Lumix S 24mm f/1.8
Film-makers will be delighted with this new lightweight Lumix S 24mm lens, says Damien Demolder, as there’s no quality sacrifice to make it match the size and shape of the other Lumix S f/1.8 lenses
The Lumix S 24mm f/1.8 is the third of the promised set of four lightweight and matching lenses for the Lumix S system. So far we have the Lumix S 85mm f/1.8 and the Lumix S 50mm f/1.8, so this new Lumix S 24mm f/1.8 adds a nice wide angle of view to the quickly establishing set. The idea of these lenses is that they all have the same physical dimensions, weight and control point positioning, so they can be swopped on and off the camera with as little rebalancing as possible when the camera is mounted on a gimbal or in a video rig. In addition, Panasonic has been careful to ensure the centre of gravity of each lens is in much the same place, so when one is swopped for another your rig should balance almost straight away.
There is only 10g difference between the weight of this new 310g 24mm lens and the 300g 50mm f/1.8, and only a little more with the 355g Lumix S 85mm f/1.8, and all three measure 82mm from front to back and 73.6mm at the widest diameter. When placed side-by-side they are impossible to tell apart other than their focal length markings on the barrel and around the front element.
This wide angle allows users to focus right down to 0.24m/0.79ft, so close-up work is more than a slight possibility. The width of the angle of view will present dramatic close-up images with a dominant subject as well as an expanse of environment to show where the subject is. The wide f/1.8 aperture can also add to this effect with a dramatically out-of-focus background, and the 9-bladed iris ensures those out-of-focus details and highlights will look fantastic.
Twelve elements go into the optical construction, including three aspherical, three Extra-Low Dispersion and one Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion elements to control sharpness, the image shape as well as chromatic aberrations. The idea of all these elements is to make sure the lens produces images in which straight lines at the extremes of the frame appear straight, that there’s plenty of detail and we don’t get coloured fringing around high-contrast edges. The design is certainly very successful, as image quality is excellent even with the aperture wide open or closed right down.
Of course while this is an excellent lens for video it is also a fantastic choice for stills, producing plenty of resolution and a first-class optical performance
This new lens is able to make the most of the fast focusing systems built into the Lumix S cameras as it operates at a frequency of 240Hz. This means it reacts very quickly to instructions given, so subjects can be found and tracked smoothly and efficiently. In manual focus mode the lens offers the choice of linear or non-linear responses when the focusing ring is turned – you just need to tell the camera which mode you want to use: Settings Menu>Lens/Others>Focus Ring Control. Here you can also set the degree of rotation required to take the lens from its closest focusing point to infinity. As before, there is a barrel-mounted AF/MF switch on the lens, so flicking between methods can be controlled directly via the camera or via the lens.
The suppression of focus breathing is quite remarkable for such a wide angle lens, and focus shifts from close to infinity show no change in the magnification or shape of the image at all. This means we can pull focus right through the range without the scene morphing and creating a visual distraction for the audience.
Just like the Lumix S 50mm f/1.8 that was released in June and the S 85mm f/1.8 that came out in November 2020, this Lumix S 24mm f/1.8 offers exceptional performance in a very lightweight and compact body. Although its size and weight make it an ideal partner for the Lumix S5 it also pairs very comfortably with the other three Lumix S cameras, and will help to reduce the weight of any kit it is a part of. While the physical design of this lens is very important it appears no compromises have been made in image quality just to ensure it met certain weight/size objectives. It is an optically excellent lens that will become a firm favourite for wide scenes, confined spaces and when we want a little exaggerated perspective. Now I can’t wait for the Lumix S 35mm f/1.8 to complete the set.
The Lumix S 24mm f/1.8 will be available from the end of September 2021 and will be priced £799.99