), the price has increased at the time of writing this post to nearly €500 for the silver version. I think people have realised how good this lens is. Supply and demand I suppose.
It has become my favourite museum lens (see images below as examples). Detail is just amazing especially when photographing paintings. The Panasonic 14 f2.5 II can be bought for around €320 and the Olympus 17 f1.8 for around €450. The 14 f2.5 is smaller than the 15 f1.7 and better suited for bodies like the GM1 and GM5; but I prefer the 15 f1.7 in all other aspects apart from size. I haven’t been able to master the Olympus 17 f1.8 either and I must admit I need a lot more time with that lens. I use the 15 f1.7 on my GM5 but the size doesn’t bother me at all although it does protrude lightly past the base of the GM5. There’s no stabilisation incorporated into the lens and generally at this focal length you won’t need it but if you do (maybe drink less coffee?) or start looking for Olympus bodies or the newer Panasonic bodies. Personally I’m looking forward to using this lens on the Panasonic G81 (as it’s known in Germany). The lack of a AA filter on that sensor coupled with very good IBIS will make this shine. I’m certain of it.
Focusing is fast on the GM5 and I didn’t get one mis-focused shot. Imagine what the focusing accuracy will be like on the newer bodies. I recommend this lens over the 14 f2.5 II and the 20 f1.7 II. To me image quality is better than the latter two and focusing is much faster and quieter. Build quality is superb and has that Leica quality about it. It’s just a joy to use. See below some sampl images taken with this lens. Enjoy!