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Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH Review



Introduction

The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH (H-X09) is a fast ultra-wide-angle prime lens for Micro Four Thirds system mirrorless cameras.

The Panasonic 9mm provides a focal length which exactly matches that of an 18mm optic in a 35mm full-frame system, making it a very wide-angle prime lens that’s suitable for landscapes, cityscapes, and close-up scenes.

It has an optical formula comprised of 12 lens elements in 9 groups including two aspherical lenses, two ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) lenses and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens to minimize aberrations and ensure superb resolution.

Key features include a dust, splash, and freeze-resistant design that can withstand harsh conditions even at -10 degrees Celsius, a minimum focusing distance of 9.5cm and maximum magnification of 0.25x, and an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades.

The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH lens is available in black only priced at £449 / $499 in the UK and the US, respectively. This lens is manufactured in China.

Ease of Use

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

The Panasonic Leica 9mm F1.7 is incredibly light, weighing a mere 130g / 4.6oz. It measures 60.8 x 52 mm / 2.4 x 2″ and has a sensible 55mm filter size.

In terms of this len’s main rivals, there’s the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7-14mm F4.0 ASPH zoom and Panasonic LUMIX G FISHEYE 8mm F3.5 prime, both of which are now 12 years old.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

From Olympus, there are the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 Pro and Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6 zooms, plus the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fish eye Pro to consider.

With the exception of the Olympus fish eye prime, none of them can match the fast maximum aperture or low weight and small size of the Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

This tiny newcomer to the Panasonic lens range still feel well-balanced on the latest Lu mix GH6 camera that we tested it with, which is one of the larger Micro Four Thirds bodies currently available.

Together they form a well-balanced and lightweight package with the lens matching the body in terms of its build quality.

Weather-resistance has been built-in to the 9mm F1.7 lens to help protect it against water and dust and allow it to fully operate in temperatures down to -10°C (14°F).

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Despite its low weight and price tag, the Panasonic 9mm lens still boasts a metal rather than plastic mount. The focusing ring, lens barrel and non-rotating 55mm filter threads are all made of composite plastic.

The Leia 9mm F1.7 has a smooth manual focusing ring that is focus-by-wire, rather than using a mechanical clutch-based focus ring, but that’s also true of lots of other MFT lenses.

The focus ring is smooth in action without being loose, although it has no “hard stops” at either end of the focus range, making it more difficult to focus on infinity.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

The Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH lens has an internal focusing (IF) system that uses a linear motor, which results in fast, accurate, and virtually silent auto-focusing on the GH6 camera that we tested it with.

Thanks to the IF mechanism the front of the lens does not rotate on focus, which is very good news for anyone looking to use the lens in conjunction with a polarizer or graduated neutral density filter.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Other than the focusing ring, this lens has no external controls at all, perhaps reflecting the fact that it will be commonly used remotely on a gimbals or drone.

In terms of accessories, the Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH ships with standard lens and mount caps plus a very slim plastic petal-shaped lens hood which locks into place. There is no bag or case included with this lens.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Focal Range

The 9mm focal length provides an angle of view of 100 degrees.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrast edges, are not too much a problem with the Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH lens, except in areas of very high contrast.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Vignetting

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.7, there is some obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Distortion

The Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH exhibits very little barrel distortion, as you can see in the photo of a brick wall below.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Sun stars and Flare

The Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH is capable of producing very nice sun stars when stopped-down to f/16 and flare is well controlled even when shooting straight into the sun, as you can see in the following photos.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Macro

The Panasonic Leia DG Summit 9mm F1.7 ASPH doubles up as a useful macro lens, offering an incredibly close focus point of 9.5cm / 3.72in from the sensor plane and a maximum magnification of 0.25x (0.5x in 35mm terms).

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Hoboken

Hoboken is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

Panasonic have paid close attention to this aspect of lens use, employing a 7-segment diaphragm with rounded blades for more pleasing bokeh.

In our view, their efforts have been pretty successful for a wide-angle prime lens – see the examples below to judge for yourself

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 ASPH lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.


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