Panasonic and Leica Initiate Nocticron Line With Impressive 42.5mm f/1.2 Lens


Panasonic is looking to boost its appeal to high-end shooters with a new line of super-fast Leica lenses, starting with a 42.5mm f/1.2 model that was introduced Monday at CES.

The debut model in the newly dubbed “Nocticron” (was he a good Transformer or an evil Transformer?) line of glass is pitched as a portrait-friendly lens (35mm equivalent focal length of 85mm) for MFT Lumix cameras.

Notable features include a new design of stepping motor — which ensures fast, accurate autofocus even at big apertures — and enhanced optical image stabilization to deal with the low-light shooting those apertures invite.

The lens is built from 14 elements in 11 groups with two aspherical lenses, an extra-low-dispersion unit and an ultra-high-refractive index lens to ensure edge-to-edge sharpness and uniform color rendition. It also boasts all-metal construction, including the lens mount for those who think that makes a difference.

Also note: There’s an actual aperture ring on the lens barrel! The lens goes on sale in the next couple of months priced at $1,600 (pre-order here).


Also new from Panasonic are a herd of Lumix compacts, all price and release date TBA, because Lord knows you wouldn’t want to include something like that in a press release:

  • The DMC-SZ8, with 16-megapixel sensor, 12x zoom and WiFi.
  • The DMC-ZS35, with 16MP sensor, 20x zoom, WiFi, 1920×1080 HD video and a selfie-friendly 180-degree swivel LCD screen.
  • The DMC-ZS40, similar specs and build but 30x zoom.
  • The DMC-LZ40, with 20MP sensor and 42x zoom, equivalent to a 35mm range of 22mm to good-luck-without-a-tripod 924mm.

For more info on any of the above cameras or the new Nocticron lens, head over to Panasonic’s Press Room by clicking here.

  • Sky

    Impressive? That’s f/2.4 DOF equivalent on a full frame.
    Not impressive at all.

    Let’s see reviews before calling something “impressive”, cause spec-wise it doesn’t deserve such a loud headline.

  • Bernie Eck

    Lol. There is A LOT more to a lens than DOF. Very shortsighted, pardon the pun.

  • FelipeGR

    Certainly not impressive for DOF. But what about having an f1.2 lens for mirrorless that does not break the bank?

  • gorrapon

    it’s Autobots or Decepticon

    .. you’re either too young, or too old

  • bonjovi

    You clearly have limited skills as a photographer if DOF is your primary concern in a lens.

  • horatio hornbag

    As someone who actually uses 0.95 aperture lenses on MFT, I can tell you that such razor thin DOF is pointless. The main reason you want such a wide aperture is for low light photography, in which case MFT gives you better light gathering within a useful DOF range. Razor thin DOF is more often used by those talentless “photographers” that think a great photo is one with an obliterated background. Mainly because they have limited understanding of how to frame a subject.

  • Ben

    mmm, looks very nice, but my Oly 45 mm 1.8 does a very nice job at 1/4 of the price…

  • Fernando Callo

    I think he meant to say that its maximum aperture would be f/2.4 so the “Nocticron” meaning it’s kind of lost. Although f/2.4 is still a good aperture.

  • Dover

    And it is razor sharp wide open.

  • FelipeGR

    I wouldn’t really know. I photograph mostly airplanes and trains, so really thin DOF is not what you want to have most of the times (that said, I did see a shot of a plane, taken with a 135 f2.0 and it looked amazing).

  • Tommy Sar

    The prefix of “noc” refers to low light, you know, like “nocturnal.” The Noctilux, Nokton, Noktor, and Nocticron all have apertures of 1.2 or faster for larger light gathering.

    I mean, we dilate our pupils in low light to see better, not get blurry vision.

    Do people seriously only associate aperture to bokeh? Sad.

  • Fernando Callo

    Yeah I know, but the first comment says “…That’s f/2.4 DOF…” f-stop value is not for DOF, is for aperture, technically speaking (I know f stop affects DOF, yes). So I think he meant to say that, refering to aperture. That’s what I think.

  • Tommy Sar

    I appreciate your calm demeanor despite my comment.

    I think Sky is one of those folks who really can’t stand Micro Four-Thirds and insist on doing DOF conversions full-frame equivalents in some sad troll attempt to diminish the m4/3 format.

  • madmax

    Very expensive and too bulky for a small micro 4/3 camera. Nonsense. There are very good, more compact and cheaper options for that system.

  • Cinekpol

    If stating facts (cause DOF equivalent is a fact) is “diminishing m4/3″ than I have no words. Some people / systems get very easily offended, I see.

    Cause I don’t see anything offensive in his post.
    Guy just said that we don’t know anything about the lens but it’s focal length and aperture – which is a fact – and that aperture itself isn’t anything impressive – which is also a fact (MFT got f/0.95 lenses – now that’s impressive) – so he doesn’t see a reason to call this lens impressive before any reviews are done – nor do I.

    Sounds like a perfectly reasonable attitude – let’s wait for reviews before judging. You on the other hand try to defend something you have no clue about – now call that a “troll attempt”.

  • bob cooley

    I’m not sure why all the downvotes for Sky- If I’m reading this correctly, his/her comment is in regards to the fact that a micro4/3 sensor, a 1.4 aperture has the equivalent of a f/2.4 DoF (in Full Frame).

    For portrait shooters (and other applications )who really like to isolate the subject, this is pretty important, and a 2.4 DoF isn’t nearly as useful as a true 1.4 DoF…

  • Tommy Sar

    Hey, I got news for you. That DOF conversion relies on the sensor size, not the lens. The physics and optics is the same, but the different size in sensor determines the DOF size. Grab a Sigma lens with multiple mounts and put it on a FF, APS, or m4/3 and guess what? The DOF changes even though it’s the same lens design.

    So, to criticize a lens for the characteristic of a sensor is moronic. An f/1.2 lens is impressive whether it’s for a FF, APS, or m4/3. So, you mean to tell me Canon’s EF 1.2 L lenses, Nikon’s 1.2 G lenses and Fuji’s recent 1.2 lens aren’t impressive either? Would you insult a Canon 85 mm EF 1.2 L because it’s mounted on an APS canon 7D instead of a full-frame 5D Mk. III because the DOF is now wider? What if I use that same lens with a m4/3 adaptor on my EM-1? Is that lens trash now?

  • Tommy Sar

    I dunno about you, but I like to have my subject’s entire head in focus, not just their eyes. And I don’t want to have use a wider focal length or step further away to do that if I want to keep the aperture wide open for low light.

  • bob cooley

    That may be the way you shoot, but I like the control to get whatever i pre-envision out the of shot.
    Sometimes I don’t always want the whole head in focus (I may want just the tip of the nose to the eyes in focus, or nose to eyes to ears, or the whole head). -Point is, I like having more creative control. Portraits that always have the whole head in focus are pretty vanilla.
    Even with a 1.4 (in Full Frame) i can get the entire subject in focus if I step back a few steps – to gather more of the enviornment in the image.

    Everything is compromise – one of the many compromises you make, the smaller the sensor you go, is your control of the combiniation of DoF and light gathering. The compromise for Full Frame sensors is they generally need to be housed in lartger bodies.

    I’ll almost always choose the versitility I get with FF (or if I’m wanting to avoid the weight, I’ll carry one of the Fuji’s, which is at least aps-c/DX sized).

    But all this is besides the point – I was merely stating that Sky’s questions were valid:

    1) 2.4 is not an ‘impressive f/stop for DoF
    2) its premature to call a lens ‘impressive’ while it is still vaporware.


  • bob cooley

    Sure, but for those to whom it is important, its a major selling point (but to be fair, if really shallow DoF is imporant to you, you shouldn’t be shooting MFT in the first place).

  • Tommy Sar

    We both agree we have different styles of shooting. Great. But what I don’t get is why are you knocking a lens based on the characteristics of a sensor? This DOF equivalent conversion only comes into play based on what sensor it is mounted on. The optics of the lens stays the same. So, an f/1.2 lens is an f/1.2 lens through and through. As I posted in another comment, if I were to put a Canon 85mm 1.2 L on a m4/3 adapter and mount it on my EM-1, would you trash that lens now because the image it projects on the sensor is 150mm 2.4? It’s the same lens that if mounted on a full frame Canon 5D mk II, you’d get the actual 85mm 1.2. Judging a lens based on factors outside of itself is stupid.

    This lens was called impressive based on its’ huge f/1.2 aperture, which indicates its’ impressive ability to gather light. Unlike DOF, the light gathering capability of wide apertures does not change based on what sensor it projects on. The whole point of the aperture is to control the amount of light into the camera. That’s why certain lenses with fast apertures have the prefix “noc” for low light. Leica’s Noctilux’ name means “night light” where there is low light. They’re not called “bokilux” or “bokton” or “bokitron.” This whole DOF thing is an unavoidable trade-off of larger apertures that recently became a good thing. Kind of like making lemonades out of lemons but taken too far.

    Finally, this “unimpressive” Nocticron lens isn’t vaporware. It exists. People have touched it, used it, and posted samples. Initial impressions so far are positive for its’ sharpness wide open unlike other fast primes that are hazy wide open.

    Finally finally, if I come off a bit hard, it’s how I am. I’m not really flaming you. You seem nice.

  • robin

    actually kind of defeating the purpose of having a smaller system with such a big lens