Panasonic’s Amazing ƒ1.2 Leica Portrait Lens Almost Available

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Panasonic, maker of everything from vacuum cleaners to bikes, can now count itself as a maker of awesome lenses. The brand-new Leica 42.5mm f1.2 for Micro Four Thirds cameras is not only impressive specs-wise (it’s an ultra-fast 85mm equivalent portrait lens) but by all accounts it takes some pretty amazing pictures.

A fast 85mm lens is a classic portrait lens. I used to own (and love) Nikon’s 85mm ƒ1,8mm prime – it was probably my favorite lens, even more than the fast 50mm that was almost always stuck to the from of my camera.

85mm is a great focal length for portraits as it offer the flattering, feature-flattening perspective of a telephoto lens while still letting you stay close to your subject. Also, the extra “zoom” gives a shallower depth-of-field[0]. This, combined with the incredible ƒ1.2 maximum aperture means that you can focus on your subject’s pupil and have their eyelashes be out of focus.

The lens’ full name is the Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 ASPH, and it’ll cost you $1,600, which is pretty reasonable considering what you’re getting. It’s also tiny, and has an optical image stabilizer. This, combined with the ƒ1.2 maximum aperture and the fact that you’re shooting with a mirrorless camera will probably let you take photos in almost pitch blackness without a tripod or flash.

Want one? I do. But we’ll have to wait a little while – the lens is due in “Q1” of this year, which could be any time up to the end of March.

[0] This isn’t strictly technically true, but when you’re looking through the viewfinder it may as well be.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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