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Panasonic Leica 50-200mm F2.8-4 is a bright, stabilized Micro Four Thirds zoom

Panasonic’s luxury Leica DG lens line is gaining some serious zoom power — on Monday, Feb. 26, Panasonic introduced the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH, a lens with a zoom equivalent a 100-400mm on a full-frame camera.

The new 50-200mm lens uses an optical image stabilization system that also works with the Dual IS and Dual IS 2 systems built into Panasonic bodies that have sensor-shift stabilization, including the flagship Lumix G9 and Lumix GH5, to steady the lens’ long reach.

The zoom range, Panasonic says, makes the lens ideal for sports and wildlife, as well as portraits. For photographers who need even more zoom, the lens is also compatible with the DMW-TC14 1.4x teleconverter and the DMW-TC20 2.0x teleconverter.

The lens is built from 21 elements in 15 groups, including two ultra-low dispersion elements, with additional extra-low dispersion elements and two aspherical elements to maximize quality. A nano surface coating also helps prevent flare and ghosting. Panasonic says the focus motor in the lens is specifically designed to keep up with the 240-frames-per-second refresh rates of its fastest contrast detection autofocus systems built into its latest camera bodies.

With several Panasonic cameras offering video features that meet the still photo features, this lens also incorporates a micro-drive step system that allows for smoother aperture adjustments during video recording. The design, Panasonic explains, is also optimized for barycentric stability, which allows for more consistency while zooming. Panasonic is also claiming a silent autofocus system, another perk for videography.

Like the other two existing lenses in the Leica DG series, the 50-200mm is also sealed against dust and moisture, making it a good compliment for Panasonic’s higher-end bodies (as well as those from Olympus). That same exterior protection also allows the lens to perform in temperatures down to ten degrees below zero. The lens was also designed to be as compact as possible, considering the long zoom range and relative wide aperture.

The 50-200mm is the longest in the Leica DG F2.8-4 series, joining the 8-18mm and 12-60mm lenses. It is expected to start shipping at the end of June, with a retail price of about $1,700.

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