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The $600 Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm is a unique, affordable zoom

Hillary K. Grigonis

Panasonic’s newest full-frame lens, its cheapest yet, may help the S series gain traction with non-professional photographers. The Lumix S 20-60mm F/3.5-5.6 costs $600, less than half the price of the next cheapest Panasonic lens. It is 

available for pre-order

now and will ship in July.

While a fairly basic lens, it is still a pretty big deal. Affordable lenses for the S series have have been hard to come by. When Panasonic launched the S series in 2018, it had the advantage of already having several compatible lenses on the market thanks to Panasonic’s adoption of the Leica L mount. But being a luxury brand, those existing Leica lenses weren’t exactly affordable, and Panasonic’s own initial lenses for the system also targeted the high end of the market.

Panasonic

In addition to the relatively low price, the S 20-60mm also keeps a low profile — another rarity for the S series. It weighs 12.3 ounces and measures less than 3.5 inches in length, so it won’t take up much space in your bag.

The focal length range is interesting, offering a wider angle of view than usual for this kind of lens. While most standard zooms might be in the 24-70mm range, the S 20-60mm favors a wider perspective. This could make it a good choice for landscape or interior photographers on a budget, although it will appeal less to portrait shooters.

The lens also aims for versatility with the ability to focus 5.9 inches from its front element, good enough for 0.43x magnification.

Built from 11 elements in nine groups, it’s not a very complex construction, although it does include Extra-Low Dispersion (ELD) elements designed to combat chromatic aberration. Panasonic also says the lens has an ultra-high refractive index, which should mean sharp results from the center to the edge of the frame. A nine-blade aperture helps create circular bokeh.

Despite being a budget lens, it is still dust- and splash-resistant, and a fluorine coating on the front element helps repel moisture and fingerprints. The lens uses 67mm filters.

The variable f/3.5-5.6 maximum aperture looks to be the one sore point. However, this is what keeps the lens affordable and compact.

While this is the cheapest Panasonic S series lens, L-Mount Alliance member Sigma also makes compatible lenses at a variety of prices, although many of these are DSLR lenses that have had their mounts swapped out, making them less compact. Panasonic still does not have a true entry-level S-series camera body, with the Lumix S1 remaining the cheapest at around $2,000 thanks to current sales pricing.