LUMIX LEICA DG VARIO-ELMAR 100-400mm f4.0-6.3 ASPH POWER OIS
If ever a lens could be considered to have historic significance, the Panasonic Lumix 100-400mm telezoom is it. That’s because here is a lens that’s the most potent illustration yet of the benefits of mirrorless cameras in general and the Micro Four Thirds format in particular. You get the idea when you realise that it’s effectively a 200-800mmm supertelephoto zoom… but one that you can comfortably handhold because it only weighs a little more than a kilogram. And one that you can actually contemplate buying because it sells for around $2200.
Suddenly whole new fields of photography open up which were less easily accessed before – wildlife and sports action being the obvious ones. In concert with the MFT sensors in either Panasonic or Olympus bodies, you get the ‘reach’ of up to 800mm with the better high ISO performance and much less noise. Better still, the optical construction has been designed to deliver a performance good enough for Leica to engrave its name on the barrel, while Panasonic’s ‘Power OIS’ image stabilisation enhances the possibilities when shooting in low light situations without a tripod. What’s more, the optical stabilisation works in co-operation with the body-based stabilisation in the current Lumix GX8, GX85 and G85 bodies, giving five-way correction.
On the outside, the 100400mm employs all-metal barrel tubes with protection against dust and moisture achieved via a gapless construction. There’s a clever variation on the design of the tripodmounting bracket which has a two-piece arrangement so only the foot section detaches. The rotating collar section is actually integrated into the lens barrel and incorporates various controls which always stay correctly orientated. This lens’s performance is truly exceptional too – excellent sharpness, negligible distortion and effective correction for chromatic aberrations. So the Lumix Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100400mm f4.0-6.3 zoom is such a remarkable package, you’d buy it first and then think about what camera body you’ll put on it. Never before has so much telephoto been so accessible and so affordable.
This is an exceptionally impressive product and, while this category has been really exciting over the last 12 months, nothing else came close.
ZOOM LENS – THE FINALISTS Fujinon XF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lumix Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f4.0-6.3 ASPH Power OIS Sigma 50-100mm f1.8 DC HSM Art.