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Author Topic: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.  (Read 2375 times)

vulture

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After using this lens on a Pana GH 4 for three weeks: good to acceptable IQ in the 100-300mm range, long end unsatisfying.
Anybody here in this forum who can share first hands-on experiences with this lens on a FT body?
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David S

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Re: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 03:17:37 pm »

What is the lens like at f 8 and 400 mm?

Dave S

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vulture

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Re: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 02:59:28 am »

At f 8 / 400 mm IQ is noticeable better than 6.3 but a bit falling off to the edges; from f/10 and up starting diffraction, especially against the light.
Another issue with video (4K in A priority): As this lens not being parfocal, follow-focus with ASF/AFF setting on a GH 4 is showing small moments of out of focus when zooming in or out during recording or when moving subject passes through changing light areas like bright sunny to shadowy and back. Test recordings at different F-stops or ISO's 200-800 didn't show much difference although moving test target was of good contrast. With larger subjects less obvious, of course.
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vulture

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Re: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 09:47:57 pm »

Update Nov. 4th 2016:

This lens, after having used it on a wildlife shooting trip to  South Africa and Botswana for two months on a Panasonic GH 4 body  for video and stills, was disappointing my expectations and sometimes even frustrating.
Although I would rate the optical rendition as good to very good in the 100 - 300 mm range, handling and performance in the field on a GH4 body isn't more than mediocre, to say the least.
The greatest flaw in mechanical design: You can turn the lens barrel from horizontal to vertical 90 degrees counterclockwise only. It's above me what the Pana/Leica lens designers had in mind with this limitation - certainly not the usability of this lens in the field. That's a ZERO!
The major shortcoming in optical design: This lens is not parfocal, meaning the focal point is shifting when you change focal length.
This together with the erratic auto focus on a Pana GH4 body is making zooming in or out while rolling video quasi impossible as you get short or longer out-of focus phases. One may imagine what kind of fun you have trying the same in manual focus mode.
Auto focus on a Panasonic GH 4 body in general is a slow business, no matter if in stills or in video. It was working properly in high contrast scenes or in intense midday sunlight conditions only - but you would rarely like to work in those circumstances as a wildlife photographer. You'll have to fiddle with the various focal tracking methods the menu is offering to find the right one for your specific light conditions and subjects. Focus tracking a moving lion in Savannah environment is a matter of luck. If you are lucky to get the auto focus right on your moving subject withe tracking method in AFS/AFF you might experience a sudden move of the auto focus to infinity or some other focus point if the lens/camera body (GH4) combo decides so. A very low rating to Panasonic /Leica for auto focus performance of this camera body/lens combination.
Another annoying issue: When switching off the camera (for various reasons - say changing lens or battery or just saving battery power for instance) all the former focus and exposure settings no matter if in auto or manual mode are gone when switching on again. The GH 4 with this lens has its own way. Maybe I missed some setting in the rather complex menu list, but couldn't find any to override that  issue. That's another ZERO! - which could be addressed by firm ware I suppose.
Altogether this lens for that wildlife photography/videography I do is working  too slow and its versatility is very limited. I  did expect a lot more from Panasonic with a Leica designed lens. Much the more in this price range for that matter. I would not  recommend this lens to a photographer/videographer with an intention to use it in similar ways and in combination with a Panasonic GH 4 camera body as I did.
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