The Panasonic Lumix Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH Review

The Panasonic Lumix Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH Review

By: Josh Bellingham

At the beginning of the 2018 wedding season I purchased the Lumix 15mm f1.7 to round out my professional photography kit with a fast, wide prime lens, that I could take anywhere, and it wouldn’t weigh me down. Since then I have shot over 13,000 clicks with the 15mm and it has become my ideal wide-angle lens for wedding photography.

I photograph weddings and elopements full time in the Niagara Region, and this job quite often requires me to travel long distances on foot. I end up shooting in vineyards, orchards, dark wedding chapels and around all the tourist areas of Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The compactness of the Lumix Leica lenses compared to other larger format lenses is incredible. If you combine the Lumix 15mm f1.7 with a small camera body like the GX9, you have a camera kit delivering professional quality images, that fits in a jacket pocket.

The focal length of the 15mm f1.7 (30mm equivalent field of view in 35mm format) is something to be desired.  I like that it’s a wide-angle lens that’s not too wide, and manages to correct all forms of distortion near the edges of the frame.

The Lumix 15mm f1.7 excels in environmental and journalistic style portraits, perfect for storytelling. The large f1.7 aperture does a great job isolating the subject from the background with some pop factor, and also allows for the viewer to still have context of what’s in the background without blowing out the details completely. I end up shooting at f1.7 99% of the time I’m using this lens, because it creates that shallow depth of field “look” my wedding clients are after. It’s also one of the sharpest lenses I’ve ever used wide open. Paired with cameras like the GX9, having 5 axis image stabilization and the electronic shutter, you end up with ultra-sharp images, even with shutter speeds of 1/15 sec.

The Lumix Leica DG Summilux 15mm f1.7 earns its Leica badge and is built with the quality you would expect from a premium lens like this. The metal mount of the Lumix 15mm f1.7 is very durable and confidently secure when attached to a Lumix camera body. The lens feels weighty for its size, but in a way that emphasizes great build and material quality. I love the addition of the aperture ring on the 15mm f1.7, allowing me to quickly change my f-stop settings or set it in Aperture priority mode. The aperture ring moves with nice solid clicks, and the manual focus ring rotates smoothly without resistance. The Lumix 15mm f1.7 also incorporates a 46mm filter thread to add filters for long exposure or high-speed sync flash photography.

The autofocus of the Lumix 15mm f1.7 is silent, extremely quick, and accurate, especially when using it on Panasonic cameras like the Lumix G9 or Lumix GX9. I prefer to use the 15mm on the Lumix GX9 because of the ultra-compactness, and in combination with silent mode, you have an extremely competent, stealthy kit, that delivers professional results, in almost any condition. These are key features to a wedding photographer, because we don’t want to distract from the intimate moments due to a loud shutter mechanism, especially during a quiet wedding ceremony in a big echoey church.

I can’t say enough great things about the Panasonic Lumix Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH!! It’s such a stellar professional photography lens with all the specs to back it up! This is definitely a lens I could use all day long and not worry about weight or low light conditions. You can even use it on professional drones that take Lumix lenses. It’s really a go to lens that just does everything right.

Please enjoy a few of the images I have taken with the 15mm f1.7: