Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 Review
Photographers may find it hard to get excited about standard zoom lenses with a modest maximum aperture, such as the new Panasonic S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
However, such 'kit' lenses at this level need to complement the cameras they serve and the Panasonic S series cameras have large boots to fill. Put it this way - you wouldn't want to fork out loads of cash on a camera to then use a sub-par lens. Thankfully, this is not the case.
There really is no other lens like the 20-60mm in the in Panasonic's L-Mount range. Coming in as the smallest, lightest and cheapest lens in the range by a long way, we have been pleasantly surprised by our overall experience.
Not only does its size (and weight) complement a Lumix S1 body perfectly, the lens construction is very sturdy. Even without the 'PRO' badge, it's built virtually to the same durable standard as some of the big boys like the 24-70mm f/2.8 PRO lens.
Focusing is lightning fast for photos and perfectly smooth (and silent) for videos. We didn't miss the manual focus clutch too much given all of the focusing info readily to hand via an S1 screen display.
We have been completely won over by the handling of the lens. With silent focusing, minimal focus breathing, excellent autofocus and a focal range of 20-60mm, this lens in clearly positioned in the hybrid realm, practically serving photographers and videographers in a wide range of scenarios.
And this lens is no slouch when it comes to image quality. Detail is very sharp across the entire focal range with an optimum performance at f/11. Even at maximum apertures there is the slightest drop in sharpness and we would have no hesitation pushing the lens this way.
Most impressively, there is virtually no decline in sharpness from centre to corners. Overall, the 20-60mm lens is not critically sharp like lenses triple the price, but it impresses and lens distortions are controlled well, too. Of course, you do not get the option of true shallow depth of field, dreamy bokeh, or lowlight versatility, but the gain is a compact and versatile lens.
Our final word is that the Panasonic S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens is a welcome addition to the L-Mount range. It's versatile, compact and light, handles like a dream and complements a Lumix S1 body well in all areas.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|