Amateur Photographer verdict

A relatively compact and lightweight all-in-one superzoom lens for full-frame L-mount cameras, the Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS delivers very decent image quality in a portable package
  • Relatively small and lightweight
  • Versatile zoom range
  • Very decent image quality
  • Useful close focusing
  • Dust and splash-proof build
  • Modest maximum aperture
  • Less wide view compared to other superzoom lenses

Introduced in February 2024, the Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS is an all-in-one ‘superzoom’ lens for the firm’s full-frame mirrorless L-mount cameras. It’s billed as the smallest and lightest of its type, at 93.4mm long and 413g. In fact, it’s not much larger than the firm’s Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom – just 6mm longer and 63g heavier. With its broad zoom range and handy close-up capability, it should be well-suited to a wide range of subjects. It costs $899 / £899.

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS at a glance:

  • $899 / £899
  • 7.1x all-in-one wideangle to telephoto zoom
  • For full-frame L-mount cameras
  • 14cm minimum focus
  • 77.3 x 93.4mm, 413g
  • 67mm filter thread

While there’s no direct alternative for L-mount users, it’s worth comparing this lens to similar full-frame offerings from other makers. For example, Tamron’s 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di-III RXD provides a larger maximum aperture in a design that’s 24mm longer and 163g heavier, but costs $799 / £749.

Meanwhile, the Nikon Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR is similar is in size and weight to the Tamron 28-200mm, while Canon and Sony’s 24-240mm zooms are larger and heavier still. All of these three are similarly priced to the Lumix lens.

What this means is that the Panasonic 28-200mm represents a uniquely portable offering among full-frame superzoom lenses.  But inevitably, this comes at the cost of zoom range and maximum aperture.

Panasonic’s 28-200mm is uniquely portable for a full-frame superzoom. Credit: Andy Westlake

However, while f/4-7.1 may sound very slow, it’s only one-third of a stop smaller than many similar superzooms, which isn’t a massive difference. So the question is, does this design approach count as a good compromise in everyday use?   

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS: Features

Optically, the lens employs 17 elements in 13 groups, including 1 aspherical lens, 4 ED lenses, and 1 UHR lens. As always, the aim is to optimise cross-frame sharpness and minimise colour fringing due to chromatic aberrations.

Panasonic’s 28-200mm is barely any larger than its 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom. Credit: Andy Westlake

Panasonic says the design suppresses focus breathing, meaning that the angle of view shouldn’t change dramatically on focusing closer. This will be welcome news to videographers.

As suggested by the ‘Macro’ in the lens name, the minimum focus distance is very short, at just 14cm at the 28mm setting. This delivers an impressive 0.5x magnification.

The lens includes dust and splash-proof construction, including a seal around the mount. Credit: Andy Westlake

Built-in optical image stabilisation promises up to 6.5 stops of shake suppression and works in concert with the in-body stabilisation of Lumix cameras via Panasonic’s Dual I.S. 2 technology.

Physically, the lens boasts dust-and splash-proof construction, thanks to an array of seals around the moving parts and the mount. There’s also a fluorine coating on the front element to repel grease and raindrops.

The petal-shaped hood includes a locking button for security. Credit: Andy Westlake

As with many of Panasonic’s other full-frame lenses, the filter thread is 67mm in diameter. A bayonet-fitting, petal-shaped hood comes in the box. It has a locking button for extra security and reverses snugly for storage, without blocking the zoom ring.

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS: Build and Handling

In terms of build and design, the 28-200mm is a close match to Panasonic’s other Lumix S lenses, most obviously the 20-60mm. Thanks to its plastic-skinned construction and metal mount, it feels sturdy without being excessively heavy. I found it a good match to the Lumix S5IIX body that I mainly used for testing, balancing nicely on the camera without feeling front-heavy, unlike many zooms with this focal length range.

Like all such superzoom lenses, the lens extended significantly on zooming to 200mm. Credit: Andy Westlake

The wide zoom ring is perfectly placed in the centre of the barrel, allowing comfortable operation by your left hand. In front of it, the manual focus ring is slimmer and wider in diameter, meaning you shouldn’t mistake the two with the camera up to your eye. Both rings operate smoothly and precisely.

Unlike with many superzoom optics, there’s no hint of ‘zoom creep’, where the lens has a tendency to extend under its own weight when carried pointing downwards.

Two switches on the side control autofocus and image stabilisation. Credit: Andy Westlake

On the side of the barrel, two switches control the focus mode and optical image stabilisation. While these are similar in size, they’re distinctly different in feel, with a protruding ridge on the former and a textured grip on the latter. So again, you shouldn’t mix them up while shooting with the viewfinder.

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS: Autofocus

When it comes to autofocus, the Panasonic 28-200mm F4-7.1 is a capable performer. In normal use it’s fast, decisive, and completely silent. It also focuses accurately wherever you place the focus point within the frame. However, the small maximum aperture does mean it can struggle more than other lenses in dim light, especially when faced with low-contrast detail. It wouldn’t be my first choice for sports and action, but it did perfectly well in less demanding use.

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 packed with hood reversed and caps. Credit: Andy Westlake

Videographers will be pleased by the fact that, as promised, focus breathing is very low indeed.

If you do ever need to use manual focus, that’s also very well-behaved. With Panasonic cameras, switching the lens to MF brings up a simple distance scale in the viewfinder, so you can see the approximate distance you have set. It can also activate focus aids such as a peaking display and engage magnified view when the focus ring is turned, enabling accurate results. 

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS: Performance

It’s easy to assume that a 7.1x zoom like this will come with significant optical compromise. It’s a narrative that photographers have been familiar with for years – longer the zoom range, the worse a lens will inevitably be. Anyone who used this kind of superzoom on DSLRs will have seen optical flaws including barrel and pincushion distortion, colour fringing, and lack of detail in the corners of the image. But the world has moved on from the design constraints of DSLR lenses, so that’s just not what you get here.

In real-world use, the Panasonic 28-200mm delivers clean, detailed images. Credit: Andy Westlake
DC-S5M2X · f/8 · 1/250s · 50mm · ISO100

Instead, the Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 delivers images that look nicely clean and detailed all the way across the frame, especially towards the wider end of its zoom range. If you examine images close-up onscreen, it does get noticeably softer at the long end of the zoom, especially at close focus distances. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s a perfectly acceptable trade-off against its versatility.

Images remain nicely detailed in the middle of the zoom range. Credit: Andy Westlake
DC-S5M2X · f/8 · 1/400s · 104mm · ISO100

It’s also worth noting that while the lens can be stopped down to very small apertures, with minimum settings of f/32-f/45 depending on the zoom position, that’s a terrible idea in terms of sharpness. Instead, it’s best not to go beyond f/16 unless you absolutely need extended depth of field.

Fine detail isn’t quite as crisp at 200mm, but the images are still perfectly usable. Credit: Andy Westlake
DC-S5M2X · f/8 · 1/250s · 200mm · ISO500

As for those other flaws, they’re nowhere to be seen. Panasonic uses software corrections to fix distortion and chromatic aberration, and they work very well indeed. Straight lines are rendered correctly, and there’s no obvious colour fringing either. That shouldn’t come as any great surprise – Panasonic has been designing lenses this way longer than anyone else, after all.

The lens is well behaved when shooting into the light. Credit: Andy Westlake
DC-S5M2X · f/9 · 1/200s · 56mm · ISO100

The lens also handles other aspects of imaging performance nicely. I experienced no major problems when shooting directly into the sun, with no real loss of contrast or ugly flare spots. Its modest maximum aperture limits your opportunities for blurring away backgrounds, but what out-of-focus regions you do get tend to be rendered in an agreeable fashion.

When you get blurred backgrounds, they’re pleasingly rendered. Credit: Andy Westlake
DC-S5M2X · f/7.1 · 1/320s · 112mm · ISO640

While Panasonic touts the lens’s close-up performance, my real-world experience was slightly mixed. Maximum magnification is achieved at 28mm, but this requires placing the front of the lens just a few centimetres from your subject. Frequently, that just means getting in your own light and casting shadows on the scene.

The lens can give strikingly detailed close-ups at 28mm. Shot on the Leica SL3. Credit: Andy Westlake
LEICA SL3 · f/8 · 1/320s · 28mm · ISO100

Instead, I often preferred the tighter perspective afforded by moving back and zooming in, although you won’t get quite such high magnification. If you zoom all the way to 200mm, the images look distinctly soft if you go pixel-peeping. There’s perhaps a happy medium at about the 50mm position.

Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS: Our Verdict

Panasonic’s Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS is a lens that I’ve enjoyed using, thanks to its broad zoom range and compact size. It’s light enough to carry around all day and capable of delivering very decent images. This makes it an interesting proposition for situations where you don’t want to be changing lenses all the time or carrying a heavy kit.

The Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 is a good choice for L-mount users looking to travel light. Credit: Andy Westlake

Its main drawbacks are linked inherently to its headline specifications. Personally, I find 28mm a little narrow for an all-in-one zoom, and would always like to have something wider. But it would make a great complement to Panasonic’s 20-60mm kit zoom, which I suspect many Lumix S users already own. Likewise, the small aperture means it’s not the best choice if you’re after shallow depth-of-field or expect to be shooting much in low light.  

Close-ups at 200mm look soft at the pixel level, but just fine when viewed normally. Credit: Andy Westlake
LEICA SL3 · f/11 · 1/100s · 200mm · ISO1600

It’s also competitively priced compared to other full-frame superzoom lenses. I guess there’s an argument you’re getting less for your money in terms of zoom range and maximum aperture, but that’s the trade-off for its portability. Overall, it’s a fine choice for L-mount users in search of a versatile lens for everyday shooting or travel photography.  

Amateur Photographer Recommended 4.5 stars

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Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm F4-7.1 Macro OIS full specifications

Panasonic 28-200mm F4-7.1 on the Lumix S5IIX camera. Credit: Andy Westlake
Price$899 / £899
Filter Diameter67mm
Lens Elements17 (1 aspherical lens, 4 ED lenses, 1 UHR lens)
Diaphragm blades9
Aperturef/ 4-7.1 – f/32-45
Minimum focus0.14m at 28mm (0.5x)
Lens MountL-mount
Included accessoriesCaps, hood