A lens that was missing finally gets released

Finally, the microFourThirds system got a new, much-needed super-wide-angle autofocus prime lens from a first-party manufacturer – Leica DG Summilux 9mm F1.7 Asph.

Looks bigger than it actually is.

First, let’s cover the basics — what is it?

It is Leica-branded super-wide-angle lens, 18mm-equivalent in 135 format (“full-frame”). It has bright F1.7 aperture, it’s relatively compact, and light lens at 130 g. It uses 55mm filters, it’s on a bigger size for the system. It can focus down to 9.5cm, it is weather, cold and dust resistand. Leica branding means premium build quality, as well, and optical quality should be high, also.

The price, for Leica branded lens, and super-wide lens, is surprisingly affordable – approximately $500. Let’s see if that translates to 500€ as well. That’s not really cheap, but it is still affordable, in a world of four-digit lenses practically everywhere.

My emphasis on finally is because this is the first wide-angle lens announcement after Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12mm F1.2 ED Pro lens, and that lens was announced in 2017., five years ago. There were quite a few wide-angle lenses announced since then, but all from third-party manufacturers, meaning there are no autofocus capabilities, and only some of those lenses have an aperture controlled by the camera.

This new lens is also the widest autofocus prime available in the system. Until now, the widest lens with autofocus stopped at a mere 12mm. If you wanted to go wider, you had to make compromises and lose something – either dimensions and/or aperture, or autofocus.

This lens finally adds some alternatives for the wide-angle, for the first time since the beginning of the system, does it with (unexpectedly) bright aperture, with a premium branding and for a reasonable price – a positive surprise.

First video reviews are out, all information so far point towards video market – it’s really sharp in the center, but the corners aren’t so great. That’s a bit disappointing, but not surprising – for video, extreme corners get cropped-out in 16:9 mode, lens is small and light enough for stabilizied gimbals. Let’s wait for a few more in-depth reviews for a more educated conclusion. In any case, it should be pretty popular lens, despite its potential flaws.

Was this lens the best choice for users, photographers? Probably not, even more affordable and smaller lens would probably be a better choice for the most of users, F1.7 aperture wasn’t something anyone really expected, price could have been reduced by Lumix G branding, no weather-resistance, and less bright aperture. F2.8 would have been perfectly acceptable for anyone, 46mm filter thread would have been preferred by anyone having a lens with filter threads in that size, to be able to mix’n’match lens caps and filters, alike. With seven lenses sharing the same size, that would have been great.

But, let’s finish this post on a positive note — long waited super-wide-angle prime lens is here, brighter than expected, for an affordable price. Finally.


Specifications

MountmicroFourThirds
Image circleFourThirds
Focal length9mm 18mm-equivalent
Maximum apertureF1.7
Minimum apertureF16
Number of aperture blades7, curved
Optical construction12 elements in 9 groups, 2 aspherical, 2 ED, 1 UHR
Minimum focus9.5cm
Filter thread55mm
Weight130g
Diameter61mm
Length52mm
AutofocusYes
Image stabilizationNo
Weather sealingYes

Last update: 26/06/2022