First Impressions: Panasonic 24-105mm f4 Lumix S Pro (Panasonic L Mount)

The near equivalent of a kit lens, the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is the mount’s most versatile lens at the moment. 

The Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is a lens that will probably not be considered anything special by a number of photographers out there, but for anyone that knows just how wonderful it can be to have a versatile zoom lens, you’ll look at this option with glee. A 24-105mm f4 lens used to be my bread and butter–it quite literally helped me build this site and with us nearing 10 years, I’m happy that this piece of glass is an option.

Tech Specs

LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S.
LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S.
Lens Construction 16 elements in 13 groups (2 aspherical ED lenses, 2 aspherical lenses, 1 UED lens, 2 ED lenses)
Mount L-Mount
Optical Image Stabilizer Yes
Focal Length f=24-105mm
Aperture Type 9 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
Maximum Aperture F4.0
Minimum Aperture F22
Closest Focusing Distance 0.30m / 0.98ft
Maximum Magnification Approx. 0.5x
Diagonal Angle of View 84°(Wide) – 23°(Tele)
Dust and Splash Resistant Yes*
Recommended Operating Temperature -10oC to 40oC (14oF to 104oF)
Filter Size φ77mm
Max. Diameter φ84mm / 3.31inch
Overall Length Approx. 118mm / 4.65inch (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
Weight Approx. 680g / 23.99oz (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap and lens hood)
Standard Accessories Lens cap, Lens rear cap, Lens hood, Lens storage bag
*Dust and Splash Resistant does not guarantee that damage will not occur if this lens is subjected to direct contact with dust and water.

Ergonomics

The Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is a lens that in manys ways is very standard. And while it’s an important piece of Panasonic’s new lineup of cameras, I personally so far have found it uninteresting. Part of this is reflected in the ergonomics. This lens looks like a whole bunch of others on the market–and if you covered up all the logos and stuff you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and Sigma’s. There is a focusing ring near the front and a zoom ring towards the back.

Perhaps the only interesting feature ergonomically are the switches on the side for OIS, locking the zoom and AF/MF. Otherwise this is a standard lens.

The Panasonic 24-105mm f4 uses a 77mm filter thread in the front. When the lens hood is attached, the overall size doesn’t get that much larger.

Build Quality

In our meeting with Panasonic, we were told that the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is weather and dust resistant. This is partially evident at the mount where we can spot a tiny sliver of a rubber ring. Like we’ve said about Panasonic’s other lenses, we’re a bit concerned about this at least initially. Some of Sony’s first FE lenses had this little sliver until they started making it bigger and thicker. In fact, the very first lenses barely had any at all. We’re going to need to test the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 in the rain and other shooting situations to ensure that the product can meet the demands of a professional working in less than ideal conditions.

Ease of Use

There are a number of switches on the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 that one should be aware of. There is image stabilization, AF/MF, and a lock. The lock ensures that the overall lens stays compact and that it doesn’t expand in your camera bag. But for the most part, I’m positive that photographers will be mounting it on a camera and simply focusing and shooting. There isn’t a whole lot of complication in that.

Providing that you always remember to unlock the lens before you use it, you should be fine. But I can see photographers forgetting to and not being able to zoom on the fly. Then, they’ll complain. Oh well!

Autofocus

For the hour or so that we spent in the meeting with Panasonic and listening to a journalist ask a number of not pertinent questions, we found the Panasonic 24-105mm f4’s autofocus to be surprisingly fast. This prototype that we used seemed more on par to the autofocus performance that a DSLR has and not like Sony’s 24-105mm f4 G–which is perhaps a class leader in autofocus speed. The Panasonic 24-105mm f4 is also noticeably larger and feels better built in many ways. But again, we’ll need to test this in a real life situation.

Image Quality

We couldn’t put an SD card in the camera because the camera and the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 unit we played with were prototypes.

First Impressions

I have to be honest, though I know that the Panasonic 24-105mm f4 may be an important lens for a number of photographers who need to reliably work with the Panasonic S1, it’s the lens that I’m looking forward to the least. I’m a prime lens guy–and even though this zoom seems promising, there is very little that the industry can do to innovate on these lenses it seems. Nikon’s 24-120mm f4 seemed to be the best bet and I wonder why Panasonic didn’t try to create something like that instead. It would have been much more useful.