Reviews of Leica 100-400mm Showing Up

Posted Mar. 15th, 2016 by Daniel J. Cox

Mixed Reviews of Leica 100-400mm

Update of original Update 5/12/2016

The issues I had read about with AF and the new 100-400mm seem to have been solved. I know mine were. Have not heard any concerns in the past few weeks. Only have heard glowing reviews. I think Panasonic has got all issues sorted.

Update: The title of this post used to be Excellent Reviews of Leica 100-400mm Showing up. But I’ve also started getting numerous comments sent to me directly as well as posted here Lumix Diaries: Shooting the New Leica Lumix 100-400mm that are not so positive due to AF issues. Anybody seeing similar problems please add your voice to this post. The good news is I’m beginning to think that any less than positive results at the 800mm setting may be due to AF problems rather than the glass itself. That would be very good news indeed. 

The reviews of the new Leica 100-400mm zoom are finally starting to appear across the web. As many of you know I’ve been shooting a non-production version of this lens since early December 2015. It’s been a dream come true for my trips to South Africa, Japan, and Yellowstone. I’ve had great results but I’m not a super technical person, I don’t

Lumix GX8 with 100-400mm Leica zoom.

Lumix GX8 with 100-400mm Leica zoom. This is a sweet looking rig and even more amazing when you realize that is an 200-800mm equivalent lens on the GX8. Photo courtesy ePhotozine

do line charts and graphs, but others more qualified do, and a few of those sites have been releasing more technical details. In short, this new lens is being heralded as a legend in the making. Here is a list of web addresses to other websites discussing the new Leica 100-400mm zoom.

Camera Stuff Review

ePhotzine

MirrorLessons

DPReview

Imaging Resource

Steve Huff Site Review By Steve Towery

DPReview with Olympus EM-1

For those who haven’t seen my video highlighting the GX8 and 100-400mm superb weather sealing, you can see that below.

 

 

Add Your Voice!
There are 33 comments on this post…
  1. Dave ClarkOn Jun. 28th, 2016

    Purchased the Leica 100-400mm and started field testing. I was able to hand hold it at 400mm and get some really nice sharp shots of a hoverfly and butterfly (10 ft.). Autofocus worked great. Then we went to the local park and photographed a young fawn, at approximately 100 ft. with the camera and lens mounted on a tripod (400mm). The shots were extremely soft (lens IS off). Later we found an hawk and tried taking pictures hand held at 150 ft., again extremely soft. Tried both auto and manual focus. It appears this copy is sharp at close focus distances and soft at longer focus distances. If anyone is interested the hoverfly and butterfly shots are posted on my flickr page (daveclark784). Unfortunately the lens in on the way back to B&H.

  2. Glenn McKinlayOn May. 12th, 2016

    Greetings. I was about to order Canon 7D II and 100-300 II + 1.4 III extender and then found out about this Leica 100-400.
    The size/portability would be a big benefit – I reach one of my sites by kayak, carrying everything, including 3 days water – plus the usual airline travel carry on factors.

    I am mostly photographing birds in Palau, Micronesia, especially shorebirds. I.e. small and usually distant so 100% crops are the usual, and there are circumstances where good detail is important – e.g. if a bird shows up with leg flags and I can identify those numbers on it that identifies migration routes, and helps build the case for a needed protected area.

    So Panasonic GX8 + Leica 100-400 looks very good, until I read about the “shutter shock” issue. Is anyone using that combination since mid-March able to give further insight? Is it a significant enough problem that I would be better to sacrifice the camera-lense dual stabilisation and get an Olympus + Leica 100-400 combination instead? Has anyone use the electronic shutter solution with small flying birds and had rolling shutter issues to a problematic extent? I usually have blazing tropical light, allowing high shutter speeds – not sure if that reduces the rolling shutter issue.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 12th, 2016

      Glenn, your projects sound amazing. I think the GX8 or the GH4 with the 100-400mm would be a fabulous tool. The shutter shock you speak about is such an overblown issue. Like many things on the web, it’s taken on life of its own and I’ve never seen this problem problem in all the Lumix cameras I’ve shot. It’s especially a nonissue, when you’re talking about hand holding the lens. It’s simply not a problem. I personally like the GH4 better than the GX8 for wildlife. That’s especially true for longer lenses. Having the EVF directly over the lens is a bonus when using 600-800mm lenses. It’s just easier to find the subject as opposed to having the EVF off to the left side. The OM-D EmM-1 is a nice camera but it’s very difficult to use in my opinion. Not enough controls that are consistent and easy to recall. Additionally, the Lumix cameras have tremendous C-AF capabilities for flying birds. If you want further info on the settings you would want to use for birds in flight take a look at this blog post. http://naturalexposures.com/birds-in-flight-settings-for-panasonic-lumix-cameras/ Thanks for stopping by to add your voice. If you have ANY additional questions on using Lumix gear for your studies please just drop me aline and I’ll be happy to Help.

  3. Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

    Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 22nd, 2016

    Below is a comment that originally appeared on the blog post Lumix Diaries: Shooting the new Leica 100-400mm zoom. I’ve taken the liberty to post it here as well so we can keep track of any issues that might arise with the new lens. I feel the blog is a great place for Lumix photographers to voice their concerns and discuss any issues they may be seeing so we can keep the comments in a collection easily seen and studied by our friends at Panasonic. They do read this blog regular so add your voice if the you have litigate concerns.

    Hi Daniel,

    I love this blog and I was really impressed with the video on Panasonic 100-400 lens. So much so that I went to my favourite camerashop last week tio try it out. Since I own an Olympus EM-1 I asked the seller to put the lens om that body and then I went out on the street for some testshooting. (Yes I know, it really is a fantastic service! I have shopped there for several years but I am still Amazed that they let me borrow a camera and lens during my lunchhour.) The sky was blue and the light was almost harsh and very contrasty. As I walked down the avenue I stopped here and there to shoot some birds, some workers who cut up the street, some people and so on. I had set the focuspoint to the middle and used Single-AF only to be sure every image was in focus before the shot. When I got back to the store the seller and I looked at the shots and to our surprise, what looked tack sharp in the viewfinder often was quite soft at 400 mm. At the same time, we found some shots here and there that was perfectly sharp at 400 m and the same setting. This baffled us until I noticed a picture of a group of workers that was “soft”. A close inspection revealed that it was tack sharp – behind the person I focused on. We had not seen it before because some pictures of the birds had just blue sky in the background. The wierd thing was that the focuspoint was smaller than the face i focused on so there was no way that I accidentally had focused on the bacground. After discovering this we found that around 20 % of the shots indeed was “backfocused” and I was so surprised. Until now I would have said that would be impossible since the focus i set on the sensor itself. Something was sharp, not just what I was focusing at.
    This made me not buy the lens right there and now I am looking for a solution for this. I might also add that I got to borrow a GX8 with the lens to see if it would perform better but to no avail. the seller was truly baffled! The only explination I can muster is that the lens I got to try might have been a sample lens. I suspect this because the store had not got a shipment yet and only had that demolens. Since I have been waiting for this lens for quite a while I wonder if you know about this behaviour? Is it something that will be working with a new firmware?

    With my best regards

    Stefan Schmidt

  4. Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

    Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 17th, 2016

    Another comment from long time NE Explorer Ray Hirsch on his findings with potential AF inconsistencies with the new Leica 100-400mm zoom. His comments and photos below. In short he is seeing exactly what I’ve noticed and spoke to Panasonic about even during the original assignment I shot for this lens in December 2015, long before it was released. Rays comments in italics below with sample photos.

    Hi Dan,

    I am glad I talked with you regarding the inconsistent focus issue. I did a couple of tests to try and separate out atmospheric effects from focus inconsistency. I used a scene up the hill from me because it has varied subject matter, plus the sun is usually from the right side or behind the camera, and I can set the tripod right out my front door in a courtyard where most wind is blocked. I have taken many pictures of this same scene so I can cross

    Lumix GX8 with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 100mm (200mm effective focal length) on sturdy tripod Pinpoint AF

    Lumix GX8 with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 100mm (200mm effective focal length) on sturdy tripod Pinpoint AF

    compare and the owners seem to be rarely there. The first shot is at 200mm effective and the second is at 800mm effective. I took quite a few of these on a tripod and when at 800mm would shoot on auto focus pinpoint, defocus, and then let it auto focus again. Took about a dozen of these, and there was definitely some inconsistency from shot to shot even though the focus point did not change and the lens was mounted on a very sturdy tripod and a BH-55 ball head.

    Lumix GX8 with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm effective focal length) on sturdy tripod Pinpoint AF

    Lumix GX8 with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm effective focal length) on sturdy tripod Pinpoint AF

    Then I shot a series in quick succession so that when clicked through quickly would show what atmospheric effects were going on. When watching these click-thru’s in quick succession it looked a little bit like the house was made of jello due to heat, dust and humidity rising off the desert surroundings. So, then I wondered whether the atmospheric affects were what was causing the focus inconsistency, so I tried my other tried and true target, the sign at the end of our cul-du-sac which was very close and should be little influenced by a half of a mile of atmosphere between the camera and the house pictured.

    Multiple settings of AF and manual focus on sighn

    Multiple settings of AF and manual focus on sighn

    Well, I took 5 pictures of the sign on auto focus using the larger center square, but here again there was still some difference between the auto focus of the five. Two were tack sharp at 800mm, 2 were slightly off and one was noticeably blurry. I then tried it using manual focus and focus peaking, and this did a little better than the auto focus, which I feel should be the other way around. So, in conclusion, I am so glad I spoke with you because I was assuming that the problem beyond 550-600mm was all optics, and therefore you just had to accept that the last 100mm was like the last 100mm on the 100-300 zoom, useful but not great. It will be interesting to see what Panasonic comes up with. Maybe we need to use a different focus setting beyond 600mm, or maybe there is something they can do in firmware. It would be nice to get the 600mm – 800mm range back, but as I said on the phone, I never shot beyond 600mm before getting this lens, and I am very happy with what it does in the 200-600 range using still subjects. Haven’t had a chance to try it out on birds yet.

    I attached 3 full sized files so that you can see what sort of results I am getting at 800mm effective and one file at 200mm effective.

    Also, I included a shot I got from the co-pilot seat of a helicopter over Bora-Bora last October to remind what a great place you just visited…

    • William BunnOn Apr. 18th, 2016

      Re: Ray’s comments

      Has he tried the shots with OIS on and off? Panasonic suggests ‘off’ with a tripod.

      Here is the scoop! I love this lens. Are there better lenses? Probably, but they cost a lot more, are heavier and are only slightly better. If you have a decent camera and a good lens, a good picture has more to do with the photographer and the subject.
      The most recent shots on my Flickr site are with the 100-400. My series with the fox has had 249 likes on the Algonquin Park Facebook site and one picture is out of focus. Operator error.
      www.flickr.com/photos/bbunn

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 18th, 2016

      Good point, regarding the need to turn IS off on the lens, I forgot to ask Ray. I will check with him. I also agree with your description of the benefits of this lens. Overall I think it’s going to be a great tool for many people. I do have a Blog post coming soon that shows the difference in glass quality between the new Leica 100-400mm, the Fuji 100-400, Nikon 80-400m and the Olympus 300mmm. It’s pretty interesting and will give folks a chance to see what they can expect from each.

    • Portrait of Ray Hirsch

      Ray HirschOn Apr. 20th, 2016

      Dan,

      I wish to reply to William Bunn’s comments.
      Bill, you are exactly right, the OIS should have been off, plus I had not tried using electronic first curtain shutter, and using a larger focus area instead of pinpoint. Making these three adjustments after an email exchange with Dan, the results were significantly improved with 4 out of five shots being consistently very sharp and only being only slightly less sharp than the other four.
      So, thank You for your suggestion about turning the OIS off. I knew better, but just forgot this step along with the electronic shutter reducing shutter shake. In conclusion, I believe the lens is optically excellent to 600mm and still very good at 800mm.
      The focus inconsistency that I saw in my first test, I now attribute to “photographer” error rather than a lens problem. I do think that when shooting at high magnification over long distances, a fair amount of acuity is lost due to atmospheric effects like heat shimmer, dust, humidity, etc. and my series of pictures of the distant house clearly displayed this when comparing shots taken in rapid succession with no change in settings. These atmospherics may also have an affect on focus consistency

      Thanks for your comment and enjoy your Lumix 100-400mm. I am certainly impressed with mine.

      Ray

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 20th, 2016

      Thanks for the update Ray. Keep in mind the forum is an open exchange,. No need to ask my permission to interact with each other. I highly encourage everybody sharing the info they have. I do require moderation but I’ve never held a comment back to date. Even ones I might not completely agree with. It’s all good to have everybody connecting.

  5. Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

    Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 12th, 2016

    Have been getting some samples of images in from some of our readers. Below is a comment from William Bunn with two samples he agreed to share with our readers.

    Taken today, straight out of the camera to LR then emailed to you as a JPEG at 2048 pixels long edge. No cropping, no adjustments except what LR does automatically to a RAW photo. (they sharpen .25). Pine Siskin, 100-400 Panasonic at 400mm, ISO 500 f6.3 1/400 sec on a tripod with the IOS switch to ‘on’. I am a bit of a pixel peeper. I use a Retina iMac 27”.

    Siskin, Pine-1240746

    I just received my 100-400 yesterday. This picture was taken this morning near our feeder. I live in Canada. It is lightly snowing, cold and dull. ISO 500 400mm f6.3 1/250 sec. Tripod was used. Tuned up in LR but no noise reduction or sharpening other than what LR does automatically to RAW pictures.

    Redpoll, Common-1240615

    This lens appears to be a big set up from my 100-300mm. The IQ is improved, the focus is faster and more accurate. I use burst ‘M’ with live view and AFC as you suggested. I am certain it takes twice as many pictures as my 100-300. I assume that is because it can focus so quickly. The 100-300 sometimes had difficulty focusing on small birds such as this 5 1/2” Common Redpoll. It is early, but I think I am going to enjoy this lens.

  6. Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

    Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 5th, 2016

    Natural Exposures Explorer Ray Hirsch sent me an email regarding his new 100-400mm I thought I would share with everybody. I posted it below. Thanks for sending this Ray. This comes just a day after I shot a studio test with the new Leica 100-400mm, Fuji 100-400mm Nikon 100-400mm and the Olympus 300mm. I’m working on a post about what I’ve found and will share that with the corkboard audience hopefully in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

    Hi Dan,
    Finally received my Lumix 100-400mm lens and had a chance to compare with Oly 40-150+1.4x.
    From my tests comparing the same scene @ 420mm using the both lenses on GX8, the two compare very favorably. The Oly might be a tad sharper in the corners, but no big deal. When zoomed all the way out to 400mm the sharpness of the Lumix definitely falls off perceptively, but I can’t say I find that surprising. My guess is that the new Oly 300mm w/wo 1.4x will be notably better, but I don’t have one to make that compare. I had hoped that the Lumix would be the “miracle” lens all the way out, but I suspect there may be a place in the World for the Oly 300mm. Will be waiting to hear what you are getting out of the Oly 300mm. In the mean time the Lumix has definitely found it’s place in the bag for the 200mm – 500mm range which is the great bulk of the tele shooting I do.

    All the best,

    Ray

  7. Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

    Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 5th, 2016

    I just received a simple but very effective test, shot with the new Leica 100-400mm, from one of my readers David Edwards. Dave sent a series of three images. One of the photos was shot at 200mm, the next at 800mm and the third is a 100% crop from the frame shot at 800mm. Not a fancy test but one that shows quite well what can be achieved with this new lens Thanks Dave for sharing these images with everybody here on the Corkboard.

    Photo shot with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm equivalent.

    Photo shot with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm equivalent.

    Photo shot with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm equivalent.  This is a 100% crop from above image.

    Photo shot with Leica 100-400mm zoom at 400mm (800mm equivalent. This is a 100% crop from above image.

     

     

     

    • Portrait of Ray Hirsch

      Ray HirschOn Apr. 8th, 2016

      To Dave Edwards,

      Nice sign pic, but I’ll “see” your sign pic and “raise” you the following sign pic,

      http://pin.it/Ehf4t7T

      shot handheld 800mm equiv. ISO 400, f8, 1/800th

      I would say this lens is everything I hoped for…

      All the best,

      Ray

    • Dean SwartzOn Apr. 12th, 2016

      Image Quality — I was interested in a head-to-head comparison with the Olympus 300mm f4 Pro [“Oly”]. I shot a few hundred images on a tripod and hand-held with an Olympus OMD E-M1. I shot in single shot “silent” mode (to reduce camera shake) and used a cable release. Because the Panasonic lens IS can’t be used with the camera IS on the Olympus, I shot both lenses with the lens IS turned off. I compared both lenses at 600mm equivalent focal length at f6.3 and f8. First, autofocus was almost twice as fast with the Oly as with the PL. Even when using the limiter switch to reduce “focus searching” (by the way, the Oly has three settings for distance range and the PL only two to limit the “searching” the lens will do!). Corner sharpness was also twice as good on the Oly. Then, I put on the 1.4 teleconverter to compare the lenses at 840mm vs 800mm (again at f8) and, once both center and corner focus on the Oly were significantly better. I repeated the exercises hand-held with the same results.

      Design — The Oly has a tripod collar with integrated Arca Swiss compatible foot. It is removable (and there’s a clever ring that can be installed for looks and to eliminate the impact of those little “nubs” from digging into your hand) leaving a smooth surface to hold the camera. The PL tripod collar and foot can be removed, but you are still left with a rather large bulge to contend with. And, while the Oly collar/foot can rotate all the way up to the top of the lens when not being used to mount it on a tripod, the PL only rotates 90 degrees, leaving it in the way of the zoom ring when it is so rotated. At least two strikes against the PL. Then, there’s the lens hood. The Oly has a beautifully designed hood (except for the apparently defective one on Dan’s copy of the Oly 300) that snaps quickly into place and retracts smoothly and simply. The PL “mini” lens hood is functionally worthless and the supplemental lens hood supplied with the PL does cannot be retracted more than an inch, so you’re left with the choice of removing it (it is reversible) or leaving it in place which takes up a lot more room in your camera bag. Big advantage for the Oly.

      So, sorry to report, at least from my comparison of what may be a defective lens, the Oly wins by a big margin not only in image quality, speed of focus, and function. Yes, the PL costs less and weighs less, but you get what you pay for in the Oly. I did not find that the PL was up to the quality standards of the PL 42.5 f1.2 (which is a truly spectacular lens).

      These results might be completely different on a Panasonic GX8 (although from what I’ve read of the GX8 reviews, the in-camera IS of the Olympus E-M1 and E-M5II is significantly better), but I would not have been surprised if they were the same. I understand that you (Dan) will be doing a comparison of the two lenses, and I look forward to your expertise.

      Olympus has stated that the 300mm f4 Pro is the sharpest lens it has ever made. From my head-to-head comparison of the top super tele lenses from Olympus and Panasonic Leica, I have no doubt that it has succeeded.

      Maybe I got a bad copy, but I just returned my 100-400mm [“PL”} to Adorama for a refund. (By the way, Adorama got me the Oly and the PL on the same day they were released.

      Sorry Dan, but gotta call it the way I see ’em.

      Still friends?

      Dean

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 12th, 2016

      No worries Dean. I totally agree with putting all the info out there that people need to make a informed decision, which include tests coming in from my readers like yours. Though I’m a big fan of what Lumix is doing, I won’t pull any punches when I publish the results of the tests I recently shot which included the Leica/Lumix 100-400mm, the Fuji 80-400mm, the Nikon 80-400mm and the Olympus 600mm F/4. Will be posting my results in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

  8. RobertOn Apr. 3rd, 2016

    Jane,
    About that little screw for the hood.
    Something I learned from a friendly photographer at either Conowingo or Lock and Dam #14 using large Canon glass with the massive hoods which also have a ‘set’ screw, is to center the screw on top and in-line with the center axis of the camera, THEN when pulling the camera up to your eye already be sighting in the target with the screw. When your eye gets to the OVF or EVF the target will be slightly higher so you will immediately lift the camera-lens upward a bit and you’ll be really close to being on target.
    I have a Swarovski digiscope. It comes with a little ‘antenna’ that provides same as the little screw on a much larger scale. In this Swarovski instruction video at 6:04 you can see it’s application onto a digiscope and then you’ll readily see how that little screw can help us using the Leica 100-400:

    I’ve only owned the 100-400 for only 2 days and that little screw is already neon orange in color 🙂

    On another tangent, here is close focus with this new lens. It is not a macro lens but it sure does work hard pretending to be one!

    Pseudo macro with Leica 100-400mm

    Jane thanks for the tip on the RRS plate.

    • Portrait of Jane Scott Norris

      JaneOn Apr. 6th, 2016

      Robert,

      Thanks so much for the good idea on using the little screw – never thought of that!

      I have the RRS plate now and, while it fits as a replacement for the provided foot, I think I will use it attached to the foot to give more clearance.

      Jane

    • RobertOn Apr. 8th, 2016

      Jane,
      Interesting.
      You want more clearance and I want less!
      Well I’m in contact with http://www.roesch-feinmechanik.de/
      They make the replacement tripod collar for the Lumix 100-300mm.
      The owner/director/engineer is in the Canaries on holidays.
      Hopefully they’ll accept the challenge of designing an alternate to
      the OEM foot.
      Nothing wrong with the stock foot at all, I just like to tinker.

      Meanwhile here’s another from the GX8 + Leica 100-400. I just love the sharpness/clarity
      of the lens and of course the colors from the Lumix. Such a powerful kit is such a small
      package. I’m completely smitten 🙂

      Yellowpole sig
  9. RobertOn Apr. 2nd, 2016

    Following up on the Leica 100-400mm.
    I finally have one in hand.
    If ever bored here is one of the first shots out of camera-

    First shots Leica 100-400mm

    I have to say I am super impressed by this lens. The GX8 combo is equally impressive.
    So very very much in such a small package.
    Luckily my better half is an Oly user and I can physically compare the two longest
    lenses for mFT side by side, and by now I have shot both.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the 100-400mm focal length was the best choice for me.
    The lens is a superior grade product and so much reminds me of my Nocticron in build quality.
    For IQ/sharpness I think the linked picture speaks for itself.
    So Daniel thanks for the motivation to add this lens to my mFT kit.

    Now about the tripod foot and me wanting to simply have our machinist groove each side to make Arca-Swiss compatible—well now the foot is in hand I see that is not possible. the foot is just way too narrow.
    BUT happily it is easily and quickly removable and any arca-swiss plate can be screwed on and with a lower height
    and easier packability.
    Thanks again for your influence. It was worth the wait 🙂
    Robert

  10. Portrait of Jane Scott Norris

    JaneOn Mar. 31st, 2016

    Got my Lumix Leica 100-400 yesterday and so far so good. I am somewhat amused by the extra lens hood which fits over the built-in lens hood and tightens with a small screw. It will definitely work and can be reversed for storing/carrying!

    As for the foot, I spoke with Really Right Stuff and they suggested http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/MPR-73-73mm-rail for $55. I have ordered this. It looks nice and small.

    Thanks for all your early discussions on this lens, Dan. So glad it’s finally here.

  11. Portrait of Ray Hirsch

    Ray HirschOn Mar. 27th, 2016

    Hi Dan,

    Hope you found a flight back from Bora Bora (or maybe your hoping you don’t ;-).
    Here is a link to a downloadable full size raw image taken with the Lumix 100-400 @ 400mm. http://www.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/2468850569/leica-dg-vario-elmar-100-400mm-f4-6-3-asph-real-world-sample-gallery/3479310491
    I downloaded a number of this fellows images and then processed them the way I would in LR, and found the results to be remarkable when displayed on my iMac Retina. I just received an email from B&H that my 100-400 is shipping tomorrow and I can’t wait to get it. Will bring it along to Scotland for the shore birds.

    All the best,

    Ray

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 27th, 2016

      Ray, thanks for the heads up on these new samples. I also downloaded several images and see that there are some razor sharp samples at 400mm with the lens wide open at F/6.3. This is very positive since my preproduction lens seemed less than perfect at the longest range in some situations. I’ve held off from writing a review until I get an actual final production model. I’m happy to see others are getting their lenses and producing great results. The only problem I’ve seen is in the image with building in foreground and mountains at infinity. I’ve been concerned from the start that at 800mm equivalent, atmospheric conditions are going to start effecting image quality. I believe that’s what we’re seeing here. Sample below

      Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 10.07.43 AM

    • Portrait of Ray Hirsch

      Ray HirschOn Mar. 27th, 2016

      Hi Dan,

      I gather from your prompt response that you are back from Tahiti. I looked at the picture of the building, and I am pretty sure that the building in the lower left is the power and heating plant for the building. You can also see what looks like it might be steam or something blowing around above the building. If this building is what I think it is, the heat would cause “lensing” in the air at the boundary between hot and cold. I noticed the picture was also from Sam Spencer, the source that I used for my raw samples. I was very impressed by the resolving power of the lens. Also, I have seen a couple of bar graphs of visual acuity and they both seem to confirm 10-12% fall off in resolution between 250mm and 400mm. My 100-300 certainly is worse than that after about 220mm, so the fact that the lens can reach out to 400mm with better acuity than my 300mm @ 300 sounds good to me. I will be anxious to hear how the Oly 300mm f4 compares with the Lumix @ 300mm since the prime should have an advantage.

      All the best,

      Ray

  12. SteveOn Mar. 26th, 2016

    Thought I’d bump you again to see if you’re still planning to hook up the 100-400 to E-M1. I would much prefer the Panasonic to the Olympus 300 Pro. I’m too old to be running about trying to position myself with a long prime lens. I like the price too compared to the 300.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 26th, 2016

      Steve,

      Yes, I do plan to give the Olympus more time with the new Lumix lens. Sorry it’s taking awhile. Hope to have more info in 2-3 weeks.

    • Portrait of Jane Scott Norris

      JaneOn Mar. 31st, 2016

      The sample images in the DPReview link provided on this page are taken using the Leica 100-400 on an Olympus OM-D E-M1.

  13. Peter LoughranOn Mar. 17th, 2016

    Hi …some questions regarding the idea of machining the Panasonic 100-400mm lens-foot to Arca-Swiss compatible spec.
    Has anyone here checked that the lens-foot is actually wide enough to be suitable for machining? …I haven’t seen any exact specifications and can’t tell for sure just by looking at the pics. in various reviews.
    It would need to be at least 38mm wide at the base to allow the milling of a suitable dovetail-taper cut along each side to suit Arca-Swiss compatible clamps.

    Maybe Daniel could measure the foot (or compare it to an existing Arca-Swiss compatible plate) and let us know if it’s wide enough?
    Also, one of the images, in the above linked ‘MirrorLessons’ review, shows that the underside of the foot has some sort of square insert with a 1/4″ threaded bush at its centre. Looks, to me, like a potential source of weakness in the design, and yet another joint (or two?) between lens and support …not good in such a powerful optic.
    Does that square insert also mean there may be a risk of cutting into a void; if machining to 38mm width with Arca-Swiss compatible tapers is otherwise feasible?

    I use one of the superbly made custom lens collars from Rudolf Rösch (http://www.roesch-feinmechanik.de/) with my existing Panasonic 100-300mm lens …it incorporates a foot with both 1/4″ threaded holes (2) plus Arca-Swiss compatible dovetails (not shown in the [prototype?] image on the website) and transforms the use (in terms of mount-rigidity and balance) of that lens which was, unfortunately, originally designed with no tripod collar at all.
    Perhaps Rudolf could be persuaded to design and produce a superior replacement lens foot for the new 100-400mm lens rather than owners having to individually seek specialist machining services to modify (if even possible?) the supplied Panasonic foot?

    Such a pity Panasonic didn’t think this through and (like Olympus did with the new 300mm f4) design an Arca-Swiss compatible foot in the first place …sometimes feels like the camera/lens manufacturers deliberately design some truly terrible lens mounts just to keep the replacement lens-collar/foot makers (RRS, Kirk, Markins et al) in business!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 2nd, 2016

      Peter, thanks for the question. Sorry it’s taken so long to get to this. I found this and seven other comments in the TRASH folder. I have no idea how they got there. Have to guess it was cyber gremlins.

      Anyway, I completely agree that Olympus surprised us all but doing something that made so much sense, building an Area Swiss quick release plate into the 300mm lens foot. Bravo for Olympus. I also had purchased the tripod collar for the 100-300mm from Rudolf Rosch and yes it is a quality addition to a lens that badly needed help. I will check to see if the foot for the 100-400mm would be wide enough to have the groves created for a quad release plate but I’m doubting it will be possible. However, it is easy removed and it won’t be long before one of the third party developers will produce just what we need. However, like you, I would have loved to see it come from Panasonic just like Olympus did.

  14. RobertOn Mar. 16th, 2016

    Thank you both!
    I never did ask you Daniel what you thought of actually obtaining a spare foot and ‘arca-swissing’ the spare?
    I just hate plates and over the years RSS has done well by me and EOS replacement feet 🙁
    When that time comes that I can get the part number and the foot en route I’ll even make the efforts to
    powder coat the intrusion on the sides.

    But before I fret over the foot it would be nice to have the lens !!!
    Come on Panasonic open the flood gates !!

    I was shooting with the EOS 500mm today, man it will be so nice to ply this Leica 100-400mm.

  15. RobertOn Mar. 15th, 2016

    I’ve got to eventually find an extra foot–thankfully they just screw off.
    I talked with my local machinist=no problem adding the grooves on each side to make arca-swiss compatible.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 16th, 2016

      Robert, I’m confident we’ll be able to get an extra foot. I’ve emailed a contact at Panasonic in Japan asking him doubt this. Haven’t heard back yet but will soon I’m sure.

    • Wayne WilliamsOn Mar. 16th, 2016

      Robert,

      Once the printed or PDF operating manual is available, it should list the Panasonic part number for the foot under supplied accessories. Once you have the part number, go to www.panasonic.com, then the “SUPPORT” page, and then then select “Order Replacement Parts”. You will be taken to the Panasonic parts page of the Encompass Supply Chain Solutions site. Once at the Panasonic parts page you can search for parts by part number or model number.

      I hope this information is helpful. I have personally ordered many spare or replacement parts from the Panasonic parts page over the years, and most at very reasonable prices.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 16th, 2016

      Wayne, wow buddy, thanks so much for your help on this. I’ve known of this parts supplier as well but thought I would wait to share that until I found out if they would have this part, but I think it’s great you got it out there now. Thanks for your help with this.

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