Panasonic 100-400mm f/4 - 6.3
Mini-Review


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I had high expectations for a variety of uses for this lens following reading Panasonic's Press Release, which included the following:

"The 100mm-400mm lens is also suited to a variety of photographic styles —with nine diaphragm blades providing a circular aperture to produce a smooth and beautiful bokeh.

The lens' 200-800mm focal length (35mm equivalent) and 0.5x Magnification capability provide highly detailed shots from distance, as well as stunning close up capability — ideal for subject matter regardless of shape and size."



Auto Focus

I've found AF to be very quick and accurate. I use AFS, 1-Area, and the smallest focus box. I've experienced some back focusing when exactly at or very close to the minimum focus distance. Otherwise, the lens has performed wonderfully. Locking on a tiny flower, or the face of a critter at a distance at 800mm is quite something!

Manual Focus

The MF ring is very nicely damped. The 10x magnification provides precise focusing. I use use both AF+MF and MF. When switching to MF, I use the lever on the camera, rather than the switch on the lens, because it is easier/quicker to reach.

External Tripod Mount

According to the User's Manual, the external tripod mount is to be used: If the lens or digital camera prevents the tripod from being attached.

I haven't had that problem, so I don't use it.

Vertical Orientation

The built-in collar permits the camera and lens to rotate. Since the three adjustment buttons (OIS, AF/MF, Full/Limit) are on the collar, they stay in their position on the left side.

Filters

ND and CPL Filters can be mounted on this lens. Below, with both, 1/2 sec.

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Close-up and Macro

The minimum focusing distance is 4.3', which pairs with an equivalent maximum magnification of 0.5x to support working with close-up subjects. Below, @800mm.


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Flash

Both the on-camera and flash and external flash work with this lens. Flash is useful for "throwing in" light to reveal the inner parts of a flower.


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Flexibility of Zoom

One of the advantages of a long zoom lens over a long prime lens out in nature is to be able to photograph where there is limited room to maneuver back far enough to use a long focal length. Below, both a wide view of the plant @100mm (=200mm), and a closeup of a single flower @400mm (=800mm).


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Power OIS

The Power OIS is a huge improvement over the older Mega OIS, and the GX8 provides Dual IS with this lens. A nice improvement. I'm fairly consistent at 1/100 sec. with this lens, but I don't count on a lot of success much slower!

More Photographs using Panasonic-Leica 100-400 mm

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Photographs


Series 1 — showing various focal lengths.

Note: This is a Micro Four-thirds Lens
whose equivalence factor is 2, so
100-400mm = 200-800mm.




01domestic-goose1050417w 02duck1050059w 03duck1050018aw 04fulica_americana1050399w 05sciurus_niger1050798aw
06egretta_thula1050341w 07cairina_moschata1050360aw 08muscovy1050184w 09waterfall1050137w 10scene1050655w
11butterfly1050867w 12duck1050044w 13branta_canadensis1040978w 14branta_canadensis1050947aw


Series 2 — Flora


A real treat is how well this lens performs in photographing flowers. At 800mm, it has a Minimum Working Distance (MWD) of 3'11."


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The Olympus FL-300R Flash works well with this lens, and it conveniently folds down on the tripod collar when not in use.

For the tiny flowers, using my Nikon 6T 2.9 diopter Achromat, magnification up to 2.32:1 is possible, which is much more than I ever need for flowers. With a MWD of about 10" it provides magnification of tiny flowers without the need for much cropping.


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Being able to photograph flowers when out in the field with this lens precludes the necessities of carrying an extra lens, and having to change lenses.


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01strelitzia_reginae1040961w 02-6T-salvia_coccinea1040831w 03carpenteria_californica1040929w 04cistus_purpureus1040917w 05eschscholzia_californica1040842aw
06clarkia_unguiculata1050744aw 07eschscholzia_californica1040706w 08raphanus_sativus1050825w 09lupinus_succulentus1040848w 10-6T-funastrum1050220w
11-6T-funastrum1050221w 12encelia_farinosa1050233w 13-6T-modiola_caroliniana1040676w 14podranea_ricasoliana1040918w 15bauhinia1050333w
16rosa1040722w 17taraxacum_officinale1040890aw 18pelargonium1050889w 19tecamaria_capensis1040742w


Wildlife —1



REFERENCES:

John Muir Laws,
Field Guide to the Southern Sierra Nevada
Chandler S. Robbins, Field Guide to Birds of North America
On-line Bird Forums



01actitis_macularia1080491aw 02agelaius_phoenicius1070784w 03anas_cyanoptera1080351w 04anas1070682aw 05anas1070677bw
06ardea_herodia1080444w 07bird1080086w 08bird1080253w 09charadrius_vociferus1080467w 10corvus_corax1070189aw
12grasshoppergrasshopper1070102aw 13molothrus_ater1070176aw 14odocoileus_hemionus1070119aw 15oxyura_jamaicensis1070948 16papilio_eurymedon1070372web
17phalacrocorax1080414w 18picoides_pubescens1070983aw 19plegadis_chihi1080304aw 20podiceps_nigricollis1080106aw 21quail1070622bw
22scirius_griseus1080161w 23spermophilus_beecheyi1070539w 24turdus_migratorius1070847w



Wildlife —2



z01adelpha_californica1110278w z02alopochen_aegyptiacus1060772-card z03anas_platyrhynchos1130600w z04apis_millifera1140102bw z05ardea_alba1120983w
z06ardea_alba1140908cw z07ardea_alba1140936aw z08ardea_alba1150082w z09bird1130656aw z10bird1130843aw
z11butorides_virescens1150397w z12butterfly1150023w z13butterfly1150052w z14danaus1130575aw z15damselfly1150116w
z16dissosteira_pictipennis1110042w z17egretta_thula1100961b2w z18fulica_americana1060077bw z19humming1150126w z20lizard1150139b-w
z21moth-hypericum_perforatum1130555aw z22nycticorax1090419bw z23odocoileus_californicus1110070w z24papilio1110141w z25phalacrocorax1080412w
z26satyrium_californica1150236w z27sciurus_niger1090950bw z28sierra-alligator-lizard1120051w z29spermophilus_beecheyi1150003w z30sympetrum_illotum1150027w


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