At CES 2016, Panasonic announced the arrival later this year of the longest native Micro Four Thirds aka M43 zoom lens to date, the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens.
Given the specifications and price of this lens, best to place your pre-order now so you don’t miss out. The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 is going to be popular amongst moviemakers and stills photographers, with the first batch probably selling out before it even arrives in the stores and with later batches doubtless also being spoken for well in advance.
While the headline specs are as follows, the standout for me is ‘Leica’ in the name of the lens. Leica-made optics have a well-earned reputation for top-class resolution and image quality, a combination of superb micro-contrast and rich, warm color rendition. Although not made by Leica, the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 is Leica-designed.
- Micro Four Thirds System.
- 100-400mm in M43, 200-800mm 35mm equivalent.
- Aperture range: f/4 to f/22
- 1 Aspherical ED, 1 UED and 2 ED elements.
- High-speed 240 fps autofocus, focus limiter.
- POWER OIS and Dual IS compatibility with applicable cameras.
- Built-in rotating tripod collar & hood.
- Weather-resistant construction.
- Rounded nine-blade diaphragm.
Not included in that specs list is the retail price, US$1,797.99 at B&H. Add that to the lens’ size, weight and image stabilization, especially when used on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and the coming GH5 for the benefit of Dual IS, and you have a winner for shooting movies and stills.
Even attached to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 will lend its Power OIS to the stability equation when need.
I have not been a long lens person in the past, but as I evolve as a moviemaker and photographer, tackling an increasingly wider range of subjects and locations, it makes sense to add a lens of this quality, and especially affordable price, to my kit.
Some useful links for the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3
Panasonic’s Lumix Lounge is become an increasingly useful first stop for news and in=depth information about products in the Lumix range.
Lumix Luminary Daniel J. Cox shot images for the Panasonic marketing campaign on a hand-built pre-production model, and shares his impressions and photographs at Lumix Diaries: Shooting the New Leica Lumix 100-400mm.
Mr Cox’s top-of-mind opinion of the lens?:
It’s a professional quality lens I’ve been dreaming about ever since I started getting serious about the Lumix line of cameras nearly six years ago.
I am not a wildlife photographer like Mr Cox, nor a wildlife moviemaker, but I am happily surrounded by a legion of wonderful Australian birds and animals at the suburban home we moved into 3 years ago and am sorely tempted to record their beauty and quirks every day.
Right now I don’t have the long, fast lenses to do it well. But I have certainly added the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 to my wishlist.
Meanwhile I will continue recommending the Panasonic GX8 and Panasonic Lumix lenses (as well as Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses) to the many budding photographers and moviemakers who ask for my purchasing advice. [bctt tweet=”CES 2016: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 Aspheric Power OIS zoom announced. “]
Unveiled: Panasonic Super Telephoto Zoom, the Longest Native Lens Available for Micro Four Thirds
Something truly unique for Micro Four Thirds shooters, Panasonic has just introduced the longest native lens available for the system: the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.IS. Matched only in length by its own product name, the focal length of this lens covers an impressive 200-800mm equivalent range, making it an ideal choice for wildlife, nature, and sport photographers. And keeping with the Micro Four Thirds system’s traditions, this new optic yields a relatively compact, lightweight form factor that suits travel applications and handheld shooting.
Serving as a counterbalance to this expansive focal-length range, the lens is also imbued with a POWER O.I.S. system that compensates for camera shake to produce sharper imagery when shooting handheld. This system is also compatible with select Lumix G-series cameras’ Dual I.S. function that combines both in-body and lens-shift stabilization methods to more effectively reduce the appearance of camera shake. Also aided by the imaging capabilities of Lumix cameras, a 240 fps AF motor offers quick, precise, and quiet autofocus performance that is well-suited to multimedia applications.
In regard to the optical design, this lens was designed in collaboration with Leica and features a complex 20 elements in 13 groups, including a pair of extra-low dispersion elements, one Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion element, and one aspherical extra-low dispersion element. This combination of aspherical and low-dispersion glass helps to significantly reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations throughout the zoom range to achieve greater image sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy.
Beyond the performance attributes, this 100-400mm f/4-6.3 is also characterized by its intuitive physical design, which features an integrated quick-shift, two-part rotating tripod collar that permits fast switching between horizontal and vertical shooting orientations. A built-in lens hood is also featured, which utilizes a retractable, hide-away design, and a zoom ring lock that can be employed to prevent unwanted zoom creep or fix the lens at a specific focal length during use. Finally, gapless construction was also employed to render the lens dust- and moisture-resistant, to benefit working in inclement conditions and harsh outdoor environments.
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens
- Telephoto zoom designed for Micro Four Thirds system cameras, this lens offers a 200-800mm equivalent focal length.
- Designed in collaboration with Leica, the 20 elements, 13 groups optical design incorporates one aspherical extra-low dispersion element, one Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion element, and two extra-low dispersion elements. The combination of aspherical and low dispersion elements helps to reduce spherical aberrations and color fringing throughout the zoom range for improved sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy.
- POWER O.I.S. mechanism helps to control camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. This system is also compatible with the Dual I.S. function in select Lumix G cameras, which more effectively minimizes the appearance of camera shake by using both sensor-shift and lens-shift type stabilization methods.
- A 240 fps AF motor offers fast, precise, and near-silent focusing performance to benefit both stills shooting and video recording applications.
- Focus Limiter allows you to constrain the focusing range of the lens from its minimum focusing distance to infinity, or from 16.4′ to infinity.
- The minimum focusing distance is 4.3′, which pairs with an equivalent maximum magnification of 0.5x to support working with close-up subjects.
- A rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality when working with selective focus and shallow depth of field techniques.
- Gapless construction renders the lens both dust- and moisture-resistant to support photographing in outdoor and harsh environments.
- A built-in quick-shift, two-part rotating tripod collar permits quick switching between horizontal and vertical shooting orientations, and keeps the lens controls in the same place once rotated for more intuitive handling.
- An integrated hide-away lens hood can retract around the lens when not in use, or be deployed to guard against stray light from causing unwanted lens flare and ghosting.
- A zoom ring lock prevents unwanted lens creep from occurring while carrying the lens.
- Dedicated levers are available to select the Focus Limiter position, AF or MF focusing methods, or to deactivate the lens-based POWER O.I.S.
Learn more and buy the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens at B&H.
(cover photo credit: snap from B&H)