What is the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS?
Micro Four Thirds customers have by no means been in need of a wide variety of telephoto lenses from which to make their choice. Add collectively all of the telephoto zoom choices from Panasonic, Olympus and third-party producers that cater for the Four Thirds mount, and also you’ll realise there’s a major providing and a few sensational examples.
Two standout zoom lenses are the Panasonic 100-400mm f/Four-6.Three Power OIS and Olympus 40-150mm f/2.eight Pro M.Zuiko Digital. However, when the variety of telephoto zooms are in comparison with the variety of fastened telephoto primes that exceed the 100mm focal size, it turns into apparent that the latter are pretty skinny on the bottom.
Late final 12 months, Panasonic regarded to handle its scarcity of fastened telephoto lenses by unveiling the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS. Given the chance to learn the way it performs, I jumped on the likelihood to place it by way of its paces in the kind of setting that it’s more likely to see common use.
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Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS – Features
Micro Four Thirds lenses are famend for being smaller, lighter and customarily much less cumbersome than DSLR optics. When you contemplate the 2x crop issue, and the truth that what we’re taking a look at right here is actually a hard and fast 400mm f/2.eight lens, it gained’t be lengthy earlier than you admire how compact it’s in comparison with DSLR equivalents.
To put it in perspective, Canon’s EF 400mm f/2.eight L IS II USM extends nearly 35cm from the entrance of the digicam, weighs Three.85kg, and prices an exorbitant £9,499. In comparability, this premium optic – made in collaboration with Leica – has an general size of 17.4cm, weighs 1.2kg and prices £2,699.
Better nonetheless, Panasonic throws in a 1.4x teleconverter as a part of the package deal, offering a formidable 560mm attain with out having to spend a penny extra.
As a lens that appears set to entice sports activities and wildlife photographers, it has to place in sensational efficiency to entice critical customers to half with greater than £2500. Panasonic claims that this has been efficiently achieved by designing a posh association of 15 lens components in 13 teams. A pair of UED (extremely further low dispersion) glass lenses are additionally included to attain excessive decision whereas suppressing distortion and chromatic aberration. Nine round aperture blades make up the optical design.
The lens is supplied with built-in optical picture stabilisation to counteract handshake. It’s been designed to work most successfully with Dual IS (Image Stabilizer) and Dual IS II programs, which you’ll discover on most Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras – and which give as much as 6.5 stops of compensation with the latter. That stated, there’s nothing to cease it getting used with Olympus digicam our bodies that function in-body 5-axis stabilisation, such because the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.
At the entrance, the lens accepts filters and adapters through the frequent 77mm thread dimension. Other vital options of be aware embrace its 1.15m minimal focusing distance and the equipment provided within the field. These embrace the 1.4x teleconverter (DMW-TC14), a protracted plastic lens hood, detachable tripod mount, lens cap and storage bag.
Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS – Build and dealing with
The lens sports activities comparable styling to Panasonic’s 100-400mm f/Four-6.Three Power OIS telephoto zoom, tapering in in the direction of its metallic lens mount on the rear. It has a really high-end end, with engraved painted lettering, knurled lens-collar launch and tripod mount knobs. The solely factor I’d say concerning the latter is that it could profit from a hexagonal gap, to permit for tightening with an Allen key. In use, I discovered it fairly troublesome to get a decent sufficient flip to stop it coming free. Those with smaller fingers could discover it simpler, nevertheless.
Unlike the tripod mount, the lens collar isn’t detachable. However, it does rotate fluidly and the white traces on the barrel provide a visible help for aligning it exactly in panorama or portrait orientation.
The lens feels nicely balanced if coupled to G-series cameras with a big grip, such because the Lumix G9 and Lumix GH5. It isn’t an unwieldy lens, by any means, and may be comfortably hand-held for lengthy durations with out the necessity for a monopod or tripod.
This makes it splendid for occasions if you’d prefer to journey mild. It allowed me to shoot spur of the second pictures on safari with ease, the place there’s usually little area or time to assemble any extra assist.
The barrel rests comfortably within the palm of the hand, with out feeling too chunky. The AF/MF and Power OIS switches are set again in the direction of the rear and have a barely totally different profile to 1 one other, so you may establish which is which from behind the digicam. Ahead of the lens collar is a spotlight vary limiter swap; under it is a operate button that may be pressed to accumulate focus instantly when the related swap is ready to Call.
The reminiscence swap setting is helpful for recording a spotlight place and recalling it later, whereas the Fn setting permits customers to customize which function the operate button gives direct entry to. Ahead of those controls you’ll come throughout a smooth-to-operate focus ring and pretty skinny aperture ring that clicks by way of its vary in 1/Three-stop increments from f/2.eight to f/22.
As is to be anticipated of a lens that can see extra use open air than indoors, it has a freeze-, dust- and splash-proof development. The lens grew to become moist throughout a rain bathe, however didn’t present any ill-effects, persevering with to work faultlessly throughout testing.
Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS – Image high quality
Real-world testing of the lens produced very satisfying outcomes. Although I may solely assessment pictures on the rear display of the digicam while on safari, inspection at excessive magnification in playback mode advised the lens was delivering some extraordinarily sharp outcomes.
The effectiveness of digicam and lens stabilisation labored a deal with when the lens was used handheld. With the digicam braced towards my eye, and the lens supported in my left hand, I captured sharp pictures as sluggish as 1/15sec. Turning the Power OIS on and off once more is an actual eye-opener of how efficient it’s at negating the digicam shake that’s accentuated at such a protracted focal size.
Once again on the workplace, outcomes taken within the lab had been fastidiously inspected alongside my safari pictures. Shots taken at f/2.eight create pleasing bokeh, each in entrance of and behind topics. However, to eke out the perfect sharpness from centre to edge it’s value closing it down by a cease to f/Four.
Lab checks confirmed my real-world findings that f/Four is the sweet-spot, with centre and nook figures at f/eight being much like these recorded at f/2.eight. The impression of diffraction typically hits Micro Four Thirds lenses a few stops sooner than full body, so it’s suggested that aperture settings past f/11 (f/16 and f/22) are prevented.
Close inspection of high-contrast edges reveals the 2 extremely extra-low dispersion glass components do a mighty tremendous job of controlling fringing.
Corner shading is nicely dealt with, too, and isn’t visually intrusive. As our shading checks reveal, the sting of the body is zero.5EV darker than the centre at f/2.eight. Those who use the lens with the provided 1.4x teleconverter may also be glad that pictures don’t undergo from darkish corners, even with the 1-stop discount in most aperture at f/Four.
Typically for a lens that’s designed to excel at a hard and fast focal size, curvilinear distortion is nearly non-existent. Users can shoot with confidence that pictures gained’t undergo from barrel or pincushion distortion in the direction of the sting.
The graph exhibits that the lens is sharper within the centre than on the edge when it’s used large open at f/2.eight. Stopping the aperture down sees the extent of sharpness within the centre and on the edge enhance, to the place it peaks round f/Four.
Centre and edge sharpness stay greater at f/5.6 than at f/2.eight, however by f/11 sharpness begins to plummet as diffraction begins to take its toll. For the perfect sharpness customers ought to use the lens between f/2.eight and f/eight, while steering away from f/16 and f/22.
The vignetting that seems when the lens is used at its most aperture isn’t an enormous explanation for concern. The fall off recorded at f/2.eight was zero.5EV, which reduces to round zero.3EV when the lens is closed down a cease to f/Four.
By the time the lens is stopped right down to f/5.6, nook shading is nearly non-existent. As the pattern pictures above present, the lens can be utilized at its most aperture with out vignetting being too visually disturbing.
As you’d anticipate from a protracted telephoto prime, distortion is nicely managed. The traces on the distortion chart are rendered completely straight proper into the nook of the body. At the time of testing a lens profile wasn’t out there in ACR or Lightroom CC; nevertheless, it’s anticipated to reach in a future replace.
Why purchase the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS?
Buying a protracted and quick, fastened focal size telephoto prime all the time includes spending an unlimited amount of cash – and it’s often the case that they’re value significantly greater than the worth of the digicam with which they’ll be paired.
Although I can’t deny that £2699 is a big amount of cash to drop on the lens reviewed right here, the very fact it’s round £7000 cheaper than a 400mm f/2.eight telephoto prime for a DSLR, and is roughly one-third the scale and weight of typical 400mm DSLR lens, does present some justification for critical sports activities and wildlife photographers.
Most importantly, it’s a sensational performer. It delivers the razor-sharp outcomes one expects from a lens of its pedigree, whereas being nimble for handheld taking pictures and compact sufficient that it doesn’t take up an excessive amount of area if you’re travelling.
As I found, it’s an outstanding safari lens and the 1.4x teleconverter could make all of the distinction between filling the body together with your topic and never. Having the converter bundled within the field is the icing on what is among the most interesting telephoto prime lenses ever made for the Micro Four Thirds mount.
And if all the above wasn’t ok information, the lens is now being stocked by lens-hire corporations akin to Hirecamera.com, the place for £42 a day (excluding VAT) you may strive before you purchase – or lease it for a as soon as in a lifetime journey.
The Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.eight Power OIS is a extremely beneficial telephoto prime for the Micro Four Thirds mount. It affords the velocity, efficiency and strong construct high quality critical sports activities and wildlife photographers demand.