Friday, July 29, 2016

PANASONIC-LEICA DG 100-400 - First Impression

WOOHOO!  As promised, I received the long awaited Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH zoom lens from Panasonic New Zealand today!

It was raining cats and dogs when this super-zoom arrived outside my front door  and I was dying to take it out with the Lumix GX8 (came together) for a spin!

Not wanting to give these lovely Panasonic beauties a shower, even though they both can take the plunge because both are weather sealed... I thought for this wet day 1, I will just take some quick shots from our rain drenched deck!

But first, lets look at this Leica designed super-zoom...

First of all, this is a heavy and PRICEY zoom lens, is Leica lenses EVER CHEAP?

Our local Photowarehouse is asking NZ$2,499 for this 985g (34.7 oz) beauty!

Why so much?

Take a look at the optics inside this very solid lens barrel,  all told, there are TWENTY optical element in THIRTEEN group and some of them are exotic glass!

Apart from that, this lens is also...

1. The LONGEST zoom lens in the M43 world!

2. This lens have the LONGEST zoom range of 100-400mm, also the FIRST lens in the M43 family to reach a 800mm Eq focal length!

3. It have an effective built-in I.S. (image stabiliser) which can work with the NEW DUAL I.S. in some of the Lumix camera bodies (like the GX8 and GX85) to provide a SEAMLESS 6 or 7 axis anti-shake technology!

On their DUAL I.S., Panasonic NZ clarifies...
Just a clarification on Dual IS. It is not adding extra axis of stabilisation over the 4 axis of the GX8 or 5 axis of the GX85. What it is doing is the lens IS axis and 2 of the axis of the body are the same (pitch and yaw movement) having both the lens and sensor working on these 2 critical axis at the same time and complementing each other’s stabilisation makes the overall system more stable.

The below video link may help demonstrate it.

4. The zoom came with a quick release tripod collar which is nearly flat! Well done Leica!

Many others have reviewed about this marvellous lens, I am the Johnny-Come-Lately, to get a long winded, good reading review... try THIS WEB SITE  :)

Now back to the two pictures I shot from our rain drenched deck...

The first picture of the tiny flowers was shot at 400mm (800mm Eq) handheld.  The lens was mounted on the supplied largish Lumix GX8, a good choice.  I make sure the DUAL I.S. is active.

Take a look at the Meta Data...

Those tiny brooms were captured at ISO800, max aperture of f/6.3, 1/50 sec at 800mm Eq!!

Since when you are able to ever get a sharp image at that SLOW speed and at a WHOOPING 800mm?!!

This is the 200% crop of those flowers of the same image...

I don't know about you, but I am stunned! Floored!

What about using this super zoom on OTHER M43 camera?

Like my Olympus OM-D E-M5?

This shot of a common NZ brown bird was shot at the same 800mm and this is the sharpest one from a lot of 10. 

The Meta-Data inform me the shutter speed was 1/150 sec.

I think the I.S. in the OM-D body did not work as effectively as the latest Lumix I.S. technology, thus you need a higher shutter speed to tame the camera shake.

Famous Last Words...

This is a quick first impression of the Panasonic Leica 100-400 zoom, I will be shooting other subjects, objects in the next two weeks.

Keep track...


They Shoot Planes With Panasonic Leica 100-400 Don't They?


Unknown said...

Hi, nice to see this
well I have been tossing up whether to get this lens or the Panasonic 100-300 but I can,t really decide I have read a lot of bad stuff about the 100-300 and some good stuff it seems the 100-300 needs more work to get good results whereas the 100-400 seems easier to point and shoot I don't gave a gx8 grabbed a G7 at a good price (Should have spent a hundred more in hindsight)so i can't use the dual stabilization
I guess with the extra reach I cant say gee the 300 is not long enough and it is the newest out so it isn't outdated but it is $1,151 more expensive
do you find it heavy to use hand held left hand under the lens
Your opinion appreciated
Brent Bary Blenheim

cy.leow said...

Hi Brent
The new 100-400 is an amazing lens! I am saying this because after using it for more than 2 weeks, I am really impress!!
The lens is NOT heavy to use, please read my latest test where I spend 4 hours handholding shots at the Wellington Zoo.
The lens balance very well with the GX8 but I would use it with the GX85 also.

Unknown said...

Hi again I have a question with regards to the focus ring a lot of people complaining how stiff it is in pre production units I presume yours is is from Panasonic nz retailer is it stiff to the point it makes the lens shift in the camera housing and makes zooming on a tripod impossible without introducing movement
2 do you own the 100-300 Panasonic lens ,if so how much of an improvement is it
I need to make a decision whether to get this within a week

cy.leow said...

Hi Brent
The 100-400 I reviewed was perfectly fine, not stiff. I never use the 100-300, so I don't know its stiffness problem. Any way, I spoke to the camera manager of Panasonic NZ and he said...

"Hi CY
The unit you had is performing to the level that final products are. The initial batch that reviewers had was very stiff but these have all been fixed. I have been using the 100-400mm for a few months now and don’t consider the lens to be too stiff. The 100-300 does have less resistance to turn but if the 100-400 was like this it would cause lens creep when looking at a downward angle or when hanging on a strap.
If your reader is concerned I would recommend they visit a retailer and test it before purchasing from them."

The 100-400 is a very impressive lens, I will buy it without hesitation.


Unknown said...

Hi,Thanks for that Unlike overseas suppliers and retail outlets I have yet to see a local retailer that will let one handle any product they stock unless previously opened for display especially in a small town like Blenheim
which really annoys me it's buy it too bad if it is not what you want you are stuck with it unless it is faulty
as it stands I have to order this 100-400 lens and pay for it through the local retailer
have you any links to any of the full size images you have posted

cy.leow said...

Hi again Brent
Are you on Facebook, if so, look for me Cy Leow.
Cheers - CY