New LEICA 8-18mm Ultra Wide Zoom Lens for Micro Four-Thirds

New LEICA 8-18mm Ultra Wide Zoom Lens for Micro Four-Thirds

Panasonic has just unveiled its new Leica 8-18mm DG Vario-Elmarit zoom lens for Micro Four-Thirds. With it, the new f/2.8-4 line of lenses is about to expand. Let’s have a quick look!

Leica 8-18mm

Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4

At this year’s CES, Panasonic released their LEICA DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 zoom lens, and with it they dropped the intel that this would be just the first lens out of a whole new series of matching zooms. And here is the second in that line, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. Hot on its heels, a 50-200mm lens will be the next one to be introduced.

It is designed for the popular Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) mount, so it may just be the perfect companion for the Panasonic GH5, especially as it can be hard to find quality glass for ultra wide-angles for that mount. The 8-18mm translate to a 16-36mm full-frame equivalent.

Leica 8-18mm

The Leica 8-18mm zoom on a Panasonic GH5 camera.

Weather-Proofed

The Leica 8-18mm is designed to be used in the field. Its splash, dust and freeze-proof (-10°C / 14°F) design aims to provde a long and happy life out there in the field. Internally, Panasonic has implemented some optimized designs which lead to reduced ‘image shifting’ problems while zooming. At the same time, tracking performance has been improved.

It also seems to work well with high-speed contrast-detect autofocus systems (are you listening, Panasonic GH5?). The internal motor is designed for quiet and smooth focusing, which is nice to hear – or to not hear- when it comes to video recording in quiet environments.

Leica 8-18mmThe lens contains 15 elements in 10 groups, and features an aspherical ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens, three aspherical lenses, two ED lenses and an UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens. According to Panasonic:

(…) the use of these lenses effectively suppresses spherical distortion or chromatic aberration to achieve high resolution and contrast from center to corners (…)

You can read the full press release here.

Specifications and Availability

Focal Length8 – 18mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 16 – 36 mm
ApertureMaximum: f/2.8 – 4
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount TypeMicro Four Thirds
Format CompatibilityMicro Four Thirds
Angle of View107° – 62°
Minimum Focus Distance9.06″ (23 cm)
Magnification0.12x
Elements/Groups15/10
Diaphragm Blades7, Rounded
Filter ThreadFront: 67 mm
Dimensions (DxL)Approx. 2.89 x 3.46″ (73.4 x 88 mm)
Weight11.11 oz (315 g)

 

One thing worth mentioning is that this lens has no built-in optical image stabilization. The already available 12-60mm zoom lens has it, though.

The Leica 8-18mm will be available from the end of May, but is already available for be pre-order.

What do you think? A worthy wide-angle zoom lens for your gear bag? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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