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Panasonic LUMIX S lenses: Uniquely designed for both stills and video

The philosophy behind LUMIX S lens design

Unlike most camera lenses on the market today, Panasonic’s S series of lenses for full-frame cameras are uniquely engineered with both still photographers and videographers in mind. This unique design philosophy empowers photo and video creators to focus on capturing their ideas and expressing their creative vision without worrying about gear performance.

LUMIX S lenses feature three crucial design elements that serve the needs of both photographers and videographers: parfocal lens design, which ensures that a zoom lens remains in focus when zooming in or out, controlled lens breathing, which prevents slight changes in focal length as a lens is focused, and a unified design philosophy that facilities a seamless workflow when switching between lenses.

Additionally, photographers and videographers can feel confident about image quality. LUMIX S lenses incorporate advanced technology that renders high-quality bokeh, captures rich and accurate color, and limits ghosting and flaring. They’re also dust and splash resistant for use under demanding conditions.

The Panasonic LUMIX S F1.8 lens lineup

Photo by Todd White

Panasonic’s lineup of LUMIX S lenses for full-frame cameras includes a variety of optics to cover every situation, from wide-angle to telephoto, and consists of both zooms and primes. In this article, we will explore a subset of this lineup: Panasonic’s LUMIX S F1.8 prime lenses.

This collection includes four lenses: the LUMIX S 24mm F1.8, 35mm F1.8, 50mm F1.8, and 85mm F1.8. Panasonic has also announced a fifth lens in the series, the LUMIX S 18mm F1.8. All five lenses are meticulously designed to have similar weight and balance, allowing for seamless switching between lenses, making them an excellent choice for applications like gimbal work. They also share a common 67mm filter thread for easy usability in the field.

Between them, these prime lenses provide coverage ranging from ultra-wide angle to moderate telephoto and cover some of the most common focal lengths used by both photographers and videographers.

The LUMIX S 24mm F1.8

Photo by Fritz Bacon

The LUMIX S 24mm F1.8 is a wide-angle lens that’s great for everything from landscapes to travel. Photographers value this focal length for its ability to capture a wide field of view while maintaining minimal distortion. It’s popular for applications like landscape photography, weddings, and photojournalism.

Videographers like the 24mm focal length because it’s suitable for capturing a whole scene, shooting establishing shots, capturing wide, cinematic vistas, and working in cramped locations where longer focal lengths can’t get the job done. It also provides a dramatic look due to its wide field of view.

The LUMIX S 24mm F1.8 is splash and dust resistant, making it suitable for all these use cases, even under adverse conditions.

The LUMIX S 35mm F1.8

Photo by Todd White

The LUMIX S 35mm F1.8 covers a classic focal length that provides a balance between wide-angle and normal lenses. It’s popular because it allows for a slightly wider field of view than human vision, but in a way that’s intimate and comfortable rather than being dramatic. Photographers love it for things like street photography, environmental portraiture, and even weddings.

The 35mm focal length is also valuable to videographers. It’s a great focal length for the ‘talk to camera’ format, meaning it’s an excellent choice for people like social media creators filming themselves or for shooting interviews and documentaries. Like the other LUMIX S lenses, the 35mm F1.8 is dust and splash resistant, so you can be confident it will hold up whether you’re in the studio or on the street.

The LUMIX S 50mm F1.8

Photo by Todd White

The LUMIX S 50mm F1.8 covers one of the most popular focal lengths of all time, and it makes a great all-around lens because it provides a field of view that approximates human vision. It’s long enough to provide good separation between subject and background, particularly when used at F1.8, but doesn’t feel like a telephoto lens.

Photographers have valued the 50mm focal length for decades for its flexibility. It can be used for everything from street photography to portraits of family and friends, and can be a good choice for product photography. Video creators can use it to shoot tighter scenes that bring focus to a subject while still creating a point of view that feels natural to viewers. Thanks to its splash and dust resistant design, the LUMIX S 50mm F1.8 is up to the task under any conditions.

The LUMIX S 85mm F1.8

Photo by Todd White

When photographers talk about portrait lenses, they’re frequently referring to the 85mm focal length, which is a classic for portraits. The LUMIX S 85mm F1.8 excels here, delivering flattering portraits and providing great separation between your subject and background. It makes sense that it’s widely used for applications like studio work and wedding photography, but it’s a fantastic all-around lens for anyone who wants to shoot stunning portraits.

It’s a great focal length for video creators as well. Many use it as a go-to lens for close-up interviews or when a slight, but not necessarily dramatic, telephoto effect is required. It’s also suitable for capturing B-roll such as close-ups and product shots. Like other LUMIX S lenses in the series, the 85mm F1.8’s dust and splash resistant build ensures that it will be suitable for any application – even a wedding ceremony with some unexpected summer rain.

Focus breathing

Focus breathing is a term that describes the minor change to field of view that occurs in many lenses as they are focused. If left uncontrolled, it results in a slight but noticeable zooming sensation as the focus is adjusted. Controlled focus breathing is critical for video work: it allows a cinematographer to rack focus on a subject as it moves through the scene without any visible change in focal length, an effect that can be distracting to viewers.

Controlled focus breathing is also essential for some types of photography, notably macro photography. When shooting a series of macro images to be stacked together, a lens that exhibits focus breathing will change the magnification of the subject slightly as the focus is adjusted.

Panasonic LUMIX S F1.8 prime lenses include a mechanism to suppress focus breathing, ensuring that it won’t be a problem for video or still image creators.

This video illustrates the effect of focus breathing using a competitor’s lens (left) and a Panasonic lens (right). Notice how the Panasonic lens controls focus breathing.

Unified lens design

Photo by Todd White

Superb optics are important, but every experienced photographer and videographer knows that it’s also vital to use gear that provides a seamless workflow. Panasonic’s LUMIX S F1.8 primes feature a unified design philosophy that ensures an easy, consistent workflow, even when switching between lenses in the field.

To start, all LUMIX S F1.8 prime lenses are designed so that the size and position of control elements, such as focus rings, are consistent between lenses. This makes it easy to switch lenses on a rigged camera without modifying other parts of the rigging. All lenses in the set also have similar weights and centers of gravity, making it easy to swap them quickly when working on a gimbal with little or no balance adjustment. Additionally, they all use the same 67mm filter thread, ensuring that one set of filters works across the entire set.

Finally, the F1.8 primes are engineered so that image rendition, including color, contrast, and out-of-focus elements, is identical across all lenses in the set for matched results.

LUMIX S Pro lenses

In addition to its collection of F1.8 prime lenses, Panasonic’s LUMIX S series includes a variety of other lenses that cover virtually any use case. Of particular note are its LUMIX S Pro lenses, which are designed to be among the best camera lenses in the world.

LUMIX S Pro lenses are engineered to exceptionally strict standards, from design to production, as no-compromise optics that excel in both image rendering and performance. Each LUMIX S Pro lens must pass the stringent standards set by Leica, a legend in lens manufacturing, and are the only S series lenses certified to carry the Leica name.

The LUMIX S Pro series includes some of the most important lenses in a photographer’s toolkit, including the LUMIX S Pro 24-70mm F2.8, the LUMIX S Pro 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S, and the stunning LUMIX S Pro 50mm F1.4.

LUMIX S lens roadmap

In addition to the prime lenses discussed in this article, the LUMIX S lens lineup includes optics ranging from 16mm at the wide end to 300mm telephoto at the long end (and up to 400mm when using a teleconverter). This collection consists of lenses covering classic zoom ranges, including the LUMIX S Pro 16-35mm F4, LUMIX S Pro 24-70mm F2.8, and the LUMIX S Pro 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S.

Additionally, Panasonic has announced the development of two future lenses: the LUMIX S 18mm F1.8 prime, which will join the other F1.8 prime lenses featured in this article, and a new wide-angle zoom lens.

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