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Wednesday, 02 September 2009


Although they probably didn't take a part in this lens, I quite like the alliterative 'Overlords of Oberkochen'.

The GF-1 one seems very close, but I'm slightly alarmed by the dpreview comment that the evf wil not be much use for manual focus (paraphrase). The body and 20 f1.7 is really appealing, but it woud be nice to use my Overlords' C-Sonnar 50 on it as short tele. Only time will tell, but I'm not sure that it will really be an alternative to a digital rf just yet. Definitely getting closer though.


That image does indeed seem to have that Leica look. And I have no doubt that on 090909 we'll see a Leica branded version of Panasonic camera.

My fear is that the 20/1.7 will be in super hot demand and hard to get for a long time. I've already pre-ordered.

It's true that "Olms of Solms" (about olms, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olm ) doesn't sound quite as good as "Wizards of Wetzlar," but what about those plans to move back the whole Leica company to a new facility in Wetzlar?



I want that f'ing lens. Unfortunately since i'm not employed at the moment I'll probably have to sell a kidney to afford it.

"One wonders if the Wizards of Solms* had a hand in its design."

I'm sure they did. Pany is not going to design a lens from scratch. From what I read, they used a Tessar design to make a pancake.

Guys, what're your thoughts at a 20/1.7 (essentially a normal lens) going for US$400?

Personally I think it's expensive. But I think I'm alone here.

Maybe people here are more used to paying exorbitant prices from the Germans?

And if I do decide to pick up the lens, pricing be damned, what I fear is that the only way to get the lens in the short term is to buy a GF1...

You need the kidney more than the lens. Hang on to that.


Damn shame this isn't available for the 4/3 DSLR cameras.

That is a crazy bunch of flowers. Cool camera though.

Shutup. Everybody just shut the hell up for a while. Brain hurts.

Checked out the multi-ISO samples at full-rez (while still pretending I'm NOT a pixel-peeper) and, I hate to say it...but I find they have that ineffable P&S IQ to them. It could also be that they were shot at f/11, which must be far from the lens's sweet spot. The other samples at wider apertures look somewhat better.

I have no experience with Oly or Panny cameras, so can somebody tell me if that IQ is normal with these 4/3 sensors?

That said, I've printed some gorgeous 8x10s and bigger (after some PP massaging) from P&S files that looked worse than these, so at the end of the day it wouldn't be a deal breaker. And it's all about the printed photo, right? :-)

To answer YS's question, yes, I think $400 is a bit pricey for a normal lens, but a) nobody ever asks me for market pricing opinions before launching their products, and b) expensive perfumes come in small bottles, and small lenses come with big price tags.

Unless you shoot Pentax ;-)

If only Pentax would produce that DA 26mm f2 Limited lens I've banged on about for years, I could buy happy ...

If that is the same sensor as the G1, not sure I would like it, I sold G1 after testing it for 1 month. I might have to wait a bit further. The handling of G1, however, is very good though especially using the EVF (not the one from GF1 which have to wait and see but G1) especially in bright light. Even that good EVF is very bad in low light but probably nothing would be very good in those light.

Fly-by-wire? No infinity stop? No focus distance or hyperfocal markings? Mike, how do you prefocus these things?

Miserere, what I think you see is the camera in action, not the lens. I opened the photo taken at ISO 200. Opera says the pic was taken at 0.00625 sec, so 1/160. At 1/160 and F11, the sky should have been much bluer. Although it's not the same conditions, it is in a photo I just took with my E-3. (14-54 at approximately 20mm. Same thing with Zeiss 50/1.4 at F11.)

Check also the violet daisies. The blue channel is a bit oversaturated. It may be the particular colour, but a similar thing happens in the photo right above the daisies, although it's the red that's oversaturated here.

I don't think you're familiar with Oly Coly profiles for ACR and Lightroom, but when the guy who created them was trying one profile, he got an ironed-out look like that before he fine-tuned the profile.

So, the JPEG engine... Wish there was a program to open the RAWs.

It's not the lens, apparently.

Actually Wizards of Solms sounds better: your older version would be pronounced Vizards of Vetzlar.

I find they have that ineffable P&S IQ to them

I use to call it "compact smell"... which is particularly appropriate in a flower shot, by the way.

Looking at the mtf graphs, it looks as if the kit zoom is "better" than the 20 mm 1.7. And it is cheaper. But larger and does not have 1.7 and the dof that goes with it.



the zoom has O.I.S.


While I'm not positive you need both kidneys, I still think you shouldn't sell yourself short: one kidney should at the very least net you an M9.

(As for price... it's *only* four time more expensive than Canon's 50/1.8, folks :))

They say I'm an old fart (and I usually agree), but I'm not truly convinced by the software correction needed by those lenses. If less than the Oly 17, the Panny 20mm shows the "now common" heavy barrel distortion. They say it's "by design"; perhaps a small lens can't really can't be optically corrected (I'd say "well made...).

I'm not going to judge the IQ of this camera just by looking at its jpeg engine output. Will be waiting for raw samples.

YS, yre not alone. that lens IS expensive. at the rate this is going the only ones buying this devices will be fashionistas-wannbes and leica boyz.
its so much less expensive getting a 1970 rf and shooting film. this fellas want us paying with our skins for these things. they can keep them, afaic.
p.s. the REALLY disappointing thing about 4/3 is how poorly they have adapted the little bugg3rs to working properly with lenses mounted via adapter. and i'm talking here old-timer mf lense. if panny gets a ep2 going that can focus more easily and accurately with such lenses and they can keep the thing from costing arms and legs, i might just get one. as it is, 900$ digicams with minute sensors (compared to 35mm) and poor lenses (see how much in-cam-pp goes on after the shot is taken) are a joke and an expensive one at that.
for that kind of money i can have myself a decent rf (see oly 1970 oly line), a decent scanner and some decent film and i betcha theres gonna take a while till one can shoot that up to 900$ worth AND the pictures will be better (IF you know anything about taking pictures).

"Mike, how do you prefocus these things?"

With a half press of the shutter button.


I find they have that ineffable P&S IQ to them

I too noticed the same thing on dpreview samples. But I am not sure how will it look in prints.

The town of Solms is essentialy a suburb of the city of Wetzlar, as I found when visiting the area some ten years ago. (It was at Christmastime, and the Leica factory was closed, although I do have a photo of me standing in front of the building.) And apropos of nothing, that looks like an very interesting camera.

$400 is about what I paid for my collapsible Summicron 50mm a few months ago (for the Leica Year), so it's a reasonable price for a fast normal lens, especially if it's really a Leica design.

(The Sigma 50mm is also about that price, btw, though half a stop faster)

Can someone please tell me what can be gained, in terms of camera or lens evaluation, by looking at jpegs on a computer monitor? Really, I guess you could see horrible distortion, but if you don't see it, how can you tell it hasn't been corrected. Likewise color and contrast?

What's the point?

Mike, I would suggest a short primer on what to look for in online jpgs to make these kinds of evaluations. That would be a very useful post.Or can you, Mike, really tell anything from them?

They tend to all look alike to me, ie, uninteresting grab shots of various things the tester happened to walk past, at various shutter speeds and apertures.

Can someone please tell me what can be gained, in terms of camera or lens evaluation, by looking at jpegs on a computer monitor? [...] They tend to all look alike to me.

Jeff Glass, you must be a happy photographer, and I envy you. Seriously.

Very appropriate surname, by the way :-)

I like downloadable RAW samples. Don't understand why more people/manufacturers don't willingly provide these. No better way to get into the meat of an image than to open a RAW file in Photoshop.

To Jeff Glass,

There are some basic things you can look for on screen not the least of which is the bokeh.

You also will not see horrible distortion in the online samples. The m43 standard has corrections for distortion built in. Panasonic also corrects for CA.

Tom, I will kindly ask you to take a look at the white spot in the middle upper side of the frame. now that is some serious CA. and to think that panny does heavy in-cam postprocessing to come up for the shorts of the glass.
tell you what, i'd like to see oly come up with something of an ep2 with corrected and enhanced mf focusing and i'll take one body for no more than 500$. i really think that's a resonable amount of money to think my little nikon d40 does about better (although with half the mp) at both color, noise and dof (gotcha). but i can appreciate an unobtrisve little bugg3r. that's why i still shoot the ~40 year old 35sp. the really neat job would be if the ep2 had a tilt-twistable screen. i wouldnt mind if it was smaller.
but really guys, 400$ for a p!3c3 of cr@p glass that may or may NOT be a leica design (like anyone cares, its still panny homemade) that cant be used with ANY other body than the m4/3 and that needs heavy pp to cover its many optical flaws. really.
i'm as thrilled as many here are about the new m4/3 offerings but lets take the time to remember it is all about the final print, the picture itself. and the fact is that there are BETTER and way CHEAPER solutions out there. from cheap dSLRs to cheaper SLRS and RF film cameras. and if one takes the time, 36 frames may prove to be more valuable than a 4gb load.

p.s. that dont mean they wonbt sell a bunchload of'em. theres a bunch of people that dont REALLY know the value of a dollar.

"LEICA is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH. ELMARIT is a registered trademark of Leica Camera AG. The LEICA DG lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company's quality standards."

Quoted verbatim from DPreview's press release about the 45/2.8 LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT. So from that I take it to mean that the lens is manufactured by Panasonic (or some other ODM) under license and with QC methods by Leica. This is analogous to how "Zeiss" lenses are made in Japan. As such perhaps the 20/1.7 really is a "Leica" design, but Panasonic didn't feel like forking over the money to setup the manufacturing and QC methods to acquire the brand name as well. To me the above note about the Macro lends support to such a theory.

One reason RAW samples are often not provided is that, with a camera not yet released, there is often no software out there capable of opening its raw files.

Μike, I meant prefocus to the hyperfocal distance relatively accurately and intuitively, considering you'd have to change the distance every time you change aperture. Never mind, I think I must be the only one who cares about these details.

Oh yea, Pentax. Unfortunately I don't so...

Back to the issue of price, four times a 50/1.8 isn't what I consider affordable. 20mm is still not below the system's flange distance, so a retrofocal design isn't needed. Barrel distortion should be less of an issue, since it's all going to be digitally corrected. So I'm not sure where the expense is going. Maybe the size. Or the look. You know, looks like a Leica, costs like one. :P

I was expecting those who shoot Leicas and other overpriced German glass to not find it expensive. I'm guessing the lack of complaints on a site where people don't find Leica and Zeiss stuff incredulous shows their fortitude to expensive glass!

Greg.w said:
I will kindly ask you to take a look at the white spot in the middle upper side of the frame. now that is some serious CA. and to think that panny does heavy in-cam postprocessing to come up for the shorts of the glass.

Are you referring to the edges of the blown out background?


Bokeh chromatic aberration (fringing in out-of-focus areas) is problematic with many fast lenses, and there's no way to automatically fix it in post-processing. That particular flower picture emphasizes it in the blown-out area, but I've seen the same behavior in many presumably non-"p!3c3 of cr@p" lenses.

Browsing the lens reviews at photozone.de and dpreview, where they occasionally test for this, I might guess that you also consider all of these to be non-worthy:
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4
Canon EF 135mm f/2 L
Pentax DA* 55mm f/1.4
Olympus Zuiko Digital 50mm f/2
Sigma EX DG 50mm f/1.4

The only lens review I can recall where this was tested and the lens did NOT exhibit bokeh CA was diglloyd's review of the Coastal Optics 60mm UV-VIS-IR APO lens: http://www.diglloyd.com/diglloyd/free/CoastalOptics60f4/index.html. That lens was specifically designed to be a true apochromat, and it achieves it beautifully, but at the cost of a lot of exotic glass and a $4500 price tag...

All of this doesn't say whether the Panasonic is worth $400, but I wouldn't be quite so fast to dismiss it.

How about the "Gnomes of Solms"?

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