Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S lens

      Photo Review 9.0

      In summary

      The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S lens offers decent imaging performance and fast, accurate autofocusing with the G9II camera we used for our tests and assisted by the camera’s hybrid phase/contrast detection AF system.

      Full review

      Panasonic’s new Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S lens (model H-ES35100GC) is a faster alternative to the popular Lumix G VARIO 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S. (H-HS35100) lens, which we reviewed in March 2015 and an update to the venerable Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 lens, which we reviewed in May 2013.

      Targeted at serious photographers and videographers, the new lens is designed as a companion to the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens, which was updated in 2022 but which we haven’t yet reviewed. Little has changed physically in the new lens although there have been some internal adjustments.

      Angled view of the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 35-100mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S (H-ES35100GC) lens without end caps or lens hood. (Source: Panasonic.)

      The optical design is unchanged and consists of 18 elements in 13 groups, with two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses and one UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) elements to address common aberrations. As before, Panasonic’s proprietary Nano Surface Coating technology has been applied to suppress internal reflections and minimise ghosting and flare. Some improvements have been made to it to meet the standards required for Leica certification

      The optical diagram for the H-ES35100GC lens showing the positions of the exotic glass elements. (Source: Panasonic.)

      Who’s it For?
      Covering a focal length range equivalent to 70-200mm in 35mm format, this lens is ideal for portraiture, sports and wildlife photography. One of the main advantages of M4/3 equipment is its small size and light weight when compared with similarly-specified ‘full-frame’ gear.

      Weighing only 360 grams and just under 100 mm long, with a diameter of 67.4 mm, even though it’s larger and heavier than the f/4.0-5.6 lens, this lens won’t take up much space in your camera bag – although you’ll pay more for it. When attached to one of Panasonic’s relatively compact and lightweight G-series camera bodies, it will be a good choice for travellers who need a fast telephoto zoom lens but don’t want to be over-burdened with a heavy kit.

      Build and Ergonomics
      The physical design of the new lens is largely unchanged from the previous model, and it also has internal focusing and zooming, which means its barrel remains the same length whatever focus or zoom position you use. Just under 100 mm long, with a diameter of 67.4 mm and an overall weight of 360 grams, it remains compact for its build quality and optical design. We found it to be a comfortable fit on the G9M2 body we used for our tests.

      The internal focusing is driven by the same kind of ‘focus-by-wire’ system as found in the previous lens. The focusing ring can be turned smoothly through a full circle if manual over-ride of autofocusing is needed.

      The zoom ring is 45 mm wide and located a few millimetres behind the focusing ring. It carries a 37 mm wide ridged rubber grip band. Focal length settings for 35mm, 50mm, 70mm and 100mm are stamped just inside its leading edge in an arc of approximately 60 degrees. Stops at each end of the arc limit the ring’s rotation.

      Zooming is also totally internal, which means the lens doesn’t extend as you move between the 35mm and 100mm positions. However, there’s no distance scale to show where the focus is set; only the same POWER O.I.S. on/off slider as is found on the 12-35mm lens.

      The review lens was supplied in standard packaging, which means it came with front and end caps, a cylindrical lens hood (which can be reversed for storage) and a soft storage pouch. We found the hood much easier to fit than the hood supplied with the H-HS35100 lens (which was petal-shaped).

      Our Imatest tests showed overall performance to be good – but a bit more variable than we found with the previous version of this lens. Although there was more edge softening, centre-of-frame resolution remained quite high at aperture settings up to f/11 before falling off due to diffraction.

      The highest figures recorded for centre resolution occurred with the 35mm focal length at f/3.5 although centre resolution remained quite good at wider apertures with all focal lengths. The graph below shows the results of our tests, based upon JPEG files.

      Lateral chromatic aberration, which was measured on uncorrected RW2.RAW files, remained within the ‘negligible’ band across almost all focal length and aperture settings, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below. The red line indicates the point of transition between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA.

      Since Panasonic cameras apply corrections automatically to JPEG files, we also checked the JPEG results and found them to be slightly lower. As a result, we found no evidence of coloured fringing in our test shots.

      Distortion is also corrected in Panasonic cameras, so we had to check the raw files before making any assessments. We found very slight pincushion distortion in raw files taken at the 100mm focal length but none was apparent at the other focal lengths.

      Correction for vignetting is optional and accessed via the shooting menu, but once again we based our assessments on raw files. Once again, there was slight vignetting at the 35mm and 100mm focal lengths with f/2.8, which was eliminated by stopping down to f/3.5. We saw no noticeable corner darkening at the other focal lengths.

      Strong backlighting was handled very well and the lens produced nice, 14-pointed sunstars when stopped down to f/22 and pointed at a bright light. There were a couple of flare artefacts at the 100mm focal length but we found no signs of veiling flare in contre-jour shots.

      Although the new lens has better close focusing than the H-HS35100, at 85 cm it still not ideal for shooting close-ups with shorter focal lengths. The 100mm focal length is fine for photographing larger flowers and can produce nice bokeh with wider apertures, although depth of field at f/2.8 is very narrow.

      The POWER O.I.S. stabilisation system worked as well as we expected and supported shutter speeds as slow as 1/15 second with longer focal lengths. Between 1/20 and 1/15 second, more than half of the shots we took were reproduced sharply.


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      Picture angle: 34 to 12 degrees diagonal
      Minimum aperture:  f/22
      Lens construction: 18 elements in 13 groups (including  one UED and 2 ED elements)
      Lens mounts: Micro Four Thirds mount
      Diaphragm Blades: 7 (rounded aperture)
      Weather resistance: Dust and splash resistant
      Focus drive: Micro stepping motor
      Zoom method: Rotary (internal)
      Stabilisation: Yes (POWER O.I.S.)
      Minimum focus: 85 cm
      Maximum magnification: 0.1x / 0.2x
      Filter size: 58 mm
      Dimensions (Diameter x L): 67.4 x 99.9 mm
      Weight: 360 grams (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap and lens hood)
      Standard Accessories: Lens cap, rear cap, lens hood, storage bag

      Distributor: Panasonic Australia



      Based on JPEG images captured with the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mark II camera.

      Based on RW2.RAW files recorded simultaneously and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.



      Vignetting at 35mm f/2.8.

      Vignetting at 50mm f/2.8.

      Vignetting at 70mm f/2.8.

      Vignetting at 100mm f/2.8

      Rectilinear distortion at 35mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 50mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 70mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 100mm.

      35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/11.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/60 second at f/11.

      Sunstar at 35mm focal length, ISO 50, 1/30 second at f/22.

      Sunstars and flare artefacts at 100mm focal length, ISO 50, 1/30 second at f/22.

      Close-up at 35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/2.8.

      Close-up at 100mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/250 second at f/2.8.

      100mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/250 second at f/4.

      100mm focal length; ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/4.5.

      100mm focal length; ISO 50, 1/1000 second at f/5.6.

      35mm focal length; ISO 50, 1/640 second at f/5.6.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/2.8.

      44mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/9.

      50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/8.

      93mm focal length, f/4; ISO 100, 1/800 second.

      70mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/4.5.

      Backlighting; 35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/7.1.

      Backlighting; 35mm focal length, ISO 50, 1/200 second at f/7.1.

      68mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1300 second at f/6.3.

      100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1600 second at f/5.

      266: 100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1300 second at f/5.

      Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mark II camera.



      RRP: AU1,999

      • Build: 9.0
      • Handling: 9.0
      • Image quality: 8.9
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Versatility: 8.8