Lens 1. Panasonic 8-18 f2.8-4.0
Panasonic 8-18 f2.8-4.0
Size: 88mm x 73mm
Aperture: f2.8 - f22
I decided to replace my Panasonic 7-14 f4 lens because of the problem I have of using it on my Olympus cameras. The purple blotch problem was just getting out of hand and I do tend to favour my Olympus cameras over the Panasonic. However, I think this lens delivers very sharp images and I do like using it. It performs much better on the native Panasonic cameras which is where I'll be using it in future. I had a hard time of it using the 7-14 on my Olympus cameras during my visit to the Loire Valley, which prompted me to change to the 8-18.
Another reason for changing was the ability to use filters which shouldn't be underrated, especially for landscape photographers.
Lens 2. Panasonic 12-60 f2.8-4.0
Panasonic 12-60 f2.8-4.0
Size: 86mm x 68mm
Aperture: f2.8 - f22
The only negative point on this lens is the 62mm filter. The 8-18 and 50-200 both have a 67 filter forcing the photographer to use either a step-down ring or take a second set of filters which takes up space and adds to the weight. Image quality is very good and is a better lens than their 12-60 f3.5-5.6 kit lens although that lens is no slouch either. I think all of their Leica lenses are of a better build quality and image quality is of a better grade. They really are a joy to use.
Lens 3. Panasonic 50-200 f2.8-4.0
Panasonic 50-200 f2.8-4.0
Size: 132mm x 76mm
Aperture: f2.8 - f22
Price: Expected Price Range: €1700
(The expected price above is because the 55-200 hasn't been released yet but I expect it to be pretty accurate).
The above 3 lenses gives you a range of 8mm to 200mm (FF equivalent: 16mm through 400mm). That range covers just about everything for me, and for most other photographers too I should imagine. I can see birders wanting something with a little more reach than this, in which case they could add the Panasonic 100-400 f4.0-6.3 which is an excellent by all accounts.
I think Panasonic have given a lot of thought into their latest lens releases because they seem to complement each other better than their earlier lens releases. Just my opinion of course.
Personally I will be purchasing the 50-200 as I really enjoyed using the Olympus 4/3 50-200. It is also the reason I held back from purchasing the Panasonic 100-400. It had the range I was after but it would have been an overkill for my purposes. I'm glad I held back. From what I can gather this lens will be available around June of 2018. A little too late for my next planned photography trip so Ill have to revert back to my older lenses.
So the next question is which camera should be used to pair these lenses with.
The 8-18 and the 12-60 are small and light enough to be paired with a GX8 which I have and plan on keeping. I believe it to be an excellent camera and delivers the goods. I see no reason to change anything regarding the GX8. Fits me nicely and offers everything I require. I also like the for factor - rangefinder style.
The 55-200 will need something with a larger grip say, a G81 or a G9 (or the GH series of cameras but as I'm strictly a stills kind of guy so the video side doesn't interest me in the least).
I must admit the G9 specs do interest me and I expect I will pick one up eventually. The only question is at what price point. It is now retailing at a little over €1600. That would make the 55-200 and G9 a €3300 purchase. Money doesn't grow on trees so I'm going to have wait a little before making a decision on this.
The way I see it now I will use my G81 with the 55-200 lens and wait a few months until the price of the G9 comes down a little, as it will.
Low Light Lens
Some of you may be wondering what am I going to do for low light photography. For that I'll just bring along my Panasonic 15 f1.7 lens which is also a Leica. Nice and sharp. I would love the 12 f1.4 but boy, Panasonic is pricing me out of the market. I just can't justify the price on that lens at the moment (retailing now at €950). Another lovely little lens is the Samyang 12 f2. Small, discreet and weighs practically nothing. If you can't fine a place in your bag for this little gem then, well......
Anyway, that's what I have planned and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the 50-200 lens.
Any comments or suggestions are welcome.