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Pana/Leica 100-400mm f/4-6.3 first impressions

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Mat - MirrorLessons, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    Hi everyone, since some of you asked about this lens when I shared my findings on the Oly 300mm Pro, here I am ;)

    I received the lens yesterday and spent the afternoon and this morning at a natural reserve near where I live (gotta take advantage of the weather when it is good around here!).

    So far, my impressions are quite positive:
    • The construction is really good, all metal, feel solid and premium like the Nocticron if not even better.
    • A little bit heavy, but grip and balance remain good with the GX8 and E-M1
    • Sharpness is not bad at all at 400mm f/6.3. You gain something more at f/8 it seems but honestly I was expecting worse than that.
    • AF is fast with both GX8 and E-M1 but I haven't tried lots of BIF yet.
    • Managed to take sharp shots at 1/80s and 1/100s at 400mm (I'll push it more in the following days).
    I included some images in this thread. You can check out lots of full res samples on Mirrorlessons.

    I also published a 4k video on youtube shot with a Monopod and the Power OIS On. It's not perfect but considering the extreme focal length, it is not bad either :)

    I have the lens for two weeks, so don't hesitate to ask me any questions. I'll share more images here while I complete my review. The only thing I can't really comment about is the zoom ring. The sample I have is pre-production: it's final concerning the optical quality/AF/OIS but has some minor issues with the construction (the zoom ring is not really smooth). However this won't be a problem with the final versions released on the market.



    Panasonic-100-400mm-sample-images-1.
    400mm, f/6.3

    Panasonic-100-400mm-sample-images-4.
    350mm, f/5.9

    Panasonic-100-400mm-sample-images-15.
    400mm, f/6.3

    Panasonic-100-400mm-sample-images-20.
    400mm, f/8
     
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  2. Brian Beezley

    Brian Beezley Mu-43 All-Pro

    200-400mm 35mm format equivalent

    should be

    200-800mm 35mm format equivalent

    Brian
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    For the price and the slow speed of the lens it really should be tack sharp wide-open at 400mm. If you have to stop down th f/8 for razor sharpness it's really not worth the money. My ZD 50-200 SWD is tack sharp wide-open (f/7.1) with the EC-20 at 400mm.

    Do you have to stop down at 300mm for sharpness?
     
  4. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    Oops, thanks for noticing that :)
     
  5. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    I haven't tested all the apertures and focal lengths yet. I just got it yesterday. But if you check out the images, the results are not bad at all at 6.3.
     
  6. yves75

    yves75 Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Oct 4, 2014
    paris, france
    Nice samples ! Thanks for that
     
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  7. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    690
    Nov 18, 2013
    Thanks, can't wait for mine to ship. Can you do some 4K from a tripod? And of course BIF with Dual IS & DFD. Thanks these images are "good enough" for me. Your video is very decent for monopod work - a good set of sticks and a large fluid head would make it spectacular in 4k I think.
     
  8. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    Yes I'll definitely do more BIF stuff ;)
     
  9. mannukiddo

    mannukiddo Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Jul 28, 2013
    India
    Loved the first shot of the bird at 400mm. The lens has good potential. I use a Nikon 200-500 that is very sharp at 500 with VR helping me to shoot at 1/100 on my APSC D7200. If the Stabilization is as good as the Nikon, I will surely look forward to replace my 100-300 with this once prices stabilize.
     
  10. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    So far I got good results at 1/100s with the GX8 (electronic shutter) and the E-M1 (anti-shock 0s).
     
  11. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    I'd love a comparison between the PL100-400 at 300 and Oly 300 at f5.6. Focusing speed. CAF Tracking. Which nails a BIF against a bright blue sky better? Things of that nature.
     
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  12. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    A comparison is needed between the two lenses at all available apertures at 300mm and at 400mm (420mm for 300 Pro +TC). This would test for sharpness, AF speed, CA, and other distortion. A separate test would be good for how well IS works between an Oly body plus 300 Pro vs CX8 plus 100-400. The test would need a production unit (not prototype or pre-production) of each lens plus OLY and Pany bodies.
     
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  13. danelkins

    danelkins Mu-43 Veteran

    And test both lenses on a GX8 and EM1. . . to see the difference.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. sriracha

    sriracha ballistic photons

    68
    Jan 22, 2011
    not sure why the comparison is needed. the conclusion should be evident: given Olympus' lens pedigree, the prime will exceed the zoom at 300mm across the benchmark criteria you listed

     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. undergrd

    undergrd Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Dec 30, 2012
    Singapore
    The samples you posted looks good. Looking forward to more user impression and samples from this lens. Thanks Mat!
     
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  16. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    But how will the 300 Pro + TC perform at 420mm vs the PL 100-400 at 400mm? That should be just as important as the performance at 300mm.
     
  17. yves75

    yves75 Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Oct 4, 2014
    paris, france
    One can expect the 100 400 to be "a bit" less sharp than the Oly at 300, and also less at 400 than the Oly + TC, the real differenciator could be the AF ability, apart from the practicality of the zoom, and the price aspect.
     
  18. moonhawk

    moonhawk Mu-43 Regular

    44
    Feb 12, 2016
    Dave Cherry
    On the E-M1, is the weather sealing still effective, and does dual IS work?
     
  19. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    You can't do dual IS if you mix brands of bodies and lenses.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. moonhawk

    moonhawk Mu-43 Regular

    44
    Feb 12, 2016
    Dave Cherry
    Thanks--I thought not, but haven't had a chance to ask someone who's used both.

    How about the weather sealing?