Now that the Panasonic S1H is hitting the shelves and many filmmakers are starting to fiddle with it, there’s a reasonable question popping around: what lenses should we use on this camera?
Actually, there’s more than one right answer, especially when you take into account the new L-Mount on the S1H itself, but let’s not worry about that for now. To get our mind clear and make a better and informed decision, let’s take a look at this video put together by Darryl Carey, an S1H owner who has already tested a few alternative lens options along the way.
The main concern with the S1H is without a doubt the brand new L-Mount. This system was born as a partnership between Sigma, Leica, and Panasonic launched in September 2018. Most of the mounts we’ve had on the market had a very long history, some like Nikon F go way back to 1959.
Getting the modern techniques and lenses to work on bayonets and rings designed over 60 years ago could be a real challenge. No wonder this was considered as a limitation by some camera manufacturers and that’s how new mount systems such as the Canon EOS-R, Nikon Z, and L-Mount came to life.
The bummer is that such a brand new mount means that there is no used market for it at all, while the new lenses are quite expensive. What can we do to get good quality at a decent price then? Well, we can opt for used lenses. But wait, didn’t we just say that there are no used lenses?
That is if you do not use an adapter. With one of these passive mechanical adapters, it becomes quite easy to take advantage of much older lenses (some even considered vintage) that offer excellent image quality. An example can be the Nikon 50mm showcased in the video. It’s a very old lens, but still very usable, with great quality and wonderful bokeh.
Darryl is not eager to use it shooting beyond 4K resolution, though. Nevertheless, he recommends trying it out by yourself. You may find it more than good enough for your use case.
The adapter used feels quite flimsy, and it probably is, but if handled with care, it will deliver decent results and will allow you to use all of the great lenses that Nikon has produced over the years. Needless to say, there are some great lenses in Nikon history.
Another viable option is the recently introduced Sigma MC-21 converter made for use of EF-mount lenses on L-Mount. Unlike the cheap Nikon adapter, this converter has a completely different build quality. It’s sturdy and the lens release button feels solid in hand. What could be the perfect combo for this adapter?
Probably a lens from the Zeiss ZE series. But why specifically that particular lineup? Well, the ZE series was made for Canon mount by Zeiss, while the ZF series was for Nikon lenses. Another great advantage of the MC-21 is that it’s an active adapter, meaning it enables the communication between the lens and the camera body itself, and most importantly, it allows you to use some of the best lenses made by Canon which is always a great thing.
So, there you have it, a couple of great solutions, that could give you an excellent lens set for a fraction of the price you’d pay for an equivalent set of native L-Mount lenses. So, start your scavenger hunt right away as you may find some great vintage lenses for your S1H.