Previous page Next page

Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS

The Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS (or H-FS100300 in Panasonic-speak) is the longest and inevitably bulkiest Micro Four Thirds lens so far. This image-stabilized telezoom appears to be designed to tempt owners of Panasonic's popular series of FZ superzoom compacts to upgrade to the Lumix G system, with its 200-600mm equivalent range placing it firmly into the specialist 'sports and wildlife' category. However the 100mm 'short' end does make it a relatively poor complement to the 14-42mm or 14-45mm kit zooms, especally when compared to the smaller and cheaper 45-200mm F4-5.6.

The lens has a typically-Panasonic feature set, and is therefore designed with both stills and video use in mind. It combines internal focus and a stepper motor system for fast, silent AF, and features what Panasonic calls a 'zoom tracking control system', which we presume attempts to automatically keep the subject in focus while zooming during movie recording. Optical image stabilization inevitably makes an appearance, here branded 'Mega OIS'. Rounding off the specification is a 7-bladed diaphragm with rounded blades for the smooth rendition of out-of-focus regions of the image.

Design

The 100-300mm is a big, solid lens with the excellent build quality we've come to expect from Panasonic. The barrel is constructed from high quality plastics, and both the zoom and focus rings are smooth in operation. Design is entirely conventional with the large zoom ring dominating the barrel and a decent-size manual focus ring towards the front. A switch on the side for the optical stabilization unit completes the controls.

On the camera

The 100-300mm is, naturally, rather larger than the existing 45-200mm, and (because ya cannae beat the laws of physics) not so much different in size to 300mm telezooms for APS-C or full frame cameras. This makes it better matched to Panasonic's DSLR-like bodies than the 'rangefinder-style' GF1 or Olympus Pens, on which it practically defines the concept of front-heavy.

Lens body elements

The lens comes with this dedicated bayonet mount hood. It's made of thick black plastic, has molded ribs on the inside to minimize reflection of stray light into the lens, and reverses for storage.

It's about 2" (5cm) deep: slightly surprisingly, a little shallower than the one for the 45-200mm. This does mean you can operate the zoom ring unhindered while it's reversed, though.
The side of the lens barrel plays host to the familiar OIS mode switch - thankfully Panasonic hasn't been tempted to leave it off this lens and relegate the control to the camera menu.

Compared to...

Here's the 100-300mm alongside it's little brother, the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS. It's about 25% longer when retracted to its shortest length, almost 40% heavier, and uses 67mm filters as opposed to 52mm. Naturally this size difference becomes even more marked when both are zoomed to their longest setting (click here for comparison image).

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Specifications

Price • US: $tbc
• UK: £549.99
Manufacturer's product code H-FS100300
Date introduced September 2010
Maximum format size Micro Four Thirds
Focal length 100-300mm
35mm equivalent focal length 200-600mm
Diagonal angle of view 12 - 4.1°
Maximum aperture F4-5.6
Minimum aperture F22
Lens Construction • 17 elements/ 12 groups
• 1 ED element
Number of diaphragm blades 7, rounded
Minimum focus 1.5m / 4.9ft
Maximum magnification 0.21x
AF motor type DC Micro motor
Focus method Internal focus
Image stabilization Yes
Filter thread • 67mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories* • Front and rear caps
• Lens hood
• Lens case
Weight 520g (1.2 lb)
Dimensions 73.6mm diameter x 126mm length
(2.9 x 5.0 in)
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds
Previous page Next page
554
I own it
23
I want it
90
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments