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Panasonic Lumix S 85mm f/1.8 Review by Photographyblog: “high quality yet affordable portrait prime lens”

85mm f/1.8 lens at BHphoto and Adorama.

Photographyblog tested the new lens and concluded:

The new Lumix S 85mm F1.8 is one of the cheapest lenses available in the still relatively new Panasonic full-frame mirrorless system, but thankfully it out-performs its modest price-tag.
There’s lots to like in terms of the Panasonic Lumix S 85mm F1.8’s image quality, and very little to complain about.

This lens is sharp almost from the get-go, excellent in both the centre and at the edges of the frame when shooting wide open at f/1.8, and simply outstanding between f/2.8 and f/16.
It’s also capable of producing some very nice bokeh effects for what is after all only an f/1.8 lens.

There is some obvious vignetting wide-open at f/1.8, but this can easily be corrected in post-processing, or you can stop down to f/4 to help avoid it altogether.
Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled and it even produces some nice sun-star effects at f/16-f/22.

The build quality is very good, with the built-in weather-proofing offering some peace of mind in more inclement conditions.
Auto-focusing proved to be fairly quick and reliable on the Panasonic Lumix S5 camera body that we tested the lens with thanks to the 240fps linear motor.
In addition the focus mechanism is barely audible, making the lens very well-suited to video use.
There’s no manual focus over-ride available at any time, though, and the lens lacks its own optical image stabilisation system, instead relying on the camera body (if it has one).

With a full retail price of £549.99 / €679.99 / $599.99, the Panasonic Lumix S 85mm F1.8 is something of a no-brainer in the value for money department.
It makes for a very nice partner when paired with the diminutive Lumix S5 camera that we reviewed it with.

Overall, it certainly fits the bill as a fast, high quality yet affordable portrait prime lens for Panasonic S full-frame camera users.

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