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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens Review

John Riley reviews the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH Micro Four Thirds format lens to find out if its performance is worth the almost £2k asking price.


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Leica DG 10 25mm F1,7 Front Oblique View
 

A lens with the pedigree of Leica behind it, plus a fast maximum f/1.7 aperture as indicated by the Summilux name, is bound to be an attractive proposition from the start. Add to that a useful 10-25mm range on MFT format, a “35mm equivalent” of 20-50mm, and if the quality is right it could be quite a winner. Coupled with the 20MP Panasonic Lumix G9 camera body, let's put this MFT format lens through its paces and see if it earns that iconic Leica badge.

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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH Handling and Features

Leica DG 10 25mm F1,7 No Hood On G9
 

The lens is solidly made, weighing in at 690g. Construction is dust and splash resistant, but with the caveat that this will not stop all water ingress. This is of course delightfully vague, so how much resistance we have is open to conjecture. It is also quite bulky, as evidenced by the 77mm filter thread. There is the usual bayonet fitting for the provided petal lens hood, which is retained with a small release catch. Unfortunately, this catch is proud of the hood, so easily pushed in when stored in a bag or case. This means that the hood can rotate out of true, something that should be watched for to avoid vignetting from the hood itself.

Working backwards along the lens, next up is a substantial aperture ring. There is an A setting that defers control to the camera body, or alternatively, any aperture can be set using the click-free settings. These are clearly marked in third of a stop intervals. The lack of click stops shows that videographers have been considered by the lens designers. This fits in with the general ethos of the Panasonic camera bodies.

If the ring behind is pulled towards the camera body, it reveals the manual focus distance scale and enables manual focus. Focusing is down to 0.28m, or 0.92 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.14x.

Optical construction is 17 elements in 12 groups, including 3 aspherical, 4 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) and 1 UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index). Finally, the diaphragm comprises 9 rounded blades.

Leica DG 10 25mm F1,7 Front Element View
 

In use, there is that minor foible; the tendency of the lens hood to become loose whilst being carried in a bag. This could result in corner darkening if not noticed. The wide, fast maximum aperture is a definite plus, partly because it enables more selective focusing with reduced depth of field, isolating the subject, and partly because of the obvious benefit of enabling faster shutter speeds in low light situations. It is quite a sizeable lens for the small MFT format, but on the other hand, we can imagine how enormous a full-frame 20-50mm f/1.7 lens might be.

The lens is varifocal in design, meaning that focusing should be done after zooming. If we focus and then zoom, the focus position will have shifted.

Otherwise, everything works smoothly and focusing in AF mode is razor-sharp and ultra-fast. Let's have a look at the performance results.

Leica DG 10 25mm F1,7 Rear Oblique View
 


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