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12-60mm F2.8-4 Panasonic Leica lens
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  • Review




    The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS delivers a very good job without being brilliant - which is hardly surprising given its 5x zoom ratio. The resolution is perfectly fine (tack sharp) in the image center. However, like many MFT standard zoom lenses it suffers from aggressive distortion auto-correction at the wide end of the range which is limiting the border quality to max. good to very good results at 12mm.

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  • Hmm, for 1080p I don't think it would be a problem, I'm sold at parfocal for $1000 aud.

  • Lowlight test, (not mine):

  • Picking up this lens today... Will post my thoughts here, specifically for video & concert videography. Hopefully it will be good, as it looks to be one of the most inexpensive ways to get a stabilised parfocal zoom lens in MFT mount.

    (f4 is a downside however, but should be ok)

  • UPDATE: I have been zooming with this lens, it is very much Parfocal. However I have noticed significant wobble when zooming in. This is visible in normal video mode- and also much more in ExTele mode.

    I have switched image stabilisation on / off and experimented with all the settings. Still lots of wobble.

    The tests were conducted on a tripod without any movement on my behalf.

    Has anyone else experienced this issue while zooming? I purchased this lens solely for video recording / its parfocal design, and ability to zoom during video recording. The wobbling has not been mentioned in any reviews I have found online.

    Strange thing is that the zoom mechanism is actually very very smooth, easily usable for video, (hence what reviewers have stated) Just lots of wobble.

  • Bummer about the wobble, presumably because the inner parts ofthe lens move independently. Still, for a "Leica" brand it seems a bit offputting.
    On paper, it looks like 12mm is sharper than the 12mm Olly prime--what's your feeling about the sharpness?

  • @DrDave Here is a quick and dirty zoom test (no commentary):

    A few notes:

    • I filmed in HD with Ex-Tele on
    • Ex-Tele in HD mode gives 2.7x crop

    But I can say the only aspect of this lens that I am disappointed about is the wobble.

    What it does well:

    • Sharp
    • Light
    • Parfocal
    • Good zoom range (especially in ExTele)

    Take away thoughts:

    • Post stabilisation (in NLE) works quite well if the zoom isn't too extreme. But it is a process that will add time to a production, especially if you are filming a 1 hour performance.
  • Sorry @alcomposer, but i don't see in your test the lens was bad at all. I didn't find the whobble so evident. In fact, you are in the most extreme condition: long end + Ex tele + zooming by hand perhaps? So, at least for me, it makes no inconvenience. I never shoot in ExTele, and i think we can't zoom during video recording with this lenses. I have this lens and by the momment, very happy with it.

  • @Grimor

    I don't understand your post. You said it wasn't evident, and not too bad. Then you said we shouldn't zoom in video anyway?

    Then again, if it's not too evident it may be ok for me! So thank you for the feedback.

    I do want to use this lens for video and zooming.

    In my test there is the original footage- then the post stabilised footage. I probably should have made it clearer. (And with a voice over) :-)

    I will actually film a 1 hour performance with this lens on Sunday so will be able to report back with more feedback.

    I am thinking of only using 4K ex-Tele which is a less crop.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this lens is actually quite remarkable! And I want to be able to use it for video zooming, as it is parfical (to a high degree).

  • Sorry again, al. I dont read the text of the video. Did you tried to zoom in and out with IBIS turned Off? I think when focal distance is changed Ibis has to recalculate and making whoobling more noticeable. I never have zoomed before and want to know the way you do. Do you use any gear? Thanks and hope my poor english can be understood.

  • No probs @Grimor. Sorry for misunderstanding. I have to work on my YouTube skills! Big banners, clear text, blackout between different tests.

    I focus zoom by hand, and place my thumb on the lens barrel to steady.

  • @alcomposer thanks for the video. The lens looks plenty sharp. The wobble for me is disconcerting, especially if you compare it to the Zeiss fixed lens in, for example, the Sony ax100. After stabilization it looks pretty smooth, though......
    It's a shame there aren't more smooth zooms or power zooms for the platform, as most ppl have ditched their camcorders for DSLR type setups (still keeping my ax100s...).

  • Yes, @DrDave your thoughts are mine exactly!

    Remember I am using HD ex-Tele which is quite extreme! If the lens is sharp in that mode it's quite remarkable!

    We really need a few good zooms for the MFT platform. I was thinking that the 12-60 could be "the one" and I can use it in a concert situation but it would be great if we can get in the future a good zoom with at least an f4 aperture (even fixed) and a longer throw without tromboning.

    I would be most interested in more non-power zooms. Unless there is more control of the powered zoom toggle (more than simply slow and fast). Sometimes I like to do a super smooth zoom out.

    Then again maybe we should be doing this in post anyway these days? Film in 4K then play to our hearts content! If you deliver in HD (which is the majority of my work) then this could be an option. But it would be good to be able to change framing a few times without issues.

    I am assuming the tromboning is what is causing the wobble. As my video shows it is "fixable". Make sure to turn off e-stabiliser as it will significantly reduce resolution, and cause even more issues for the post stabiliser to try to solve.

    I did however find optical stabilisation helped the situation a bit, without reducing resolution for the post stabiliser to play with.

  • @DrDave the thing is I mainly shoot concerts as multicam - (anything from 2-6 cameras) I like to get good coverage and different angles of performers.

    The GH5 really shines in the area, as it has no issues recording for long periods, a decent codec, and now finally good auto ISO. (I can set iso limit easily)

    In this regard it is much better than my GH2/4.

    Maybe I have to check out the 50-200mm when it comes out? Does anyone know if that is still happening in September? Or earlier? At those distances Stabilisation is a real help.

  • New firmware v1.1

    1. Fixed the instability of Auto Focus.
    2. Improved the performance of O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer).

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  • In the UK, they were doing a deal on the GH5 and this lens for £1500 after cashback up until the end of January. Due to the problems listed above, I ended up buying a GH5 with the standard 12-60 kit lens for £1249 instead. The cheap lens is also basically parfocal once you stop it down a bit, but the lack of constant aperture means that (at any F stop) you do notice a fall of in light level as you zoom in. But a lot of the time you can still get away with it.