Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO Review


Introduction

The Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO (S-R1428) is a fast ultra-wide-angle prime lens for the Panasonic, Sigma and Leica “L-mount” full-frame mirrorless camera system.

The Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO lens features a variable maximum aperture of f/4-f/5.6 and has 7 rounded diaphragm blades for smoother bokeh.

It is comprised of 14 elements in 10 groups, including one aspherical ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) element, one aspherical element, three ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) elements, and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) element.

The Panasonic 14-28mm has a closest focusing distance of 0.5m / 0.49ft and a maximum magnification of 0.50x.

It boasts a dust, splash and freeze resistant design that can operate at 10 degrees below zero.

The Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO is available now priced at £879.99 / €999.99 / $799.99 in the UK, Europe and the USA respectively.

Ease of Use

The Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO is a small, compact and very light wide-angle zoom lens, measuring 8.98cm / 3.54inch in length, 8.4cm / 3.31inch in diameter and weighing in at a mere 345g / 0.77lb.

It’s notably smaller and lighter than the comparable Lumix S PRO 16-35mm F4, which at 500g and almost exactly 100mm in length is already a diminutive lens.

When mounted on the Lumix S5II mirrorless camera that Panasonic sent us for testing, the Lumix S 14-28mm lens feels extremely well-balanced and suitable for both two-handed and one-handed use.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

Note that this new lens does not extend when zoomed from the minimum 14mm focal length to the 28mm focal length thanks to its internal mechanism.

Build quality is very good. The Panasonic 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO feels solid enough in your hand, even if it is mostly made out of plastic, with a metal lens mount.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

It’s also weather-proof, being both dust and splash resistant and working all the way down to -10 degrees. We successfully used it in more inclement conditions with no adverse effects.

There’s also a a fluorine coating on the front lens element to help repel water, oil, and any other contaminants, as well as making it easier to clean.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

There is no built-in Image Stabilisation, though, with the lens instead relying on the camera body’s stabilisation system (if it has one).

In terms of controls, there is just one – a focus mode switch with the standard AF/MF settings.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

The Panasonic 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO lens has a fairly narrow focus ring at the end of barrel with a ridged, rubberised grip band.

There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

Polariser users should be pleased that the 77mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO is a fairly quick performer, taking around 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Panasonic S5II camera that we tested it with.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

We didn’t experience too much “hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing virtually all of the time in the single AF-S mode.

The linear motor focusing mechanism is very quiet, in fact virtually silent, making this lens well-suited to video recording as well as candid stills photography.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

The lens ships with a large, petal-shaped, high quality lens hood (S-R1428) with a lock button, but there’s no case included.

Focal Range

The 14mm focal length provides an angle of view of 114 degrees.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

14mm

The 28mm focal length provides an angle of view of 75 degrees.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

28mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not a problem for the Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO lens, even in areas of very high contrast.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

14mm

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

28mm

Vignetting

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is some obvious light fall-off in the corners especially at the wider focal lengths, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

14mm

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

28mm

Distortion

The Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO exhibits some barrel distortion, as you can see in the photos below, which will you need to correct in post-processing.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

14mm

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

28mm

Sunstars and Flare

The Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO is capable of producing very nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/22, as shown below, and the lens doesn’t exhibit very much flare even when shooting directly into the sun, provided that you have the supplied lens hood fitted.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

14mm

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

28mm

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO offers very good close-up performance for such a wide-angle zoom lens, with a close focus point of 0.15m / 0.49ft from the sensor plane through its entire zoom range and a maximum magnification of 0.25x at 14mm and 0.50x at the 28mm focal length.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

In the Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO lens, Panasonic have employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in fairly nice bokeh in our view for an ultra-wide-angle lens.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several examples below for your perusal.

Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO
Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

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