For All Of Our Days

March 05, 2019

DMC-GX7MK2 + Leica DG 100-400 f/4.0-6.3 @ 800mm FF equivalent

DMC-GX7MK2 + Leica DG 100-400 f/4.0-6.3 @ 800mm FF equivalent

We really love the entire line of Leica-branded Panasonic M/43 Lenses and own more of them than we probably should (and despite the fact that M43 as a system is increasingly being squeezed from both sides). All the ones we current own however, fall into the ultra-wide to moderate-telephoto range, despite the extreme sexiness of some of the latest offerings.

In particular, we’ve agonised over whether we should permanently add some of the longer telephoto lenses to our collection - we’ve bought and sold both the Leica DG 100-400 f/4.0-6.3 and Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 in the past and now are feeling the itch to repurchase at least a used copy of one of them permanently.

Our main challenge is that with the Sony A9 as our main body it’s our go-to option for any case1 that requires high-performance telephoto up to 200-400mm due to the undeniabily superior performance and quality to any M43 solution. That leaves only use cases which requires both extreme portability + extreme telephoto reach2, leaving basically hiking/outdoor adventures.

But even in this use case, looking back through our LR catalogue there’s actually not that many photos we take on our outdoor adventures beyond 200mm FF equivalent - simply because mountains are quite large already. Our trip to the Canadian Rockies last year was one exception however, and we found a cache of photos taken at 800mm FF that might just be the completely pointless rationalisation we need to convince ourselves to pick up a used version of one of these at some point :)

  1. i.e. sports, aerial and wildlife photography, as well as any random telephoto use cases in fashion shoots. 

  2. Sony FE native solutions top out at 400mm, either through the expensive but still semi-realistic Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS or else the utterly-unaffordable Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS, though with the 2x converter it’s possible to reach 800mm with the corresponding loss in image quality. But by this point the price, size and weight differential relative to comparable M43 solutions is utterly insane - the Leica 100-400 gives the same reach and comparable image quality of 800mm as the sony 100-400 + 2x converter but for < 1/2 the price and < 70% of the weight and without the hassle of requiring a separate teleconverter. 

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