Hello everybody it's Chris Pepper completing my field review with the pre-production Leica 100-400 lens. First I would like to thank the Canadian Panasonic/Lumix division for allowing us to try out this pre-production lens.
My week was full of 4 season weather, sunny days, rain, snow, freezing rain and to finish it off blistering 65km winds in -18c with blowing snow. My location was northern Ontario and the target was anything with wings!
First impressions of the lens is OMG this thing is so light! compared to the conventional DSLR lenses this little guy weighed in @ 3.4 lbs paired to a Lumix GX8 body. I literally had to walk up to my clients and other photographers and say here hold this. To hold the power of an effective200-800mm in your hand was much welcomed to have along with me for the week. It changed my regular style of adding in more environment to getting tight close ups that produced stupid sharpness!!
Claiming the lens can be used in all weather conditions seemed to be no lie. From freezing rain to heavy snow flakes or blowing snow this lens did everything I wanted it to. I wiped it down with a towel when I got back to the SUV but then again I do that to all my equipment after that type of use. The optional add on lens hood seemed to provide enough protection to keep the glass out of the elements. I'm glad Lumix/Leica added this feature as it is one more option photographers like myself look for. The rugged construction of this lens allows the photographer to feel like there is actually something attached to their camera compared to other lighter lenses in the Lumix line up. I would say for the average Lumix/Olympus user there should be no problem holding this lens to your eye for 8 hours a day.
The lens IS worked quite well with the pairing of the GX8 and GH4, shooting in low light in hand hold only situations allowed me to be sure I was capturing what I was actually seeing myself. People will be happy when they test this feature for themselves as I'm sure they will not be disappointed. Compared to other micro 4/3rds lenses in the same focal range the lens AF was very fast. Paired with the GX8 DFD it picked off dark subjects on dark backgrounds or opposite white on white. I even found the AF to be great for taking video of wildlife, some of the stills and action shots I took in 4k 30p were impeccably sharp! Having use of the 5m to full switch made the lens just that much faster to track erratic subjects. Again small additions like this allows Lumix users to work one step higher in a competitive gear market.
This lens will be producing exceptional images over the next year that will allow the Lumix/Leica line up to be considered a good contender against the DSLR market for wildlife images. I'm looking forward to following that trend and can't wait to get a consumer production model of this lens back in my hands. I hope you enjoyed my short review and I look forward to answering any questions you may have about the lens.
For more information about the Lumix/Leica 100-400 lens please follow this link to the USA site. http://shop.panasonic.com/cameras-and-camcorders/lumix-camera-lenses/H-RS100400.html#start=1&cgid=lumix-camera-lenses
For photography tours to photograph these sample bird species please follow this link. http://northof49photography.com/page