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Panasonic Lumix S 1.8 50 - First impressions

Daniel C.1975

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as there seems not much experience around the lens, I jump the fence and share some of mine. 

Upfront: With the M-System I mainly was a 35-50-90 plus 21 and 28(summaron) user. With my move to the SL-System I've changed my approach to 35-75 mainly, plus Sigma 24, Sigma 105 and of course still the 28 Summaron. 

Still every now and then I fancy 50mm and started to miss this focal length a bit. Instead of buying the 50mm Summicron-SL I first decided to get a "convinient"-zoom and added the 24-90 - great lens. 

Two weeks ago I saw the 50mm Panasonic, with some discount for straight 400 Euro. So I just bought it in a mood as it was quite cheap, very light, quite compact and focusing was fast. So not much  to do wrong here. 


However, there is light and shadow after two weeks of usage. 



It is plastic and feels plasticly -full stop-. There is no premium plastic feeling around it as with e.g. Canon L-lenses. 

But, with all this plastic, it is very light (just below 300 Gramm)  and it feels sturdy enough. It is weather sealed, has a nice rubbery focus-ring which is nicely damped but still turns a bit to easy, so that I often jump into MF-magnification - no big deal. 

The lens-hood is also plastic and a bit large, but ok. It does have a release-button to not get lose unintentional - that's very cool in this price class. I normally prefer to use lenses with hood (no need for lens caps), with this lens I definitely prefer to use it without hood, to really have the advantage of the low weight and smallish size (not really small, but for nowadays, still small for f1.8 at 50mm).

Overall, for the price a high quality plastic build. But no premium feel to it (I love the cool touch of my Summicrons when picking them up).



Flawless, no problem. Silent, fast enough. Works as it should. Again, very silent compared to the Summicron. It seems all cheapish lenses outdo the Summicron in the noise department (All my Sigmas and this Panasonic).


Image Quality:

Most important area and it is two folded. 

First, it is a really sharp lens. Already at f1.8. CA is existent but well controlled. Lateral CA in the foreground blur and background blur (e.g. fences, gobble-stones) can be quite pronounced. Not very often a topic, but if then this is something I really don't like and cannot to be solved in post. 

In the nearer field (e.g. People, Portraits, Parties, Street) it renders quite nice with a very nice background blur (ok, some donut style, but stil good). It is not too sharp, but still a bit harsh in certain light conditions. Nevertheless, for this kind of work it is a really good lens - especially for the price. 

On the other hand as a all-in walk around lens I see some issues. Mainly when doing more far away items or landscape and landscape-like shots. It is really sharp, but also can be very harsh and it feels a bit technical. I just don't really think it is a great rendering under certain conditions.

Colours are in general quite neutral, a bit muted and contrast is also ok, but not great. Microcontrast like the Summicron-SLs have, is more or less absent.

Compared to the Summicron-SLs I can immediately see a difference. To avoid accusations of snobbism: I have the 3.5 24 and the 2.8 100 Macro from Sigma. Both are holding up extremely well against the Summicrons. The Panasonic does not. But let's put into perspective: The Summicron-Sl 50mm is roughly 11-12 times more expensive - which in fact is also nuts.  


Am I happy? Yes, still kind of. For the money it is still a very good lens and especially for Family & Friends stuff very suitable. It is a good 50mm lens with a nice rendering and being really light is a bonus. Just for e.g. an all-in 50mm where you do City-scape, landscape, mid to far distant stuff, harsher light and this kind of stuff - it wouldn't be my first choice. But I am arguing on a very high level here - it definitely is a really good lens, not only for the price. It is just no lens you'll might not get overly excited about, but can still bring lots of satisfaction.

All with SL2s









Edited by Daniel C.1975
Minor changes of funny apple-auto correction (e.g. fell vs. feel ;-) )
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f4 - the Mushroom was quite big. Around 15cm of high

Edited by Daniel C.1975
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When I bought my S5, Panasonic had an offer of the Sigma 45mm f2.8 as a bonus gift. When it came time to claim it, they didn't have stock, so they offered me a choice between the 50mm and 85mm, so I jumped at the chance to get a fully native, fast prime. I wasn't expecting a solid heavy lens, and I'm glad it's not, as it is light and will be easy to carry for travel.

It works beautifully for mid range portraits, as mentioned above. Coupled with the S5's face/eye detection, the S5 + 50 can lock on to faces even more easily than with the Panasonic G9 and Olympus Pro primes, which are no slouches. The lens is very sharp in the centre and the background blur is pleasant and unobtrusive, and still has a nice sense of separation between the focused subject and blurred background.

Autofocus for moving subjects is a bit hit and miss, despite Panasonic touting the S5 as having the best AF in the full frame range. When shooting video, it's sometimes easier to switch to manual focus and nudge it into place. Wide open, the footage and images have a clear, modern look but not overly clinical. Images have a fair bit of contrast, and colours are moderatelyl saturated, definitely like a modern lens.

As we've been in lockdown for the past couple of months, I haven't had much chance to go out and shoot with the S5 and 50, but this will be remedied as soon as possible. If the 50 is indicative of the rest of the f1.8 primes, they will make an excellent set for travel and up to high-midrange jobs.

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  • 4 weeks later...
vor 20 Stunden schrieb Torpille:

Thanks a lot for your feedback and this post. 

Do you have an idea of how it compares to the sigma 65mm ?



Sorry, I have not used the Sigma so far,  but based on my experience with the 3.5 24 from Sigma, I am quite sure that haptics will be nicer on the Sigma and optically it should at least hold up.

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16 hours ago, scrollt said:

My 50mm 1.8 arrived yesterday and it's exactly what I was expecting. 10 years ago (or something) I used a Canon 50mm 1.4, which was absolutely terribly wide open compared to this. I like it and it will be a nice light lens that always finds a place in my bags.

The 50/1.8 is giving me some really good portraits and action pictures, it's very pleasing. Looking forward to Panasonic's 35mm f1.8.

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  • 4 months later...

I bought mine a few weeks ago and I must say that this lens surprises me in a good way.

Weight, price, quiet operation and of course the image quality.

The rendering is very good and it is an excellent companion to the SL601.

For a while, I thought about the apo summicron but as I already own the Vario 24-90mm, I chose the light and economical version for the 50mm.

Bravo Panasonic.

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  • 1 month later...

I find the sigma primes so much nicer to actually go out and use so the 45/2.8 displaced this one from my bag (the sig 35/2 pretty much lives on the SL2)

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On 5/2/2022 at 12:46 PM, huwm said:

I find the sigma primes so much nicer to actually go out and use so the 45/2.8 displaced this one from my bag (the sig 35/2 pretty much lives on the SL2)

Love the Sigma primes. The Panasonics less so and my bodies are S1R, S1H and S5.

I only had the 85mm f1.8 and it was OK, - just a bit plasticky, the hood too big, but better for video.

For stills, I prefer the Sigma f2's and have the 20mm, the 35mm and the 65mm.

They are all great but the 65mm for me is the real gem.

A bit more reach than your 50mm, but not quite so leggy as an 85 which indoors especially can sometimes be a bit much.

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