Panasonic Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (S-E2470)
Owners of Panasonic’s S1 cameras now have a choice between two ‘general purpose’ lenses, the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 24-105mm f/4 lens, which is a stop slower but covers a wider zoom range. You pay a premium for the faster lens and also lose some telephoto capabilities.
The 24-105mm f/4 lens is also more than 250 grams lighter, which can make a difference when working on location, although both lenses and cameras in this series are relatively heavy. While the 24-70mm focal length range is a bit limited for general-purpose photography, it should be suit wedding photographers and those who cover social events, where the constant f/2.8 maximum aperture will be advantageous for controlling depth of field.
Announced late in August 2019, Panasonic’s Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/2.8 lens has been developed for professional photographers and is Leica certified. Featuring rugged, weatherproof construction, a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture and a double focus system that combines linear and stepping motors to achieve drive speeds up to 480 fps, this lens also claims to be free of focus breathing and quiet enough to use while shooting video movies.
Angled view of the Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/2.8 lens without the supplied cap and lens hood. (Source: Panasonic.)
The optical design of the S-E2470 lens consists of 18 elements in 16 groups and includes three aspherical elements, four extra-low dispersion element and one ultra extra-low dispersion element. The aspherical lenses correct astigmatism, while the low-dispersion lenses control both axial chromatic aberration and chromatic aberration of magnification and deliver uniform image quality from the centre to the edges of the frame while minimising overall size.
This diagram shows the positions of the exotic elements in the Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. (Source: Panasonic.)
The contrast-based autofocusing system uses both linear and stepping motors to drive the sensor at up to 480 fps for fast, high-precision focusing with negligible focus breathing. A push-pull clutch mechanism enables instant AF/MF switching and accurate manual focusing. This lens can also withstand temperatures down to -10°C.
Eleven diaphragm blades close to produce a circular aperture for attractive bokeh. The lens is supplied with front and end caps plus a petal-shaped lens hood that can be reversed over the barrel for transport and storage. A soft protective pouch is also provided.
Who’s it For?
The 24-70mm zoom range is one of the most popular choices made by photographers who use ‘full-frame’ cameras, regardless of whether they shoot with DSLR or mirrorless models. This range comfortably encompasses genres from landscape and architectural photography through to individual and group portraiture.
It’s not quite long enough for shooting sports and wildlife but compromises are required to ensure maximum light transmission in a lens that is small and light enough to use with ease and affordably priced. While the S-E2470 pushes the boundaries in the later two characteristics, it should set a high standard in optical performance that will pave the way for future L-Mount lenses.
Build and Ergonomics
Build quality is similar to other lenses in Panasonic’s L-Mount range and equally solid but relatively heavy, largely because of its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture. While most of the lens is made from polycarbonate plastic, its metal base ensures a robust, high-quality feel. Size-wise this lens is a sound match for the S1H body we used for our tests.
The focusing ring closest to the front of the outer barrel and turns through 360 degrees. It’s 32 mm wide, with a finely-ridged rubber-like grip band covering 20 mm around its leading edge. Manual focus is selected by pulling this ring back to expose a distance scale marked in metres and feet, which ranges from 0.37 metres to infinity. With the ring pushed forwards, the scale is covered and the lens is set to AF mode.
Behind the focusing ring is a 153 mm wide fixed section of the outer barrel, on which the name of the lens is stamped in white lettering. The zoom ring starts immediately behind it.
It’s 32 mm wide, with a 26 mm wide band of rubber-like ridging that is slightly thicker then the fine ridges of the focusing ring. Zooming from 24mm to 70mm extends the inner barrel by roughly 22 mm without changing the orientation of the lens.
The remainder of the zoom ring carries stamped indicators for the 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm focal lengths, which are lined up against a prominent white line on the fixed section of the barrel between the zoom ring and the mount. This section of the barrel is approximately 18 mm wide and carries a branding logo plus zoom range and minimum focus indicators.
The rest of the outer barrel slopes inwards to the lens mount, which is solid chromed metal. Ten gold-plated contacts inside the mount provide contact points for signals to pass between the camera and lens. The supplied, petal-shaped lens hood is made from rigid black plastic and adds about 30 mm to the overall length of the lens when it’s in position.
Both physically and performance-wise, the S-E2470 lens was a good match for the S1H camera we used for our tests. Unfortunately, the smoke haze that engulfed Sydney during the testing period made it difficult to obtain accurate estimates of performance in our normal shooting tests with respect to colour reproduction and dynamic range.
Our Imatest tests showed that with JPEGs, the lens resolution was able to meet expectations for the camera’s sensor around the centre of the frame, although it fell a little short towards the edges of the frame. Centre resolution exceeded expectations with raw files and almost met expectations towards the edges of the frame.
The highest centre resolutions occurred at the 35mm focal length with the widest lens aperture, which can partly explain the lower edge resolutions recorded. The graph below shows the results of our tests.
With the in-camera corrections disabled, lateral chromatic aberration remained within the ‘low’ CA band for most focal length and aperture settings, dipping into the ‘negligible’ range in the middle of the 35mm band. In the graph of our Imatest results below, the red line marks the boundary between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA, while the green line separates ‘low’ and ‘moderate’ CA.
As usual we had to evaluate vignetting and rectilinear distortion by looking at ARW.RAW files, since JPEGs are corrected automatically in the camera. Slight vignetting could be seen at the widest aperture settings, especially in the corners of the frame, for all focal lengths at f/2.8 but stopping down to f/4 effectively eliminated it.
Distortion was effectively negligible, with barely visible barrel distortion at 24mm and a similar level of pincushion distortion at 70mm but nothing in between. These aberrations are easily corrected with editing software.
The review lens didn’t appear to be flare prone in backlit situations, even with wider angles of view. Bokeh was mostly smooth and attractive although we found some well-defined circular out-of-focus highlights in close-ups taken at wide apertures with the shorter focal lengths. This highlighting persisted at 70mm but to a much less noticeable degree.
Autofocusing was mostly fast and accurate, especially in bright conditions. However we encountered a few slight hesitations in poorly-lit, low-contrast subjects, particularly with close-ups. At such times, it was easy to override AF and focus manually, assisted by magnification and peaking displays.
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Picture angle: 84 to 34 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 18 elements in 16 groups (including 3 aspherical, 4 ED and 1 UHR elements)
Lens mounts: L-Mount
Diaphragm Blades: 11 (circular aperture)
Focus drive: Double focus system with linear and stepping motors
Minimum focus: 37 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.25x
Filter size: 82 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 90.9 x 140 mm
Weight: 935 grams
Standard Accessories: Lens front and end caps, lens hood.
Distributor: Panasonic Australia, Ph. 132 600; www.panasonic.com.au
Based on JPEG files taken with the Lumix DC-S1 camera.
Results from RW2.RAW files captured simultaneously.
Vignetting at 24mm, f/2.8.
Vignetting at 35mm, f/2.8.
Vignetting at 50mm, f/2.8.
Vignetting at 70mm, f/2.8.
Rectilinear distortion at 24mm.
Rectilinear distortion at 35mm.
Rectilinear distortion at 50mm.
Rectilinear distortion at 70mm.
24mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/7.1.
28mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/7.1.
35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/7.1.
50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/7.1.
70mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/7.1.
Close-up at 24mm, ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/2.8.
Close-up at 70mm, ISO 160, 1/80 second at f/2.8.
Close-up: 70mm focal length, ISO 5000, 1/80 second at f/6.3.
61mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/800 second at f/7.1.
Strong backlighting; 24mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/8.
Crop from the above image at 100% magnification showing minimal coloured fringing.
Stabilisation test; 24mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/6 second at f/8.
24mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/60 second at f/6.3.
70mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/8.
70mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/5.6.
45mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/8.
35mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/3.5.
70mm focal length, ISO 640, 1/80 second at f/8.
70mm focal length, ISO 640, 1/80 second at f/7.1.
52mm focal length, ISO 500, 1/60 second at f/8.
32mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/60 second at f/6.3.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Panasonic S1H camera.
RRP: AU$2499; US$1499
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 8.9
- Image quality: 8.8
- Versatility: 9.0