The Panasonic 16-35mm F4 Lens Focuses Crazy Fast Now

The Panasonic 16-35mm f4 lens review has been updated to reflect recent changes.

For a while, the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 Lumix S Pro was one of the L Mount’s fastest focusing lenses. Then that changed with the introduction of a few primes. But with the recent Leica SL2s firmware update, we’re updating our 16-35mm f4 review. The lens is even faster than it was before, and we’re not honestly surprised by this. Technically, it means that this lens is an absolute cheetah when autofocusing. In practice, that’s indeed true. Also true is the fact that people don’t really need super-fast autofocusing motors when using wide-angle lenses. It matters a lot more with telephoto lenses. 

The Panasonic 16-35mm f4 Lumix S Pro is overall an excellent lens. It’s weather-resistant, so it can stand up to the elements when you go hiking. With the Leica SL2s, it can autofocus in low light pretty easily. In fact, it was pretty much a solid and perfect lens for what you got. It’s lightweight too! In our previous conclusions, we said: 

“The good news about the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO is that it’s an excellent lens. What’s holding it back most is the autofocus on L mount cameras. But once you nail that focus, you’ll get beautiful photos each and every time. Cityscape, landscape, and interior photographers will like the lens. And with the right post-production, you’ll do even better with it. The problem otherwise is the price point; I’m not quite sure I want to pay for a slower aperture lens that’s smaller when Sigma’s closest competitor is more affordable and lets more light hit the sensor. With that said, if Panasonic dropped the price on the Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO and improved the autofocus on their cameras, it would be one of the reasons to switch over to the system.”

Now that the autofocus has improved on the cameras, the performance of this lens will improve too. Let me also address a few facts here:

  • This lens is a wide-angle zoom.
  • The Panasonic 16-35mm f4 has fantastic color.
  • It’s great for architecture, landscapes, cityscapes, etc.
  • There’s perceived distortion, but that just makes sense for what this lens is.
  • It can photograph groups of people with great face and body detection algorithms.
  • It works and autofocuses well in low light.
  • It’s one of the lightest L mount zooms made that’s this high grade.
  • With firmware 2.0 on the Leica SL2s, the 16-35mm f4 is faster on this Leica body specifically than on the Panasonic S1 and the Panasonic S5. We haven’t tested it on Sigma camera bodies. Considering what we went through last time with a Sigma camera, we’ve got little faith.
  • If you were to have any zoom lens for the L mount, this is one of the ones that we’d recommend, along with one of the excellent 24-70mm f2.8 lenses.

The biggest question, though, has to do with pricing. This lens is $1,497.99. The Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 DG DN Art costs less money, but it larger and heavier in every way. I haven’t tested the Sigma since the Leica update, but it may be slower than the Panasonic. So you’re paying for arguably better weather sealing, a lighter lens, and faster autofocus. Truthfully, if all you’re going to shoot is landscapes and cityscapes, it makes more sense to just reach for the Panasonic.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.