There’s been one type of lens that the L-Mount lineup has been needing for a while now, and that’s a super telephoto zoom. Today Panasonic obliged with a new LUMIX S 70-300mm option.
One of the problems with having a full frame sensor is that while you usually have some great wide angle options, telephoto tends to be a bit sparser. Usually such lenses are extremely large, especially for fast glass. However the beauty of modern, high sensitivity and low noise cameras combined with the DOF characteristics of a full-frame sensor means that any super telephoto lens doesn’t really have to be that fast. At high focal lengths the need for f/2.8 apertures diminishes as the wafer thin focal plane becomes more of a hinderance than an advantage.
Which brings me to the new Panasonic LUMIX S 70-300mm f/4-5.6 MACRO O.I.S lens. Designed for L-Mount cameras, and hence full frame image circles, the new lens not only brings a decent telephoto length to the format, but it does so without weighing the same as an M1 Abrahams tank. In fact it only weighs 790g.
Panasonic LUMIX S 70-300mm f/4-5.6 MACRO O.I.S main features
The LUMIX S 70-300mm f/4-5.6 consists of 17 lens elements in 11 groups, with one ultra extra-low dispersion lens, two extra-low dispersion lenses, and one ultra-high refractive index lens. According to Panasonic this suppresses chromatic aberration issues at both the wide and the telephoto ends. An 11 bladed diaphragm ensures smooth, circular bokeh.
Minimum focus distance is 0.54m and it can achieve a 0.5x magnification at 300mm, meaning that half life-size macro images can be taken.
The new lens mounted to the DC-S5. This shows just how compact the new glass is. Image: Panasonic.
It features built-in optical image stabilisation, which when combined with the IBIS system in the L-Mount cameras should ensure that long focal length images can be taken sharply, even if you might need to use a slightly slower shutter speed. Furthermore the lens usefully weatherproof with dust and splash resistance, and the ability to cope with temperatures down to -10c. A fluorine coating on the front element is designed to repel water and oil.
Panasonic notes that all S Series lens are also designed to cater well to video users, with an emphasis on reducing focus breathing and focus shift during zooming.
The LUMIX S 70-300mm f/4-5.6 MACRO O.I.S will be available from the beginning of May 2021 for £1259.99 (€1349.99), which given the focal length is pretty affordable.
To finish off with, Panasonic are planning to release f/1.8 prime lenses for L-Mount in the near future covering a range of the most used focal lengths.