Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH Review

4.5
January 21, 2014 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is a new portrait lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Offering an 85mm focal length, an ultra-bright maximum aperture of f/1.2, fast and near-silent focusing, and built in optical image stabilisation, this short tele-photo lens is perfect for head and shoulder portraits. Read our Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH review to find out if it's a must-have lens for Micro Four Thirds users.

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is a very fast short telephoto portrait lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Offering a 35mm camera equivalent focal length of 85mm, the Panasonic 42.5 lens is comprised of 14 elements arranged in 11 groups, including two aspherical elements, one extra-low dispersion element, and one ultra high refractive index element. It features optical image stabilisation, a special Nano Surface Coating to minimise ghosting and flare, and an iris diaphragm with nine rounded aperture blades. The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens is available for £1399.99 / $1599.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is fairly compact for a lens that offers a portrait focal length and such a fast maximum aperture, measuring 76.5mm in length and just about fitting in the palm of your hand, although it's quite weighty for a Micro Four Thirds lens at 425 grams. The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH feels very well balanced on the Lumix GX7 body that we tested it with.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHThe Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens attached to the Panasonic Lumix GX7

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHThe Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens attached to the Panasonic Lumix GX7

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHThe Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens attached to the Panasonic Lumix GX7

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is a high-quality lens with an impressive all-metal construction, including the lens mount and the included hood. Panasonic does not claim any sort of weather resistance for this lens, and indeed you cannot see a rubber seal around the mount.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHThe Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens in-hand

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHAlongside the Panasonic Lumix GX7

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHFront of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHFront of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens

In terms of features, the highlight is the traditional manual aperture ring on the lens barrel, which allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 steps, complete with full aperture markings from f/1.2 to f/16. The aperture is also shown in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen as you change it. The tactile aperture ring is nicely damped and makes a distinctive click as you change the setting. It toggles between auto aperture control (the ring is set to A) or manual aperture control (the switch is set to one of the aperture values).

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHFront of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHRear of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHSide of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHSide of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens

There's also a responsive manual focusing ring, but no focus scale. Two small switches on the side toggle between auto/manual focus and turn Power O.I.S (optical image stabilization) On/Off.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHThe Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens with the supplied lens hood attached

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHThe Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens with the supplied lens hood attached

Usefully the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH comes with a large metal lens hood and a cloth storage bag, and it accepts 67mm filters. The lens hood slides onto the front of the lens and is locked into place with a small screw which tightens the hood. It can be reverse-fitted onto the lens, making it easier to safely store away when not in use.

Focal Range

The lens has a diagonal angle of view of 29°, equivalent to that of a 85mm lens in a 35mm system.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHField of view at 42.5mm

Focusing

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens offers almost silent auto-focusing, and in use, we have found the system very quick on the new Lumix GX7, even in low-light.

The 67mm filter thread does not rotate on focus, which is good news for users of polarisers and graduated neutral density filters.

Manual focusing is possible in a focus-by-wire fashion. This should not put you off using it as it feels pretty natural in use, and actually enables the camera to display a magnified view of the subject complete with focus peaking automatically, i.e. without your having to press a dedicated button or enter the menu. The focus ring is quite wide and more than adequate for the job.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only conspicuous by their almost complete absence, as shown by the 100% crops below.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.2, there is a little light fall-off in the corners.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHLight fall-off

Macro

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH has a closest focusing distance of 0.5m / 1.64ft and a maximum 0.1x magnification rating.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPHClose-up performance

Bokeh Examples

Bokeh 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. In the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH lens, Panasonic employed a diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh, at least in our opinion. However, recognising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a few examples for your perusal.

Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH
   
Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

review, samples, lens, compact system camera, test, sample images, jpegs, micro four thirds, jpgs, telephoto, portrait, leica, 42.5mm, pansonic, Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH Review

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