Jump to content

From 2.8 to 4: The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS

Recommended Posts

  • Supporter

Please note that this English version is a Google translation of the original french text. DM



 The design of a zoom lens always poses a challenge for specialists in photographic optics. The first prototypes launched on the market more than sixty years ago were marred by shortcomings both for their definition and their multiple aberrations. With technological advancements, particularly in the field of computer simulation and automated manufacturing production, we can now obtain very respectable quality objectives. However, certain compromises remain relevant and among these we find the difficulty of offering a decent maximum aperture while remaining a relatively compact optical construction.




The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 ASPH designed for Micro Four Third (MFT) format digital sensors is one of these more high-end zoom lenses which responds more to a desire for versatility in terms of range of larger focal lengths and aperture. To achieve this while maintaining a dimension adapted to the reduced format of the MFT, Panasonic offers this formulation of variable apertures which goes from F2.8 for the largest angle of 12mm, to F4 for the focal position of a small telephoto lens of 60mm. Of course, the ideal would have been to maintain a constant aperture such as F2.8 but this would have been at the cost of a bulkier, heavier and certainly even more expensive lens.


Handling the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 ASPH is very pleasant and we fully appreciate the construction quality of this zoom made in China, it must be emphasized. The two focusing and focal length selection rings operate smoothly and firmly enough to maintain their respective positions once the adjustment is made. Two side switches also allow you to choose between automatic or manual focusing, and to activate or not the optical lens stabilization option. The latter can be combined with the on-board stabilization in certain Panasonic digital camera models from the Lumix MFT series. From my point of view, stabilization has become an essential feature especially when shooting in more difficult lighting conditions and with a more modest maximum aperture optic as in the case of the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2. 8-4 ASPH.



The weight of 320g and the physical size of the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm are a factor to consider when choosing the model you choose for its use. The search for balance between the body and the lens will probably direct you towards larger models such as the Lumix G or GX series rather than GM. However, it is more a matter of personal comfort specific to each individual and the interaction he/she has with his/her photo equipment. 


With a focal length of 12mm and a field of view of 84 degrees, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm can be described as truly wide-angle, both practical and competent in terms of controlling its optical rendering. The overall definition of the image is excellent and free from annoying aberrations, this result can be attributed in part to good internal processing carried out by the camera after the actual shooting. At the other extreme of the focal length range we find the 60mm telephoto position whose subject magnification will be approximately two and a half times compared to the standard 25mm lens and which will be sufficient for portraiture with the downside important of a maximum aperture limited to F4. In this case the choice of the background will undoubtedly have to be more careful.



A minimum focusing distance varying from 20cm (12mm) to 24cm (60mm) still allows interesting close-ups for small objects but here again the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm cannot claim to replace a real lens specialized in macro photography. In terms of accessories, the Leica DG zoom is supplied with a dedicated reversible lens hood on bayonet mount. You can install 62mm filters or filter accessories.



In use, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm proved to be an effective, well-designed and optically competent companion. Its variable aperture from F2.8 to F4 is perhaps its greatest weakness, especially if we compare it to its closest competitor, the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro, in which case you will instead have to turn to the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH. For the rest, this Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 remains an excellent companion if you are looking for an everyday lens of superior quality in all respects. 


Photos Daniel M: Panasonic Lumix G9 / Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS

  • Like 1

A trace of light that survive a little further than the actual moment of flash.


Daniel M on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrators

I have this lens too. It was part of a G9 kit I bought earlier in the year and I had intended to sell it. Unfortunately the MFT market in my country is very tough so there were no takers at what I thought was a very good price for a premium lens. I have used it very briefly in studio for product photography where the Olympus 12-40/2.8 PRO is just a bit short. It's certainly a competent lens, but the Olympus 12-40mm is definitely sharper, imo. 


I might take this lens with me next time I go out on an adventure. Hey, it's Christmas tomorrow, so maybe I'll give it a whirl. 


Thanks for the review, Daniel. 🙂 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By visiting this website you are agreeing to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy & Guidelines.