Gear

Panasonic Launches ‘Sharpest Ever’ 200mm f/2.8

Panasonic has added to its lineup of professional-quality lenses with the Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS. For use on Panasonic’s G Series CSCs, the 200mm lens will provide an equivalent view to a 400mm lens on a ‘full-frame’ sensor. According to Panasonic’s statement, it’s the first super-telephoto fast prime lens to be named Leica DG and boasts “the sharpest-ever corner to corner image quality in Lumix G CSC camera history”.

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The Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS is splash and dust-proofed for professional applications.

The fast f/2.8 maximum apeture gives lots of light-garthering potential, but comes in a “compact, lightweight design”. The lens is also equipped with Panasonic’s O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) which should improve sharpness by combating camera shake, which is common at such long focal lengths. Together, the focal length, fast aperture and O.I.S should provide a very capable lens for action, sports and wildlife, and one that can be used handheld even in fairly low light. The lens is also compatible with Pananonic’s Dual I.S. (GX8GX80) and Dual I.S. 2 (GH5G9G80) systems to increase the amount of stabilisation offered.

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The 200mm f/2.8 uses Panasonic’s Optical Image Stabilizer, which can be switched on or off from the barrel. There’s also a focus limiter and Fn button.

But the good news doesn’t end there. The lens will come with a “bundled 1.4x Teleconverter (DMW-TC14) that increases the focal length to 560mm (35mm camera equivalent)”, getting you even closer to your subjects. Of course, using the teleconverter will restrict the maximum aperture available, from f/2.8 to f/4, but the potential gains in detail are huge. The new lens is also compatible with Panasonic’s 2.0x Teleconverter DMW-TC20 (not included this time), which will give you an equivalent focal length of 800mm (while dropping the maximum aperture to f/5.6).

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The lens comes bundled with a DMW-TC14 1.4x teleconverter giving you an effective 560mm focal length in 35mm terms.

With the Leica name on board, Panasonic says the lens “complies with Leica’s stringent quality standards” and is comprised of 15 elements in 13 groups. Two of the elements are UED (Ultra Extra-low Dispersion) lenses, which “help achieve high resolution and high contrast images while suppressing distortion and chromatic aberration”.

For fast autofocus in both stills and video, the Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 incorporates a “triple linear motor system and max. 240fps sensor drive”, which Panasonic states is “excellent for recording 4K video, where precise focusing is especially required”. Also of interest to those intending to use the lens for video is a ‘micro-step drive system’; this provides aperture control helping the camera to “smoothly manage brightness changes while panning”.

To back up its professional-level performance, the lens has a ruggedised dust and splash-proof design and can operate down to temperatures of -10º.

The Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 will be available in December 2017 with an expected RRP of £2,699 (€3,099).