This is a real world review of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron from the perspective of a professional wedding photographer and avid photography enthusiast. Without a doubt, the Nocticron is the single most enjoyable lens I have ever used, and it rarely takes a back seat to my other lenses.
Before purchasing the Nocticron I was taking portraits with the wonderful Panasonic Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8, but most of the time I was using it as a 100mm prime lens, which forced me to stand way too far back from my subjects. The subject isolation was really nice at 100mm, but I had a hard time due to the fact it was difficult to communicate with my clients from so far back. As soon as the Nocticron was announced in 2014, I knew it was the lens that would change everything about the way I shoot.
The Panasonic Lumix DG Nocticron has the same angle of view as an 85mm lens on a full frame camera. It was the first f/1.2 lens to ever incorporate in lens image stabilization, which is an incredible feature for low light shooting, and a benefit to keeping ISO as low as possible. At f/1.2 the Nocticron is tack sharp! It is incredible the amount of detail it can render at its widest aperture and it only gets better as you stop down. By f/4 the Nocticron is critically sharp, but to be honest, I rarely leave f/1.2 due to the exceptional performance and the gorgeous rendering of the background.
If you want bokeh, this lens can deliver! The out of focus rendering of the Nocticron is incredibly smooth and pleasing to the eye. I love using this lens for any kind of portrait or detail shot, whether for family portraits, head shots, or weddings – the Nocticron can do it all. The aperture ring is a fantastic addition allowing me to control the aperture either from the lens or in camera. There are also two physical switches on the side of the lens, one that controls switching from autofocus to manual focus, and the other activates the O.I.S. Optical Image Stabilization.
While using cameras like the Lumix GH5 or Lumix G9, you can take advantage of the O.I.S. in the Nocticron and the In Body Image Stabilization to get Dual Image Stabilization. With the Nocticron attached to a camera like the Panasonic G9 you are able to get over 5 stops of compensation, which is an incredible feat. This allows for ultra-low shutter speeds and reduces any kind of vibration or hand shake while taking photos.
The build quality of the Nocticron is superb with its all metal exterior design and robust size, it is balanced nicely on larger camera bodies like the Lumix G9 or GH5, yet still feels comfortable on bodies like the Lumix G85 or GX8.
To wrap it up, the Panasonic Lumix Nocticron is a premium lens that delivers the goods for the professional portrait and wedding photographer.