Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens (2 of 3)

The Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens is a somewhat affordable addition to my Panasonic GH4 kit. At a price of about $460 it’s roughly $100 more than it’s nearest competitor, the Olympus 25mm f1.8. I never actually had a chance to play around with the Olympus so I can’t really compare build or image quality, but my guess would be the difference in price mostly comes down to the f-stop.

I went with the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 because it came up used at a very reasonable price and it was one of the first few lenses I bought for the GH4 body when it came in. Build quality is good and the fly by wire focus ring feels nice to the touch. The body is mostly plastic with the exception of the lens mount, over all it feels about as good as the Canon 50mm f1.4 in hand.

Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens (1 of 3)

As far as M4/3 lenses are concerned, the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 is a little on the chunky side, but it’s still small compared to the full frame equivalent. Above is the 25mm f1.4 lens next to the Canon 50mm f1.4 on a Metabones M4/3 speed booster. The 25mm f1.4 weighs less than the 50 by a noticeable margin, it’s smaller in diameter and it’s shorter than the 50mm f1.4.

Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens (2 of 2)

Attached to the GH4 body, the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 is reasonable petite and enjoyable to use. The f1.4 aperture on this 25mm lens (50 equivalent) isn’t as dramatic of a bokeh creation tool as an f1.4 lens on a full frame body but it still does a pretty decent job.

Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens shots (2 of 3)

Here, for example, is my less then majestic Pomeranian (her name is Hero) at f1.4. At a focusing distance of roughly 2 feet, the background does manage to turn into a beautiful blur, but you can still make out some minor details, like the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 sitting off to the right.

Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens shots (3 of 3)

When you take that same shot of Hero at f5.6, the background (about 5 feet away) starts to come into focus. That 12-40mm lens, as well as the Canon 50mm f1.4, are easy to spot in this shot. You can even see the keyboard and bass amp in the back ground if you look close.

Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens shots (1 of 3)

This shot of my old (but beloved) “edgy punk” style bass guitar was taken with the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 at the same distance. What i’m getting at is that you can still knock out the background at f1.4 with a M4/3 camera, but it’s not nearly as dramatic as full frame.

Many people will tell you that you can’t get the same look out of a M4/3 sensor as you get out of a full frame or even a crop sensor and that’s true and false. The true part is that you wont have as shallow of a depth of field to work with on an M4/3 body. You’ll be missing out on the “look” of f1.2 and f1.4 on a full frame camera, but with the proper collection of lenses, everything else shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m sort of a hypocrite here, I still love my 50mm f1.2 and my 35mm f1.4 wide open on the 5d mark III, especially for photography. So maybe I’m not the right person to be talking about the “look”. That said, I find myself reaching for the Panasonic GH4 so much more than I ever expected and I don’t have any complainants about the look of  f1.4 and f1.8 on a M4/3 body. Even if it’s not as creamy as f1.2 or f1.4 full frame, it still looks really good.

Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens (1 of 2)

I don’t solely use the M4/3 format and I don’t think it’ll ever be my only camera, but it’s now my go to format for more than a quarter half of my work. It really is a great camera, and the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 is a good match.

You can find the raw files from those 3 example photos here. That’s enough rambling for one night. 

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