Short Review: Panasonic Lumix L Mount 70-200/F4 Lens

When you come to think of it, a boat sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge that itself is enveloped in a cocoon of fog is what #fogust San Francisco Bay Area all about.

I made this photo with a Panasonic Lumix L mount 70-200/F4 lens. This image is captured at full 200mm at f5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/50th of a second. The optical stabilization of the glass and that of the Leica SL camera made it easy to capture this handheld. That said, the quality of the images from the lens left me severely underwhelmed.

Panasonic lumix s pro 70 200mm f4 ois lens

There is a lot to like about this lens — on paper. It is affordable compared to Leica lenses — about $1600 vs. nearly $7000 for the Leica 90-280 f2.8-4 zoom. The Panasonic is way lighter compared to the Leica’s big daddy lens. It is more modern and has more bells and whistles.

What it is missing — character. It is insipid at best. I looked at the negatives, and there isn’t the sharpness or the color I have become accustomed to with the Leica glass. On occasion, I have rented the 90-280 from LensRentals, and have enjoyed my experience – though I still think the weight makes it much less useful.

The Panasonic lens has a slight chromatic aberration, and also there is hard to explain flatness in the images.  Maybe it needs the Panasonic cameras (S1 or S1-R) to extract its full potential and doesn’t mate well with the Leica SL. I don’t know, but I didn’t like the final results. The bokeh is not very smooth and feels busy. The colors are very clinical, not warm — which is strange that I have a very old 10 megapixel Lumix with a 25mm pancake lens and it produces excellent images even now.

The current image was post-processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. I am not sure… what do you think? I am excited to try any new L-Mount lenses as this is good for my SL system. But as someone who primarily uses a 50mm M Summicron and occasionally the Leica 24-90 lens, I have a high bar on quality, color, and character. Sharpness, I can manage in post-production.

A letter from Om

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