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Update: Is the Panasonic Lumix 24-105 L mount any good?

I received an email last week from someone who informed about the Panasonic 24-105 L mount lens. ‘Is it any good?’ he asked. While this is not my official review, I’ve spend enough time with it to draw some conclusions. So let’s make this quick and dirty.

  1. The Panasonic 24-105 isn’t nearly as sharp as the Leica 24-90. Yet, I much prefer the Pana to the Leica. For me, the only reason to grab a zoom lens with auto focus is when I need the speed of AF and versatility of a zoom. In those situations, sharpness isn’t my biggest concern. If I need sharpness, I have an army of fast Leica primes to choose from.
  2. The Panasonic 24-105 is light en small enough to fit in my Billingham 225 as a back-up lens that I might not use on the entire assignment. Yet, it is more than good enough for assignments in dusty environments where I don’t want to swap lenses. That means I have used it on weddings in the most chaotic situations where a zoom is handy and AF is convenient. Could I live without it? Yes, I’ve lived without zooms for a very long time now. It’s convenient though. Like a microwave. I’ve also used it as my only lens on a few of my magazine assignments where ease (and speed) of use are more important than pixel to pixel sharpness.
  3. I would’t take this lens as my only lens when going out for landscape photography. On the other hand, it you use a tripod and stop it down a bit, you’ll be fine.
  4. I really don’t like zooms. It makes me feel restless and it gets in my way. There’s too much to choose from. Man, primes are a blessing.
  5. The AF is fast, snappy and usually quite reliable. You don’t get his while shooting though. You have to rely that the camera and lens are doing their job, while sometimes it feels focus is off all the time. I get this feeling with most AF-lenses on the SL though. But it just works. Even when your subject is moving.
  6. If you’re after one AF zoom lens as a backup for your other Leica (M) lenses and you’re not a pixel peeper, this is probably the lens to buy.

If you have any specific questions, let me know and I might put out another Q&A.

Shooting outside. Wide open the edge to edge sharpness isn’t the best, but good enough.

Macro on a zoom lens. Yes, it’s not Elmarit-R territory, but it’s nice enough.

Moving subjects! Maybe not the sharpest, but who cares? It’s all about the emotion.

Rocking that Eastman guitar.

Wedding in progress…

Here I was confident enough to shoot one of the most important moments with the 24-105.

A bit of play while the couple is out.