Ultra-long telephoto lenses were once only available in the professional spectrum of lenses and were large and heavy with price tags to match. These lenses still exist of course and remain a firm favourite of professionals, but with the development of smaller camera formats such as Micro Four Thirds, these types of lenses are now much more enthusiast-friendly.
The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II Power OIS provides an equivalent focal length of 200-600mm, which for a lens that’s just 126mm long and 520g puts the ability to reach distant subjects in your pocket. While physically large professional telephoto lenses are available for full-frame DSLRs, Micro Four Thirds cameras such as Panasonic Lumix models and also Olympus cameras make use of significantly smaller lenses than other formats.
The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II Power OIS was announced in early 2017 alongside the update of a number of other Panasonic lenses. All lenses in the update, including the 100-300mm, were adapted to take advantage of new Panasonic Lumix G series camera functionality including the addition of Power IOS – 5-axis optical Image stabiliser. Other upgrades include a dust- and splash-proof design, as well as a silent AF motor and improved AF tracking. This new version of the lens replaces the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 MEGA OIS released in 2010.
Aimed directly at sports, wildlife and nature photography, the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II Power OIS lens offers a variable maximum aperture ranging from f/4 at its wider focal lengths to f/5.6 when zoomed in. This of course isn’t as wide as a professional lens offering f/2.8 or f/4 throughout its focal range, but at 600mm f/5.6 is the perfect aperture to ensure subject sharpness and a suitably blurred background.