Are micro four thirds Leica lenses really Leica lenses?

Started Aug 16, 2017 | Discussions thread
Jared Willson Contributing Member • Posts: 527
Re: Are micro four thirds Leica lenses really Leica lenses?

No, they're not really Leica lenses, but I wouldn't let that stop you from buying one. In the "olde" days, lens design was very different from what it is today. There were no high precision molded aspherical elements. There were no computer systems to aid in lens design. Multi-coatings weren't all that good, so having more than four or five elements tended to introduce unmanageable flare and problems with internal reflections. The designs were much less forgiving in terms of mechanical and assembly tolerances. Polishing machines weren't able to create spherical surfaces that were consistently at 1/40 wave accuracy. And not every manufacturer had access to the same glass, and no manufacturer had access to as many different optical glasses as today.

That has all changed. So the job of the designer has changed. Designing and building a lens that performs well optically is much easier than it was and no longer requires the same "craftsmanship" to produce. So there's no reason to think Panasonic can't produce lenses that are every bit as good as, if not better than, Leica themselves. Leica isn't going to risk hurting their reputation by letting Panasonic put the Leica name on a sub-par lens. Panasonic wouldn't want to, either.

So, are they Leica lenses? No, but they are still excellent lenses all the same. Heck, even the lenses made for the Leica TL cameras aren't really Leica lenses, but they are all very good performers.

I own a couple bags full of Leica M and R glass, some older lenses but mostly current designs. I love them all. Well, almost all of them anyway. But I'm not kidding myself into thinking my pictures are any better because I'm using them. If I had a bag full of Panasonic Leica's instead, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference ninety-eight times out of a hundred by looking at the images. If the lens performs, it's a great lens regardless of whether it was assembled in Wetzlar, Portugal, Jena, Japan, Taiwan, or China.

- Jared

 Jared Willson's gear list:Jared Willson's gear list
Hasselblad X1D Hasselblad XCD 90mm F3.2
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