Panasonic Leica 9mm F1.7 Review

1 Comments
The latest lens I added into my camera bag is the Panasonic Leica 9mm F1.7. I bought this ultra-compact wide angle prime to replace my Olympus 8-25mm PRO zoom and 12mm F2 simultaneously. I needed an ultra wide for some situations in my paid shoots, though I don't use it (8-25mm PRO) a lot admittedly, and I also need the ultra wide lens for vlogging purposes (I used 12mm F2 previously), especially for my second YouTube channel. I now use the Panasonic 9mm for ultra-wide shooting both for stills and video. 

I also have a full review video for the Panasonic 9mm F1.7, you can watch it here (click). 


DISCLAIMERS
I bought the Panasonic 9mm F1.7 with my own money, and I admit this is a grey market lens. I waited for official product in Malaysia, but Panasonic Malaysia did not have the lens, I decided I had waited enough and bought one from Hong Kong. I have no association or connection to Panasonic Malaysia, or any other camera manufacturers at this point. My thoughts shared here is subjective and based on my experience shooting with the Panasonic 9mm with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. I will only comment about stills shooting performance on the lens in this article. However, I have actively used the 9mm lens for video as well, mainly as vlogging lens for my second YouTube channel. Any latest videos there were shot with this Panasonic 9mm lens, so feel free to check them out and judge the performance for yourself. I won't be commenting on video performance because I am not a videographer. 

CONSTRUCTION & BUILD
I really like the compact size of the lens, and it only weighs about 130g, which is incredibly light for a lens this wide. While the lens is so small, it manages to open up to bright F1.7, which can be beneficial in low light shooting, and this is possibly the main reason (together with being smaller/lighter) I replaced the 8-25mm PRO with the Panasonic 9mm. The lens design is consistent with the typical Panasonic Leica lenses, minimalist black and looking very sleek. I do think the lens feels plasticky in hand, not as robust or sturdy as other higher-grade metal constructed lenses. I have no issue with the plastic build, I like that it is incredibly light, and the lens handles well with smaller bodies like the E-M5 Mark III, which I use primarily for vlogging purposes. There is only one control option on the lens, which is the manual focusing ring. The lens has full weather-sealing. 

LENS SHARPNESS
The lens is very sharp at center of the frame, and still decent at the corners. The sharpness at the edges improves when stopping down to F2.8 and F4. I don't hesitate shooting wide open, when necessary, the output is already good enough for what I need. The lens produces very good contrast, rendering realistic looking images. In comparison to higher grade lenses like Olympus 7-14mm and 8-25mm PRO, I don't think the Panasonic 9mm surpasses them in sharpness. I am ok with the slightly less bite and punch, but I gain the brighter aperture F1.7, which is a huge win, considering the work I do lately revolves a lot around low light environment. 

TECHNICAL FLAWS
Lens distortion has been fully corrected in camera, there is no traces of barrel distortion. I see no trace of vignetting, which I think is also software corrected. Flare can be a problem when shooting against bright source of light, as this is s common weakness for very wide lens designs. Perhaps the bigger issue is the lens having a tendency to create some weird purple light blobs, which can be difficult to correct in post-processing. Chromatic Aberration can also be an issue, and may require more work to correct. Stopping down the lens to F2.8, or F4 did not eliminate the purple fringing issues. I'd say the purple fringing and the weird flare blobs are the only two main problems I had with this Panasonic 9mm lens. 

OTHER NOTES
Bokeh quality is very good, the lens renders smooth out of focus areas, and I see no harshness or nervousness. The bokeh balls are also very beautiful. Then the one useful feature the Panasonic 9mm has is the ability to go super close up to the subject, almost macro like. You can go as close as 9.5cm to the subject, and that is insane! Certainly this can open up some creative possibilities in composition. I also like that the lens is fully weather-sealed, which matched my PRO Olympus/OMSystem bodies, and I can continue to use the lens and camera body combo in rain, if I have to. 

Having used the Panasonic 9mm F1.7 extensively, I must say I am very pleased with what this lens adds to my photography. The F1.7 aperture alone allows me to use the lens more confidently than before in low light when shooting for jobs, without raising the ISO numbers (previously I had 8-25mm F4, so big difference here). Also, I treasure the much smaller size and lighter weight, I can move quicker, use the lens more efficiently when I do a lot of run and gun for some of my fast paced jobs. The image quality has been really good, I get sharp images and there is that "3-D" pop though the 9mm is a wide angle lens. As a vlogging lens, the 9mm is so versatile, and can be a one lens to do it all. I'd highly recommend this lens for any Micro Four Thirds vloggers!

ƒ/41/16009mmISO200

ƒ/1.71/2009mmISO200

ƒ/41/2009mmISO200

ƒ/5.61/1609mmISO200

ƒ/1.71/509mmISO200

ƒ/51/259mmISO200

ƒ/41/16009mmISO200

ƒ/51/2509mmISO200

ƒ/41/2009mmISO200

ƒ/5.61/259mmISO200
Impressive close up shooting

ƒ/1.71/100009mmISO200

Corner Crop From Image Above
Left F1.7, Middle F2.8, Right F4

ƒ/1.71/160009mmISO200

Crop From Image Above
Left F1.7, Middle F2.8, Right F4

ƒ/1.71/809mmISO200
Nice Bokeh at wide open

ƒ/41/159mmISO200

ƒ/1.71/6409mmISO200
Beautiful Bokeh

ƒ/3.51/1009mmISO200
No distortion. 

ƒ/41/16009mmISO200
No Distortion

ƒ/1.71/6409mmISO200

Crop From Image Above
Left F1.7, Middle F2.8, Right F4
Purple Fringing persists even after stopping down

ƒ/101/509mmISO200

ƒ/1.71/160009mmISO200
Purple Flare Blob Problem

ƒ/1.71/80009mmISO200
Purple Flare Blob

ƒ/161/6409mmISO200
Starburst Effect

ƒ/161/6409mmISO200
Starburst Effect

ƒ/5.61/8009mmISO200

ƒ/41/25009mmISO200

ƒ/2.81/139mmISO200

ƒ/1.71/80009mmISO200

ƒ/1.71/12509mmISO200

ƒ/5.61/10009mmISO200

Please support me & keep this site going:


1 comment:

  1. Robin, while I guess the answer is likely no, will Olympus focus stacking work with this lens? It would seem to me that this feature would be useful for a super WA lens. I use an EM-5 III.

    ReplyDelete