I have 12-60 Panasonic lens for mft system. I'm about to buy 12-60 Leica for the same camera, because the photos I do with my current lens feel, smartphone-ish.

Depite the lenses are similar in focal range, the aperture is also quite close, the reviewer's say that Leica has better "optical characteristics" which make it's unique and more profesional.

Speakning frankly, what means, optical characteristics ? I know, more quality glass, more optical elements, wider aperture and so on but what it means for the result?

I can't find right worlds for the question I want to ask, but I hope you get my point in this description.

Thank you


2 Answers 2


Lens makers strive to make lenses that deliver a faithful image. This has never been achieved, because all lenses suffer from aberrations (optical jargon for error). There are 7 major aberrations. To mitigate, lens makers construct a complex array consisting of several individual lens elements crammed into the lens barrel. Some are air-spaced from one-another; some are cemented to their neighbor. Again, try as we might, residual aberrations plague us in every instance.

Not to say that quality lenses come close to flawlessness. However, most modern camera lens designs deliver a respectable image. Consider a high fidelity audio system. You spend a day’s pay and you buy a good unit. Want better? Now you must spend a week’s pay to improve your first unit. Want better? Now you must spend a month’s pay and you get only a minuscule improvement. There is no end to this exponential advancement. Camera lenses follow this curve. Want better? You need deep pockets.

How much improvement will you gain -- Panasonic vs. Leica? I will wager. You won’t see any significant difference unless you are viewing your work as a giant print or on an enormous computer screen. So my advice is, don’t waste your money on a lens with duplicate specifications. If dissatisfied, buy a super-duper wide-angle or telephoto or prime. First learn what lens focal length is the “normal” for your camera. Then learn what is wide-angle and what is telephoto for your camera. Then assess your needs and / or desires for future imagining tasks. Then buy what you think you need -- but don’t duplicate.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Or buy a good prime lens for your favorite focal length, it should perform better than most zoom lenses. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 16:40

It means less distortion, less color aberration, less vignetting, a bit more sharpness.

This said the smartphone-ish look of your pictures could come from the sensor or the post processing and have nothing to do with the lens.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've also readed words like "the picture looks more 3D" with profesional lens. So in other words, can professional lens make the same scene more professional and eye catchy? \$\endgroup\$
    – JZK
    May 25, 2020 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have to ask, not likely... What makes a good photo is the photographer. If you have to ask these questions, you aren't yet a lens-limited photographer. And catchiness is mostly a matter of post-processing. Look at all these catchy photos taken with a smartphone... \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    May 25, 2020 at 15:49

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