Panasonic announces first of four F1.8 full-frame L-mount primes: LUMIX S 85mm f/1.8
posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 3:59 AM EST
Panasonic has announced the latest addition to its growing full-frame L-mount lens lineup, the LUMIX S 85mm f/1.8 prime. This new lightweight and compact full-frame prime lens joins the LUMIX S PRO 50mm f/1.4 as the second prime lens released so far in Panasonic's full-frame lens series.
This new 85mm f/1.8 lens was actually unveiled earlier this year on an updated Panasonic L-mount lens roadmap alongside the Lumix S5 announcement. The Lumix 85mm f/1.8 prime will be the first in a series of four f/1.8 lenses scheduled for release in the near future, including a 50mm f/1.8 and two wide-angle primes: a 24mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/1.8. Release dates for these additional f/1.8 primes have not yet been announced. According to Panasonic, this series of four f/1.8 primes all share the same overall size and design, allowing for easy sharing of accessories, such as filters, as well as ease of swapping between lenses on fine-tuned equipment, such as balanced video gimbals.
Panasonic's new 85mm f/1.8 is a classic mid-telephoto prime lens, offering that classic portrait-friendly focal length in a lightweight, highly-portable package. The bright f/1.8 aperture allows for excellent light-gathering capabilities and subject isolation, while also maintaining a fairly lightweight and compact design. For example, compared to Panasonic's LUMIX S PRO 50mm f/1.4, the 85mm f/1.8 is featherweight! The 85mm f/1.8 lens weighs in at just 355g (0.78 lbs), which makes it lighter than the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.2 Nocticron Micro Four Thirds lens, for example. It's also nearly the same size, too, with an overall length of around 3.23 inches (82mm) and a diameter of 2.9 inches (73.6mm). The 85mm lens features a 67mm filter thread size, as well.
Optically, the Panasonic 85mm f/1.8 is compromised of 9 total elements configured into 8 groups and includes 2 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements to help suppress chromatic aberrations. The lens is also designed for smooth bokeh performance, with Panasonic stating that the 85mm f/1.8 offers smooth defocus gradations and smooth, round bokeh on point light sources. Further, the lens' 9-bladed rounded aperture diaphragm helps provide pleasing bokeh characteristics.
Panasonic doesn't state exactly what type of focusing system the lens uses, but they do claim that there is minimal focus breathing, making it a good lens choice for video creators. The lens does feature a close-focusing distance of 2.62 ft. (0.8m) with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.13x.
While the 85mm f/1.8 is not part of Panasonic's high-end "LUMIX S PRO" lens series, the lens nevertheless features a rugged construction with weather-sealing. The lens is dust- and splash-resistant -- including a gasket seal around the lens mount -- and is designed to withstand temperatures down to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C).
The LUMIX S 85mm f/1.8 lens is scheduled to go on sale in January with a retail price of $599.99.
We were sent an early sample of the new Panasonic LUMIX S 85mm f/1.8 lens, but at the time it was loaded with pre-production firmware. We have just received final v1.0 lens firmware, so stay tuned for a sample gallery in the coming days!
• • •
In addition to the 85mm lens, Panasonic has also announced that a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens is currently under development. No additional information or date of availability was provided.