Want to go wide? Well, if you happen to be a Panasonic Micro Four Thirds shooter, with the LUMIX GH6 (review here) for instance, you now have yet another option on the wide end of the focal length spectrum: The new Panasonic LEICA DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 offers a wide field of view for LUMIX G series cameras.
The new Summilux 9mm f/1.7 (18mm equivalent on a 35mm sensor) is a wide, compact, and lightweight lens for still photographers and filmmakers alike. It offers a quite impressive minimum focusing distance of just 0.9 cm with a magnification ratio of 0.25x (0.5x on a 35mm sensor).
This new wide-angle prime lens consists of twelve elements in nine groups including two aspherical lenses, two ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) lenses, and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens to minimize both axial chromatic aberration and chromatic aberration of magnification.
Panasonic LEICA DG Summilux 9mm F1.7
The aspherical lenses also suppress astigmatism, resulting in high resolving performance of the lens. Furthermore, a UHR (Ultra-High Refractive Index) lens is used to 1) achieve uniform image quality from the center to the edges of the image while 2) contribute to minimizing the overall size of the lens.
The Summilux 9mm f/1.7 uses a fly-by-wire mechanism for controlling the focus. If set to non-linear, the focus is shifted with a variable amount according to the rotation speed of the focus ring. I personally prefer linear focus adjustments, so it’s nice to see that you can switch to linear mode as well. The sensitivity (the amount of focus shift per rotational quantum) can be selected from 90 to 360 degrees in 30 degrees increments to dial in your desired sensitivity.
Video shooters will like the fact that LEICA has implemented a mechanism that suppresses the dreaded focus-breathing, which usually is a problem when using still lenses for recording video. Also nice: The 7-blade circular aperture can be controlled in micro-steps (aka smoothly).
What you won’t get with this lens, however, is an AF/MF switch, assignable buttons, or anything like that. It comes with a focus ring and that’s it.
With its compact size (60.8 x 52 mm) and a weight of just 130g, the Panasonic LEICA DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 seems to be meant to take it outside without having to schlepp gigantic lenses with you. And that’s exactly why the Micro Four Thirds system is still quite popular. For attaching front filters, the lens offers a 55 mm thread.
The Summilux 9mm f/1.7 sports a rugged dust/splash-resistant design, which should protect the lens when shooting in harsh conditions.
The lens sells for $499.99 and can be pre-ordered now. Shipping should begin soon.
What do you think? Would this new lens make a good match for your shiny GH6? Share your experiences in the comments below!