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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Leica Prime Lens for Panasonic and Olympus Goes On Sale This Month

Panasonic is reportedly showing the second Leica 4/3rds lens for Panasonic and Olympus DSLRs at PMA, saying it will go on sale at the end of this month (a date of March 24th has been reported, although we're not sure how accurate that might be). The Leica D Summilux ASPH. 25mm ƒ/1.4, equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, has a whopping 10 elements in 9 groups, including four extra-low dispersion glass elements (blue in the block diagram above) and one large-diameter aspheric element (pink in the block diagram).

As you might expect, the lens is extremely large, approx. 3 inches max. diameter by 3 inches long, and it weighs 18 oz. Close-focusing distance is 15 inches, and the lens takes 62mm filters. No word on pricing yet, but don't expect it to be cheap. At right is the MTF at ƒ/1.4, from the Panasonic website. Performance remains to be seen as well, although your hopes should definitely be on the high side.


ADDENDUM: Below are the latest "Lens Roadmaps" for 4/3rds System lenses: The upper chart for Leica lenses (from and the lower one for Olympus lenses.


Blogger bokeh said...

The Leica lenses from Panasonic are mostly OIS. What if I mount an OIS lens on an Olympus E-510? Will I get 6 stops of extra hand holdability or will the whole thing just explode? Either way, 4/3 is the first system to offer both strategeries.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"What if I mount an OIS lens on an Olympus E-510?"

Sure beats me.


7:55 AM  
Blogger Hank said...

4/3 may be the sleeper system of digital. As the tec advantages of 24 x 36 sensors over 4/3 start to fade - the possibilty of super-fast zooms and primes, smaller then a semi truck at less then stratospheric prices will start to make 4/3 a serious competitor.

Let's hope it gives Leica a chance at building a state of the art 'mainstream' SLR system.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Eamon Hickey said...

"The Leica lenses from Panasonic are mostly OIS. What if I mount an OIS lens on an Olympus E-510?"

Seems to me this will be a fairly simple issue to handle.

The O.I.S. lenses have on/off switch for the IS function. The camera has an on/off switch for its IS.

So the system could just use whichever IS system the photographer has chosen to turn on -- or no IS at all if both are turned off.

The only tricky case is if both are turned on, but the camera firmware could simply be written to default to one or the other. Better yet, the camera could provide a menu option where the user could make the choice, i.e.:

If both lens and camera IS are turned on, enable only:

a) lens O.I.S.
b) camera I.S.

Again, seems to me fairly easy to deal with.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Marco said...

I read somewhere that the expected price for the 25mm would be about UKP 750. That'd be about EUR 1100 and USD 1250. Quite pricey indeed.

2:22 AM  
Blogger jasperAmsterdam said...

As a user of Leica R converter on my 5d, i must say I'm a bit jealouse looking at this gem WITH autofocus.. For now i prefer the advantages of 24x36 ...

12:17 PM  

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