Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH Review

January 21, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is an outstanding short telephoto lens that currently offers one of the fastest maximum apertures of any Micro Four Thirds lens. It's extremely well-built and delivers stellar image quality at both the centre and edges of the frame, even when shooting wide-open at f/1.2. With a sky-high recommended retail price of £1399.99 / $1599.99, though, the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is the most expensive Micro Four Thirds lens currently on the market.

As you'd expect given that premium price tag, build quality is excellent thanks to the bullet-proof all-metal construction, although we'd have liked to see an element of weather-proofing added to the design. As with most other recent Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses, it's very fast to focus on the new GX7 camera and almost virtually silent too, making it well-suited to both stills and video. This lens is also relatively small and lightweight considering the f/1.2 maximum aperture and very useful built-in optical image stabilisation system, although fitting the imposing lens hood does almost double the length of the lens. The very welcome aperture ring makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure.

Optically the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH is a superlative performer. You can safely use it wide open for maximum bokeh and still achieve sharp results in the centre of the frame, or for optimum performance stop down to f/2, where even the edges of the frame look sharp. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent, vignetting isn't too bad at all even at f/1.2, and distortions are automatically corrected on both Olympus and Panasonic bodies.

£1399.99 / $1599.99 is undoubtedly expensive for an 85mm lens for any system, but given the excellent image quality, creamy bokeh and snappy performance, we feel that it's just about justified and a good investment for Micro Four Thirds users who require a fast portait prime lens.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4