Review Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f2.8-4

Joined
Dec 31, 2012
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Every once in a while, a lens comes along that has a magical quality about it, and becomes my favorite lens. I got my first mu43 camera in late 2011, and back then, there were few fast (f2.0 or faster) prime lenses in the system. Then Olympus released the amazing 75mm f1.8 (designed by Sigma) and as soon as I bought one, it became my favorite lens. Fast forward to today, and the system now has a wide variety of lenses, including fast primes and ultra fast (f1.2) primes. I tend to shoot a lot of indoor concerts, so I favor fast primes. I have, on occasion, tried some of the faster zooms (12-35 f2.8, 35-100 f2.8, etc.) for concerts, but the results were, to my eyes, unimpressive, and I still favored the 75mm (or the P 20mm). The 75mm just has something special about the photos it takes. I recently acquired the PL 50-200mm f2.8-4 and this lens also has that magical quality about it.

I briefly want to mention the Olympus 40-150 f2.8. A year or two ago, I did buy an O 40-150mm f2.8, but I found it so big, that I knew I wouldn't use it and so I sold it off almost immediately after I had bought it. After reading reviews of the PL 50-200 and handling one, I bought one. It is a big lens, but not as big as the Olympus. One of the main differences between the O 40-150 f2.8 and the PL 50-200 f2.8-4 is that the Olympus uses internal focusing, so the size does not vary in use, whereas the Panasonic changes size as the focal length changes. However, I don't find this to be a big deal because for me, the main factor is how big the lens is when I put it in my camera bag.

My main concern with the PL 50-200 was the f4 at 200mm - would this be adequate for indoor concert photography? Otherwise, I might as well stick with the O 75mm. As it turns out, the PL 50-200 is not just adequate, but takes superb photos even at f4, and it is my new favorite lens. It is not a cheap lens, but I picked up mine used, and it is well worth it for the use I get out of it.

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