Reviews |Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro Review

Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro Review

Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro review - lens with lens hood in hand

Price when reviewed


$999 / €1099

Our Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro is remarkably compact and versatile, yet it delivers excellent image quality. It’s ideal for both detailed macro photography and general shooting, making it a great choice for photographers seeking a high-performance, portable macro lens.


  • Small and light for a full-frame 100mm lens
  • Weather-resistant design
  • Excellent image quality


  • No stabilisation
  • Focus ring not customisable to adjust aperture etc

What is the Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro?

The Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro is a significant addition to Panasonic’s full-frame lens lineup as its the world’s most compact full-frame mid-telephoto macro lens. It’s also the company’s first macro lens designed for use on its full-frame mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic Lumix S5II, S5IIX, and the earlier Lumix S1 series, as well as L-mount cameras from Leica and Sigma.

Thanks to its mid-telephoto focal length, Panasonic S 100mm F2.8 Macro lens is ideal for flattering portrait photography, and more general use, as well as macro photography.


  • Product type: Medium telephoto prime macro lens
  • Launched: 8th January 2024
  • Mount: L-mount
  • Format: Full-frame
  • Focal length: 100mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 13 elements in 11 groups with 3 aspherical, 2 UED (Ultra-Low Dispersion) and 1 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) elements
  • Minimum focus distance: 20.4 cm
  • Maximum magnification: 1x
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 298 g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 73.6 x 82mm / 2.9 x 3.23inches
Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro review - lens on the Panasonic Lumix S5IIX
I spoke with Rob O’Murphy, Panasonic’s European Marketing Manager, about the last 12 months for Panasonic Lumix and the new Lumix S 100mm f2 8 Macro lens.


Interestingly, Panasonic has aligned the Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro with its existing F1.8 series of prime lenses, which includes the Panasonic Lumix S 18mm F1.8, S 24mm F1.8, S 35mm F1.8, S 50mm F1.8 and S 85mm F1.8. This design approach ensures consistency in weight (298 g) and dimensions (73.6 x 82 mm) across the range. As a result, the Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro is remarkably compact and lightweight for its focal length and aperture. It offers the added advantage of seamless lens switching with the F1.8 optics, minimising the need for rebalancing when using a motorised gimbal.

Panasonic attributes this impressive compactness to the use of a new Dual Phase Linear Motor for the focus system. This motor is smaller and lighter than traditional motors but is claimed not to compromise speed or accuracy, enhancing the overall performance and user experience.

The Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro comprises 13 elements arranged in 11 groups with 3 aspherical, 2 UED (Ultra-Low Dispersion) and 1 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) elements. Those specialist elements are employed to keep the lens size down while maintaining image quality across the frame.

In keeping with its ‘Macro’ billing, the Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro offers life-size (1:1) reproduction. This is achieved at the lens’ closest focusing distance of 20.4cm from the sensor. That’s closer than other comparable macro lenses, including the Canon RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM (26 cm), Nikon Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S (29 cm) and Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS (28 cm). However, because the lens is just 82 mm in length, it still leaves a reasonable working distance between the subject and the front element of the lens. For comparison, the other lenses I’ve listed are all over 130 mm in length, and the Canon lens is 148 mm long.

Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro review - lens and lens hood

Build and Handling

Thanks to its 82mm length and lightweight design, the Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro is an excellent match for Panasonic’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. It makes a great pairing with smaller models like the Panasonic Lumix S5IIX and S5II as well as the beefier Panasonic Lumix S1R and Lumix S1.

As with the F1.8 prime lenses, Panasonic has opted for a minimalist approach to the design of the Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro. Its exterior is straightforward, featuring a broad manual focus ring with a ridged rubber-like covering and a switch to toggle between automatic and manual focusing modes. However, in recognition of the new lens’ macro capability, it also features a focus limiter switch with ‘Full’, ‘0.5m-infinity’ and ‘0.204-0.5m’ settings. That helps keep the focus in your working range

When I support the lens from below, the focus ring is within natural reach of my thumb and forefinger. While the ring is slightly stiffer than some other lenses I’ve used, I like the level of resistance, and I can still rotate it with just my index finger. That said, using your thumb and forefinger feels more intuitive and allows for finer control over adjustments.

As with most modern lenses, the S 100mm F2.8 Macro employs a focus-by-wire system, which means the focus ring doesn’t have physical endpoints. Engaging manual focus by flipping the AF/MF switch and rotating the focus ring activates a distance scale and a magnified view on the camera’s viewfinder or screen, assisting with initial focusing. Additionally, there are options to use focus peaking and an enlarged view (full-screen or picture-in-picture) for an even more refined focusing experience. When activated via the menu, these spring to life as soon as the focus ring moves when the lens is set to manual focusing. Also, if you select ‘AF + MF’ in the menu, you can use the focus ring to tweak the focusing manually when the AF system is in use.

I find the picture-in-picture enlargement option the most useful as this enables you to keep an eye on the overall composition while also seeing the fine details for focusing.

Overall, the autofocus performance is good on both the S5IIX and S1R. However, the S5IIX has the edge thanks to its use of phase-detection focusing rather than relying purely on contrast detection. As usual, the focus system begins to hunt as the subject approaches the lens’ closest focusing distance. Nevertheless, it usually finds the correct focus provided that there’s an area with contrast (that’s still required with phase detection focusing) and there’s half-decent light. Occasionally, it’s handy to tweak the focus using the manual focus ring.

Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro review - metal lens mount


I’ve tested the Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro on the 24.2MP Panasonic Lumix S5IIX and the 47.3MP Panasonic Lumix S1R. It performs well on both, but naturally, the higher pixel count of the S1R tests its resolving power more, and it’s not found wanting. There’s a good level of sharp detail visible across the frame.

I find the S 100mm F2.8 Macro produces the sharpest results at around f/5.6 or f/8. When I examine my images at 100% on my Eizo computer screen, I can see slight softening from diffraction at f/16. This becomes more apparent but not problematic at f/22, the smallest aperture setting that’s available with the lens.

That said, if you compare identical images captured at f/5.6 and f/22, the f/5.6 images look slightly sharper when sized to fill a 27-inch monitor. The difference is more visible at 100%.

Even when the lens aperture is wide open to f/2.8, the detail is maintained well into the corners of the frame with only a slight drop in sharpness. Similarly, if the Vignetting Compensation option in the camera’s menu is turned off, there’s only slight corner shading at the widest apertures. This darkening isn’t really apparent when the images are viewed in isolation, but if you take identical shots with the Vignetting Compensation turned on and off, you’ll see a subtle change in the brightness of the corners.

I can’t see any curvilinear distortion in my images from the S 100mm F2.8 Macro; however, with some images, turning the Profile Corrections available in Adobe Camera Raw on and off suggests there’s a hint of pincushion distortion.

Further good news is that neither flare (even without the supplied lens hood) nor chromatic aberration is problematic. In addition, focus breathing is controlled well, which means the image framing stays the same during focusing.

Even at small apertures, focusing very closely to create macro images means the depth of field is limited. Consequently, the background is likely to be extremely blurry in many images. The S 100mm F2.8 Macro reproduces out-of-focus areas attractively, and small highlights are round without any apparent aberrations, even in the corners of the frame.

Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro Sample Images


The Panasonic Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro is an excellent compact, versatile macro lens. Its design, aligning with Panasonic’s F1.8 series prime lenses, ensures ease of use and portability. Performance-wise, it impresses with sharp, detailed images, maintaining quality even at wide apertures. Minimal distortion and effective control of flare and chromatic aberration add to its high-quality capability. The limited depth of field at close focusing distances allows for stunning bokeh, making it ideal not just for detailed macro work but also for creating other aesthetically pleasing photographs.

In summary, the Lumix S 100mm F2.8 Macro is a top choice for photographers seeking a reliable, highly portable macro lens.