The Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 Lumix S Pro isn’t so sluggish after all: it just needed better cameras.
A while back, we reviewed the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8. In that review, we stated that the lens was pretty slow to focus. But we blamed it on the system overall. We recently updated our Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 Review, which you can check out here. We’ve been holding onto our loaner lenses for a while and found a pleasant surprise. With the new Leica SL2s firmware update, the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 is now faster than it is on Panasonic’s own camera bodies. We tried it on the Leica SL2s, the Panasonic S5, and the Panasonic S1. Quite frankly, I never had hope for the S1. But the S5 has to be one of my favorite cameras Panasonic has made. It’s fascinating to now find the shoe on the other foot.
What do we mean by that? Just remember that we’ve tested over 700 lenses, and we’ve reviewed almost every major L Mount lens. When we were testing many of Leica’s own lenses on Panasonic bodies they autofocused better on Panasonic cameras than they did on their own. But that’s no longer the case. Now, the Leica SL2s can hold its own with the likes of Canon and Sony. That means we needed to go back and test a few other lenses.
In our Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 review, we found the lens didn’t focus so well in low light. Again, we blamed that on the camera bodies, and that’s still the case. Personally speaking, I always had hope for the Leica L Mount. But as a journalist, I sometimes look in and view it as a family that just can’t get along with one another. Admittedly, I was shaking my head at times. I’m still not convinced the companies aren’t finding minor ways to screw each other over. But I could be showing my scars from the Micro Four Thirds system. The L Mount alliance dictates things like the mount and the information transferred through there. So the brands are indeed sharing information.
For a while, Panasonic reps explained the autofocus differences to me in terms of motors. Some companies use better motors than others. That’s been explained to us and translated to you folks in more than just our Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 review. We’ve said it across various articles. From what Leica did with the 28mm f2 Summicron SL, that indeed seems to be true. Leica didn’t play around with that lens and the tech inside of it. As a journalist, it’s my job to still question what PR and tech reps tell us: we’ve been lied to before. If I took everything at face value, then they could write this blog themselves. But we didn’t survive two global recessions by regurgitating what PR reps tell us.
With all that said, the evidence points to Panasonic surely using high-quality motors inside their lenses. The cameras just had frustrating autofocus. Even in low light, the Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 does a great job now. In fact, it’s faster than Sigma’s 24-70mm f2.8 on the Leica SL2s. However, the Panasonic is also more than twice the price of the Sigma variant.
Please go check out our Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 Review by clicking this link. You’ll learn a lot more. If you’ve got questions, let us know in the comments.