Lens review

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH.

21 August 2017
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

We used to test the Micro Four Thirds optics with the Olympus E-PL1 but the time has come for changes so, for some time now we have been gathering data also from the Olympus O-MD E-M5 Mark II in order to have comparing material. Because of that practice we found out that the results from the sensor more densely packed with pixels are by 3-5 lpmm higher than the results from the older one. Mind you that difference is visible only in wide area around the maximum relative aperture and it diminishes by apertures which are strongly limited by diffraction.

In the case of the tests based on the O-MD E-M5 Mark II the best fixed-focal lenses can reach a level of 80-85 lpmm and the decency borderline we situated near 47-49 lpmm. Of course, with enlarging our database of tests performed with the help of the new body, these value can change slightly but even now we feel they allow us to deliver a solid, repetitive assessment.

Let’s check how the Panaleica compares in the frame centre at 8, 13, and 18 mm focal lengths.

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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Image resolution

For a zoom lens the results make for some impressive reading. The middle of the focal lengths range is performing the best – on slight stopping down the aperture you find yourself over 80 lpmm and it’s a value worth a good prime. Both ends of the focal lengths range are not especially weaker, mind you, so at every focal length and at every aperture value from the maximum relative aperture up to f/8.0 you can get images of very good or even excellent quality. While stopping down to f/11 or further images become strongly limited by diffraction but it is due not to a fault of the lens, just laws of physics.

Now let’s check the performance of the lens on the edge of the frame.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Image resolution

This time the shortest focal length is actually the best. It is a good piece of news because in this type of instrument we care mainly about the widest angle of view and a balanced image quality across the frame. Longer focal lengths fare weaker, unfortunately; some of them are so weak that you can’t talk about full usefulness of images near the maximum relative aperture. In order to achieve that much you have to stop the aperture down to about f/4.5-5.0.

In order to be sure the results presented above were correct and we understood them properly we compared MTFs reached at 18 mm from the E-PL1 and the E-M5 Mark II. As you can see for yourself everything is in perfect accordance with our introductory remarks. The differences reach just several lpmm in the wide area close to the maximum relative aperture and they decrease to 0-2 lpmm on significant stopping down.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Image resolution

At the end of this chapter, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart. These were taken from JPEG files saved along RAW files we used for the analysis above.

Olympus E-M5 Mark II, JPEG, 8 mm f/2.8
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Image resolution
Olympus E-M5 Mark II, JPEG, 13 mm, f/4.0
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Image resolution