The Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 Lens Review
The Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 lens is an absolutely great choice for an entry-level prime lens. If you haven’t used a prime lens with a low f-stop then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Sure, some people might think you need a zoom lens for any occasion but not me. The Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 is my favourite native prime lens for a number of reasons which I will get to in this review.
What is it like for Video?
My main focus is on creating online videos. As soon as I added these lenses to my arsenal it elevated the quality of my videos. It was very noticeable right from the get-go. Can you use it for photography as well? Absolutely! We’ll get to that in a moment.
The first few videos I use this on my Panasonic GH5 I wasn’t even using the camera in manual mode. I was using “P” mode which balances the exposure and iso for you directly. The results were startling compared with the stock 12-60mm f/3.5 kit lens I was using before. Now don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of the 12 to 60mm and I have used it for hundreds of online videos as well as paid work.
What I noticed instantly was how much sharper the image looked as well as how much more blue I had in the background. This blur effect is called Bokeh.
The Lower the f-stop the more “Bokeh” (Background Blur)
For those who might be new to photography or videography were considering buying this lens The lower the F stop the more background blur you get inherently. One thing to point out is to get maximum results from this lens you need to run the camera in aperture priority mode or manual exposure mode.
How to Use the Lens Correctly
Going from an F/3.5 to an f/1.7 lens I thought I’d be able to run it at f/1.7 in any condition but this was not the case. I made the mistake of overexposing my shots and I have to correct that in post-production.
If you are going to be using this particular lens you don’t need as much lighting even in a studio situation to get the maximum results and also make sure you shot is exposed properly. My suggestion is if your camera has a histogram make sure you have that enabled so you can see if your image is too bright.
This is a really easy mistake to make. Generally speaking, the camera knows exactly how much light it should let in and then I match that with manual exposure. That way you know it will be all good. In a well-lit studio room, I generally run this lens at f/2.1-2.6 depending on the situation.
If I have less like available running at F1.7 is a whole lot of fun. If you plan on using it outdoors at f/1.7 then you will need to get an ND Filter to bring the exposure down. Even at ISO 200 your image will most likely be blown out and overexposed.
The easiest way for new users of this lens is to just use “P” or “A” mode on your Panasonic Camera.
Most people would agree that the lens doesn’t feel like a million dollars in the hand. It is light and very small. That doesn’t mean that its junk, though. What this means it won’t feel as good as something like a Leica lens or anything with a metal focus ring. A Leica lens will also cost you about three times the price of this entry-level prime lens.
These small issues aside, the lens will still give you great results. The main problem with the focus wheel is it’s near impossible to do the full range in one continuous turn.
The Panasonic 25mm f1.7 is not a weather resistant lens either. At this price point, I wouldn’t expect it to be. While the body of certain cameras can handle the rain this lens is not part of that.
There’s a fair bit of plastic on the exterior of the lens but the lens mount is all metal. The focus wheel also feels nice to use too as it’s very smooth.
How well does Auto Focus Work?
In terms of video autofocus, this is what the easiest letters to get to work with Panasonic GH5 or G85. My autofocus selection of choice is always one area mode. I Actually wrote an article about the best way to use autofocus on any Panasonic camera. if you want to see it I’ll leave the link here.
I use this lens all of the time on the Geeky Nerdy Techy YouTube channel. Every shot where I am sitting at my desk the GH5 or G85 is on “One Area” auto-focus mode. I find this to be extremely reliable.
How does the 25mm f/1.7 compare with full frame?
This is the equivalent of a 50mm f3 on a full frame camera. The 50mm is known as the “Nifty 50” because of how versatile these are for photographers and video use.
What is the photo quality like?
I recently took this lens to Denmark and Sweden and got some great results outdoors. I am by no means a professional photographer but I liked the results I got with this lens and my Panasonic G85.
Indoor Product Photography
Is the 25mm f1.7 good vlogging lens?
Not really, no. This lens is great for capturing any b-roll moments that’s for sure. It’s possibly a tad “too close” to you if you’re not using a handheld tripod. This lens doesn’t have the best stabilisation in the World either so only use it when you’re behind the camera (or if it’s on a tripod of course).
The Perfect YouTube Lens?
Here are a few ways I use this lens on my YouTube channels for video production:
- Sitting at a desk with the camera on a tripod. If you are sitting at a desk this is a great lens even on autofocus mode.
- Shooting artistic outdoor shots. When I am going for some sharp outdoor footage it is a great choice.
- Product photography. I use this lens anytime I want a shallow depth of field in photos or close up product photography (or videography).
- B-Roll video shot at higher frame rates (then slowed down). This is my favourite lens for shooting at higher frame rates then slowing it down in post-production.
- Lower light conditions with the GH5/G85. In lower light situations this lens looks great.
- Talking headshots. When I use it in this way I have my head in focus and usually, the background is blurry. This Bokeh effect really looks professional and will stand out compared with a kit lens.
The Panasonic 25mm f1.7 gets a mixed review online. One thing I can tell you if you don’t already own a prime lens this is a great first prime. I thought the 25mm f1.7 would be a very limiting lens without a zoom range but I find this to be a more creative lens than your standard 12-60 kit lens. I really like the 12-60 Panasonic Vario kit lens as well but the 25mm has a vibe all of its own.