Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pana-Leica Summilux 15mm f1.7 For Micro 4/3 - Great, but Neither Here Nor There?

Image Source:
Leica's product emphasis seems nearly as varied as my own these days. With the advent of the new Leica T system with APS-C sensor, Leica seems to have made it even more clear that sensors smaller than that are not serious enough to warrant their direct attention. That said, their compact camera offerings continue, and are pleasing to many. To me, it seems that Micro 4/3 is in a bit of a no man's land with Leica.
Actually, Micro 4/3 is occupying a similar place for me personally. With only so many hours free to use my camera gear, I find my interest pulled in many directions. Leica rangefinders are my most common companions. However, on any given day, you may also find me with a Nikon SLR, a medium format film camera, or even a 4x5 pinhole camera in my hand. Yet, my Micro 4/3 gear persists. It's still my favorite choice for many types of travel.
Anyway, back to Leica. Their collaboration with Panasonic continues, and the newest addition to the Pana-Leica lens kit is the 15mm f1.7 Summilux. I won't speculate on the performance of the lens, except to say that I expect it to be wonderful, just like the 25mm f1.4 Summilux is in my opinion. For more on those aspects, please
(Click Here) to read a nice introduction to the lens by Napier Lopez on
From my point of view, the 15mm focal length, which provides an equivalent field of view as a 30mm lens on full frame 35mm sensors, is an odd choice. To me, it's neither here nor there. In between the classic lengths of 35mm (a wide normal) and 28mm (what was once considered a very wide angle lens), 30mm equivalent field of view would take some getting used to. Now, my view on this is not purely based on sticking to the most common lengths. For example, I find the 40mm focal length on full frame to be nearly ideal for my style of shooting.
I am very pleased to see the Pana-Leica lens lineup continue to grow. I'm certain that many people will make great use of this non-standard field of view lens. I'll have to keep my eyes and mind open to see if it leads to any new styles or views that I should consider.