Panasonic has announced a new Lumix S lens for its full frame mirrorless cameras and it has a focal range we’ve never seen before. It’s enough to make us buy a camera just so that we can use this lens!
The Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 has a modest-sounding 3x zoom range but one that does the work usually done by two separate optics. At its widest it offers a 20mm focal length you would normally only get from an ultra-wide-angle lens and at its longest it offers an angle of view just slightly longer than a standard lens.
Don't let the focal lengths fool you. This is not a Micro Four Thirds lens, but a full frame L-mount lens for the Panasonic Lumix S1 (opens in new tab) and Lumix S1R (opens in new tab), and Lumix S1H (opens in new tab). It will, of course, also fit other L-mount cameras, namely the Sigma fp (opens in new tab) and the Leica SL2 (opens in new tab).
Normally, you’d need two separate lenses to do both of these jobs, so Panasonic seems to have pulled off a masterstroke with a lens that is both modestly specced and modestly priced.
Why is 20-60mm such a great zoom range?
There are ultra-wide-angle zooms that go much wider than 20mm, but 20mm is quite wide enough for most scenes, and a good deal wider than the 24-28mm minimum than the average full frame standard zoom.
And while 60mm is a little shorter than the 70mm or longer of most kit lenses, we’re willing to be that most of the shots we take with a standard zoom are at a focal length of 60mm or less.
The main thing is, for wide-angle fans, that now you can walk around with one lens on your camera instead of having to carry two and keep swapping between them.(opens in new tab)
Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6: more details
The Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 is compact and lightweight, weighing just 350g. This is because it has a variable maximum aperture, from f/3.5 at 20mm to f/5.6 at 60mm. It’s not a premium constant aperture lens like many of the Panasonic Lumix S lenses, but that’s why it’s so compact, light and affordable.
It has a minimum focus distance of 0.15m to offer an impressive maximum magnification of 0.43x, so while it’s not a macro lens, it’s still going to be very good at close-ups.
The Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 is designed for video as well as stills, with suppressed focus breathing. It also has a rugged dust and splash-resistant design and has a fluorine-coated front element which is water and oil-repellent too. It. Takes 67mm filters and has a 9-blade circular aperture.
The optical construction consists of 11 elements in 9 groups, including two aspherical lenses and three ED lenses to suppress both axial and lateral chromatic aberration. There’s also a UHR (Ultra-High Refractive Index) lens to maintain image quality from the center to the edges of the image while keeping the lens compact.
Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 price and availability
The Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 will go on sale at the end of July at just $599.99/£619/AU$1,099.