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 …