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
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’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.
- Leica Camera – Leica M-Lenses
- Lumix G | Experience – Panasonic shows 10-25mm f/1.7 superfast wide zoom for Micro Four Third
- News Shooter – Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm F/1.7
- Olympus Global – M. Zuiko Pro
- Panasonic Europe – Album on Flickr account – photographs of the press conference at photokina 2018.
- PanasonicLumixVideo – LUMIX LIVE ＠ Photokina 2018 – video of archived presentation livestream.
- PanasonicLumixVideo – LUMIX – Through the Eyes of Professionals – video featuring Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak and US photojournalist Annie Griffths.
- Sigma – Art prime and zoom lenses
- Steve Huff Photo – The Leica MATE Lens Review (Medium Angle Tri-Elmar) by Ashwin Rao
- Steve Huff Photo – The Leica Wide Angle Tri-Elmar (WATE) Lens Review
Help support ‘Untitled’
Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.