Lens review

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

17 January 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

For many years we tested Micro 4/3 optics with the help of the Olympus E-PL1 camera. Some time ago we’ve also started to test lenses using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II as we felt the time has come for changes. That’s how we found out that between sensors of those two bodies there is a very small difference, amounting to 3-5 lpmm at most to the advantage of the newer one with a higher pixel count. Mind you that difference is possible to notice only in the wide area of the maximum relative aperture and it decreases when you employ apertures limited strongly by diffraction.

So, in the case of OM-D E-M5 Mark II – based tests the best fixed focal length lenses are able to reach 80-85 lpmm and the decency level we set near 47-49 lpmm. Of course these values can change as our tests database is enlarged but even now they allow you to assess a performance in a reliable, repeatable way.

Let’s check how the Panasonic DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. compares in the frame centre and on its edge.

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

The performance of the tested lens in the frame centre is simply sensational, with three exquisite features. First, we officially get a new resolution record, amounting to 91.2 lpmm. Second, that value was recorded at the maximum relative aperture. Third, the shape of the resolution curve shows that near the maximum relative aperture the Panasonic is very close to working in diffraction limit. It would be the case if the linear trend observed in the aperture range from f/5.6 to f/22 was extrapolated to f/4.0 and to f/2.8. Real measurements, though, show a slight slump with values dropping below that line but it was really close to the ideal. It means the majority of optical aberrations the lens corrects perfectly well.

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The performance on the edge of the frame can be described in similar words. Only the maximum relative aperture lags behind but even there the results reach an excellent level of 73 lpmm. From f/4.0 onwards it would be difficult to find any difference between the performance on the edge of the frame and that in the frame centre. As a result the edge of images produced by the Panasonic 2.8/200 is better than the centre of the frame of photos generated by many other Micro 4/3 lenses .

As we got a 1.4x teleconverter with the tested lens we also decided to test its influence on the resolution performance. An appropriate graph you can find below.

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

The results are weaker than in case of the lens alone but they remain very good. By f/4.0-5.6 the MTFs reach almost 80 lpmm so are worth the best system primes. Also after attaching the teleconverter the differences between the centre of the frame and its edge become more pronounced but that effect is completely understandable. Fortunately even on the edge of the frame the images are of good quality already from the maximum relative aperture.

Believe me, such summaries are a joy to write: when it comes to the resolution the lens fared exceedingly well, without even a trace of any weakness. What’s more, it cooperates with the teleconverter added to the set pretty well too. A round of applause!

At the end of this part of the test traditionally we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart, saved in JPEG format along RAW files we used for the analysis above.

Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, 200 mm, f/2.8
Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Image resolution
Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, 200 mm, f/4.0
Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Image resolution
Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, 280 mm (TC), f/4.0
Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200 mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. - Image resolution