The Panasonic Lumix Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH – professional lens of choice

The Panasonic Lumix Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH – professional lens of choice

By: Josh Bellingham

The official name of the 10-25mm f1.7 might be a mouthful, but it is one of the most enticing lenses I’ve ever used. This is a lens that gets me wanting to go out and photograph more and more. I have never experienced so much versatility in a lens that covers a such a wide range of useful focal lengths married with a superbly fast constant aperture of f1.7. I am so excited to share some of my experiences with the 10-25mm which was graciously loaned to me by Lumix Canada earlier this year (2019).

I had been wanting to try the Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 ever since I heard of the rumors about it’s release. I haven’t been so excited about a piece of gear since the release of the Nocticron (Lumix Leica 42.5mm f1.2) in 2014.

In this review of the Lumix 10-25mm f1.7, I will cover the build quality/features, handling, image quality, a comparison to my other Lumix lenses, and the reasons I will personally buy this lens for my own work.

Build Quality, Handling and Features:

The Lumix Leica 10-25mm f1.7 is a large lens, especially for micro four thirds, but I really appreciate its durable and professional feel. The build quality is fantastic, made of high-quality metal and plastics. On a professional camera like the Panasonic Lumix G9, the Lumix Leica 10-25mm f1.7 lens feels well balanced and is very comfortable for a full day wedding shoot.

The zoom ring is easy to locate in the middle of the lens and feels like it’s made of quality metal. The zoom ring is one of the nicest features on the 10-25mm with its quarter throw, which travels from 10mm to 25mm in an instant. It’s ability to quickly travel from ultrawide all the way to standard portrait length is an incredible tool for any photographer. All at a constant f1.7 aperture!

Just above the zoom ring you have the manual focus ring which also functions as a pullback clutch mechanism.  When the clutch is activated it puts you into a dedicated manual focus mode and gives you hard stops when focusing from macro to infinity. The clutch is a great feature to have when trying to focus accurately and quickly, especially when combined with focus peaking and Lumix high definition screens and EVF’s. You can also control the manual focus features from the camera body if that works better for how you shoot.

Above the focus ring you have the stepless aperture ring, which is completely silent. Most aperture rings have an audible and physical clicking sound when you stop up or down, but the 10-25mm has a nice smooth rotation which is great for video creators who don’t want noticeable clicking in their audio recordings.

The Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 comes with a petal shaped hood for blocking out harsh light from the sides and also doubles as a protective guard. Sun flare was never an issue, even when I was photographing into direct sunlight. There is also almost no sign of purple fringing on heavily backlit scenes, which is great for less fixing in post-production. The high image quality produced by the Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 really ends up being a great time saver.

The weather sealing of the Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 held up admirably and never let in any moisture! I was lucky enough to photograph an elopement on the Niagara Cruises Hornblower boat under Niagara Falls, and I think the following photos perfectly display the harsh conditions the lens can withstand.

I really also liked using the 10-25mm on cameras like the Lumix GX9 with the tilting screen for viewing low angle shooting, and it did a great job capturing lots of dynamic images. A camera body like the GX9 seems a bit small for a lens like the 10-25mm but if you concentrate on holding the lens and not the camera body, it makes for an enjoyable photographic experience.

Another amazing feature of the Panasonic Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 is the close focus distance. It doubles up as a semi-macro lens in many respects, and with the f1.7 aperture you can create some beautiful compositions.

Overall the build quality and handling of the Panasonic Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 is outstanding, and is definitely one of most solid lenses I have ever used.

Image Quality:

The front glass element is fairly large and with the 10-25mm’s 9 blade diaphragm you get really nice out-of-focus bokeh effects. The areas that are in-focus are super sharp, and this really adds to the 3D effect this lens can create wide open at f1.7 at the ultrawide focal lengths, like 10mm. You can get so many different ‘looks’ with this one lens.

With the Leica name, you know that the 10-25mm will have exceptional image quality, just like the Lumix Leica 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron or the Lumix Leica 8-18mm f2.8-4. Using the 10-25mm at all focal lengths you have the same razor sharpness to whatever is in focus at all apertures. You can have the confidence that the Lumix 10-25mm will perform flawlessly so all you have to think about is capturing the image. It is a pure joy to use the 10-25mm and being creative is all I have to think about.

Any professional would be highly satisfied with the image quality of the Panasonic Lumix Leica 10-25mm f1.7 for almost all photographic and video applications.

Why I will buy this lens:

When I’m capturing a wedding, I don’t want to have to think about switching lenses all the time. My current setup has me using 4 lenses within a very similar range to the Lumix 10-25mm f1.7. I love the wide-open apertures of the Lumix 15mm f1.7 and the 25mm f1.4, and the versatility of the Lumix 8-18mm and the Lumix 12-35mm f2.8. Almost 99% of the primary features of those lenses are covered by the Lumix 10-25mm, and the cost to buy all of those lenses would be higher than just buying the 10-25mm on its own. I could even remove the Lumix 45mm f2.8 macro from my kit if 1:1 macro ratio wasn’t a priority, and in most cases it isn’t.

I still love using all four of those lenses and their image quality is 100% professional, but when it comes to pure image making and versatility on a wedding day, the Lumix 10-25mm f1.7 wins every time. It allows me to concentrate on creating beautiful images and making my clients happy, not so much about the technical side of things.

I was able to mount the Lumix 10-25mm on several different camera bodies and the overall best-balanced camera was the Lumix G9. With the stellar In Body Image Stabilization of the G9 and the f1.7 aperture you’re able to capture images in extremely low light conditions, using slow shutter speeds of 1/60 Sec. or 1/15 Sec.

If you’re a Micro Four Thirds photographer then I would highly recommend testing out the 10-25mm, because it’s truly a game changer. Thank you so much for reading! Please enjoy some of the following images I took during my short time with the Lumix Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH: