Best Panasonic Leica DG Summilux Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020:
The Micro 4/3 system is far from lacking in 12 mm (24 mm equivalent wide-angle): between the optics with manual focus and the zooms starting at 12 mm, the choice is vast. However, in fixed focal length autofocus, only Olympus previously offered its M.Zuiko 12 mm f / 2. With its Leica DG Summilux 12 mm f / 1.4 ASPH, Panasonic wants to address photographers and photoreporters looking for brightness, eager to gain a diaphragm, which is not nothing in the field … but that he charges a high price.
To combine large aperture and wide-angle, the optician engineers from Panasonic did not go there with the back of the spoon: 15 lenses (2 aspherical, 2 UED, 1 ED) divided into 12 groups, 7 cm long and diameter, 335 grams … no doubt, this 12 mm is a beautiful baby. Will it be able to seduce street photographers, photoreporters and workers in low light for whom it is intended?
Best Panasonic Leica DG Summilux Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020
1. Panasonic LUMIX G Leica DG SUMMILUX Lens, 12mm, F1.4 ASPH, Wide Angle. Professional Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds, H-X012 (USA Black)
4. PANASONIC LUMIX Professional 12-60mm Camera Lens, Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT, F2.8-4.0 ASPH. Dual I.S. 2.0 with Power O.I.S, Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds, H-ES12060 (Black)
5. PANASONIC LUMIX G Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT Professional Lens, 12-60MM, F2.8-4.0 ASPH. MIRRORLESS Micro Four Thirds, Power O.I.S, H-ES12060 (International Model)
That water has flowed under the bridge since the first fixed focal stamped “Leica DG Summilux” proposed by Panasonic. Leica, Summilux, two words that make many photographers dream. Leica for age-old expertise. Summilux, the label reserved for optics opening to f / 1.4 – even if Panasonic has dared to deviate from the rule, by offering Summilux f / 1.7. Between the very first Leica DG Summilux 25 mm f / 1.4 ASPH of 2011 and the Leica DG Summilux 12 mm f / 1.4 ASPH. of 2016, it is day and night.
The first one is implausibly light, is certainly rather well built but is a little knock compared to what we could expect from a “Leica Summilux”. The 12 mm, on the contrary, does honor to its rank: metal barrel and sun visor, real diaphragm ring, impeccable adjustments, tropicalized construction. This is much more worthy of German luxury and allows a little better pass the price pill, since at 1399 € (price at launch in July 2016), it is one of the focal most expensive autofocus cameras in the Micro 4/3 system.
In terms of handling, the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12 mm f / 1.4 ASPH strongly recalls the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5 mm f / 1.2 ASPH. Same slightly satin black barrel, same engravings, same font. The fluted focus ring is both soft and firm. We would have appreciated a clutch systemwhich, in manual focusing, would have offered a real scale of distances and, above all, of stops at each end. As at Olympus and Fujifilm.
Here, you will have to settle for an AF / MF switch on the left of the barrel. The diaphragm ring, meanwhile, is well notched, and we particularly appreciate that the position “A” (automatic opening) is just before f / 1.4, which is very practical on the ground. To be fussy, we would also have appreciated being able to describe this ring in order to make its rotation fluid, a bit like on Zeiss Loxia, which would have been very practical in video.
The only real criticism will however go for the absence of optical stabilization. Admittedly, thanks to its wide angle of field, this 12 mm can easily do without a photo, where it is possible to go down to 1/10 s freehand. But in video, this is not enough: a camera with effective sensor stabilization in video is therefore highly recommended ( Lumix GX80 , Olympus OM-D E-M5 II or Olympus OM-D E-M10 II , to avoid quote them).
12 mm for Micro 4/3 boxes, there are already many. Moreover, Panasonic itself offers its 12-32 mm zoom with most of its entry and mid-range boxes and a 12-35 mm with its more high-end boxes. Certainly. But these are zooms. With the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f / 1.4 ASPH, we are entering a different world. With its quality of construction, its reassuring density, its wide opening, it makes you want to go out to make images and rediscover this focal length in new days – or new nights, as desired.
If there is one thing very appreciable with this 12 mm, it is its development. Automatic, it turns out to be very lively, catchy and perfectly silent. The AF DFD of the brand’s last boxes can be expressed without limitation. In manual focusing, the ring is flexible and precise enough to work quickly and efficiently even if, we can never repeat it enough, such an optic would lend itself all the better for use with hyperfocal. In all cases, we were won over by the minimum focusing distance, which allows us to photograph subjects located 55 mm from the front lens. Enough to create beautiful shallow depths of context … or close-up “creative” portraits – it’s another way of saying “not very rewarding”.
The main “problem” of wide-angle lenses, all the more so on Micro 4/3, is the difficulty of obtaining a shallow depth of field. It is also part of the role of the maximum aperture f / 1.4. Up to f / 2.8, it is thus possible to obtain separations of the interesting shots, as long as the subject is not too far away, but in any case, do not dream, you will never get the bokeh creamy 50mm (or longer focal length).
Like all wide-angle focal lengths, and a fortiori like all 24mm and equivalent, the Leica DG Summilux 12mm f / 1.4 ASPH slightly deforms in a barrel. It remains very light, however, and you have to look closely at the corners to distinguish that there is something wrong. Excellent work, therefore, on the part of the engineers, regarding the correction of geometric aberrations. Regarding vignetting, on the other hand, it is less glorious.
At full opening, there is almost 2 EV of gap between the edges and the center, but the difference fades once you close at f / 2.8 (or more). That said, from a strict aesthetic point of view, this vignetting is not totally disturbing, it even allows to close the image and avoid losing sight of the gaze. Chromatic aberrations are very well contained. The only small complaint in terms of image quality, in the field, would be for the sensitivity toflare . Panasonic has opted for a sun visor that we find a bit too short. It certainly helps protect the front lens but will not prevent stray rays from coming to sow discord.
Rather soft at full aperture and affected by diffraction from f / 11, the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12 mm f / 1.4 ASPH delivers good performance between f / 2 and f / 8, with a maximum sharpness reached at f / 5.6. In terms of resolving power, it’s not bad at all since this 12 mm is almost as good as the Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f / 1.7 ASPH. However, you will never get the same level of dive between the center and the edges.
However, the behavior of this wide-angle is very interesting: note on the graph below the almost perfect parallelism of the curves, whatever the openings considered. This denotes a homogeneous and constant rendering, which is more than interesting in the context of reporting. From this point of view, the “small” Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12 mm f / 1.4 ASPH proves to be even better than the Zeiss Batis 25 mm f / 2 , certainly intended for a completely different sensor size.
- Quality of construction.
- Dedicated diaphragm ring.
- Aperture f / 1.4.
- Low distortions.
- Good correction of chromatic aberrations.
- Homogeneous rendering.
- Fast AF.
- No optical stabilization.
- Sensitive to “flare”.
- Vignettage marked.
Designing a bright wide-angle is never easy. When it is necessary, in addition, to ensure a fast AF, a low distortion and a good correction of the chromatic aberrations, that becomes downright complicated. However, despite all these constraints, the Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 12 mm f / 1.4 ASPH is doing well and is an optic of choice for street photographers, photoreporters and fans of low light in search of great- angle eager to work fast … well.
1. Best Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020
2. Best Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020
3. Best Fujifilm X-H1 Hybrid Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020