The new Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens is the longest Micro Four Thirds lens you can find. It offers an impressive 200-800mm equivalent zoom range and has some neat tricks up its sleeve on the body’s build.
The first thing I noticed about the lens is how much smaller it is in real life than I expected it to be. Then, after I rotated the lens barrel out to 400mm, I was shocked at just how long this lens can grow. The retracted dimensions of the lens are made possible by that small aperture of f/6.3 on the long end of the zoom range. That’s a little disappointing to look at that spec but I was still impressed by how well the GH4 focused using this lens at f/6.3 in terrible lighting conditions.
The lens has a focus limiter that allows you to choose the full range or from 5 meters to infinity for more efficient operation. AF/MF and OIS on/off switches are also found on the lens barrel.
At the end of the lens, we get a nice little surprise with a built-in lens hood that snaps into place in either extended or retracted positions. However, I don’t know that it is deep enough to be effective on this lens.
Also, the lens includes a built-in tripod collar that is completely integrated into the lens. In fact, the switches on the lens barrel are built into the section of the lens body with the tripod collar so that they are always on the left side of the camera no matter how much your rotate the lens body inside the collar.
The new Panasonic 100-400mm lens retails for $1797.99 and will ship in April. Check it out here at B&H Photo.