Lens review

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12 mm f/1.4 ASPH

11 July 2017
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

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  • Solid, metal casing,
  • Very good image quality in the frame centre,
  • Sensible image quality on the edge of the frame (meaning values averaged out),
  • Negligible lateral chromatic aberration,
  • Quick decrease of vignetting on stopping down the aperture,
  • Silent, quick, and efficient autofocus.


  • Distinct difference in sharpness between left and right sides of the frame,
  • Problems with longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • Bothersome coma in the right part of the frame,
  • High distortion for RAW files,
  • Performance against bright light could have been better.
It would be difficult not to examine the results of the tested lens in the context of its price. Like almost everything with the word “Leica” in their name the lens is expensive – currently you have to pay for it as much as $1300. Compare that to the price tag of the Fujinon XF 16 mm f/1.4R WR, a lens which provides the same angle of view on the bigger APS-C sensor, which is less than $1000. For a similar amount of money you can buy the full frame Sigma A 24 mm f/1.4 DG HSM. Even the Canon EF 24 mm f/1.4L II USM is slightly cheaper than the Panaleica, tested here. Only Nikon demands more for their Nikkor AF-S 24 mm f/1.4G ED; with a price tag of $2000 it is the most expensive of all lenses, described in this test.

It’s worth emphasizing the fact that full frame 1.4/24 lenses are not only more difficult to design but also, unlike the Panasonic, their optics is responsible for distortion correction without any help from camera’s software. In that light even if the results of the Panasonic were outstanding in every category it still should be criticized for its exorbitant price.

Meanwhile the cons list, ending our test, is quite long. The slip-up concerning the uneven sharpness spread is another example, after our binoculars’ endurance test in which Leica products didn’t exactly distinguish themselves, that quality control problems can concern even the most renowned companies on the market. Still it’s possible that this time the scolding should go to Panasonic as I suppose that company is responsible for the quality control of products released under the joint name of Leica Panasonic.