12 lenses of Christmas: January 2023 saw Panasonic kick off the year in style

Panasonic Lumix 14-28mm f/4-5.6 MACRO
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Let’s get festive! We’re celebrating the season with a nostalgic nod to all the lenses that landed on our news desk and in our test lab over the year, month by month. Beating a path through the snow for the first of our ‘12 lenses of Christmas’, here’s what January 2023 had to offer. We’ll be covering a new month every day from here on in.

First up for January’s news coverage, the Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm f/4-5.6 MACRO promised to take the blinkers off full-frame L-mount photography, with an ultra-wide maximum viewing angle. That’s not all though, as it also boasts a short minimum focus distance, delivering up to 0.5x macro magnification.

The Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm f/4-5.6 MACRO goes super-wide and super-close, making it a very versatile lens and great for vlogging. (Image credit: Panasonic)

Next up, Nikon did a ‘little and large’ act, announcing the heavyweight Z 85mm f/1.2 S and super-skinny Z 26mm f/2.8 pancake lens. The latter was the first pancake prime for the Z system, while the 85mm aimed for perfect portraiture. And speaking of heavyweights, Sigma launched a new version of its super-tele superzoom for mirrorless cameras, as the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports.

The new ‘DN’ version of the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports launched in Sony E and Leica L mount options for mirrorless cameras, the latter including Panasonic and Sigma bodies. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Ramping up the speed, Cosina announced four new Voigtländer lenses, including the super-fast Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1 in Nikon Z mount, along with the Voigtländer Super-Weide Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical. There was also news of the Voigtländer Ultron 75mm f/1.9 SC and MC versions for Leica M Mount. Meanwhile, the rumor mill ran rife with suggestions of Canon RF 200-500mm F4L 1.4x and RF 500mm F4L ‘great whites’.

In other ‘future’ news, we also heard that Sony was developing the Sony FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS, but that it wouldn’t hit the shelves until 2024. With a shorter lead time, Sony also announced the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G as a ‘new concept’ in standard zooms.

Billed as a new concept in standard zooms, the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G goes much wider than most, delivering really expansive viewing angles. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

They’re not new lenses but Nikon gave them a refresh, announcing telephoto firmware updates for the  Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S, Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S, Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S and Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S.

The first lens we reviewed in 2023 was the Laowa 90mm F2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO, a manual lens with an impressive 2x macro magnification. That was closely followed by two wide-angle lenses, the Sony FE 14mm F1.8 G Master and Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art, along with the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF G Master OSS.

Tamron claims its 35-150mm F/2-2.8 is ideal for travel but, weighing in at 1.2kg and being quite large, we reckon its better suited to wedding and event photography. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

One lens that really caught our eye was the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD, with its intriguing zoom range and fast aperture rating, making it ideal for wedding and event photography. Other lenses in our January testing schedule included the fun-size Tamron 20-40mm F2.8 Di III VXD,  the also fun Lensbaby Edge 35 Optic and a trio of Samyang V-AF 24mm T1.9, Samyang V-AF 35mm T1.9 and Samyang V-AF 75mm T1.9 cine primes.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.