Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph. OIS - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Distortion

Extreme range zoom lenses are difficult beings with respect to correcting distortion and even the mighty Leica has problems here. At 14mm it produces a heavy amount of barrel distortion (~3%) - that said this is still at least 1% less than similar lenses at their wide setting (inc. the Canon EF 28-300mm L). However, it's more surprising to see that distortion is basically negligible from 24mm all the way up to 150mm.

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
14mm 24mm 50mm 100mm 150mm

Vignetting

The Leica shows a fairly pronounced degree of vignetting at 14mm @ f/3.5. This is normal for most zoom lenses in this range. However, at all other tested settings the problem isn't really field relevant anymore.

MTF (resolution)

The Leica is capable of producing very high to even excellent resolution at most settings. The sweet spot of the lens is at the wide end where it is able to deliver a basically flawless performance both in the center but also in the extreme corners. There's a slight but continuous decrease in quality from 50mm to 150mm. At 50mm the results are still easily on a very good level across the image field. Moving to 100mm there's just a slight drop in border quality which remains in very good territory though. At 150mm the border quality is still good to very good and the center quality remains very high. Essentially the lens is perfectly usable at all tested focal lengths and aperture settings. Field curvature is also not much of an issue.

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

Everything looked pretty rosy so far but the Leica lens has one weakness - lateral CAs. These color shadows are very pronounced at 14mm and at 150mm with an average CA width of around ~1.5px at the image borders. The maximum of 2px is reached at 150mm @ f/5.6. This can be disturbing. From 24mm to 100mm this is a lesser issue.

Please note that lateral CAs are correctable during post-processing but it's an additional manual step.




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