On Monday, Panasonic announced its 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens for full-frame L-mount cameras with the tagline of “smallest full-frame macro lens.” While that came with a stipulation of “with a focal length greater than 90mm,” don’t let that distract from how compact it is.
The new Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens is currently on display in Panasonic’s booth at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and PetaPixel‘s Ted Kritsonis got a chance to see it up close. Thanks to photos he took at multiple angles, it’s more obvious now how small this lens is compared to the photos Panasonic included with its press materials earlier this week.
The lens has the same chassis as Panasonic’s five f/1.8 L-Mount prime lenses which makes it easier for filmmakers to swap out optics on gimbals and camera rigs, allowing them to keep parts in the same position instead of having to rebalance or move pieces around to accommodate different focal lengths.
It’s one thing to keep the lens size the same for focal lengths like 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm, but it gets harder as the focal length gets longer. Panasonic’s ability to fit the 85mm f/1.8 into the same body design was already impressive, but 100mm is even more so. That said, some compromises were made as the company clearly had to reduce the maximum aperture from f/1.8 to f/2.8 in order to achieve the feat.
What didn’t change was the lens’ center of gravity which remains similar across all six lenses, further leaning into the ability to swap out the optics quickly even when they are mounted on a gimbal-based camera.
The 100mm f/2.8 Macro is roughly half the weight of competitors and a third shorter, both feats that Panasonic achieved by using a double focus system that includes a new Dual Phase Linear Motor Actuator and a trio of aspherical lenses.
If all of this sounds complicated, that’s because it was. Panasonic says it took them years to work on the technology to allow it to fit a 100mm f/2.8 design into the same compact chassis it used for its five f/1.8 lenses. The company wanted to release this lens sooner, it just simply didn’t have the technology to do so until now.
The Panasonic Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens will be available by early February (possibly late January) and will retail for $1,000.
Image credits: Ted Kritsonis for PetaPixel