Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH OIS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Special thanks to Markus Stamm for providing this lens!

Introduction

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.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length90 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction14 elements in 10 groups inc. 1x ED and 1x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.15 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)
Dimensions62.5 x 63 mm
Weight225 g
Filter size46 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodsquare-shaped, supplied
Other featuresMega OIS (optical image-stabilizer), focus limiter




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