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Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH Review

John Riley reviews the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH Micro Four Thirds lens on the Panasonic Lumix GH6 camera.

| Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH in Interchangeable Lenses
BUY NOW PANASONIC Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH


Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH Review: Panasonic Leica 12 60mm Front Oblique View | 1/6 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100


Panasonic offers two ranges of lenses for their Lumix cameras, and the Leica branded ones are the more expensive, high-end performers. Here we have a kit lens, provided along with the new Lumix GH6 camera, and obviously intended to do that new kit justice. Although provided as a "kit lens" bundled with the camera body, this does a disservice to what just might be a hidden gem, hopefully, intended to whet our appetites for more of the Leica branded optics. So, armed with the new 25.2MP Lumix GH6, let's see how the lens handles and performs as we put it through its photographic and its video paces.


Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F/2.8-4.0 ASPH Handling and Features

Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH Review: Panasonic Leica 12 60mm With Hood On Lumix Gh6 | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 48.0 mm | ISO 100

The lens weighs in at a svelte 320g, thanks to the judicious use of plastics. It is clearly well put together. The provided petal lens hood clips smoothly into place and as before, it is noted that the release catch is proud of the rim and for a right-handed photographer who might put the camera down on its side, this catch is vulnerable to being accidentally released. More recent lenses have a modified, flush catch that is not prone to the same problem. For the older ones, putting the hood on upside down does not affect anything but puts the catch on the other side and out of harm's way. Within the bayonet fit of the hood is a standard 62mm filter thread.

The first ring is the manual focus and if the lens is set to MF a magnified view appears in the viewfinder, plus a rather neat electronic display of the focusing distance. It is good to have an indication, but there are too few distance markers to make it overly significant. Focusing is down to 0.2m (0.66 feet) at the wide end and 0.24m (0.79 feet) at the tele end. Maximum magnification is 0.3x, significantly closer than most lenses of this type.

Optical construction is 14 elements in 12 groups, including 4 Aspherical and 2 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion). The diaphragm comprises 9 blades, for improved, smoother bokeh. The lens is also dust and splash resistant, a very welcome and almost universally expected feature.


Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH Review: Panasonic Leica 12 60mm Rear Oblique View | 0.5 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100

The zoom ring does extend the lens, whereas focusing does not. Its action is smooth but quite firm and zooming during shooting video handheld means it is quite difficult to ensure there is no vibration to the image. On a tripod, it presents no problem. The ring is marked clearly at focal lengths 12mm, 18mm, 25mm, 40mm, 50mm and 60mm.

There are just two switches around the lens barrel. The AF/MF switch is self-explanatory, as is the on/off switch for the OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation). This reviewer found an advantage of around 5.5 stops when the lens was used with the GH6, but of course, this will vary from photographer to photographer and even on different days.

The metal mount is well finished, locks smoothly into place and shows no sign whatsoever of any rotational play.

Apart from the firmness of the zoom ring, which is really only felt during video shooting, there is nothing to interfere with the process of photography. The zoom ring may be an issue where video is concerned, but then again hopefully it will ease up with some use, and indeed with some more practice from the user.

So far so good, let's see how the lens performs.


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Sandy_T Avatar
10 Mar 2022 2:08PM
Never seen a m43 lenses reaches 4500 lw/ph on a MTF chart. is this...real?
According to the prior reviews from this site the best m43 lenses only reached not much more than 3000 lw/ph. I did not read any excitement for this 50% improvement from the review text.
If the new GH6 sensor contributes to the improvement i believe many m43 lenses might need to be re-tested.
If not, this lenses worth 5 stars rating for this single result. However it is not a newly developed lenses. we already knew it is good but not that good.
johnriley1uk Avatar
10 Mar 2022 4:57PM
It's always great to see a lens performing well and just a pity that the edges at 12mm let things down a little. In theory, we could re-test every lens with the newest and highest resolution cameras, but of course that is totally impractical.
Michael_Densley Avatar
My PL12-60 is actually very sharp wide open at 12mm. I just did a test and see very little difference between extreme edges at F2.8 and extreme edges at F6.3. Maybe I just have an exceptional copy. Now that you have a GH6 to test on, I would be extremely interested in finally seeing your review of the Olympus 12-100 F4 Pro. It would be nice to see your findings between the PL12-60/2.8-4 and the Oly 12-100/4. Given the massive popularity among both these lenses, I'm sure others would be very interested as well.

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