Review : Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH
Panasonic’s new 12mm prime is fast and finely crafted and we’re seeing more top-quality, pro-grade lenses being launched for mirrorless cameras, with price tags to match. The initial cost of Panasonic’s new 12mm lens runs well into four figures, but it’s beautifully built. The robust, splashproof and dustproof design features a metal barrel and mount, and the lens has a metal bayonet-fit hood.
Build & handling
This is a Micro Four Thirds lens, so the 12mm focal length gives a viewing angle that’s equivalent to using a classic 24mm lens on a full-frame camera. The image circle only has to be small, and the lens itself is compact and lightweight, considering its fast f/1.4 aperture rating.
On-board controls include a simple AF/MF focusing mode switch and an aperture ring with one-third f/stop click steps, plus an ‘A’ setting at the wide end for use in fully automatic or shutter priority shooting modes. The focus ring operates very smoothly and gives precise control via its fly-by-wire electronic linkage.
The inclusion of two aspherical, two UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) and one ED element help to maximise sharpness and contrast, while keeping chromatic aberrations to a minimum. Meanwhile, the application of multi-coatings works well for fending off any ghosting and flare.
The nine-blade diaphragm produces very well-rounded apertures even when stopping down a little from the widest setting of f/1.4. There’s rather noticeable vignetting when you shoot wide-open, but it’s much reduced at f/2 and all but disappears at f/2.8. It’s much dearer than most Leica-badged Panasonic lenses, but it’s a top-performance wide prime, with superb build quality.
(1) The dustproof, splashproof construction incorporates a metal barrel and mount. Even the supplied hood is metal rather than plastic.
(2) The aperture ring stretches from f/1.4 to f/16 in one-third f/stop click steps, but there’s no de-click facility for when you’re shooting video.
(3) The AF/MF switch gives access to automatic or manual control over the stepping motor-based focusing system.
Full-frame compatible : No
Effective focal length : 24mm
Image stabiliser : No
Minimum focus distance : 0.2m
Max magnification factor : 0.1x
Manual focus override : Yes
Focus limit switch : No
Internal focus : Yes
Filter size : 62mm
Iris blades : 9
Weather seals : Yes
Supplied accessories : Hood, pouch, caps
Dimensions (dia x length) : 70 x 70mm
Weight : 335g