The Best 35mm Lens for My LUMIX

Good Gear

The Photography Blog

Photographic Field Guides
Practical Philosophies
Careers and Ideas
Inspiring Journeys

June 2020

LUMIX S 50/F1.8
1/100th @ f/2.0
ISO 100
Lumix DC-S5

The Best 35mm Lens for My LUMIX
If you appreciate the value of a 35mm prime lens, you’ll also appreciate that there are a good many 35mm designs to choose from now. Here are my favourite two 35mm lenses from Panasonic and Sigma, both for full-frame L-Mount bodies, and why they appeal to such wildly different photographic styles.

The Photography Blog

35mm is a critical lens for our work. We can do so much with that perspective, giving us a little bit more context than a 50mm and yet avoid the perspective issues of getting up close with a 24mm. It's a look our clients really love, and we find a lot of creative freedom when working at 35mm prime.

Shadow depth of field is everything, so prime lenses on full-frame sensors is my happy place. Composition is so much easier when you can roll the background into bokeh, or shoot through a foreground and frame with soft elements.

There are a lot of good 35mm lenses out there, but there are two in particular that I'm very fond of.

The first is a new lens design from Panasonic that is part of a video targeted series. They're extremely light, extremely small and yet still deliver full frame f/1.8 and snappy AF performance. There's also an 18mm, 24mm, 50mm and 85mm in the f/1.8 series all with similar weight and size to make swapping out lenses in a rig that much easier. Even the thread sizes are matched to Ø67mm on every one of the lenses. This is the lens series we used in Nepal and learned to love so much for both video and stills.

The second is a beastly bokeh monster from Sigma, an f/1.2 prime. I've owned this one for over a year and mostly we work it in the studio. Coupled with the 47MP the Lumix S1R the results are incredible. Very good close focus ability makes it a fun lens for food photography, for something a bit different to our usual 50mm perspective. The AF on this is also killer good even in dreadful light. As I came to appreciate on a very difficult shoot recently with a high-profile client who had brought me in to make some magic in a dreadful location that every other photographer they hired had failed.

These two lenses represent the extreme points on a continuum, each at either end. They both offer a very different experience to shoot with, and hence different results. We often focus too much on whether a lens will get you a certain shot or image, and not enough in his that lens enables of impedes your creative flow. When travelling light the f/1.8 option paired with the tiny LUMIX S5 is such a winning combination with very little compromise. When working chaotic scenes that make it hard to extract clarity for your subject, the option to push all the way through to f/1.2 is a major win.

If you love bokeh you will love the Sigma 35mm f/1.2. I don’t often push all the way wide open, because f/2 is the sweet spot for so much of my work. Sometimes you end up too far back from the subject, and even f/2 doesn’t give you enough separation from everything else. Having the option to push to f/1.2 often means I can work a sweet amount of bokeh into that wider scene, bokeh that a regular lens wouldn’t offer.

Having travelled for a month with the LUMIX S5 and the f/1.8 primes, I can attest that there’s a lot of bokeh joy on offer even at f/1.8 or f/2. This goes for 35mm, but also the 24mm and 50mm lenses I travelled with. And when you’re on the road it’s more important for me to have room in my bag for an extra lens or camera body than it is to push to f/1.2 every so often. I literally had three cameras and four lenses in my pack, plus room for a drone and other kit. That’s a huge advantage.

I've owned a few very good 35mm f/1.4 lenses in my time. Having an f/1.2 is a bit indulgent, but a definite luxury. Having an f/1.8 that weighs less than 300g is a whole other kind of luxury again. Which of these divergent designs is going to spark joy for you depends on what your photographic experience is all about. Light and bright, versus brilliant bokeh. There’s a lot to love in either direction.

📷 Sigma AF 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens

📷 Panasonic Lumix S 35mm f/1.8

Photo essay from Nepal shot on the LUMIX S 35mm F1.8 (S-S35) / by Shellie Froidevaux

Video from our Nepal journey captured on the f/1.8 S-series lenses

Please Share Your Thoughts


Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

LUMIX S 35mm F1.8 (S-S35)
This feature was last updated on Thursday 21st April 2022

Copyright: All images and words on this web site are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.
Article published and written by

Related Links
  Good Gear

Very selected features on the hardware, software and extra wares that help me get the job done.

DxO PhotoLab for RAW Workflow

DxO PhotoLab for RAW Workflow

DxO PhotoLab is a genuine alternative to Lightroom and Capture One, delivering excellent value and professional features. It's not as polished or featured as Capture One, but it's worth a look if you want something lighter for your RAW workflow, plus support for a wider range of cameras and lenses.

LUMIX GH6 Custom Settings

LUMIX GH6 Custom Settings

If you're new to the GH6 or new to the custom dial on the camera, this primer will get you moving quickly to set and reset your baseline and access a wide range of this camera's features.

Full Frame Himalayas

Full Frame Himalayas

It's been a long time since I travelled in Nepal with a full frame camera, having enjoyed the LUMIX G9 and its mix of power and convenience in recent years. This time I returned to the Annapurnas with a pair of LUMIX S5 full frame cameras in my bag, and loads of lovely Spring sunshine.

Make The Custom Dial Work For You

Make The Custom Dial Work For You

One of the most powerful features on any Lumix G or S series camera is the custom dial. C1 and beyond. This is a short primer to put you in control of the custom settings, and start working your own baseline towards better captures.

SD Cards Explained

SD Cards Explained

Shopping for an SD card is frustratingly hard, with so many brands, standards and price points to navigate through. Especially when speed is a necessity rather than a luxury. It's also possible that the best value SD card is a MicroSD card, if you have the right adaptor.

Platypod Extreme Gone Bush

Platypod Extreme Gone Bush

It's not a tripod. It's less than that. But maybe it's more than that too. It's very easy to pack and could be very handy when you least expect it.

Ewen's New Book

"ReIMAGINE" is now available to order online.
It's a very big and very generous book that will help you to reconnect with your creative side.


Stay Inspired
Join Ewen's newsletter for short updates on new articles and photographic inspiration.

Thanks, you are now subscribed. Please check your inbox for a welcome email.

Computer says NO.
Please check the email address.