- Very small lens that is constructed quite well.
- Fast, silent and accurate autofocus
- Good central sharpness wide open and very nice sharpness across the frame stopped down
- Good bokeh when you can create blur
- Good control of flare
- Excellent color and contrast provide and excellent look to the images
- Great close focusing ability for unique perspectives
- Edge and corner softness at wide apertures, and a smidge of remaining corner softness stopped down
- Some longitudinal CA can show up in the right circumstances
- High native distortion, though corrected with Lightroom and JPEGs
- Aperture ring is non-functional on Olympus bodies and is a bit too easy to move.
- A bit expensive
The Panasonic Leica 15mm f/1.7 rounds out the wide end of the Leica branded primes for Micro 4/3, and for the most part, it fits into that series quite well. The lens is sharp where it counts at wide apertures and provides plenty of resolution across the frame stopped down. The color and contrast give the images a look similar to the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4, which is fairly high praise in my opinion. All of this is packaged in a tightly assembled great looking and tiny package.
On the down side, the lens is missing that amazing cross frame sharpness at the widest apertures that the 42.5mm Nocticron exhibits, and the high native distortion ends up costing the corners some resolution once corrected. The price of $599 puts it at a price point that sits firmly for enthusiasts, and I don’t think most serious shooters will be disappointed. The price is a little on the high side given the field of view and aperture, but it’s not unreasonable, especially when considering the competition. The natural competitors to this lens are the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 and the Olympus 17mm f/1.8, and while both of those lenses are pretty good, the 15mm Summilux is a bit better than both. It’s a solid lens and a great ‘take anywhere’ prime that is capable of producing excellent images in most any situation.
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