Leica 100-400mm Dual IS with Lumix GX8

Posted Feb. 28th, 2016 by Daniel J. Cox

I recently shot the Leica 100-400mm Dual IS with Lumix GX8 in my hotel room while on our 2016 Japan Winter Wildlife Photo Tour. This test was inspired by fellow Natural Exposures Explorer Dean Schwartz who sent me an image he shot with his new Olympus 300mm F/4 and the OM-D EM-1 camera. The new Olympus lens is getting rave reviews for its Dual IS with the Olympus bodies so I thought I should try something similar with the new Leica 100-400mm and the GX8.

Shot with GX8 with Leica 100-400mm lens hand held. Lens set to 300mm (600mm equivalent) No post processing including sharpening was added of any kind. 1000 ISO

Shot with GX8 with Leica 100-400mm lens handheld. Lens set to 300mm (600mm equivalent). No post processing (including sharpening) of any kind was added. Lumix GX8 1/25th of a second, 1000 ISO

These tests are nothing fancy. All I did was shoot a clock in my hotel while sitting on the couch from across the room. I set the Leica 100-400mm at 300mm (600mm equivalent) so we could compare apples to apples, so to speak. I included every image I shot in this gallery so you can see the good with the bad. I tried numerous shutter speeds, some as low as 1/6th of a second. All images were shot handheld with my elbows braced to my side as I sat on a couch. I think the results are pretty amazing. I have given permission for downloading these images in their full size JPG form. Below is the link and the password for download.

Leica 100-400mm Dual IS with Lumix GX8
Password: leicalensIStest


There’s been lots of interest in the Dual IS test I did with the GX8 and new Leica 100-400mm lens but there’s been equal interest in wondering how the new lens does with the Lumix GH4. Actually, I’m always happy when someone points to the obvious for me, and in this situation, I want to extend a thank you to Mikael Spetz for doing just that. He wrote and mentioned he had a GH4 and was concerned about that body not having the benefit of Dual IS. For the GH4, he is correct in his assumption that only the lens IS will work.

Screen shot showing Star Ratings within Lightroom. 5 Stars perfect focus, 3 Stars acceptable focus in a pinch. 1 Star totally unacceptable.

Screenshot showing star ratings within Lightroom, 5 stars = perfect focus, 3 stars = acceptable focus in a pinch, 1 star = totally unacceptable. These are images from Lumix GH4 with lens Image Stabilization only. All images shot at 300mm (600mm equivalent).

So once again I set up a clock in my new hotel room here in Japan to shoot another rendition of the clock IS test that I did with the GX8 and the 100-400mm Leica.

Seen shot showing shutter speed of 1/15th. of a second. All photos were shot hand held at 300mm (600mm equivalent)

Screenshot showing shutter speed of 1/15th of a second. All photos were shot handheld at 300mm (600mm equivalent)

I’m happy to report I got extremely positive results with the in-lens IS only on the GH4. Once again, I’ve uploaded the images for all to see on my PhotoShelter website and they too are available for download as full size JPGs. Keep in mind I have done nothing to these files (including not sharpening them). Look for these images at the bottom of the gallery.

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There are 13 comments on this post…
  1. Portrait of Ray Hirsch

    Ray HirschOn Mar. 8th, 2016

    Hi Dan,

    Margie showed me your video from Japan and I noticed you were putting the Lumix 100-400mm weather sealing to the test. I will be waiting for feed back on how it stands up to melting snow and/or light rain. Trip looked nice, but all the snow did not help to convince Margie. She wants to go back to Japan in the Fall when the leaves are turning. It is absolutely beautiful in the Fall.

    Enjoy the rest of the trip,


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 8th, 2016

      Ray, it held up fine. I was able to even move the AF sensor around via the rear LSC with the LCD covered with snow. Additionally, the snow was wet. I have to say I was very impressed. Lens came out fine as well.

    • Portrait of Ray Hirsch

      Ray HirschOn Mar. 9th, 2016

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for the quick reply. You are bringing fantastic attention to this lens on the Internet. I just saw your shots of the Stellar’s Sea Eagle on 43 Rumors… I AM SO JEALOUS! Those are great shots of a fast moving subject. Might have to do the Japan Winter tour without Margie sometime. I can’t wait to get my 100-400, hopefully next week.

      All the best to you and Tanya,


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 9th, 2016

      Ray, we absolutely love Japan. Without a doubt one of my favorite trips. Even as I write this I’m working to finish up the Blog post on Japan. Stay tuned. By the way, this trip using the the GX8 and the new 100-400mm was the first shoot I’ve done, especially the eagles, where I felt I was getting results as good as my Nikons in predictive AF. Some of the best images were at less and much less than the 400mm but as you can imagine I would start out at 400mm and zoom out as the birds came flying in. Not to have the zoom capability would have cost me a lot of great images. That said, I’m still excited to get my hands on the new Olympus 300mm which I pick up today. Thats for reaching out.

  2. MartinOn Mar. 3rd, 2016

    This test would have been much more interesting for me if you’d have shot the images while standing (not sitting).

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 4th, 2016

      We all have our own idea of what a perfect test might be but I shoot many of my images lying prone on the ground or sitting in a chair from a blind. Not sure why you think standing would have been much better but I’m still confident, any images shot without a tripod, at these shutter speeds, are impressive.

  3. Jon CulverOn Mar. 2nd, 2016

    Daniel, I am very interested in the Panaleica 100-400 but I wonder how well it is going to work with my Oly EM-1? Your report that it produced reasonably sharp images on the GH-4 with IS only is encouraging for those of us using Olympus bodies. I also wonder how well the chromatic abberations with this lens will come out on my EM-1. The Photzine test gave good results on this lens with the GX-8 but that may be because of in camera correction? Chromatic abberations on the Panny 100-300 lens were fine on Panasonic bodies but increased quite a bit on the EM-1.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 2nd, 2016

      Jon, sorry for the late reply on this. I found seven additional comments in my Trash folder. Not sure how this happened but better late than never.

      Your question about the how this lens will work on the EM-1 is a good one. Unfortunately I’ve not tried it at this point. I plan on purchasing the new EM-1-ll and will give it a try. Sorry for not being able to be more help.

  4. jb89100On Mar. 2nd, 2016

    Thank you for the test with the GH4; it’s very good results

  5. BaverelOn Mar. 1st, 2016

    If you compare, let us know that a Canon IS 300mm F 4 is half the price of the Oly! It does the same thing with an adapter…..I worked for a long time with M4/3, love it, owned even the wonderful lens 4/3 Oly 300mm F 2.8, sold it to wait the new one but now I think that it is definitively too expensive. The Leica 100-400 price is a much more good value for what it is.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 1st, 2016

      I agree the Olympus is a bit pricey but they have a much smaller market to sell to at this point. As more people see the advantages to carrying much less equipment to get similar results, the price will coe down. And yes the Leica 100-400mm is a better value.

  6. Dean SwartzOn Feb. 29th, 2016

    Once again, you have provided invaluable insight into the “new” world of MFT long telephoto lenses. With proper technique, these two lenses (PL 100-400 & Oly 300) can be incredible tools for wildlife (and clock?) photography! Never again will we need to suffer the pain (back, financial, and logistic) of lugging a huge 600mm lens through airports, waist-deep snow, or up mountain trails. Hoorah!!!! Image quality on the new “mini-beasts” is awesome. I hope when people complain about the price of these two lenses, that they appreciate the cost of the Nikon/Canon alternatives. I just packed my Oly 300mm f4 (with 1.4x extender), 40-150mm f2.8, 12-40mm f2.8, 7-14mm f2.8, 8mm f1.8, PL 42.5mm f1.2, PL 25mm 1.7, OMD E-M1 and E-M5II in my ThinkTank Airport Antidote V2 (that will slide under an airplane’s seat). And, there was still room for my Leica Q! To be able to carry everything in a single backpack is staggering! I’ve got it covered from 8mm to 840mm! What a wonderful time to be a photographer.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 29th, 2016

      Dean………. Perfectly said. All I can add is Amen!Well maybe gloryosky might be another option.

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