Unveiled: Panasonic Super Telephoto Zoom, the Longest Native Lens Available for Micro Four Thirds

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Something truly unique for Micro Four Thirds shooters, Panasonic has just introduced the longest native lens available for the system: the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.IS. Matched only in length by its own product name, the focal length of this lens covers an impressive 200-800mm equivalent range, making it an ideal choice for wildlife, nature, and sport photographers. And keeping with the Micro Four Thirds system’s traditions, this new optic yields a relatively compact, lightweight form factor that suits travel applications and handheld shooting.

Serving as a counterbalance to this expansive focal-length range, the lens is also imbued with a POWER O.I.S. system that compensates for camera shake to produce sharper imagery when shooting handheld. This system is also compatible with select Lumix G-series cameras’ Dual I.S. function that combines both in-body and lens-shift stabilization methods to more effectively reduce the appearance of camera shake. Also aided by the imaging capabilities of Lumix cameras, a 240 fps AF motor offers quick, precise, and quiet autofocus performance that is well-suited to multimedia applications.

In regard to the optical design, this lens was designed in collaboration with Leica and features a complex 20 elements in 13 groups, including a pair of extra-low dispersion elements, one Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion element, and one aspherical extra-low dispersion element. This combination of aspherical and low-dispersion glass helps to significantly reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations throughout the zoom range to achieve greater image sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy.

Beyond the performance attributes, this 100-400mm f/4-6.3 is also characterized by its intuitive physical design, which features an integrated quick-shift, two-part rotating tripod collar that permits fast switching between horizontal and vertical shooting orientations. A built-in lens hood is also featured, which utilizes a retractable, hide-away design, and a zoom ring lock that can be employed to prevent unwanted zoom creep or fix the lens at a specific focal length during use. Finally, gapless construction was also employed to render the lens dust- and moisture-resistant, to benefit working in inclement conditions and harsh outdoor environments.

23 Comments

Am I correct that the this lens is compatible with the Olympus Pen-F micro 4/3rds camera?

Yes, this lens would be compatible with the Olympus PEN-F camera as well. 

I apologies for my ignorance but does it suit the mirror less LUMIX range of cameras as I am eagerly waiting for this size lens.

Yes, the lens is a Micro 4/3rds type mount which all of the Panasonic Mirrorless interchangable lens cameras have. 

Hi, this is a very interesting lens for my existing Olympus M43 equipment in addition.

Does this lens support the dual image stabilisation with the Olympus OM-D EM1 and M5 MarkII bodies and do the cameras also??

Best regards, Carsten.

Panasonic lenses capable of Dual IS support can be used with the Olympus OM-D EM1 and M5 Mark II bodies however the in body stabilization of these cameras would not work in tandem with the stabilization of the Panasonic lens in the same manner that a Panasonic body would. Rather, these Olympus bodies will allow you to select Lens I.S. Priority which, as implied, uses the lenses stabilization over the in body stabilization.

Yossi,

Are you certain about this lens supporting dual IS with the E-M1 and E-M5 mkll? I was not aware this was the case. If it is true, this makes a compelling argument for Olympus owners to purchase this lens.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We were able to look further into the issue of compatibility and found our original reply to be erroneous. The above reply has been revised and now reflects the correct information. I do apologize for any inconvenience.

For those of you interested in more info and more images shot with the new 100-400mm lens you can visit my Blog at http://naturalexposures.com/leica-lumix-100-400mm/. Lots of images and a behind the scenes look at producing the advertsiing images for the release of the lens.

There are many nice images but no info on lens/camera settings. 

Also, does the gx-8 have the teleconverter mode like my gh3 that effectively doubles the lens to a 400-1600 zoom?

The Extended Tele Conversion Mode is also available on the GX8 and can be set to double (2x) magnification. For stills the picture size would need to be set to Medium [M] or Small [S] for a 1.2x or 1.4x magnification, with 2x magnification only being compatible with the Small [S] size. 

Would this lense fit the DMC-G3?

Also, any idea on cost?

Thanks

Micro 4/3 is a fully compatible system. In other words, anything that is labeled micro 4/3 will work with anything else that's labeled the same. 

Yes, this would be fully compatible with the Panasonic DMC-G3. Our site will have the current pricing: http://bhpho.to/22UcERs

Very interesting and tempting - although my current favorite lens for my GX-8 is the 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH, the exact opposite end of the range compared with this unit.  I already own several long focal length Panasonic/Lumix lenses including a 100-300mm F/4.0-5.6 OIS.  This would probably eliminate a couple of my longer zooms, including the 100-300, simplifying my gadget bag.

But...do I need it?

Pretty sure this lens will overbalance my GX-8, whose primary virtue is its compact size, light weight and excellent hand feel.  After owning several micro four thirds cameras, the GX-8 is the first Lumix that feels 'right' in my hand.  The long focal length will certainly require a tripod or, at minimum, a monopod and it seems designed to accommodate this type of support.

Still, there are things I can see but can't quite photograph - and I'm sure this lens will bring them into my range.

The micro four thirds format continues to surprise me with its capabilities - my big Nikons haven't been out of their cases in the four-five months since my GX-8 arrived.  

Is this good, bad or indifferent?

What is the weight of the lens?

Will it work on the Olympus OMD1?

The lens weighs 2.17 lb.  It would be compatible with the OM-D E-M1, yes. 

So all you 4/3rds folks, which body would be the best to put this on?

The Lumix GX8 has got to be it.  It features sensor stabilisation which will work in tandem with the lens IS!  And the icing on the cake is the viewfinder will tilt from horizontal through to vertical.

The GX8 is also weather sealed to take advantage of that capability in the lens.

GH-4.  They extremely capable cameras with an enormous useful functions.

Can u send me one to try.

Unfortunately, B&H does not have a rental program.  Once the lens is released, though, finding a place to rent the lens would be a good way to see if you liked it. 

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