LensTip.com

Lens review

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH.

25 June 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

The following chart presents a comparison between the parameters of the tested Panasonic and those of other lenses with a similar focal range, designed for 4/3 sensors. We also added the Canon EF 100–400 mm f/4.5–5.6L IS II USM to that group because on full frame it features the same range of angles of view as the Panaleica, tested by us.

The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50–200 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH. is notably heavier and bigger than lenses produced by the same company but slower aperture-wise than the Olympus designed for 4/3 sensor reflex cameras. Still the full frame Canon is definitely the biggest and the heaviest here. The Panaleica sticks out with its shortest minimum focusing distance.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization

In the photo below the Panaleica 50–200 mm is positioned next to two other Micro 4/3 lenses, the Panasonic 12-60 mm and the Voigtlander Nokton 25 mm f/0.95.

The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds a contact plate and a rear element. On the black part with embedded contacts you can see an inscription “Made in China”. It is a bit of a surprise because the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8–18 mm f/2.8–4 ASPH., after all belonging to the same series, is produced in Japan.


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Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization

The rear element is hidden in a black, ribbed tube which is properly darkened and matted. At the shallowest it is hidden about 1.5 cm inside the tube and it happens for both ends of the focal range. It is positioned the deepest, over 2.5 cm, with the lens set near 130 mm focal length.

The proper body of the lens is made of metal; it starts with an immobile ring on which you can find a red dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, the focal range, the focusing range (0.75m/2.46ft–∞), an inscription „LUMIX” and several switches. One of them controls the focusing mechanism mode (AF/MF), the second one is responsible for optical stabilization (POWER O.I.S. ON/OFF).

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization

A zoom ring is the biggest part of the body, being as wide as 47 mm. Most of its surface occupies metal ribbing under which there are focal lengths marks at 50, 70, 100, 150 and 200 mm. The mechanism works properly well and is well damped across its entire range.

Further on you see a narrow ring which doesn’t move with an inscription „LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT”, and then a manual focus ring. It is a focus-by-wire construction, almost 23 mm wide, completely covered by metal ribs.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization

The front element system extends on a uniform tube made of plastics. When you pass to the 200 mm focal length the dimension of the lens increases by 47 mm.

The front element itself is 48 mm in diameter, surrounded by an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens and a non-rotating filter thread, 67 mm in diameter.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with a very complex system with many special elements included. Overall you get 21 elements positioned in 15 groups. Two elements are aspherical, two are made of ultra extra low dispersion glass (UED) , two are made of low dispersion glass (ED) and one – of glass with ultra high refraction index (UHR). Inside you can also find a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed up to a value of f/22 at the maximum.

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a soft pouch in the box with the lens.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization


Optical stabilization

The producers declare that their Optical Image Stabilization unit is as effective as 4 stops of shutter speed. In order to check that claim we used the Olympus O-MD E-M5 Mark II camera, set the lens at 200 mm and took several dozen photos with exposure times ranging from 1/320 to 1/3 of a second and the stabilization switched on and off. For every set of photos we determined a percentage of out-of-focus shots; then we presented it in a form of a graph of exposure time which was expressed in EV (with 0 EV being an equivalent of 1/250 of a second).

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200 mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. - Build quality and image stabilization


As you see, the maximum distance between both curves reaches about 4.3 EV and so we assess the efficiency of the Panaleica’s 50-200 mm stabilization unit. It is an excellent result ! You should also add that, when mounted on compliant Panasonic cameras, the image stabilization of this lens might also be supported by the Dual IS functionality; it means it will be helped by sensor stabilization as well. As a result the final stabilization efficiency of the whole system can be even higher than those 4.3 EV points, reached by the lens itself.