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Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8 Lens Review

John Riley has combined the Panasonic Lumix S 24mm f/1.8 with the 24MP full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 to find out how it performs.

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Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8

We have a relatively rare chance here to examine some of the full-frame Panasonic Lumix lenses using the Leica L mount, a collaboration between Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma. The first of these is actually from a set of three lightweight lenses with virtually identical dimensions and balance. This is intended to particularly benefit videographers as the balance of the camera/lens combination will not change from lens to lens. The complete set will be 24mm/50mm/85mm of which we have the 24mm and 85mm to look at. First up is the Panasonic Lumix S 24mm f/1.8, coupled with the 24MP full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 camera body. Let's see how it handles and performs.



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Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8 Handling and Features

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8

Overall, the lens weighs in at just 310g, indicating extensive use of plastics in its construction. It appears to be well made and is in fact also dust and splash resistant, always a welcome feature.

Starting with the provided petal lens hood, this bayonets nicely into position. Previously I have commented that some Panasonic lens hoods have had a protruding release catch that is easily pressed accidentally, but now the design has been altered and the catch is flush with the lines of the hood. This seems to have cured the problem. Within the bayonet, fit is a standard 67mm filter thread.

The wide focusing ring is electronic in operation and is smooth and quite firm in its action. The only other control on the lens is the AF/MF switch, which is self-explanatory.

The Leica L mount is metal and retained by six screws, more than most. The lens has five screws, the implication being that maybe it is a sign of robust construction. It is a solid fit with absolutely no play once the lens is seated.

Panasonic L-Mount S 24mm F/1.8

Focusing is down to 0.24m, or 0.79 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.15x. With videography in mind, the design has very low focus breathing, so focusing will not change the magnification or shape of objects in the frame. Also with videography in mind, this lens and its matching siblings the 50mm and 85mm have almost identical dimensions and centres of gravity, so in use, the handling remains the same.

Optical construction is 12 elements in 11 groups, including 3 Aspherical, 3 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) and 1 ULD (Ultra Low Dispersion), the aim being to reduce or eliminate chromatic aberrations and distortion.

As photographic tastes have evolved, 24mm is no longer considered to be a special-purpose ultra-wide lens, but a regular wide-angle. Nonetheless, it pays dividends to get in close to foreground subjects so that there are not vast areas of unused picture space. Focusing is crisp and efficient and virtually silent. There is no optical image stabilisation and the lens makes use of the in-built IBIS in the camera body. With the caveat that it only applies to this reviewer on this day, there was a two-stop advantage observed.

The lens makes a really tremendous optic for landscape, street, reportage and architectural shots and its lightweight is a great advantage for extended shooting. In fact, in use, the lens is remarkably light for a full-frame optic.


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