LensTip.com

Lens review

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S.

17 January 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

It would be very difficult to find a direct rival of the tested Panasonic; that’s why in the following chart we compared it to other lightweight telephoto lenses designed for different sizes of sensors with angles of view ranging from 4 to 8 degrees. The Nikkor sticks out in that group with small physical dimensions and weight – it’s a result of applying new optical technology connected to Fresnel elements. The Canon is the longest for a change – due to the biggest real focal length of that instrument. The Olympus is the heaviest but it also features the most complex optical design. All lenses come with the same filter diameter, that of 77 mm.

In the photo below the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. is positioned between the Micro 4/3 version of the Sigma C 30 mm f/1.4 DC DN and the Voigtlander Nokton 25 mm f/0.95.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding contacts which are embedded into the black part of the casing. On that part you can also find an inscription “Made in China”. The rear element of the lens is less than 20 mm in diameter and hidden inside the inner tube over 2 cm deep. The area next to the element is perfectly blackened, without any features you should worry about.

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Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

The proper body of the lens is made of metal; it starts with an immobile ring with a red dot making an alignment with a camera easier. Over that dot you see the working range of the focusing mechanism (1.15m/3.77ft–∞) and the focal length. On the right there is an inscription “Lumix” and at the back – the marking of the lens, the type of mount and its serial number. On the left you find an autofocus mode switch (AF/MF) and a stabilization switch (POWER O.I.S. ON/OFF).

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

A movable ring, joined directly with the tripod foot is the next part of the casing. The foot is small, practically fitting directly to the ring; it lacks a high arm so it is not so vulnerable to vibrations. It is a very nice solution, especially that a higher arm can be additionally installed in that place as well.

The next immobile part of the casing features a focusing mechanism mode switch (FULL and 3 metres–∞), a round button and a CALL, MEMORY, Fn toggle which allows you to retain and recall chosen autofocus positions.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

Further on you see a manual focus ring. It is 34 mm wide, completely covered by ribbing, without any distance or depth of field scale. It moves smoothly and is properly damped. It is a focus-by-wire construction so when you move the ring the image in your viewfinder or display screen is magnified automatically.

The next ring, 11 mm wide, is used for aperture control. It moves every 1/3 EV stop increment and features also an automatic mode (A). While cooperating with Olympus bodies the ring doesn’t work and you set the aperture from the camera menu level.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

The lens ends with a smooth, metal ring without any hood mount. The slide-on hood is secured by a small knurled screw that tightens a band within the hood itself.

The front element is 66 mm in diameter; it doesn’t move and is surrounded by an inscription with the parameters of the lens (Leica DG Elmarit 1:2.8/200) and a non-rotating filter thread, 77 mm in diameter.

When it comes to optical construction, the lens consists of 15 elements positioned in 13 groups, including two UED elements with ultra low dispersion. Inside you can also find a round aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22 at the maximum. That value doesn’t change after attaching a teleconverter.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

It’s worth adding that the construction of the lens is supposed to be dust, splash and freeze proof up to a temperature of −10°C.

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a case in the box. Our set also featured a 1.4x teleconverter with separate caps and a case.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization


Optical stabilization

The tested lens features an optical image stabilization unit and we checked its efficiency with the help of the Olympus E-M5 II. We took several dozen photos at every exposure time ranging from 1/400 to 1/4 of a second with the stabilization switched on and off and then we determined a percentage of blurred photos for each set. The appropriate graph showing that percentage, correlative with the exposure time expressed in EV (with 0 EV being an equivalent of 1/320 of a second), you can find below.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization


The maximum distance between both curves reaches 4.3 EV and such is, in our opinion, the efficiency of the optical stabilization unit. It is an excellent result. It’s also worth remembering that the tested lens coupled with the newest Panasonic bodies offers you a possibility of joined performance of image optical stabilization in the lens and sensor stabilization in the camera. It is supposed to provide even better effects that each of those stabilizations separately. We wanted to check that and we chose the same method as before while attaching the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G9 to the tested lens. An appropriate graph with results you see below.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Build quality and image stabilization


The effects are splendid indeed. The effective performance of both mechanisms was able to reach a sensational value of 5.5 EV. It means that even employing times below 1/10 of a second and using a lens with a focal length equivalent of 400 mm you can take good quality photos as most of them will be crisp and sharp.