Meet the Panasonic 20-60mm S: A lightweight and affordable standard zoom that also goes quite wide
posted Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 9:00 AM EDT
Full-frame zoom lenses tend to be heavy and expensive, especially the ones promising high image quality, but Panasonic is aiming to redefine that assumption. They've today beefed up their growing selection of L-mount offerings with the intriguing Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6mm lens.
At just 12.3oz (350g) the 20-60mm S is certainly not going to weigh you down in the field as so many standard full-frame zooms tend to do, as they often weigh at least one pound or so -- and some can tip the scales at over 2lbs. With the 20-60mm S you are trading off in the brightness department with a relatively dim variable aperture, but otherwise the lens appears to deliver high-end features throughout.
For instance, it's dust- and splash-proof even given the small size, and is rated to temperatures down to 14˚F / -10˚C. It's also reported to suppress focus breathing, which is a reassuring feature for both video and still shooting alike.
Standard 24-70mm zoom lenses are certainly versatile, and yet 20mm can yield a much wider apparent field of view, especially when shooting stills or video in tight quarters. The 20-60mm focal range seems much more suited to videography than a standard 24-70mm lens, and will likely allow videographers the ease of not having to change lenses as often in tricky shooting environments.
For the technically curious among you, the lens comprises 11 elements in 9 groups, and uses 2 aspherical lenses and 3 Extra-low dispersion (ED) lenses for the suppression of axial and chromatic aberration, as well as battling astigmatism. An Ultra High Refractive Index lens (UHR) is also employed to yield uniform image quality and sharpness across the frame. The aperture is a 9-blade configuration, and the filter size is a common 67mm.
The Panasonic 20-60mm S offers a maximum magnification factor of .43x, and a close-focusing distance of just 5.9 inches (0.15m). The lens does not come equipped with optical image stabilization, but all current Panasonic S-series models (S1, S1R, S1H) provide IBIS, and so you're already well-covered in the IS department. Should you desire to use this lens on another L-mount camera such as the Sigma fp, you'll have an incredibly lightweight package overall (less than 2lbs / 800g!) but you'll need to be aware of the lack of any onboard IS.
The Panasonic S 20-60mm lens will be available at the end of July for US $599.99. Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for more to come when a sample arrives at our headquarters!