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Old 22nd March 2018
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Re: Broken Leica DG 8-18mm

The problem with a lot of modern lenses is that the "core" (the central structure of the lens onto which everything else is hung) is made of plastic. The mount is then attached to the core using high-bite screws that connect into plastic turrets. Of course, this means that there's a weak point to shear force at the point where the turrets are moulded into the core; and shear force is exactly what you get when you drop the camera with the lens attached. It's by no means unique to Panasonic, or even m43 lenses (I know this since I recently took apart a Tamron Nikon lens to fix it for a friend).

I can remember in fact back in the day when Olympus launched the 12-40 that there was a bit of noise from buyers whose lenses had come adrift from the mount, apparently after only small knocks or drops. I seem to recall that Olympus were exceptional in dealing with it and offered many users repairs FOC. A fine example of how to deal with a potential PR disaster.

Of course plastic does have advantages too - it's much better at resisting compression and it's mostly elastic to deformation - so dropping a plastic lens when it's not mounted to the camera is likely to yield a better outcome than dropping a solid metal one. It's also much more thermally stable so calibration issues won't be affected by temperature so much.

I find it amusing that lenses that look ostensibly metal (e.g. Oly "Pro" or "Panasonic Leica" lenses) are really just metal cladding over a plastic core. It's cosmetic entirely. When I read the usual expert reviewers claiming that a particular lens is "built like a tank", when in fact the metal is literally just a sub-mm skin on top of plastic, it makes me smile.

I suspect nearly all m43 lenses are made this way. We do know that the 75/1.8 has a metal core though (look up Roger Cicalla's tear down of it) and I suspect the 300/4 probably is too. In reality modern lenses are really amazing pieces of technology that perform at levels it would have been hard to imagine even 20 years ago.

I have nothing to complain about in terms of quality of Panasonic lenses I've bought in the past - but I do find this lack of spares availability and repair capability to be pretty shocking.
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