Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S.
Sample images and brief review
This is a two-page article.
- Page One covers:
- Physical properties
Page Two covers:
- The lens in use
- Sample images
- Image quality
The Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S is Panasonic’s longest fixed focal length lens by some distance, out-reaching the Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 by some considerable distance. It is quite a specialist lens too, with a 6.2° angle of view that makes it ideal for shooting things that are quite difficult to get close to. Sport and wildlife are the obvious subjects for a 400mm equivalent lens, though with its close focusing ability it is very useful for flowers and general close-up work too.
This isn’t a cheap lens but we get a maximum aperture of f/2.8 for our money, which makes this model stand out as rather unique in the micro four thirds system. We also get a 1.4x teleconverter included in the price, which extends the focal length to 280mm, or 560mm in full frame terms. The brightness of the aperture, even with the teleconverter fitted, should help contrast detection systems operate more quickly, as well as helping its users get shots in low light that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. And with the Dual IS ll system we should be able to handhold this lens at shutter speeds as long as 1/8sec.
Like all of Panasonic’s Leica lenses, the 200mm f/2.8 is beautifully made and like most it is finished with full metal barrel exterior. It is actually pretty similar to the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 in shape, size and design, and the two look like they are parts of a handsome and identifiable series.
The focusing ring is textured with metal ribs for grip, as is the majority of the manual aperture ring. Apertures are marked in full stops from f/2.8 to f/22, and third stop increments can be easily found via the clicks stops between those that are marked. The clicks are nicely balanced between maintaining the aperture ring position and allowing the ring to turn without too much effort.
The barrel houses a number of switches that give the user quick access to a range of features. As we would expect, one switch deals with image stabilisation – simply on or off – and another with manual and auto focusing modes, while a third limits the range the AF hunts in to 3m to infinity instead of the 1.5m-to-infinity of the complete range the lens is able to focus in. These switches are much in line with what we have on the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3. This lens though has an additional function button and memory switch that we haven’t seen before.
The function button is quite straight forward and allows us to use it to control a function of the camera body or the lens itself. There are eight options that can be assigned via the camera body, as well as ‘off’:
- Focus Stop
- AF/AE Lock
- AF-Point Scope
- Focus Area Set
- AF Mode/MF
- Preview (depth of field)
The ability to alter what this function button does is built into the menu of the DC-G9, so will have to come to other models via firmware (the GH5 will have this by December).
The memory switch allows us save a focus position that we will want to come back to quickly at a later time. With the switch in the ‘Memory’ position we focus on something and then press the function button. The word ‘memo’ appears in the camera’s screen to denote the distance has been recorded. Pushing the switch to the ‘Call’ position and pressing the function button takes the focus back to that distance, whether there is a subject waiting there or not – so handy if you are waiting for a bird to land back on a perch.
The tripod foot is substantial and feels very solid, and is fitted with a loosening knob that allows the lens to rotate inside the collar for upright shooting. There is no click stop to mark the rotational positions, but a white mark on the barrel corresponds with a mark on the collar so we know when we are at 90°. As with the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3, the foot can be removed from the collar rather than the whole collar coming off the lens itself.
The lens comes with a large plastic lens hood that fits on any way and is attached via a tightening screw on the side – in the same way that the hood fits the 42.5mm f/1.2 lens. The interior of the hood is ribbed to prevent flare and reflections, and the unit is pretty light for its size. At first I was disappointed that it isn’t metal, but now I value its lightweight properties rather more.
Filter fans will be pleased the thread takes a standard 77mm filter – the last size before filters and filter systems becomes more expensive.
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