Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3 Zeiss 50mm Nikon D7000 35mm f/1.8
I did a test between the Panasonic Leica m4/3 f/1.4 lens on a Panasonic G3 and a 35mm f/1.8 on a Nikon D7000 and just to make it interesting, my Zeiss 50mm f/2 T* Planar on my Leica M9.
(Please note - this file below is too big for flickr. If you want to download the full size version then either click on the image or this link. File is © David Taylor / Soundimageplus and is available for personal evaluation only and is not to be shared or used in any other way whatsoever.)
I've also put together a file from full-size images taken on the G3 and the M9 at f/8 and ISO 160. You can see the high resolution image by clicking through to flickr and choosing Actions > View all sizes.
As per usual these images were shot on a tripod and processed via Photoshop Adobe Camera Raw using the default factory settings. All files were processed in an indentical fashion. There are differences in depth-of-field, colour and framing but all images were shot from exactly the same position.
The results show that the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 is indeed a very good lens indeed. Better than the 35mm f/1.8 on the Nikon (Though the stronger anti-aliasing filter on the D7000 has an impact on this) and is really close to the Zeiss 50mm on the Leica M9.
I really can't decide which is better. If I stare at the files for long enough, then I think I see that the Leica version is the sharpest, but once I take into account the fact that there is more depth of field on the m4/3 shot, and therefore more of the image is in focus, I must concede that I prefer the image with Panasonic camera / lens combination.
Again I must make it clear that this is very much to do with the way that I work, and what I'm looking for in a lens camera / combination. I'm usually trying to achieve the most DOF that I can get, and the vast majority of what I shoot is at the lowest ISO that gives me a workable hand held shutter speed.
In terms of a comparison between the Leica and the G3, neither is any great shakes at high ISO and the M9 is very poor at dynamic range also, even though it is "full-frame". So bit by bit the advantages that I get from the camera and the m-mount lenses are being eroded. Add in the fact that Panasonic are now talking about light, small pro-spec zooms - http://www.43rumors.com/ft5-hot-panasonic-x-12-35-and-35-100mm-fast-zooms/ and for what I do m4/3 becomes an ever more attractive, (and significantly cheaper!) option.
I must admit, I didn't expect the 25mm f/1.4 to be quite as good. I was expecting something on a par with the four thirds version of this lens I think, and something that was probably somewhat better than the 20mm f/1.7, but not by much.
However I think it's better than that. True, the weak AA filter of the G3 gives it the opportunity to shine, however it does perform very well in its own right.
Do have a look at the high-res. samples and particularly the raw files in the previous post to see if you agree with me.
However if you like what you see and you use Olympus cameras I would recommend a try-out before you buy, to see if yours clicks away like mine does on those cameras.