Panasonic just announced “World’s Smallest & Lightest” medium-telephoto macro lens
Panasonic has announced its newest macro lens for its full-frame Lumix S series mirrorless cameras. The Panasonic Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro (buy here) claims to be the world’s smallest and lightest medium telephoto macro lens in its class.
That’s a pretty narrow definition of lenses, but the ones that fit tend to be quite large and heavy. So, it’s nice to see the size and weight issues being addressed for macro photographers. Especially field macro photographers.
Panasonic Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro – Ultralight
Weighing only 298g, the Panasonic Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro is an extremely lightweight macro lens. For a full-frame lens of this focal length, I would’ve expected it to be around double that in the past, if not more.
In fact, let’s look at the competition and weigh them all in according to their spec sheets.
|Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
|77.7 x 123mm
|Canon RF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM
|81.5 x 148mm
|Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
|83 x 116mm
|Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
|85 x 140mm
|Panasonic Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro
|73.6 x 82mm
|Pentax HD Pentax-D FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 ED AW
|65 x 80.5mm
|Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art
|Leica L / Sony E
|74 x 133.6mm
|Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
|79 x 130.5mm
|Tokina FiRIN 100mm f/2.8 FE Macro
|74 x 123mm
As you can see, it’s a pretty light lens, weighing less than half as much as most of the other lenses on the list. The only one that even gets close to it is Pentax. There’s no two ways around it. Medium telephoto macro lenses have traditionally been on the hefty side.
This will be an attractive draw to the Panasonic L mount system for keen macro photographers who want to lighten their load. Especially for those macro photographers who take their cameras exploring the wilderness.
1:1 at 204mm minimum focus distance
The Panasonic Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro offers up to a 1:1 reproduction rate. This means that the size of the subject in the image matches the same physical size as the sensor’s pixels. This means you can get extremely close to your subjects on the computer.
The higher the resolution of your camera, the greater you can zoom into a section of the image when viewed at 100%. You do need to be at the lens’ minimum focus distance of 204mm in order to get that 1:1 reproduction ratio, but it is capable.
Dual Phase Linear Motor
Panasonic says that a newly developed dual phase linear motor suppresses focus breathing. This means that video shooters should be able to rack focus from one subject to another without it looking like a zoom.
The new dual phase linear motor system also allows near-silent operation of the autofocus system. The benefits for video are obvious, but this will also benefit macro photographers who were worried about camera noise upsetting tiny nervous subjects in front of the lens.
Panasonic S 100mm f/2.8 Macro Specs
|Angle of view
|Minimum Focus Distance
|13 elements in 11 groups
|73.6 x 82mm
Price and Availability
The Panasonic S 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens is available to pre-order now for $997.99. It is expected to begin shipping at the end of January.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.