Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

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Panasonic Lumix G1 with Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens

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Last month while I was in Osaka I was able to buy the Rayqual Leica M to Micro4/3 adaptor.  This adaptor allows one to mount Leica M-mount lens on the Panasonic Lumix G1.  Today I spent some time with this camera and two lenses, the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens and the Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens.

Today I will report on my impressions of the Voightlander on the G1.  First of call, the 15mm is one of my favorite lenses as it’s wide depth of field allows me to cover all distances with having to adjust the focus.  For example, when I set the aperture are f/4.5, all objects from less than a meter to infinity are in focus.  Granted not a razor sharp focus but in focus.  With the Leica M8, the combination works.

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The question you have to ask yourself is:  Does it also work with the G1?  My answer is a qualified “yes”.  First of all, with the sensor’s 2x crop factor the effective focal length of the lens is 30mm.  Fair enough as the lens is still wide enough to suit my purposes.

When using this lens on my M8, I set the aperture at f/4.5 o5 f/5.6 and forget about it.  No need to focus, nothing.  Set the camera to Aperture Priority and just point and shoot.  It works on almost all occasions (although sometimes there is minimal barrel distortion).   And the image is quite good.  Almost the entire frame is in focus.

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With the G1, I did exactly the same thing.  I set the aperture at f/4.5 and fired away.  Every photo in this posting was taken in this manner.  My premise was that the G1 should be just as easy as the M8 when using the Voightlander lens.  First of all, the G1 was a pleasure to use in this manner.  Small, unobtrusive, quick to eye level, and with the ability to shot from waist high when using the live-view LCD.  Quite a nice package.  The only criticism I have of the controls  is the placement of the exposure compensation wheel at the top of the smallish grip.  It was too easy to turn the wheel and change the setting.

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Once I got home, I used Capture One to download the images and Aperture 2 to process them.  One thing I immediately noticed is that the resolution is not as good as the M8 away from the center of the image.  The center of the image is quite good, however on the edges, the image has broken down.  I believe that this is obvious in all the photos.  This result is a far cry from the decent overall image quality when coupling the G1 with the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens.

There has been some discussions on the web that the G1 image is better with longer focal length M-mount lens but does suffer poor resolution on the edges when using a wide angle lens.  That opinion is supported by Sean Reid’s review of the G1 coupled with a Leica Summicron 28mm f/2 lens.   He also noted that the G1 with this lens also matches the M8’s resolution on center.

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Bottom line is that the image’s resolution in the center of the photo is good although the resolution does fall off away from the center.  I don’t find this characteristic objectionable although this quality does narrow your ability to “create’ the photo as you want.

Tomorrow I will post about my coupling of the G1 with the Noctilux lens.

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Written by leolaksi

March 2, 2009 at 6:44 am

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