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Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH Hands-On Preview

We go hands-on with the longest telephoto zoom lens available for Micro Four Thirds cameras, the Leica 100-400mm.

|  Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH in Interchangeable Lenses
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Panasonic Leica 100 400mm Zoom Lens (6)

The new Leica 100-400mm f/4-6.3 telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras gives the equivalent of 200-800mm in 35mm terms, making it one of the longest telephoto zoom lenses available for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

View sample photos from the Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH lens.

Panasonic Leica 100 400mm Zoom Lens (10)

The lens features Power Optical Image Stabilisation, along with high-speed 240fps AF drive, which should provide fast focus. The lens is, also, splash and dustproof, and has a lockable zoom pull feature, so you can pull the end of the zoom to set the zoom position, or when locked, you turn the usual zoom ring.

Panasonic Leica 100 400mm Zoom Lens (11)

The lens features a built-in extendable lens hood, the lens is constructed of metal, with a metal bayonet, and features a rotating tripod mount, with rotating switches as well, so that you can easily access these even when shooting in portrait orientation. The lens feels extremely well built, although we were only looking at a pre-production version of the lens.

Panasonic Leica 100 400mm Zoom Lens (3)

Key Features:

  • 100-400mm Leica lens, 200-800mm equivalent
  • f/4-6.3 aperture range
  • 240fps AF drive, internal focus
  • Power Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
  • 4K video compatible / DFD compatible
  • Dual IS compatible
  • Splash / dustproof
  • 171.5mm length
  • 83mm diameter
  • 985g weight 
  • 72mm filter size

Panasonic Leica 100 400mm Zoom Lens (2)

The lens has a price of £1349 (RRP,) as well as a March 2016 shipping date, with the lens made in Yamagata, Japan, and features 20 lens elements, as well as a close macro focus.

View sample photos from the Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH lens.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH Hands-On Photos of Equipment

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Comments


Andy_Curtis 6 808 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2016 7:29AM
The markings on the switches seem to have started rubbing off already? Surely not from press picking it up over and over?

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lemmy 13 2.8k United Kingdom
6 Jan 2016 11:26AM

Quote:The markings on the switches seem to have started rubbing off already? Surely not from press picking it up over and over?]
It's a pre-production sample. They don't set up for production quality until you've finalized everything. These lenses are made to give an in advance showcase of the overall product, not detailed examination.
15 Jan 2016 7:38PM
It's a whole lot more than the 100-300mm, do you think it is worth the extra for an amateur enthusiast?
Kawika 6 7
16 Feb 2016 3:56AM

Quote:It's a whole lot more than the 100-300mm, do you think it is worth the extra for an amateur enthusiast?

I've been asking myself the same question ever since the price was known. It all depends on what's important to you. (Isn't that always the case?) For me, the main goal is shooting surfers and wildlife at long ranges. I've been shooting with the Lumix 100-300mm and getting good results, but all too often I find myself using the Panny sensor crop "Ext Tele" which gives an additional 1.4x reach at 8mp (with a 16mp camera). Net result is 851mm eq. Great range, but not so great resolution.
I'm starting to realize that the extra reach is important enough for me that I'll probably go ahead and buy this lens. Take care of it and it will last a lifetime. And meanwhile it will enable me to get the shots I want at the level of IQ that I want.
I had planned on buying a GX8 to upgrade from GX7. But since I can't justify both the GX8 and the 100-400mm lens, I've realized that the lens is more significant in terms of my photography needs and goals.
Hope this helps.
16 Feb 2016 7:31AM
Thanks Kawika, I guess deep down I know I don't really need it, most of my photography is using the 12-35 f2.8 and 14-140mm, I bought the G7 (before the GX8 was announced) and GX8 last year and I promised myself that would be it for a while ! I want to do more aviation photography from the ground, and so in a way I am inventing a need, but I would be racked with guilt delighting over my aviation close ups whilst my children walk to school with no shoes 😬
lemmy 13 2.8k United Kingdom
16 Feb 2016 6:53PM

Quote:but I would be racked with guilt delighting over my aviation close ups whilst my children walk to school with no shoes
Nonsense! I walked barefoot 25 miles each way to and from school 6 days a week for 14 years on a road surfaced with broken glass. It was in summer temperatures of 50c and winter ones of -25c. Never did me any harm. Character forming. Your children will thank you for it later on.

Buy the lens!
17 Feb 2016 9:07PM
25 miles over broken glass, at -25, Luxury ! Thanks Lemmy, advice well heeded Wink

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