Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed640
Focal Length168.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed320
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed1600
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/500s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed1600
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed320
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed320
Focal Length156.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed1000
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed1600
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/200s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length185.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length53.0mm
Aperture:f/3.5
Exposure1/400s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed500
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length156.0mm
Aperture:f/3.9
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length50.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1000s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length92.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length50.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/80s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1250s

Competition

The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS (shown to the left) is competing against two other MFT lenses - the already mentioned Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO IS (center) and the Panasonic X 35-100mm f/2.8 Power OIS (to the right below). You may notice that, while sharing the same/similar large aperture, they are quite different in shape. The Olympus lens is generally faster and therefore also bigger. Performance-wise there isn't too much between the two (and the Olympus lens hasn't the greatest bokeh either). The Panasonic lens is emphasizing shorter focal lengths and costs, correspondingly, not quite as much as the Leica/Olympus. It's pretty sharp, too, and also much smaller.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS is an outstanding lens ... with one exception. It excels in most of the formal parameters. In terms of resolution, it is extremely sharp across the zoom range. Image distortions are absent in conventionally processed images with just a little distortion present in RAW images. Lateral CAs are negligible. Vignetting is usually auto-corrected so no worries here normally. If you chose to deactivate auto-correction, you may notice an elevated light falloff at maximum aperture though. The biggest weakness is in an informal parameter - the bokeh. Out-of-focus highlights have an odd inner structure and the general rendition of background blur is also harsher than desirable in certain scenes at least.
The build quality is excellent and if you handle it, you can immediately feel the difference compared to conventional Panasonic lenses. The subjective quality perception is even superior to Olympus PRO lenses in our book. It's still not perfect though. Zoom creeping can be a bit of annoying and some may miss a dedicated tripod mount (especially when using teleconverters). The AF is extremely quick and noiseless. The performance of the optical image stabilizer system is also impressive - and also needed at such long focal lengths. While the lens-based IS is pretty good already, it is a bit unfortunate that Olympus users can't take advantage of Dual-IS (=combining the optical IS with the in-camera IS system). So if you intend to have this as your primary lens, you may be better off with a Panasonic camera.
If you want a darn-sharp zoom lens, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS is an obvious choice albeit an overly expensive one. For portraits and other "bokeh-centric" applications, you may prefer to look elsewhere though (the Olympus 45mm f/1.2 PRO is superb).

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★


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