Best Panasonic Leica DG Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

A100-400 mm Micro 4/3, it still amounts to an equivalent 200-800 mm! The Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm f / 4-6.3 ASPH Power OIS naturally benefits from an all-weather finish and incorporates optical stabilization. The construction is quite ambitious: no less than 20 lenses divided into 13 groups with 1 ASPH glass, 2 ED glasses and 1 UD glass.

Best Panasonic Leica DG Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. Power O.I.S. Lens (International Model)

2. PANASONIC LUMIX G Leica DG Vario-Elmar Professional Lens, 100-400MM, F4.0-6.3 ASPH. MIRRORLESS Micro Four Thirds, Power Optical I.S, H-RS100400 (USA Black)

3. Leica Panasonic Super-telephoto Zoom Lens Micro Four Thirds DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm / F4.0-6.3 ASPH. Power O.I.S H-RS100400

4. Panasonic H-RS100400E 100-400 mm Leica DG Vario-Elmar Power Lens for Camera

Getting started

This new super telephoto zoom is very impressive. Of course, this is all things considered compared to the caliber of Micro 4/3 hybrids. The objective is therefore relatively heavy with almost 1 kg on the scale, and quite bulky: 17 cm in position 100 mm, and almost double in position 400 mm. Under these conditions, it is impossible to ignore a tripod support directly integrated into the optics. Panasonic has not installed a real collar, but it is the entire lower part of the lens that can, if necessary, rotate 90 ° in portrait.

The build quality of the lens is excellent. It is constructed entirely of metal, which gives it a beautiful appearance, a pleasant grip and a feeling of longevity. The design is neat and elegant. The lens incorporates the codes of 42.5mm f / 1.2 , also signed Leica.

This lens has 3 adjustment rings. In addition to the 2 classic rings for focal length and focusing, the last one allows you to lock the lens, for example for transport.

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The focus ring, located outward, is very well designed. It is wide enough and has a good grip. Its fluidity is perfect, which gives it good precision, but it does not have stop marks to signify the minimum focusing distance and infinity. There is also no dynamic focus distance indicator on top of the lens.

The inward zoom ring is the widest of the three. Its course is quite moderate. It will therefore be easy to switch quickly from 100 to 400 mm. However, it is sorely lacking in fluidity, it’s a shame!

Finally, on the side of the Panasonic Leica DG, at its base, there are three switches. The first is a focusing distance limiter, the second allows you to deactivate the autofocus and the last takes care of the operation of the optical stabilization.

Lab tests

The notion of dive is quite delicate to deal with. This is what we can assimilate to the “feeling of sharpness” and / or to the “precision” that we observe on an image. It can be very different from one lens to another, from one focal to another and from one aperture to another. It can also vary between the center and the edges of the image. We usually say that the sharpness is optimal in the center and at the average openings: f / 8 or f / 11 for example.

In addition, the sharpness will depend on the definition of the sensor of your device (we tested the lens with a Lumix GX80 of 16 Mpx) and the size of its sensor (Micro 4/3 for the GX80). The smaller the pixels, the more the system will show its limits due to diffraction. This phenomenon increases as you close the lens diaphragm.

The GX80 has a definition of 5,472 x 3,648 px. Each pixel therefore measures 3.7 micrometers side. The minimum aperture recommended to avoid diffraction problems is therefore f / 11!

We may have a brand new laboratory and more than 10 m of distance to take photos of the test scene and our sights, with an 800 mm equivalent is far from enough!

Exceptionally, for this slightly unusual lens, we will therefore ignore Imatest measurements and focus on the test scene that we have managed to have in its entirety up to a 400 mm equivalent.

The focal

A focal length corresponds to an angle of field – or angle of vision – covered by the camera equipped with the lens. The larger the focal length, the smaller the field of view: we speak of long focal length. Conversely, the shorter the focal length, the wider the field angle: we speak of wide-angle.

This 100-400 mm is a super tele zoom. Designed for Micro 4/3 hybrids, a conversion coefficient of 2x must be applied to obtain the “equivalent” focal length. So we have to do with a 200-800 mm! Suffice to say that this kind of focal is primarily designed to photograph from afar. Sports and wildlife photo enthusiasts will be delighted!

The vignetting

All the lenses give an image whose periphery, and particularly the corners, are darker. The vignetting is measured in IL (Lumination Index): the value indicated measures the difference, in IL, between the amount of light received by the edges and that received in the center.

The vignetting is present. As is often the case with zoom lenses, it is mainly felt at the shortest focal lengths and at the largest apertures. At 100 mm, it is visible up to f / 11 and considered “imposing” up to f / 8. At other focal lengths, it will be especially visible at the largest aperture.

Optical stabilization

The principle of an optical stabilizer is simple: the objective is equipped with a small lens mounted on a micromotor system which allows it to be mobile, that is to say to be able to move in two directions: vertical and horizontal. These micromotors are activated by a gyroscopic system which detects the slightest movements of the lens (and therefore of the photographer’s arm), and compensates them in order to correct them. Very schematically, if you raise your camera very slightly upwards, the lens in the objective moves downwards and the two movements cancel each other from an optical point of view: it is as if you did not have moved.

The optical stabilization embedded in this Panasonic Leica DG associated with that of the Lumix boxes (Dual IS technology) allows us to gain up to 6 EV in 800 mm equivalent! We managed to obtain a clear image freehand at 400 mm at 1/10 s, while the theory would be that the limit is at 1/800 s (inverse of the focal length without optical stabilization).

Bokeh

The bokeh is to be related to the depth of field. We can compare it to the “quality” of the blur or to the way in which the objective goes from the net to the blur – a very subjective notion, even if certain elements make it possible to predict things – on images with shallow depth of field. It depends on many parameters including mainly the design of the lens, the shape and the size of the diaphragm.

Although the Micro 4/3 sensor format and the small maximum apertures of this zoom (f / 4-6.3) do not play in favor of the beautiful bokeh effects, the very long focal lengths compensate and allow the realization of beautiful portraits with marked depth of field effects. To amplify the effect to the maximum, it is necessary to privilege the 400 mm, to use a relatively tight framing and to make sure to have a good distance between the principal subject and its background.

Verdict

This new super telephoto zoom is a first for the Micro 4/3 system. Imagine an equivalent 800 mm f / 6.3 in a stabilized lens, compact, light and enjoying a pretty good grip. This is enough to make more than one dream, especially in terms of price, we are very far from what the world of professional SLR can offer. An 800mm f / 5.6, for example, trades around € 14,000 at Canon and € 19,000 at Nikon! The only real competitor to this 100-400 mm (which is not really one, given its characteristics) is the new 300 mm f / 4 signed Olympus .

With such a long and wide focal range, the watchword of this Panasonic Leica is versatility. What previously seemed unattainable to you is now within sight. This lens is particularly comfortable for the wildlife portrait or sports photo, even if, for the latter, it is more the camera itself which will show its limits.

The optical quality delivered by the lens is good, without being exceptional. The usable openings are quite limited given their low maximum value (and slippery f / 4-6.3) and the diffraction that points the tip of his nose from f / 11. Overall, we have sharp and homogeneous images between the center and the edges with medium openings. Either way, a little boost on the case or processing will not hurt the images and will give crispness to fine detail.

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Even if this lens has an optical stabilization that can be combined with that present in the cameras (some models only for now), taking a clear photo with an 800 mm equivalent freehand is not at all easy. During our lab tests, we estimated the gain in IL at 6 in the worst possible configuration.

This Panasonic Leica DG hands down our Recommended label, although we would have liked to see it have a slightly higher optical quality.

STRONG POINTS

  • A 200-800 mm equivalent!
  • Weight / congestion ratio
  • Getting started
  • High performance optical stabilization (Dual IS)

WEAK POINTS

  • Low maximum openings
  • Hardness of the zoom ring
  • Lack of homogeneity of dive at larger openings

CONCLUSION

With such a long and wide focal range, the watchword of this Panasonic Leica DG is versatility. What previously seemed unattainable to you is now within sight. This lens is particularly comfortable for the wildlife portrait or sports photo, even if, for the latter, it is more the camera itself which will show its limits.

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