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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Leica Digital Prime

Panasonic has announced a Leica Summilux 25mm (50mm equivalent) ƒ/1.4 prime lens for the 4/3rds system.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, thanks to Oren

UPDATE: More pictures here.

16 Comments:

Blogger ricardo said...

So much for small size and 4/3s... This fast "50" is as big as an 85!!!

Makes me wonder if this telecentricity obssession isn't counter productive.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Albano Garcia said...

It's huge and heavy! The concept camera looks enormous. Where's the 4/3 promise of tiny-heaven?

3:43 PM  
Blogger Yuda said...

Any pricing information? I don't see any in the link, but I'm hoping maybe there's more info slowly trickling out of Photokina.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well... if I recall correctly the possibility for reduction in size in 4/3 format apply only to long lenses. I believe no one promised small wide and normal lenses.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you haters have got to step back. It's got an aperture ring!!!! In this age of fly-by-wire cameras I don't see why everyone else can't bring back that marvel of 50+ year old ergonomics.

5:27 PM  
Blogger scotth said...

Olympus announces tiny camera an tiny lenses, only to here where are the fast primes.

Panasonic/Leica announce fast prime, only to hear this is too big.

I wonder if it is possible to make and f1.4 lens that is small. I would think there must be trade offs for speed and quality vs size.

7:49 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Finally, an aperture ring! I'm just terrified what it is going to cost.

I guess I'll have to start selling my plasma at the clinic.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Colin [auspiciousdragon.net] said...

And Sigma have just announced a 24mm 1.8 for the fourthirds mount

http://tinyurl.com/o4h4u

3:09 AM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

Hold on a second. I'm not interested in the Panasonic/Leica dSLR, but I think they deserve some credit. One of the first lenses they release for the system is a 50 mm-e f/1.4 lens. How many other camera manufacturers have come out with fast, digital-optimized 50 mm-e lenses? Unless I'm mistaken, Sigma is the only one (with their 30mm f/1.4). On my Nikon film bodies, I love my fast fifty. I love the angle of view, its speed, and the fact that its small, cheap and light. This new lens may not be small or light (and I doubt its cheap), but at least its fast and has the right perspective. You have to start somewhere, folks. Everyone complains about slow consumer zooms, I think we should give Panasonic and Leica kudos for trying something different, especially this early in building up their lens lineup.

Best regards,
Adam

3:36 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"And Sigma have just announced a 24mm 1.8 for the fourthirds mount"

Well, sorta. Just the compatibility is new. The lens has been around for a while (it covers 35mm).

--Mike

4:12 AM  
Blogger Colin [auspiciousdragon.net] said...

"Well, sorta. Just the compatibility is new. The lens has been around for a while (it covers 35mm)."

Sure, the lens has been around a while, and some folks say that it isn't great, but it offers Olympus users an option that didn't exist last week.

Given that people have been asking for prime lenses for their digital cameras, adapting an existing design seems like a sensible way of testing the market. The Sigma 30mm is the wrong length for Sigma to really gather whether there is a market on 4/3rds cameras for primes, but the 24mm is a much better test.

If they fly off the shelves then Sigma might be tempted to do something with a new design, and/or something wider.

Unless Leica surprise everybody with pricing, their lens is likely to remain a bit of a niche product, whereas Sigma might hit the quality/price compromise needed to shift more units.

The Sigma lens may be an engineering so what, but I think it is an interesting marketing experiment. And choice is good.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Given that people have been asking for prime lenses for their digital cameras, adapting an existing design seems like a sensible way of testing the market."

Not to get testy on you (no pun intended), but what people have been asking for are primes that come somewhere within shouting distance of the original 4/3rds promise, which was that it would enable lenses to be smaller and lighter than lenses for APS-C sensors, much less 35mm. The Sigma 24/1.8 is enormous: it's exactly the same size and a whopping four ounces HEAVIER than my favorite wide-angle zoom (which ALSO covers 35mm). And yes, a stop to a stop-and-a-half faster, but big deal. Choice is good, agreed, but this ain't what people are waiting for.

--Mike

8:27 AM  
Blogger Colin [auspiciousdragon.net] said...

"Not to get testy on you (no pun intended), but what people have been asking for are primes that come somewhere within shouting distance of the original 4/3rds promise, which was that it would enable lenses to be smaller and lighter than lenses for APS-C sensors, much less 35mm."

But don't you think that Leica would have made a 250g lens if they could have. I mean they must know that that their offering is kinda portly. They are already distancing their D range from their M and R ranges in terms of quality, so they can't fall back on that excuse.

What I'm saying is that small and fast in the 20mm to 25mm range appears to be difficult. That lovely Pentax 21mm is f3.2. Sigma aren't going to devote the R&D necessary without testing to see if there is a market there. 4/3rds cameras are still a bit player in terms of overall sales. If Olympus achieve their stated ambition of 30% of dSLR sales then all sorts of new products become viable.

In the meantime, the speed improvements of the f1.8 or f1.4 are non-trivial. The best existing Oly standard zoom is f2.8 plus - they've not yet got their f2 zoom to market despite announcing it an age ago.

I don't think we are going to see small, fast, and short (focal length) lenses for small sensor cameras like the 4/3rds anytime soon. Dare I suggest that people who want such lenses might be better off using a different system. Like 35mm film.

(and yes, I do own 4/3rd kit and I have a long running blog about this excellent system).

9:10 AM  
Blogger bjorke said...

Both the Sigma and Leica 24/28 lenses weigh more than 500g, while the full-frame Canon 50mm f/1.4 weighs less than 300g. Whaaaa?

3:17 PM  
Anonymous quattro98 said...

It looks like the MTF drops quickly off center, much more so than the Canon EF 24/1.4, both open & stopped down.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If they fly off the shelves then Sigma might be tempted to do something with a new design, and/or something wider."

Call me a cynic, but if they start flying off the shelves, Sigma is just going to rub their greedy little hands together and keep selling the same huge, oversized, overly-large-image-circle lens and reap bucketloads of profits on the old design. They might go ahead and design a new wider prime, but no company is going to redesign an existing (relatively recent) lens if there's demand for the old one.

9:15 AM  

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