It’s been a few years since the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 received an update. But this time around, that update is pretty big! What’s so special about this one? Well, Panasonic tells us that the image quality is now going through Leica’s quality control. Leica is co-branding this lens, and it’s got the Leica name in there too. The proper name is the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S (but no one needs to type that in all caps). So let’s dive into what makes this update so special!
Panasonic Leica 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH Power OIS Tech Specs
- 14 lens elements in 9 groups
- Four aspherical lens elements
- One UED element
- One UHR element
- Close focusing distance of 0.15m on the wide end and 0.25 on the longer end
- Suppressed focus breathing
- 306 grams
- 58mm filter thread
- 7 aperture blades
When we asked Panasonic for more information about the lens, they said it’s more or less the same on the outside and as far as specs go. However, they said everything involving the autofocus motors and the image quality has been modernized. Mostly, it seems that they’re focusing on the image quality bump. And for Micro Four Thirds, this is a big deal because of the higher megapixel count in the Panasonic GH6.
However, this truly must be said. The Leica 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH will have a full-frame equivalent depth of field of f5.6. And for the most part, it just tries to put itself in line with f2.8 lenses. It doesn’t shine as brightly as Panasonic’s f1.7 constant aperture zoom lenses. Those lenses are truly something very innovative and unique that no one else really does. And if you’re a professional photographer, you’re more likely to want to go for those lenses instead.
Where I think the Leica 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH might do much better is with news video. Every now and again, I talk to my very good friends in the news video world. A lens like this might do very well for news. But Panasonic needs to deliver a camcorder with interchangeable lenses. Read that again: I said a camcorder. A camcorder would have superior ergonomics for video shooting on the run where I wouldn’t have to have to buy a massive rig and extra parts to do a shoot. Instead, the ergonomics of a camcorder make so much sense. Combine this with the depth of field needed for news gathering and the bright f2.8, and you’d have a big win here. With all that said, I really hope that the industry as a whole starts listening to the higher-end photographers and video shooters. We don’t necessarily need cameras shaped for photographers shooting a lot more video.
You might be reading this and saying, “Says you.” But answer this, have you ever held and used a dedicated camcorder? I think a body like that would be perfect for the Leica 12-35mm f2.8. Imagine the Panasonic HCX-2000 with a handle and interchangeable lenses for Micro Four Thirds. Then imagine giving it a lens like the 12-35mm f2.8 or one of Panasonic’s f1.7 zoom lenses. Alternatively, what if you used Panasonic’s 20mm f1.7 lens on it and made the entire thing a nice compact package?
I’m deviating pretty far away here, but a lens like this could have so much more possibilities on a dedicated camcorder in comparison to the f1.7 zoom lenses.