Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO Review
The new Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO is a more affordable but still very high-quality alternative to the flagship Lumix S PRO 16-35mm F4 wide-angle zoom.
It's smaller, lighter and crucially cheaper without conceding too much in terms of performance, features or image quality, whilst offering the bonus of very close-focusing and half-size magnification.
Panasonic are keen to position this lens as the perfect addition to the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and Lumix S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 MACRO O.I.S. lenses, which certainly makes a lot of financial and practical sense if you want to quickly cover the 14mm ultra wide-angle to 300mm telephoto range.
There's lots to like in terms of the Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO's image quality, and not very much to complain about.
This lens is sharp almost from the get-go, very good in the centre of the frame when shooting wide open and excellent when stopped down by 1 EV. The edges aren't quite as sharp as the centre though, producing the best results when stopped down a little more.
There is some obvious vignetting wide-open, but this can easily be corrected in post-processing, or you can stop down by around 3 stops to help avoid it altogether. Chromatic aberrations and flare are very well controlled and it produces some very nice sun-star effects at f/22.
Perhaps most importantly for such a wide-angle lens, there isn't too much barrel distortion evident in either the JPEG or RAW images.
The build quality is very good, with the built-in weather-proofing offering some peace of mind in more inclement conditions.
Auto-focusing proved to be fairly quick and reliable on the Panasonic Lumix S5II camera body that we tested the lens with. In addition the focus mechanism is barely audible, making the lens very well-suited to video use.
There's no manual focus over-ride available at any time, though, and the lens lacks its own optical image stabilisation system, instead relying on the camera body (if it has one).
With a full retail price of £879.99 / €999.99 / $799.99, the Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO certainly offers a lot in terms of value for money, almost matching the capabilities and performance of the Lumix S PRO 16-35mm F4 at almost half the cost.
It may lack the PRO designation of its more expensive sibling, but for most users the new Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO offers almost everything that you need from a modern ultra-wide-angle zoom lens.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4.5|