Leica Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Review
Right from the start, it's clear that this is a premium quality, professional offering. Apart from the excellent finish we have a solid lens, dust, splash and freeze-proof down to -10C. The weight is a modest 320g, a perfect balance for the Panasonic Lumix G6 used for the review. The supplied bayonet lens hood fits smoothly as expected and has a retaining catch to prevent accidental loosening in use. However, on being gently nudged it did actually work loose, causing a couple of shots to be lost due to vignetting. The release catch could do with being slightly firmer, or perhaps more recessed than it is. The filter thread is 62mm.
Moving towards the camera body we find an electronic manual focusing ring that rotates continuously. It has no effect in AF mode but operates well in MF. AF on this lens is silent, as is the diaphragm mechanism, which will be helpful for videographers. Focusing is down to 0.2m (0.66 feet), giving a maximum magnification of 0.3x. Focusing is internal, so there is no rotation of the front element, nor is there any extension of the lens itself.
Next up is the zoom ring, clearly and accurately marked. The zooming action is smooth but has enough resistance to ensure it remains set at the desired length. The lens does extend during zooming.
Closest to the camera body, there are two lens switches. One controls the selection of AF/MF and the other switches on/off the OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation). OIS is highly effective, offering at least 4 stops advantage. This will depend upon the individual, but testing found that 4 stops to be a realistic proposition.
Lens construction is 14 elements in 12 groups, including 4 Aspherical and 2 ED (Extra Low Dispersion). Nano coatings are applied to help eliminate flare and the 9 rounded aperture blades offer the possibility of smoother bokeh.
Handling was a pleasure, everything operating very precisely. There is a definite feel of quality that is rewarding in use, but of course the real objective is the quality of the results.
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