Leica doesn't make kit zooms. Every lens is designed for optimal image quality and performance and the range of APS-C TL zooms are all remarkably compact and light. The 11-23mm Super-Vario-Elmar-TL is my pick of the bunch.
For years the various D-Lux models have been the darlings of Leica aficionados. Light, fast and long-reaching, these little cameras have continued to impress with their versatility and their image quality. The latest D-Lux (Typ 109) continues this tradition but differs in a radical way. The new body, just a shade bulkier than the outgoing D-Lux 6, houses a 4/3 sensor that is almost five times as big as the 1/1.7 chip in the earlier camera. Yet the new camera has sufficient reference points to make the D-Lux 6 shooter feel completely at home.
So-called standard kit zooms often have a bad rap. But there are good ‘uns and not-so-good ‘uns. The Leica 18-56mm Vario-Elmar-TL is one of the best options if you value high image quality in a lightweight, tiny package. It about as far away from a “kit” zoom as you can get, but it is the first lens you should buy for your CL or TL.
What gear to pack for a five-day excursion to northern Switzerland and southern Germany? Mike left the decision until the past minute but in the end his head overruled his heart and he opted for lightness over the possibility of making billboard-sized prints.
The new and much-in-demand Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm zoom has just arrived for review. Mike bolted it to his Panasonic Lumix GX8 and to garner a few quick impressions.
As with the new Summarits, I was late in getting round to handling the latest silver Noctilux and 35mm Summilux. There were just too many new cameras coming out of Wetzlar. These lenses surprised me once I managed to screw them on my M and have a play.
Could these two zooms, the 8-18mm and 12-60mm Leica DG Vario-Elmarits, be all the lenses you need for micro four-thirds?
Fuji owners, particularly those who love the acclaimed "kit" 18-55 zoom with its f/2.8-f/4 aperture range, have been excited by the prospect of a professional fixed-aperture f/2.8 alternative, the new XF 16-55 f/2.8. It is a much bigger and heavier beast, but does offer a welcome wider starting angle of view and improved quality. Respected tester Tom Grill has put the lens through its paces and is impressed by its quality, both in terms of build and in optical performance. But the 16-55 lacks the optical image stabilisation that 18-55 owners take for granted. As he says, though, if you want OIS this lens isn't for you:
Wrist strap or neck strap? I vacillate between the two but, in general, I prefer the ever-ready convenience of a good wrist strap—my favourites being the inexpensive but high-quality Gordy, the Barton Braidy and Tie-her-up's chunky Rock 'n Roll. In neck straps I like Barton's Braided Style because if its rounded, smooth design. I usually steer clear of traditional flat leather straps because I find them prone to tangling and less smooth over clothing. That said, I do admire my sole Harry Benz strap, the Urushi which I bought specifically to match Niel the M7.