Got my Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 lens yesterday.
This lens has been the source of some heavy internet debate, to do with the price & quality.
Several of the incidents I referred to in previous posts are related to this.
Lets get the really important bit out of the way first. It looks good! The retro Leica type hood is really sweet. Its slightly different to the other Panasonic Lumix lenses and closer in looks and feel to the Panasonic/Leica 4/3 lenses like the 14-50mm & 25mm lenses, though smaller & lighter. Feels good on G1/GH1 and GF1.
I took it out for some test shots. Left in bright sunshine, arrived at my destination under grey clouds. This led to a preponderance of F/2.8 shots. My attempts at outdoor macro were pathetic. I suppose trying to shoot close up shots of leaves, in a high wind at F/2.8, was doomed to failure. I took a few shots, but the weather was dispiriting, so I returned home.
Back there I set up a tripod & decided to do some test macro shots, mostly of cameras & lenses. As is obvious from my attempts, macro & "product shots" are not my strength. Its not something I enjoy, and it shows in the pictures. However I persevered and took shots at F/2.8, F/8 and F/22. For my tests I always use 3D objects. I've never seen the point of photographing 2-D charts as I'm never going to photograph anything like that.
So whats it like? Well its very good. Why wouldn't it be? Leica don't put their name to anything thats sub-standard & Panasonics track record of making lenses is excellent. I'm not comparing it with any other lens, so I have no idea whether its the best of its class or anything like that, but its sharp, with little CA and distortion. Does the job at its macro end & is also a very useful prime lens for landscape and portraits. Also the OIS works very well, as with all the other Panasonic lenses. I got good consistent results from F/2.8 to F/22.
Is it worth the money? Well that depends on how and why you use it. Its going to be used by my company for several things. We do a lot of work for science education, including shooting experiments. The 1:1 macro will be incredibly useful for that, both for stills and video. For weddings, events and portraits its a fast, sharp lens. F/2 would have been better, but F/2.8 works indoors. For me its a very useful landscape lens. Plus I do like prime lenses. I like their quality and the saving in weight & size. I think the lens will work very nicely as a pair with the 20mm F/1.7. Nothing extreme, but both capable of fine results.
Theres a really comprehensive review at:- http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/panasonic_45_2p8_o20/
There are some negatives in this review, some of which I'm a bit bewildered by - such as
"Rectangular lens hood doesn't reverse for storage" ???
"Slow maximum aperture not ideal for portrait use" Slow?
however overall its a good technical review.
People can only come to their own decisions as to whether its for them. If you have m4/3 camera(s) and you want AF + 1:1 macro then this is it. There is an Olympus 4/3 50mm F/2 macro, which is cheaper and faster, but this is 1:2 macro and if you want to use it on m4/3 you need an adapter. Plus it doesn't autofocus on G1/GH1/GF1 and has no image stabilisation so I can't really see that its an option.
There will be more entries later on this lens, but for now I feel very positive about it.
This is one of the reasons I don't do macro. I always think everything looks terrible close-up! This is my Voigtlander 15mm lens & this makes it look worse than it is.