“Panasonic Leica 10-25mm 1.7 is the fastest zoom lens from Panasonic/Leica. How is it’s build quality, image quality (sharpness,vignetting,CA,flare,distortion..etc)? Could this be a great lens for videographers or vloggers? How does it compare to the Leica prime lenses and what are the pros and cons of this lens? We’ll talk about all of these in this review.”
Photo by Richard – Panasonic Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 Review – article – “When Panasonic told me about this lens, they told me this is a lens that can replace multiple prime lenses. I was skeptical because zoom lens rarely can match the quality of prime lens. But after testing this lens, I agree with them. If you are a pro photographer or videographer who is currently rely on multiple prime lenses within this focal length range, I think you should consider switching to this amazing lens. It would make your life a lot easier without sacrificing the image quality.”
“Panasonic are showing a working version of the new Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens, at The Photography Show 2019, at the Birmingham NEC. We had a hands-on look at the new lens, which was first shown, in prototype form, at Photokina 2018. The lens gives the equivalent of 20mm to 50mm, and is lighter than it looks, considering the (large) size of the lens….”
When I went looking for the best lens for documentary photography and video after I decided to invest in Panasonic’s Lumix Micro Four Thirds camera range, I read about and tried out a number of options including adapted and native prime and zoom lenses.
The M.Zuiko Pro lens collection’s manual clutch focus mechanism that is activated by retracting the focus-by-wire control ring towards the camera body.
“Pulling focus with focus-by-wire sucks,” as they say in the video industry.
I rapidly obtained critically sharp focus for stills with the M.Zuiko Pro 12-40mm f/2.8 zoom more times than I did with the Panasonic lens’ focusing control ring or the camera’s autofocus functionality, and that capability outweighed the Lumix 12-35mm lens’ rather attractive optical image stabilization.
I still rely on my M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens for mission-critical work after having tried out and invested in a number of Lumix prime and zoom lenses, and may well be adding more M.Zuiko Pro primes and zooms in future.
Then news leaked out of Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens being in development, full feature set then unknown as it still is, and things shifted somewhat.
This lens is the closest so far to the ideal zoom lens I had visualized when buying into the Micro Four Thirds system.
I had imagined a lens with a range encompassing every single focal length I rely upon when shooting documentary photographs and video, with the exception of the portrait and big close-up range of 75mm through 85mm and 90mm to 105mm.
Imagine that focal length range in a similarly fast and wide maximum aperture standard-to-telephoto companion zoom lens.
Questions persisted for some time as to whether the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 would have optical image stabilization and whether it would come with manual clutch focus.
Many professional photographers and videographers have reportedly been asking Panasonic for the latter in new lenses for quite some time now, to no avail.
It is great to finally see a little more of the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 in Joseph Waller’s photographs for ePHOTOzine of a pre-production version, but there is no mention nor evidence of a manual clutch focus mechanism in the article and its photographs.
I have asked a contact who is attending The Photography Show 2019 in Birmingham to see if she can get hold of the lens and confirm whether or not it actually has the crucial focusing functionality.
Watch this space!
Meanwhile I am wondering what Olympus has in store with its most recently updated lens roadmap, especially in regard to the “Wide Zoom” and “Standard Zoom” items, not to forget “Bright Prime Lens” and “Telephoto Zoom Lens” which appears twice.
Imagine all those lenses with the brilliant M.Zuiko Pro manual clutch focus mechanism.
Kiss goodbye to the frustrations of pulling focus via fly-by-wire.
My Birmingham contact is pretty sure that the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7’s aperture ring is declicked.
Now waiting for her to have hands on with the lens and confirm whether there is a manual clutch focus mechanism.
Well I think that is evidence enough that Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 will have manual clutch focusing mechanism and thus accurate and repeatable focus pulling for video.
It will also have the ability to quickly and accurately set hyperfocal distance, a necessity when zone focusing for high-speed forms of documentary or photographing in the street, as well as landscape photography.
Hyperfocal distance can be calculated using online forms or mobile apps, and a number of options can be found online here.
Fully manual focus lenses such as the Leica M-Series rangefinder camera lenses illustrated up this page provide beautifully-etched scales allowing quick calculation of hyperfocal distance, a functionality I often yearn for when photographing in public with digital cameras and lenses.
Whet now remains is for a late pre-production Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens to find its way into the hands of professional cinematographers and photographers for extensive testing and reporting on its mechanical and optical quality.
This lens has the potential to replace a range of prime lenses in one’s daily gear kit, in my case the 35mm sensor equivalents of 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 50mm.
Neither Olympus nor Panasonic supply all those focal lengths as prime lenses, though I hope that situation will change in the near future.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric will not be a cheap lens given Panasonic’s ambitions in producing it, but whatever its price on release, it would be wise to compare it to what those five focal lengths might cost as f/1.7 prime lenses.
There are other potential benefits.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric’s filter diameter is 77mm, and I would recommend attaching a Breakthrough Photography 77mm to 82mm knurled brass step-up ring to it for attaching 82mm diameter fixed and variable neutral density filters when shooting video.
Whether the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens is heavy or not, its size would benefit from attaching a vertical battery grip to your camera if it is a Panasonic.
I like most cameras to be equipped with vertical battery grips for added power when shooting video and ease of handholding in portrait photography.
The countdown to NAB 2019 is well advanced and it will be interesting to see if Panasonic shows off mockups of the coming Lumix DC-GH6 hybrid M43 camera.
I am hoping that Panasonic will combine the best of the Lumix DC-GH5 and GH5S in the GH6 while taking into account the challenges presented by the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, Fujifilm’s X-T3 and X-H1 while bearing in mind the coming X-H2, as well as the 35mm sensor-equipped mirrorless cameras now released by Canon, Nikon, Leica and, indeed, Panasonic itself.
While the Super 35 format has its many attractions, the smaller and lighter cameras and lenses of Super 16 moviemaking still allow you to go places where the larger 35mm cameras and lenses can draw undue attention.
The photographs of the 10-25mm f/1.7 lens published by ePHOTOzine and Photography Blog appear to have been shot on mobile phones and optical exaggerations make it hard to accurately judge the lens’ size in relation to the camera or the hands holding them.
Nonetheless, I have no problem with the idea of carrying this one lens about almost permanently attached to any Panasonic M43 camera whether with battery grip or not, or a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Camera 4K for that matter, though I would be tempted to consider the Zhiyun-Tech Weebill Lab or Crane 3 Lab as appropriate if stabilization is a necessity when shooting with the BMPCC 4K.
“Panasonic is displaying the new 10-25mm f/1.7 at the CP+ show. But thewy [sic] did not disclose any detail yet about pricing and shipment start….”
If Panasonic gets everything right with this lens it will be in high demand by available light/available darkness documentary photographers and videographers relying on Micro Four Thirds hybrid video/stills cameras like Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G9, Lumix DC-GH5, Lumix DC-GX9 and more, as well as videographers using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.
I have written elsewhere on this website about this lens and others in the same ballpark, but if this lens is to have everything I want then it needs:
Choice of clickless and clicking aperture stops
Manual clutch focus
Optical image stabilization aka OIS
As the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 is still in development, any images released at the moment must be considered to be of pre-production or dummy models and we can only speculate about the lens’ actual specifications.
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds
Contemporary computer-aided lens design has done wonders for zoom lenses since I first tried some out in my Leica rangefinder days on the lovely but lonely Nikon F3 I kept for the times I needed to rent focal lengths outside my core set of Leica M-System prime lenses.
By the time a backpack containing the standard newspaper photographer’s zoom lens trio was handed to me when I signed up to shoot freelance for one of the large publishers, zoom lenses were considerably improved although I am ashamed to admit that I continued to mostly rely on my own 35mm and 120 roll film rangefinder cameras and 4”x5” view cameras with which I had shaped my way of seeing and photographing over so many years before.
Now that I am no longer answerable to employers and do not have to take on up to three to five editorial portrait assignments per day, delivering stylistically and technically predictable results day in, day out, I can try out other ways and means and develop in new directions.
That includes zoom lenses after relying solely on sets of matched primes for so long.
The first two Micro Four Thirds lenses that I tried out…
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS standard zoom lens.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom lens.
The very first lens I tried when considering buying into the Micro Four Thirds camera system was a Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS and the second was an Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro.
I chose the Olympus for several reasons including its brilliant manual clutch focus mechanism, weather-resistant all-metal construction, handy L-Fn button on the camera-left side of the barrel, great feel and balance on a GH4 or a GX8 as I would discover later, and the clincher was its beautiful optical performance all across its longer focal length range wide open and stopped down.
The lens’ only downside is a small amount of moustache-shaped optical distortion that can easily be corrected via firmware for in-camera JPEgs and raw processing software for raw files, with distortion barely noticeable when shooting video.
I did not know that Panasonic’s then soon-to-come DFD autofocus system would apply only to Panasonic lenses and that firmware updates would not add support for the L-Fn button to all Panasonic cameras, and on balance I remain glad I chose the 12-40mm because my bacon has been saved many times due to its swift and sure manual clutch focusing.
The one thing that might have tipped me towards the 12-35mm is its optical image stabilization, but then Olympus later came out with the OIS-equipped M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro, and although it does not activate Dual IS 2 when attached to a GH5, its image stabilization works well enough for my needs.
The difference between an f/2.8 and an f/4.0 maximum aperture is not huge when shooting outdoors in good light and I would always pack a wide maximum aperture prime lens to accompany either zoom.
And then with Panasonic’s pre-photokina 2018 in-development announcement of the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7, the game changed.
The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7
With the lens currently undergoing development and possibly far from release sometime in 2019, the 10-25mm apparently includes some features I have long been hoping for in a Panasonic zoom lens for photography and video.
Here is what we know so far and what I also want to see in this lens:
f/1.7 right across the focal length range.
An aperture ring that is clickless for accurate exposure under constantly changing light but I would also like it clicked for stills photography without having to look at the lens.
77mm filter diameter for 77mm neutral density filters or a lightweight brass 77mm-to-82mm step-up ring by Breakthrough Photography for 82mm filters.
Prime quality performance at all focal lengths.
Leica optical and mechanical quality.
Some of my favourite and most-needed focal lengths for documentary stills and video – 10.5mm, 14mm, 17.5mm, 20mm and, less often, 25mm. In 35mm sensor terms that equates to 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and, less often, 50mm.
Alas, no optical image stabilization so when stabilization is a necessity it will need to be used with IBIS camera bodies.
Hopefully, improved depth-from-defocus aka DFD in all G, GX and GH cameras’ firmware, DFD being Panasonic’s alternative to the more common PDAF aka phase detection autofocus.
I very much hope that the Panasonic Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 will feature manual clutch focus to support easy focus pulling for video and fast, accurate snapping into sharp focus for photography.
I wonder if a longer companion zoom lens might be in the offing after the release of the 10-25mm?
If so, I would love to see an equally great zoom lens include at least 25mm, 37.5mm, 42.5mm, 45mm and 52.5mm, which in 35mm sensor terms equates to 50mm, 75mm, 85mm, 90mm and 105mm.
A zoom lens pair that goes all the way from 10mm through to 52.5mm, in 35mm equivalent terms 20mm through to 105mm, would fill almost my documentary moviemaking and photography needs.
While I do use longer focal lengths than 105mm in 35mm from time to time, the vast majority of my work is done between 21mm and 85mm with the occasional jump to 100mm or thereabouts.
Leica showed the way with a full set of well-spaced focal lengths…
Although I remain dedicated to the idea of having a well-spaced set of pro-quality fast matched prime lenses with manual clutch focus, the reality is that the makers of both M43 systems that I rely on these days, Fujifilm and Panasonic for cameras and Olympus for lenses, may take years to assemble such a lens collection, if ever.
Far better to offer us top-quality zoom lenses that can do almost everything, such as the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7, so we can get to work without having to pine for prime lenses that may be far off on the horizon or zoom lenses that cover far more focal lengths than we actually need at the cost of undue expense and weight.
I look forward to learning more about Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 as its development progresses and hope it really will be the zoom lens I was hoping for when I first got into the Micro Four Thirds system for moviemaking and photography.
The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 would, of course, be a terrific lens for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K provided you have a gimbal handy for those times when stabilization is a must.
During the run up to photokina 2018 after the first rumors about Panasonic working on a 35mm sensor hybrid camera system, dismay at the possibility that Panasonic may be planning to abandon the Micro Four Thirds sensor format flowed thick and fast.
M43 aficionados who love the format for its affordability, its small and light cameras and lenses and their ability to make photographs or videos in public without drawing undue attention are well used to copping criticism from 35mm fanboys for not using real cameras and lenses, for their lack of devotion to “full frame” or “full format”, both highly inaccurate terms for 35mm that have, alas, become deeply embedded in the popular imagination.
Was Panasonic about to jump the fence and side with M43’s detractors, demanding that its current customer base fork over the high prices customarily demanded for 35mm hardware and start carrying bulky, heavy 35mm cameras and lenses wherever they go?
“Oh my aching back and aching wallet,” was the cry.
And then at Panasonic’s photokina 2018 press conference, we discovered the fear of Panasonic abandoning M43 was unfounded.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens appears…
… followed by Pulitzer Prize winning Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak…
… and Panasonic shares its Lumix brand growth strategy…
The announcement of a brand new lens for Panasonic’s Lumix G M43 cameras was wholly unexpected, and was the best sort of confirmation that Panasonic will be continuing with its Micro Four Thirds lines for the foreseeable future.
Personally I cannot see myself buying and carrying a full two-camera, multiple-lens 35mm sensor format camera kit to create the sorts of agile, immersive documentary photographs I want to and so will be using Panasonic’s G System cameras for some time to come, provided at least one of them will be a professional rangefinder-style camera with tilting electronic viewfinder like my Lumix DMC-GX8.
Details about the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 are scant and are limited to the press release lower down this page due to it being in-development and not ready to release just yet.
While watching Panasonic’s press conference livestream I was struck by how the lens was spoken of as being, in essence, five lenses in one – 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm in 35mm sensor equivalent – or 10mm, 12mm, 17.5mm and 25mm in M43.
I would add 21mm and 40mm to that list because for me, Leica got it so right years ago with their classic rangefinder camera M-System lens line-up illustrated above.
Thus if this lens works well at 21mm, 28mm, 35mm and 40mm and, to some degree, 50mm, then I will be well pleased as they are the focal lengths I most use for the work I do.
I would add a 75mm equivalent prime lens for documentary work and an 85mm or 90mm prime lens for portraiture and that would be a complete two-prime, one-zoom documentary photography or photojournalism lens kit for those of us who relish getting up close and personal.
Some commentators are wondering whether Panasonic came out with this lens in response to the common practice amongst indie moviemakers of defaulting to Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art zooms and other such lenses adapted to M43 with Metabones EF-to-M43 Speed Boosters on their Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, DC-GH5 or DC-GH5S cameras.
Sigma’s Art wide aperture zoom lenses, popular for adapting to Panasonic Lumix M43 cameras with Metabones Speed Boosters
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art APS-C zoom lens.
Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | A 35mm sensor format zoom lens.
Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art APS-C zoom lens.
I like to think that the even closer ties between Leica, Panasonic and Sigma established via the L-Mount Alliance have led to cross-fertilization between old and new, zooms and primes, and that Leica’s amazing Tri-Elmar lenses past and preset have influenced Panasonic’s decision to collaborate on a zoom lens that may well share some Tri-Elmar traits.
Leica’s legendary MATE and WATE Tri-Elmar-M prime-quality stepped zoom lenses
Leica Tri-Elmar-M 28-35-50mm f/4.0 Aspheric three-in-one medium prime lens, often referred to as the MATE aka “Medium Angle Tri-Elmar”.
Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4.0 Aspheric three-in-one wide angle prime lens, often referred to as the WATE aka “Wide Angle Tri-Elmar”.
Leica’s MATE and WATE lenses appear to have been merged into what I might start referring to as Panasonic’s WAMAVS lens, standing for Wide and Medium Angle Vario-Summilux.
I hope we will hear more about the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 as time goes by.
Will it have optical image stabilization aka OIS and Dual IS in conjunction with cameras like the GH5, the GX8 and the G9?
Will its focusing ring have a manual clutch focus mechanism like the excellent Olympus M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lens collection?
Will Panasonic add the choice of linear or non-linear focussing to its focus-by-wire control ring via firmware?
Is this lens the first of a series that may come closer to the sorts of lenses I have been wanting for my M43 cameras all this while?
Professional LEICA DG 10-25mm zoom lens (35mm camera equivalent: 20-50mm)
The world’s first full-range F1.7 wide zoom lens (as of 25 September 2018)
The ultimate photo/video-hybrid digital interchangeable lens
Constant aperture ensures harmonic depth of field while zooming
25th September 2018 – Panasonic is pleased to announce the development of the LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 wide zoom digital interchangeable lens (35mm camera equivalent: 20-50mm). It is the world’s first* F1.7 wide-angle zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system.
Taking full advantage of the MFT system standard, the new LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 lens is both bright and compact. It is the first interchangeable lens to be introduced to the market featuring a full-range F1.7 high-speed aperture.
Integrating a click-less aperture ring that provides seamless aperture control, the new LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 lens aims to be the ultimate photo/video-hybrid digital interchangeable lens.
The zoom range of the VARIO-SUMMILUX covers 10-25mm: starting from a wide angle and reaching to the natural perspective of human vision. It is designed and developed to fully support photography as well as video recording on a professional level.
LEICA DG lenses are designed to exceed the stringent LEICA quality standards and boast excellent optical performance. The new LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 is no exception, achieving exceptional imaging performance over the entire zoom range, empowering users to capture precise details and expressions.
Panasonic is committed to further expand the camera and lens line-up for the MFT system to meet customer demands and needs.
* As of September 25, 2018
• Details of the product specifications, the date of release and the price are yet to be advised.
• Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.
• SUMMILUX is a registered trademarks of Leica Camera.