Panasonic announces the super-fast Leica 25-50mm f / 1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens

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Announced as “in development” in May alongside the Lumix GH5 Mark II and the upcoming GH6, Panasonic’s latest Micro Four Thirds lens, the LEICA DG 25-50mm f / 1.7 Vario-Summilux, is here in its entirety. As stated in the development announcement, this new Panasonic-Leica fast aperture zoom lens is designed to complement the older Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f / 1.7 lens. The two lenses share the exact same size, shape and design, as well as almost identical weights. As a pair, this allows the two lenses to be easily swapped out as needed, which is especially useful in video production scenarios where focus tracking gears and similar accessories are used on each lens as well as for the balance and the weight of the camera. an important factor when using arrows, gimbals and similar devices.

With the 10-25mm f / 1.7 lens, the new 25-50mm sibling offers Micro Four Thirds shooters constant f / 1.7 aperture performance with a focal length range covering 20mm-eq. up to 100 mm-eq. It is a very versatile range which is condensed into just two objectives. Both lenses are designed for video and stills and are well suited for a variety of use cases, from landscapes and astrophotography to portraits and general low-light shooting – and really any kind of photographic activity. where you want shallow depth of field, good subject isolation, and soft, pleasant bokeh.

We’ve been fortunate to get a quick, hands-on look at the new 25-50mm f / 1.7 lens, and in addition to the hands-on field notes below, we’ve also got a selection of real-world gallery images for your reading. (Note: Gallery images taken so far were taken with the Olympus E-M1 III; our Panasonic GH5 II, the new Lumix camera we have in-house, is still using pre-production firmware. We plan to expand the lens gallery with additional shots once the GH5 II is updated.)

Olympus E-M1 III + Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7:
50mm, f / 1.7, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, EV -0.7

Design and handling

As mentioned, the Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7 uses an almost identical design to the previous 10-25mm lens. It is essentially the same lens from an exterior point of view but with a different focal range. The physical dimensions and weight are almost identical, with the 25-50mm f / 1.7 having a maximum diameter of 87.6mm (3.45in), a length of approximately 127.6mm (5.02in). and a weight of about 654 g (1.44 lb). There’s a very slight difference in weight (654g vs. 690g on the larger lens), but these two lenses are basically the same physically in terms of handling and usability.

For photographers, having physically similar lenses may not be such a high priority feature or something extremely important for everyday use, but in the world of video it can make a difference in terms of time and time. of convenience. Often times, video camera setups are complex, with many additional components mounted on the camera platform itself. In particular, accessories like focus tracking gears and zoom gears require adjustments between different lenses. By having matching lenses, with their zoom and focus rings in the same location, it is easier for the cinematographer to change lenses faster without having to adjust focus and focus tracking. other suitable accessories. In addition, when using weight or balance sensitive camera platforms, such as arrows or gimbals, having similarly sized lenses, again, it is easier to switch between optics as needed without having to recalibrate platforms.

In the hand, the Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7 lens is a very solid and well-built lens that is also surprisingly light despite its somewhat chunky and heavy shape. The lens uses 77mm screw-in filters and looks more like a full frame lens than the tiny and lightweight Micro Four Thirds lenses one might be used to seeing. Yet despite the visual appearance of a large lens, it feels pleasantly light in the hand, and it was very easy to carry and pull with for long periods of time.

Olympus E-M1 III + Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7
42mm, f / 1.7, 1 / 500s, ISO 200

The zoom ring and focus ring rotate with a firm but pleasantly smooth rotation. Both rings have good strength and are not easy to bump or move accidentally. The zoom ring, in particular, is very precise and smooth to turn. With a zoom range of just 25mm to 50mm, there isn’t a lot of rotation required to travel the entire zoom range; only about 45 degrees of rotation. The zoom ring has focal length markings at 25mm, 30mm, 35mm, 40mm, 45mm, and 50mm.

The focus ring is thinner than the zoom ring about 1 inch long and sits further towards the front of the lens. As mentioned, it rotates very easily, but as with most mirrorless lenses, the ring will rotate indefinitely in AF mode. The lens features a spring loaded clutch mechanism to engage manual focus mode, revealing markings for a focus distance scale. In MF mode, the focus ring has soft stops at each end; you feel “stops” at each end of the focus range, but you can continue to rotate the ring past each end. The electronically controlled focus ring can also be customized in the camera with adjustment for linear and non-linear focusing behavior.

Finally, at the very end of the lens is a thin manual aperture adjustment ring. Since the lens is likely to be used for more video purposes, the aperture does not have a “clicked” design and instead has smooth iris control over its entire f / 1.7-f range. / 16. There are markings for f / 1.7, then full stop apertures labeled along the ring as well as third stop increments in between. The ring also has a progressive lock “A” (Auto) position, allowing aperture to be controlled directly through the camera. In addition to its continuous aperture ring, the lens also has a micro-step drive system for controlling the aperture diaphragm itself, which Panasonic says allows for quick and smooth adjustments. exposure changes when panning or zooming.

The lens does not include many other physical features, such as programmable lens function buttons or focus distance limit switches (although the latter are generally not common on lenses in this range. focal lengths). There is no optical image stabilization in the lens, so any stabilization would come from IS based on the camera body.

Finally, the lens is fully weatherproof, just like its sibling lens and most other Panasonic-Leica lenses, and is designed to withstand dust, humidity and freezing temperatures down to -10 degrees C. (14 degrees F).

Olympus E-M1 III + Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7
25mm, f / 1.7, 1 / 2000s, ISO 200

Optics and image quality

When it comes to the details of the optical layout of the lens, the Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7 uses a total of 16 elements in 11 groups – one less element than in the sibling 10-25mm lens. The 25-50mm f / 1.7 lens consists of a single aspherical lens element, three ED glass elements, and an ultra-high refraction (UHR) element.

Together, these elements help to remove axial chromatic aberration and AC magnification. The aspherical element also helps combat spherical aberration and distortion while helping to ensure crisp picture quality across the entire frame. The lens also features a 9-blade circular aperture diaphragm for smooth and pleasant bokeh.

Focus

The Panasonic 25-50mm, like its big brother 10-25mm, uses an internal focus design with a 240fps compatible high-speed sensor drive motor. In use, the lens autofocus both very quickly and almost silently. Even when used on a non-Panasonic camera body (so no DFD assisted focus) the lens was very fast and very precise with focus in single shot AF mode. The focus mechanism is also designed to remove focus breathing over the entire zoom range, again making it a great lens for video recording.

Olympus E-M1 III + Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7
41mm, f / 1.7, 1 / 640s, ISO 200, EV -0.7

The lens is not a macro lens, but with a close focusing distance of 0.28m (0.92ft) at 25mm and 0.31m (1.02ft) at 50mm, the lens can still focus near your subject. At 50mm, the objective offers a magnification ratio of 0.21x (0.42x in 35mm eq.).

Pricing and availability

The Panasonic LEICA DG 25-50mm f / 1.7 Vario-Summilux is expected to go on sale in late August with a retail price of $ 1,799.99 – the same initial retail price as the 10-25mm lens.

• Panasonic 25-50mm f / 1.7 Gallery •


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