Some people think that when there’s a Leica badge on a lens or camera, it must be good. Others claim that anything carrying the famous red dot is really just overpriced technology from yesterday. The truth is somewhere in the middle. On one hand, Leica does invest a lot into the development of its lenses. On the other hand, its rebranded Panasonic cameras really aren’t worth the premium price by a long shot. But what about the Leica branded Micro Four Thirds lenses?
Those as well are made by Panasonic, but are officially sanctioned by Leica to bear their name. While the DG Elmarit 45mm f2.8 macro didn’t get a lot of people excited, the DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 was an instant hit. Reviewers all over the web praised for its great image quality. Just recently, DxOMark tested the new DG Summilux 15mm f1.7, and it turned out to be a rather mediocre lens despite the Leica badge.
But now they also tested the new DG Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2, and here it seems we finally have another lens deserving of the Leica branding. The Nocticron showed one of the best performances of all Micro Four Thirds lenses ever tested by DxOMark, and is seconded only by the brilliant M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8. With an initial aperture of f1.2, the Nocticron is a super-fast portrait lens, and one that begs to be shot wide open.
DxOMark’s sharpness test does indeed confirm that the Nocticron performs very well even at its widest aperture, which is what you’d expect from a lens that costs over one and a half grand. But it also fares very well in terms of distortion and vignetting, and only in chromatic aberration it is slightly behind the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8. We would’ve loved to see how the lens holds up to the Voigtländer Nokton 42.5mm f0.95 in DxOMark’s comparison, but unfortunately they didn’t test that lens.
So, if you were eyeing this lens for portaiture work, don’t worry. From what it appears, you won’t regret the purchase. That is, provided you can afford the lens in the first place, without selling your family into slavery …
DxOMark have just finished testing the Panasonic GH4 (or rather, its sensor,) and their results are hardly surprising. As it turns out, the GH4 is the best Micro Four Thirds camera currently available when it comes to pure sensor performance. With a total score of 74, it is three points ahead of its predecessor, the GH3, and even outperforms the acclaimed Olympus OM-D E-M1 by one point.
Further analysis is after the jump.
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When the whole mirrorless camera movement was started, the more experienced lot of consumers asked for small and quality prime lens offerings. And with Panasonic’s announcement of their 15mm f1.7, this need was surely fulfilled. It’s small, has a retro appeal, and offers an attractive focal length with Leica branded quality. During a photowalk over the weekend, we got the chance to play with the new Panasonic 15mm f1.7.
And despite the fact that we spent under 10 minutes with the lens, we are quite impressed.
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Remember the Borg from Star Trek, those vile half-human half-machine cyborgs that would have a some kind of laser thingie sticking out from their faces instead of a second eyeball? Designed to be worn on your face, Panasonic’s latest action cam, the wearable HX-A500 4K camcorder, will make you look a bit like one of them.
The device comes in two parts connected to each other by a cord. The first part is a small camera unit that you can wear on your cheek, attached over your ear, like a gaming headset. This is the part that makes you look like you’re out of a science-fiction movie. The other part is the actual recorder, including buttons and a display, that you can strap to your arm, for example. Makes you look even more like a futuristic space-farer.
The HX-A500 captures 4K video footage at 30 fps, and can transmit it wirelessly via WiFi and NFC. The lens has an ultra wide angle of view of 160° and sits on top of a 1/2.3″ BSI sensor. When the resolution is reduced, the action cam can even record slow-motion video at 60, 120, and 240 fps. And for your diving adventures, it can withstand water for up to 30 minutes at depths up to 10 feet.
The futuristic device will be available in June, with US retail prices yet to be announced (though dpreview mentions GPB 379.99 for the UK, which equals US-$ 630 at current exchange rates.) And now go pre-order it from B&H Photo because, you know, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!
Finally, half a year after the development of this lens was first disclosed by Panasonic, the Leica DG Summilux 15mm f1.7 ASPH. has now been officially announced. The lens is the first Micro Four Thirds lens to feature a physical aperture ring and looks almost like it belongs on a proper Leica rangefinder camera. Unlike a proper Leica rangefinder lens, though, the designation ‘Summilux’ is a bit misleading as its initial aperture is really only f1.7, and not f1.4.
The lens sports an internal focusing mechanism that promises super fast autofocus when combined with Panasonic’s latest Lumix G camera models that support 240fps sensor readout. It sports 9 lenses in 7 groups, three of which have aspherical surfaces. To further boost image quality, the 15mm f1.7 Summilux has been treated with Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating.
The lens will be available later in June in black and silver, and can now be pre-ordered from B&H Photo for US-$ 599. It will reportedly also be available in kit with the Lumix GM1, but the US retail price for that combo has yet to be announced. Full specs of the lens after the break.
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