Panasonic has announced the latest lens in its Leica DG Vario-Elmarit zoom lens series, the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS “ultra telephoto” according to Panasonic’s parlance, offering the equivalent of 100mm to 400mm in the 35mm sensor format.
The addition of the optional DMW-TC14 1.4x teleconverter or DMW-TC20 2.0x teleconverter extends the lens’ default maximum focal length of 200mm to 280mm or 400mm depending on which teleconverter, in 35mm sensor terms equivalent to 560mm or 800mm.
Adding either teleconverter will reduce the lens’ effective aperture due to teleconverter’s light loss effect but at the gain of considerable ultra-telephoto optical reach.
The lens’ Power OIS stabilization works effectively alone on cameras such as the GH5S or more effectively again in conjunction with Dual IS 2-capable in-body stabilized cameras like Panasonic’s G9 or GH5, or previous-generation Dual IS as on the GX8.
The Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm’s focal length range with and without either teleconverter are testimony to the relative affordability, size and weight advantages of the Micro Four Thirds sensor format compared to the price, size and weight of its near-equivalents within the 35mm sensor format camera and lens systems.
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS
Panasonic’s expansion of its Leica optics-equipped Leica DG lens range with the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens is a welcome signal that the company is taking seriously M43’s viability as a professional-quality format for stills photography and moviemaking.
Leica lenses possess certain qualities regardless of the cameras for which they are designed, namely rich, warm colour, high sharpness and high micro-contrast.
That makes them particularly suitable for subjects and genres that benefit from the exposition of fine detail and lush colour like sports and wildlife, although Panasonic’s Lumix G own-brand lens series has some fine qualities such as small size, light weight and lower cost.
All lens designs are compromises to some degree, especially when price, size and weight are factors and the Vario-Elmarit lenses have compromised with variable maximum apertures, each having a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at their wide end and f/4.0 throughout most of their focal length range.
Accordingly, they are effectively f/4.0 lenses, adding some limitations, in my experience, to their uses under indoors and poor outdoors available light aka available darkness especially when shooting video.
Fast prime lenses such as the costlier but faster and still compact Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS and the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Aspheric Power OIS should be considered.
Alternatively, if Dual IS and Dual IS 2 are not absolutely essential for your work, consider Olympus’ great-for-video repeatable manual clutch focus-equipped M.Zuiko Pro professional lens series with its f/2.8 zoom lens fixed maximum apertures and f/1.2 maximum aperture prime lenses.
As borne out by my experience with Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm, the effects of variable maximum apertures are less limiting in stills photography where faster shutter speeds, higher ISOs and Dual IS and Dual IS 2 come into play.
Articles and Reviews
- 4/3 Rumors – Panasonic 50-200mm f/2.8-4 officially announced!
- DPReview – Panasonic officially unveils 50-200mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH
- ePHOTOzine – Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH.
- Imaging Resource – Panasonic 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH POWER OIS LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT
- Lumix G Experience – Panasonic launches new Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS
- The Phoblographer – The Panasonic 50-200mm f2.8-4.0 ASPH is Quite the Superzoom
- Panasonic Australia – Panasonic introduces a new Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens for superb image quality – PDF
- Panasonic Germany – Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm/F2,8-4,0 ASPH/O.I.S. (100-400mm KB)
- Panasonic USA – The New Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens for Superb Image Quality LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 50-200mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH. (H-ES50200) 100 mm to 400 mm* Super Telephoto with High Mobility
- Panasonic USA – NEW! LUMIX G LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT Professional Lens, 50-200mm, F2.8-4.0 ASPH., Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Mount, POWER O.I.S. – H-ES50200
- Panasonic UK – Lumix G H-ES50200 Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS
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- Panasonic DMW-TC14 1.4x Teleconverter – B&H
- Panasonic DMW-TC20 2x Teleconverter – B&H
- Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. Lens – B&H
- Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. Lens – B&H
- Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens – B&H
- Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens – B&H