The first thing I noticed was the small size and relative heft of the lens. The first impression it leaves you with is that it is solid, well-made and built for serious photography work.
One of the cool things I immediately noticed about the lens was the inclusion of a memory button. You can preset a focus distance, then immediately recall it at the touch of a button. I can see how this feature would be invaluable for situations when you’re relatively immobile, waiting for action to happen in a particular spot.
The fact that Panasonic seems to be making image stabilization standard on all of their cameras is fantastic. But never is it more important than on longer focal length lenses like the 200mm. And the fact that Panasonic has included IS in the lens means you can activate DUAL image stabilization for up to 5 stops of added stability.
The autofocus speed was extremely fast… with and without the teleconverter. Which I can see as a must for far away fast-moving subjects like cars or birds.
Accessories that come with the lens include a 1.4x teleconverter that increases the effective range to 280mm at f4.0 – that would be 560mm on full-frame cameras. There’s also an optional 2.0x teleconverter that will increase the range to 400mm or 800mm on full-frame cameras.
A well-made plastic lens hood with a set screw. And an optional tripod mounting foot. Plus you get soft cases for the lens and the teleconverter.
The image quality coming out of this lens is just stunning. And unexpected for such a long focal length lens at f2.8 the image quality was very good. And at at f4.0 it was EXTREMELY good! I can see why this lens is so expensive. Plus the beautiful bokeh that you get at such long focal lengths makes almost every background into beautiful mush!
Like I said in the intro, this lens represents an important addition to the micro four-thirds lens line-up. The lens is built like a tank, but at the same time it’s much smaller than the full-frame equivalents.
However, this is NOT a cheap lens, at the time of this recording it’s priced at about $2,500 – that includes the 1.4x teleconverter.
If your genre of photography calls for long, fast glass — and you can afford it, this lens is a must-have for your collection. And even if you can’t afford it, you might consider renting one for those missions that call for this kind of reach.
Check out the Panasonic Lumix 200mm f2.8 on Amazon
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