Everyone that has ever used a Micro Four Thirds mount camera, be it a Panasonic or an Olympus, chances are you’ve struggled to find the right lens when it comes to wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lens choices for this smaller chip format. APS-C and Full-frame shooters don’t have really have this problem due to their larger sensors getting more mileage out of wide-angle lenses, and even though the MFT system offers significant cost and size advantages (not to mention speed – i.e the Oly E-M1 Mark II) the MFT native lens selection was in dire need of a refresh in the last couple of years.
You may recall, Panasonic did show a prototype of a few lenses back at Photokina 2016 last Fall, and today Panasonic unveiled their new ultra-wide angle zoom – the Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH lens. The new lens is a 35mm camera equivalent of the popular 16-36mm focal length range.
Panasonic Leica 8-18mm f2.8-f4.0 Features
- Micro Four Thirds mount
- 16-36mm (35mm Equivalent)
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
- One Aspherical ED and One UHR Element
- Three Aspherical and Two ED Elements
- Nano Surface Coating
- Splash, Dust, and Freeze-proof Design
- Rounded 7-Blade Aperture
The Leica-Elmarit lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system take advantage of the Panasonic Nano Surface Coating technology to minimize ghosting and flaring. Panasonic GH5 owners now have an alternative ultra-wide angle zoom lens to the slower Lumix 7-14mm f4 or the amazing Olympus M.ZUIKO 7-14mm f2.8 PRO lens.
The new Panasonic Leica Elmarit 8-18mm f2.8-f4.0 is built to last boasting a rugged, dust/splash-proof design and is freeze-proof down to -10℃ to deliver consistent performance under harsh conditions.
The f2.8 fast aperture at the widest end is also a benefit for video users; sure it’s not an f1.4 lens – at this super-wide focal length such a fast lens would be too heavy and (quite possibly) cost prohibitive, so at $1,100 the new Panasonic Leica Elmarit 8-18mm f2.8-f4 for MFT seems like a good deal considering the price of the Olympus version which is $150 more, but also doesn’t ramp up aperture at the longer end.
The new LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 8-18mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH has a 67mm filter thread to accommodate popular filters not limited to Neutral Density, Polarizers, and or various diffusers in both stills and video mode.
- Lens Construction
- 15 elements in 10 groups (1 aspherical ED lens, 3 aspherical lenses, 2 ED lenses, 1 UHR lens)
- Nano Surface Coating
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- Focal Length
- f=8-18mm (35mm camera equivalent 16-36mm)
- Aperture Type
- 7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
- Maximum Aperture
- F2.8 (Wide) – F4.0 (Tele)
- Minimum Aperture
- Closest Focusing Distance
- Maximum Magnification
- Approx. 0.12x / 0.24x (35mm camera equivalent)
- Diagonal Angle of View
- Filter Size:
- Max. Diameter
- Overall Length
- Approx. 88mm / 3.46inch (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
- Approx. 315g / 11.1oz (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap and lens hood)
- Standard Accessories
- Lens cap, Lens rear cap, Lens hood, Lens storage bag
Comprised of 15 elements in 10 groups, the lens system features an aspherical ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens, three aspherical lenses, two ED lenses and an UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens. The use of these lenses effectively suppresses spherical distortion or chromatic aberration to achieve high resolution and contrast from center to corners.
The sensor drive at max. 240 fps enables to take full advantage of cameras with high-speed, high-precision Contrast AF. It also helps to reduce wobbling. Notably, the new lens excels in video recording performance.
In addition to the silent operation achieved by the inner focus drive system, the micro-step drive system in the aperture control section helps the camera to smoothly capture brightness changes when zooming or panning.
The optical design achieves exceptional barycentric stability to minimize image shifts during zooming. The AF tracking performance when zooming is also improved thanks to high-speed frame analysis for focus control. Offered in sharp, metallic black, it stylishly matches the LUMIX G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) cameras.
The LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 is priced at around $1,100 and can be pre-ordered from authorised dealers such as Adorama or B&H here.