New Leica branded DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens for Micro Four Thirds

Today Panasonic announced a new Leica branded DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. The lens will cost $1099 and will be available on June 17, 2011. Some sample images are available here. Panasonic also disclosed plans to release a professional level GF camera.

The New LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. Lens Compatible With Panasonic LUMIX G Series of Compact System Cameras, Including LUMIX GF3

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Panasonic today announced a new interchangeable Micro Four Thirds lens, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. (H-X025), compatible with the company’s LUMIX G Series of compact system cameras (CSC), including the LUMIX GF3, which was also announced today. The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens features outstanding brightness of F1.4, and despite the high-performance, it also remains incredibly compact and lightweight. The lens’ brightness allows for a beautiful soft focus when shooting both photos and videos – without having to rely on a flash.

The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens adopts Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating technology on the surface of the lens, which helps dramatically minimize reflection at the entire visual light range (380nm-780nm). The technology encompasses an extra-low refractive index coating with nano-sized structure and results in the super-clear photo with dramatic reduction of ghost and flare.

The new lens system comprises of nine elements in seven groups using two aspherical lenses and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive) index lens. The newly developed UHR index lens and glass mold aspherical lenses achieve uniformed description from the center to the edges.

The lens’ versatile 25mm focal distance (Equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm camera) is suitable for wide variety of occasions, giving users the flexibility in composition, perspective and aperture control.  The lens is capable to take daily snapshots including scenic sunsets to dimly-lit indoor shots to the deliberately-creative shots using soft focus.

When mounted on the Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. lens can take maximum advantage of Contrast AF system, which boasts both high accuracy and high speed for optimal photos. Furthermore, seven blades give the aperture a rounded shape that produces an attractively smooth effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. The lens also features a metal mount, making it extremely durable – even when repeatedly changed.

The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens will be available in August 2011 and pricing will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipping. For more information about Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras and Micro Four Third lenses, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

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  • $1100 for a 50mm f/2.8 equivalent lens with the IQ of a f/1.4 one… woo hoo!

    • Carlos Sol Silva

      The “F” designation, you can think of it as representing the amount of light that gets transmitted per unit of area. So, like it’s been said, an F1.4 lens is an F1.4 lens regardless of what size sensor/film you use it with.

      Besides… when you use a Lightmeter, you don’t see any option for the sensor size…

      • Carlos Sol Silva

        Forgot to add, the only thing that will be differnet is the FOV, but the amount of light will be the same.

        • john

          this most likely means leica is putting something out that will use this mount as well. X1 with with interchangeable lens announced this fall……

          • Not so sure about that… there are Leica-branded lenses on ordinary FourThirds (DSLR mount) and Leica never did anything for them than re-branding existing Panasonic DSLRs.

            So even if they do release something with a mFT mount, it’s just going to be a Panasonic with a Leica logo.

            The X1 has an APS-C sized sensor, which is larger than the mFT sensor so you’re not likely to see an interchangeable lens version of the X1 without a smaller sensor.

        • Y

          You mean DOF, right? I think that also why geno described it as 50mm f/2.8 equivalent.

        • El Aura

          “but the amount of light will be the same.”
          Nonsense, since when is intensity equal to amount?
          The amount of light is the light intensity multiplied with illuminated area (times the exposure time).

          • Eric Pepin

            The exposure in camera will be the same. There.

      • F1.4 lens is an F1.4 lens regardless of what size sensor/film you use it with.

        Hence the reason why I didn’t say it’s a 50mm f/2.8 lens and instead said “50mm f/2.8 equivalent lens” 😉

        Besides… when you use a Lightmeter, you don’t see any option for the sensor size…

        It’s interesting how people bother to use a separate light meter instead of the one in (almost all) the cameras just for minute differences but choose not to see the significant differences caused by format sizes.

        • Eric Pepin

          Format does not affect exposure. If it did I would not be able to use the same reading on my APS D300 and a 4×5 inch sheet film camera. DOF is different though that is true. The 4×5 at F11 is near wide open.

  • Anon

    Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a Leica Summilux lens. It’s a Panasonic lens, made in China or Taiwan or wherever by machine, not hand-built in Germany like any other lens with the Summilux designation. A severe disappointment.

    For $1100 you could buy a real (used) summilux.

    • Calvin

      Well, at that price it obviously isn’t a Summilux. It is though a Leica designed lens made by Panasonic as opposed to a Leica designed lens made by Leica.

      Why a severe disappointment?

    • etc.

      Panasonic lenses for u4/3 are made in Japan, for what it’s worth.

  • Whoo. Definitely not very Leica like. It lacks pop, smooth bokeh, and there’s a ton of CA/purple fringing going on.

  • Les

    The wikipedia page is just someone’s wishful opinion. If you want, you can run an actual double-blind test and realize that noise issues are irrelevant at most ISOs, and are only reliably measured when comparing sensors of the same process generation.
    In other words, compare a current mFT camera with an older full-frame camera and you will come to the “conclusion” that noise levels are higher with the bigger sensor!

    As for depth of field, people always mention the greater depth of field of smaller sensors that is caused by the the use of shorter focal lengths, but they forget that smaller sensors need to have their images magnified more, which cancels-out most of the difference. If you do the math (as I have) an include magnification you will see that the difference is one stop at most. That’s well within standard dev for lenses; lenses that have a higher level of correction will have shallower depth of field when compared to regular lenses.

    In other words, a highly-corrected 1.4/25 on 4/3 (like this one) should have shallower DoF than a mediocre 1.4/30 on APS-C (like the Sigma one), and very similar DoF to a cheap 1.8/50 on full frame.

    Don’t believe me? Run a couple of tests. And remember that the 1.8/50 probably isn’t in focus anywhere in the frame wide-open. It’s got some areas that are less unsharp, but that doesn’t mean that they are “in focus.”

    • The wikipedia page is just someone’s wishful opinion

      But I thought it might belong to someone important… like Max Plank 😛

      In other words, compare a current mFT camera with an older full-frame camera and you will come to the “conclusion” that noise levels are higher with the bigger sensor!

      I’m not seeing your point… why stop at an old FF? Compare it to a plate camera from 1897. When comparing things we try to minimise the differences, not maximise them. When comparing cameras, most of us want to know how the latest ones compare.

      As for depth of field, people always mention the greater depth of field of smaller sensors that is caused by the the use of shorter focal lengths, but they forget that smaller sensors need to have their images magnified more, which cancels-out most of the difference.

      But you’re forgetting that you’d step further away with the small format thereby bringing back the differences.

      Actually, it’s funny how you approach it… print a FF image to 36×24 inches and cut off a 17×13 inch crop from the center… does the subject suddenly change? The DOF differences only appear when you magnify… they don’t disappear when you magnify.

      In other words, a highly-corrected 1.4/25 on 4/3 (like this one) should have shallower DoF than a … and very similar DoF to a cheap 1.8/50 on full frame.

      Firstly, that’s like saying a car is faster because it can win a drag race with a plane from a stand-still. Stop that cheap 50 1.8 to f/2.8 and it will be just as good and you’ll have about $900 in the pocket too 🙂 Not to mention the higher quality image you get at the end of the day.

      Secondly, this only needs the such a high correction to be like a 50 2.8 on FF.

      • Les

        “But you’re forgetting that you’d step further away with the small format thereby bringing back the differences.

        Actually, it’s funny how you approach it… print a FF image to 36×24 inches and cut off a 17×13 inch crop from the center… does the subject suddenly change? The DOF differences only appear when you magnify… they don’t disappear when you magnify.

        Wow, you didn’t read what I wrote.
        Here it is in simpler terms that almost anybody could understand.

        Lets say you take a picture with a full-frame camera and a 50mm lens. To get the same framing (ignoring small difference in aspect ratio) with 4/3, you need to use a 25mm lens such as the one in this article.
        A 25mm lens at 1.4 will have equivalent theoretical DoF to a 50mm lens at 2.8, but only if you magnify the image by the same amount!

        Because the 4/3 sensor is roughly 1/4 the size of a full-frame sensor, you need to magnify the image twice as much to get the same final output size (whether a print or to view it on a monitor). That’s what people conveniently forget. Because you magnify twice as much, you lose 1 stop-equivalent of DoF, therefore a 1.4/25 on 4/3 will have equivalent theoretical DoF to a 2.0/50 on full frame.

        Tell me if you’ve made it this far, and I will explain the difference between theoretical DoF, which is based on the performance of a “perfect” lens, and effective DoF, which is not the same for lenses that have the same specs.
        In other words, just because two lenses are 2.8/50’s doesn’t mean that they will have the same DoF on the same camera. Did that just blow your mind?
        It’s best if you prep for this, so take some time today and shoot two pictures with two different lenses at the same aperture and the same focal length. Print them large (or view them on a good monitor), and see if the depth of field is the same throughout the image.

        • Eric Pepin

          um…. no. Sensor / film size plays a pretty big role in DOF, more then you are alleging too. Compare a point and shoot to M4/3, about the same difference of scale as a M4/3 to a full frame camera. Or how about Medium format to Large format. Same scale give or take yet I can spot the difference between point and shoot and M4/3, or 66 and 45.

          • etc.

            Poppycock.

            Your typical point and shoot digital sensor measures 25mm^2. Your high-end point-and-shoot sensor measures ~45mm^2.

            Your four-thirds/micro-four-thirds sensor is anywhere between 225-243mm^2, depending on how you calculate the area. You see, the Canon and Nikon APS-C sensor measurements give the full sensor size, regardless of the non-imaging area. FT/MFT gives both the full sensor size in addition to the imaging area, and people usually use the imaging area size, which happens to be smaller. If you look at actual sensor sizes, you have this:

            http://homepage.mac.com/capek/sensors.gif
            (linked from camerapedia)

            FT gets pooped on by everyone because it’s the smallest of the “serious” sizes, but is it really that small?

          • etc.

            Sorry, forgot to mention, so-called Full-Frame or 135-format is ~864mm^2. The factor is 3.84 versus 4/3. 4/3 vs the largest of the point-and-shoot sensors is a factor of anywhere between 5-9.

  • Soeren Engelbrecht

    Ahem, as per Adorama, the price is 599 USD.

    And, yes, sensor size is irrelevant when determining exposure. Do landscape photographers have different light meters for 35 mm, medium format and 8 x 10 ?? And why does my small-format digital compact give the same meter readings as my FF Nikon F ?? Repeat ad nauseam 🙂

    • Do landscape photographers have different light meters for 35 mm, medium format and 8 x 10 ?? And why does my small-format digital compact give the same meter readings as my FF Nikon F ?? Repeat ad nauseam

      Can’t remember saying the exposure is going to be different… not sure why you think that.

      And while we’re talking about 35mm, medium format and large format… why do you think people bother with larger formats?

      • Eric Pepin

        For contact printing, for creamy tones and high accutance. For zone system work and to minimize the enlargement of defects and dust. For accurate rise/fall/tilt/swing/shift movements, and for a high degree of enlargement beyond digitals capabilities.

  • John

    Price is wrong. It is only $599 USD at Adorama.

    The old Four Thirds version that is $1,100.

  • Calvin

    The link in the story is to an old Amazon page for the Four Thirds version, and so is the price. I’ve seen it on a UK site at GBP 523. At that price it’s worth a punt.

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