Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH OIS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
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Special thanks to Markus Stamm for providing this lens!
Leica may not produce cameras for the (micro-)third-thirds system anymore but they're still
co-developing lenses with Panasonic. The exact responsibilities within this partnership are
unknown to the public but an important component of the lens, the optical image stabilizer
("Mega OIS") is supplied by Panasonic. Panasonic is also responsible for the manufacturing
albeit according to Leica-set standards.
The Leica Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH OIS is the first macro lens for the system. The
field of view is equivalent to a full format 90mm lens so it's a medium tele lens. Typical
for Leica lenses it is not exactly a budget item at around 800 EUR/US$.
The build quality of this very small macro lens is very good. It is mostly made of high
quality plastics based on a metal mount. The broad, rubberized focus ring operates very
smooth but it has a strong tendency to collect dust. The physical length of the lens remains
constant regardless of the focus setting so it is a true IF (internal focusing) design. The
front element does not rotate so it's easily possible to use a polarizer for instance.
Typical for most micro 4/3 lenses the focus ring is operated "by wire" so you drive the
AF motor by turning the focus ring (unlike the conventional mechanical coupling). This may
be something to get used to in the beginning but accurate manual focusing is easily possible -
maybe even better than on conventional lenses. Some may criticize the lack of a distance scale
though. The AF speed is reasonably fast at "normal" focus distances. A focus limiter is
provided (∞-50cm) - this is certainly a good idea to avoid excessive hunting throughout
the focus range. Typical for all contrast AF systems the accuracy is spot on.
Panasonic's "Mega OIS" image stabilizer works reasonably well - expect a "gain" equivalent
to 2-3 f-stops at conventional focus distances although quite a bit less for macro photography.
|Equiv. focal length||90 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. aperture||f/5.6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||14 elements in 10 groups inc. 1x ED and 1x aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (circular)|
|min. focus distance||0.15 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)|
|Dimensions||62.5 x 63 mm|
|Filter size||46 mm (non-rotating)|
|Other features||Mega OIS (optical image-stabilizer), focus limiter|