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The rumors have been around, and they seem true! The new Panasonic Lumix S 85mm f1.8 is real. With nine aperture blades and tons of weather sealing, it’s also a modest size. It boasts only a 67mm filter thread. And best of all, it’s almost half the weight of the Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN Art. According to our research, weighing 355 grams compared to Sigma’s 630 grams, the Panasonic 85mm f1.8 is around the weight of a Campbell’s can of tomato soup. It’s also around two times the weight of a billiard ball. Sigma’s lens is otherwise around one and a half times as heavy as a soccer ball. It’s also lighter than Sony’s 85mm f1.8, which is 371 grams according to Adorama! If it’s anything like Panasonic’s 50mm f1.4 Lumix Pro lens, then we’re very excited.
Panasonic Lumix S 85mm f1.8 Specs
- 9 elements in 8 groups
- 355 grams
- Weather sealing
- 9 aperture blades
- The first in a series of f1.8 lenses, which will all share the same 67mm filter thread
- Two extra-low dispersion elements
- There’s a built-in mechanism that suppresses focus breathing
Why Panasonic is Setting Itself Up to be The Best L Mount Company
I’m very excited about this lens. It’s going to pair well with the Panasonic S5. Personally speaking, I’m rooting a lot for Panasonic right now as they’re actually trying new things in some ways. Portrait photographers are probably really going to like the Panasonic Lumix S 85mm f1.8. More specifically, I think it’s going to be very fun to play with in rough weather. I can imagine a model with an umbrella and a Profoto a10 in the umbrella, in the rain. Better yet, Panasonic has set itself up to be the best brand in the L mount alliance. They already work with Profoto. The rest of the alliance can’t even agree to a standardized hot shoe. This is the biggest problem holding the L mount alliance back, even more so than autofocus. Professional photographers aren’t always using constant lights. Flash is still able to give you lots of extra pop due to the laws of physics.
With Profoto triggers on a Panasonic body, photographers can use the Panasonic 85mm f1.8, Sigma, or Leica lenses. This makes it so much more of a formidable system that’s seriously worthy of taking on Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Nikon. With Leica, you’re better off using something like an Einstein. And with Sigma, you’re probably not going to do professional portrait shoots.
This is a great start for Panasonic and portrait lenses. But their next lens needs to be something that not everyone has produced. Maybe an 85mm f1.2? Or an 85mm f1? What about a 90mm f1.8? I think we need some serious lens innovation from Panasonic. They’re a company that produces good stuff for sure. But their autofocus and a few other integration problems hold them back. That’s disappointing. I’ve even considered purchasing a Panasonic S5. But for more professional work, I can’t really justify it yet. The system has taken a leap forward since its inception for sure. But holistic reliability is important. By that, I mean that the autofocus works each and every time perfectly. To do that, you need incredibly durable camera bodies and weather sealing. Plus, you need a hot shoe system that readily available in studios and rental houses across the world. We’ll need to see where Panasonic goes. And hopefully, they come out ahead.
Panasonic also says that a 70-300mm lens is also in development. But we’ve got no details on that yet.