Not Just a Sports or Wildlife Lens
As the title suggests, yes you can, of course, make complete use of this 70-300mm zoom range for capturing unsuspecting birds, animals and for sports photography. However, it's not limited to just one genre. Thanks to the compact build of the Panasonic mirrorless systems, the lens, even with this focal range, is compact enough to take out on lengthy walks to attempt to capture some street photography.
Image quality even in black and white displays great dynamic range and high contrast.
The 300mm maximum focal length allows you stay incognito.
Sturdy and Steady
Panasonic LUMIX really have done superbly when it comes to the Optical Image Stabilisation in their range of S and S PRO lenses. At the 300mm focal length, you'd expect some form of shake when trying to capture your subject but not with this lens! It works alongside the in-built image stabilisation in the camera, the Panasonic LUMIX S1R in this case, to ensure you can capture your images, blur-free, even at the extremes of the lens.
The dust and splash resistant build gives you the confidence to be out in the elements. However this wasn't tested to the full extent whilst in my possession as it was clear skies, but the lens certainly performed extremely well in the bitterly low temperatures we experienced that weekend!
Shot at 300mm.
Burst mode on the S1R, at 300mm.
Flexible and Fancy
As you can see from the images I was able to take over a weekend, they range from zoomed-in shots of wildlife to my attempt at pet photography. With a minimum focusing distance of 0.54m at 70mm, the lens can capture macro-esque shots with ease. We typically think the 24-70mm or 24-105mm lenses are the ultimate in flexibility, but I beg to differ. Once you've tried a lens with this power and quality, you'll question why you ever insisted on having any other option as your go to 'do it all' lens.
The look and feel is classic Panasonic LUMIX. By this, I mean that the design and markings tie in superbly with the sleek and dare I say it, sexy design of the S range mirrorless cameras. The two rings provide a firm and effective way of establishing your focal length and focus area without having to separate your gaze from your viewfinder and subject and the overall weight poses no issues to lengthy use.
Our Final Thoughts
Whilst you are operating with a larger focal range over the likes of the Panasonic LUMIX S 70-200mm F4 OIS, you sacrifice the perks that a constant aperture can give you. But with just 0.5 stop difference at 70mm and only 1 stop difference at 300mm this really isn't anything to complain about over the financial saving this lens can give you. If you were looking for something with even more prowess then there is, of course, the Panasonic LUMIX S PRO 70-200m F2.8 OIS but you're then venturing into a whole new category of quality.
In a nutshell, this lens really is something quite special. I was sceptical at first with the extra 100mm, wondering if it would actually be useful, and it turns out that it is! The lack of a constant aperture was negligible and I was very impressed with the quality of bokeh that the 11 blade diaphragm design could produce. I'd personally give this lens a solid 8/10 and would certainly recommend you give it a second thought when looking for your next all-round lens or sports/wildlife-focused lens.
Equipment We Used
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