Panasonic Lumix S 70-200 F4.0

The standard lens for the Panasonic S1 is the kit 24-105 F4 – optically great, but with a 105mm ending, which is not enough in many cases. Currently, there are not too many tele options, designed from scratch for the Leica L mount. Only two Panasonic lenses and something from Leica, but due to the prices, as if they (those from Leica) for me were not there at all. That’s why I was wondering for a long time whether to choose the Panasonic Lumix S 70-200 F2.8 or the F4.0? The F2.8 version is much brighter, but twice as expensive. My concerns were caused by the Pansonic S1’s AF system, which uses only contrast detection – in this case, the darker the worse. But in the end, after long battles with myself, I decided to take a risk with the darker version and the price difference to spend on a teleconverter – 200mm is still not enough in some cases.

The very first examination showed that the lens was designed and made very neatly, reliably and precisely. And a few test photos amazed me: not only the optical quality turned out to be amazing, but also the AF works very quickly, efficiently and reliably. And not only in the case of stills, but also in the case of video, where it turned out that the lens has almost perfectly corrected “focus breathing”.

Below I have put a few photos taken quickly. I would like to point out that none of the photos has modified/improved sharpness, and the only changes are, in some cases, a slight brightness correction.

Focal length of 70mm

Focal length of 200mm

As already mentioned, I decided to use the difference in price between the F2.8 and F4.0 versions to buy a teleconverter. My choice fell on a 2x teleconverter. And again – before the purchase, I had serious doubts whether the combination of an F4.0 lens with a teleconverter, especially a 2x teleconverter, made any sense? After all, we get a lens with F8.0 brightness! Will the Panasonic S1’s AF cope with such a situation and how? And what will the image quality look like, because until now the addition of a teleconverter to a telephoto lens has always resulted in a loss of quality visible to the naked eye. Meanwhile … AF works quickly and reliably, and the image quality is still at the highest level! Shock!

Focal length of 400mm

Finally, one more observation: the image stabilization that combines the one built into the lens with the one in the body, is simply amazing. I was able to hand-held film insects on the flowers in my garden, with the lens set to 400mm, teleconverter connected and in Pixel-to-Pixel mode. To make it easier: Pixel-to-Pixel effectively narrows the angle of view of the lens, corresponding to 3.5 times extension of the lens focal length. So let’s calculate: 200mm of the lens times 2 (tele-converter), which is 400mm. And now Pixel-to-Pixel means times 3.5. How much do we have? 1400mm! Filming hand-held, without support, with an effective focal length of 1400mm! It wasn’t easy, oh no, but it was possible 🙂

My opinion about the lens? Highly recommended. And the TC – highly recommended, too.