LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 ASPH. (H-X2550) officially announced

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic is clearly keen to support its Micro Four Thirds Lumix G models just as much as its Lumix S full frame mirrorless cameras – and this LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 could hardly be possible on any other format.

We’re used to seeing f/2.8 constant aperture pro lenses, but this 25-50mm lens (50-100mm equivalent in full frame terms) breaks new ground. It joins Panasonic’s existing LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) 20-50mm equivalent lens, equally groundbreaking, to provide photographers and videographers with a 10-50mm (20-100mm equivalent) focal range with a constant f/1.7 maximum aperture and just two lenses.

Obviously the VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7, like the VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm F1.7 before it, is neither compact nor cheap, but these two lenses do offer a set of specifications you won’t find on any other format. The closest equivalents we can think of are the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and 50-100mm Art lenses for APS-C DSLRs – otherwise, this is new territory for lens design.

In effect, the existing VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm F1.7 is an ultra-wide-to-standard lens, while this new VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 is an ultra-fast short telephoto zoom.

LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 ASPH. specifications

Mount: Micro Four Thirds
Focal length: 25-50mm (50-100mm equivalent)
Maximum aperture: F1.7
Construction: 16 elements in 11 groups, inc. 1 aspherical and 3 ED elements
Minimum focus distance: 0.28m (wide), 0.31m (long)
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.42x (35mm equivalent)
Filter size: 77mm


(Image credit: Panasonic)

LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 ASPH. Key features

Panasonic says that this new lens, in combination with the VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm F1.7, effectively replaces separate 20mm, 24mm, 38mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 85mm and 100mm equivalent F1.7 prime lenses, though obviously these are bigger, heavier zooms than any corresponding primes.

The new lens is compatible with Panasonic’s latest 240fps high-speed sensor drive for fast AF, though the company’s use of its proprietary DFD contrast AF continues to divide opinion, with many feeling it’s time Panasonic swapped to a phase detect AF system.

The VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 is aimed equally at stills photographers and videographers, featuring a silent AF system and stemless aperture ring, together with ‘barycentric stability’ (we’ll have to look that up) and suppressed focus breathing.

LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 ASPH. price and availability

The LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 25-50mm F1.7 ASPH. Goes on sale at the end of August 2021 at an expected retail price of $1,799 / £1,799 / AU$2,899.

Read more:

• Best Micro Four Thirds lenses
• Panasonic Lumix GH6 announced
• Best Panasonic cameras
• Best filmmaking cameras

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com