Panasonic has announced its new Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm F2.8-4 ASPH Micro Four Thirds lens. It's one of a series of F2.8-4 lenses that the company teased when it released the Leica 12-60mm during CES in January, with a 50-200mm being next in line.

The 8-18, equivalent to 16-36mm when mounted on Micro Four Thirds bodies, has 15 elements, which include ED and UHR glass and four aspherics (one of which is made from ED glass). The lens also has a Nano Surface coating to reduce flare and ghosting. It's also designed to work with high-speed contrast-detect autofocus systems like those found on modern Panasonic cameras, and its internal STM motor keeps focusing quiet and smooth. Panasonic claims that its optical design reduces 'image shift' and improves tracking performance while zooming.

The 8-18mm F2.8-4 is fully weather-sealed and freezeproof to -10C/+14F.

You'll be able to pick one up for yourself in late May for $1099/£1049.

Press Release

LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 8-18mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH.

Covering 16 mm Ultra-Wide Angle to 36 mm (35mm camera equivalent)

Newark, NJ (April 18, 2017) –Panasonic is proud to introduce a new wide zoom digital interchangeable lens, the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 8-18mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH. (35 mm camera equivalent: 16-36 mm) as the second lens to be introduced from its LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 Series. 

Covering a focusing distance from ultra-wide angle to super telephoto, this new LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 series achieves exceptionally high descriptiveness for both photo and video recording and yet its size is compact. All lenses also take advantage of Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating technology to minimize ghosting and flaring. The 8-18 boasts a rugged, dust/splash-proof design and is freeze-proof down to -10℃ to deliver professional use under harsh conditions. The high-quality video recording capability is also one of the advantages of this lens series.

The new LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 8-18mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH offers a zoom range of ultra-wide16 mm to versatile 36 mm (35mm camera equivalent). It covers a variety of daily shooting situations, from dynamic landscapes to street photography. Taking advantage of the F2.8-4.0 high-speed performance, it is suitable for capturing starry sky or a night scenery. With a filter (67mm) such as ND or PL, this lens provides various expression in both photos and videos. 

Comprised of 15 elements in 10 groups, the lens system features an aspherical ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens, three aspherical lenses, two ED lenses and an UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens. The use of these lenses effectively suppresses spherical distortion or chromatic aberration to achieve high resolution and contrast from center to corners. 

The sensor drive at max. 240 fps enables to take full advantage of cameras with high-speed, high-precision Contrast AF. It also helps to reduce wobbling. Notably, the new lens excels in video recording performance. In addition to the silent operation achieved by the inner focus drive system, the micro-step drive system in the aperture control section helps the camera to smoothly capture brightness changes when zooming or panning. The optical design achieves exceptional barycentric stability to minimize image shifts during zooming. The AF tracking performance when zooming is also improved thanks to high-speed frame analysis for focus control.

Offered in sharp, metallic black, it stylishly matches the LUMIX G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) cameras.

The LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 Series lineup will expand with additional 50-200mm (100-400mm, 35mm camera equivalent) telephoto zoom lens.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm F2.8-4 ASPH specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format sizeFourThirds
Focal length8–18 mm
Image stabilizationNo
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Aperture
Maximum apertureF2.8–22
Minimum apertureF4–22
Number of diaphragm blades7
Aperture notesCircular blades
Optics
Elements15
Groups10
Special elements / coatingsAspherical ED, aspherical, ED, UHR elements + Nano Surface Coating.
Focus
Minimum focus0.23 m (9.06)
Maximum magnification0.12×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeStepper motor
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight315 g (0.69 lb)
Diameter73 mm (2.87)
Length88 mm (3.46)
SealingYes
ColourBlack
Power zoomNo
Filter thread67.0 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Tripod collarNo