If you’re a Micro Four Thirds user, get ready to be very excited. At CES 2014, we had the opportunity to test the brand new Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 lens. Typically, Zeiss lenses are really the only ones that leave us this speechless. But somehow Panasonic has not only left me speechless, but in serious lust.
This lens may be the most important to the entire Micro Four Thirds system so far. To date, it is the fastest aperture lens with autofousing abilities in a surprisingly small package. However, it is a tad pricy at $1,599. But when you really think about the folks that will want to buy this lens, then you’ll see that it’s an absolute no brainer. Professionals that do work with the Micro Four Thirds offerings (and yes, they exist) will have their hearts melt.
And when you see the images, you’ll exhibit a feeling synonymous to falling in love with photography all over again.
Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing
|Filter Thread||67 mm|
|Dimensions (DxL)||Approx. 2.91 x 3.03″ (74 x 77 mm)|
|Weight||14.99 oz (425 g)|
Though we handled a pre-production unit, Panasonic’s 42.5mm f1.2 is still amazingly small and incredibly solid. There is the massive 67mm filter thread on the front of the lens, which is protected by a special lens hood that has a screw on one side in order to hold it in place.
The rest of the lens is solid metal all across the board. Not a single thing about the exterior feels or looks like plastic. Instead, you’ve got a real aperture ring and a solid manual focusing ring. The aperture ring makes real clicks–not the softened ones that Fujifilm does.
Indeed, it feels like a digital Leica.
On the side are two switches: one for Power OIS and the other for AF/MF.
We tested the autofocus of the lens on the Panasonic GX7 and the GH3–and it’s fast. While it isn’t as fast as many of Panasonic’s other more speedy offerings, it’s still faster than anything Fujifilm has developed so far and not even noticeably slower than Samsung and Sony except to the untrained eye.
The fact that Panasonic got something like this lens to focus so quickly is incredible.
Take everything that Zeiss has done, mix in a sprinkle of Fujifilm, and then put a Leica badge on it and you’ve got this lens. Seriously, we want you to imagine Zeiss’s DSLR lenses but miniaturized. With that said, this lens doesn’t have weather sealing.
When I say that this is the best feeling product that I held at CES 2014, I’m really not fibbing.
Ease of Use
Point, shoot, and enjoy. No really, your eyes will really enjoy what this lens can do for you. It’s super sharp wide open and due to the Micro Four Thirds sensor, f1.2 will actually have the depth of field comparable to that of an 85mm f2.4 lens on a full frame sensor.
EXIF DATA IN THE IMAGE FILE NAME
Panasonic allowed us to put a card in the cameras that we tested the unit with as long as we clearly stated that we handled a pre-production unit it. So here’s our big disclaimer
DEAR READERS! THESE IMAGES ARE FROM A PRE-PRODUCTION UNIT! SO DON’T MAKE FINAL ASSUMPTIONS YET. NO, REALLY. I KNOW THAT 43RUMORS IS GOING TO LINK OVER AND DPREVIEW’S FORUMS ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THIS BACK AND FORTH. THESE ARE ONLY PRE-PRODUCTION UNITS AND YOU’RE ALL GOING TO SIT THERE AND BE TROLLS BACK AND FORTH. SERIOUSLY, CHILL. THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH YOU CAN DO ON A TRADESHOW FLOOR.
Now that that’s out of the way. This lens is stupid sharp, and the bokeh is nothing short of glorious. All images were shot wide open at f1.2 with a Yonguo 560 EX III added ont he side for some fill.
This year at CES 2014, there was seriously very little that impressed us. But by far, not only has this lens single handedly stolen the show for me, but it has also renewed my faith in the Micro Four Thirds lineup. As APS-C offerings become better and better, one of the ways that this format can hold its own is by outdoing everyone else on glass.
And Panasonic, though losing money in its digital imaging division, seems to not want to go down without a fight.
We’re calling in our review unit. And we’re going to be giddy when it comes in.
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