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Panasonic Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 (and a comparison with the Sigma 16-28 f2.8)

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I got into L-mount late in 2022 and as a landscape photographer, I needed a decent UWA zoom. The options at the time were the Lumix 16-35 f4, Sigma 16-28 f2.8, or the Leica 16-35 f3.5-4.5. Dismissing the latter for the obviously poor price/performance mix (!), it left the Lumix vs the Sigma. It didn't seem from the various reviews I read that the Lumix was optically any better than the Sigma but the Sigma new was still cheaper than the Lumix used, so the choice was easy. The max aperture really wasn't a consideration since I shoot nearly everything at f8 or f11.

But then Panasonic announced the 14-28. On the face of it, this would be my ideal UWA - 14mm at the wide end (I like W I D E) and actually smaller and lighter than the Sigma. So I pre-ordered the 14-28 and waited, and waited. With a Scotland photo trip looming and still now without a UWA, I did a panic buy of the Sigma; and then the Lumix arrived the day before I left!

So, I've currently got both of them in my possession. I'll probably sell the Sigma, but I thought before I did I'd do some quick comparisons.

1) Sharpness

I'm quite picky with across-the-frame sharpness for UWA lenses, esp at infinity focus; it's a really an important attribute for shooting landscapes. And by this measure they both do an excellent job. Here are two images both on the S1R, one with each lens. Both are shot at f11 (which is where I shoot landscape 90% of the time). The images are shot in raw, on a tripod, and processed in LR. In LR I set the WB to "Daylight" for both and also pushed shadows +100 and pulled highlights -100 (it was a very contrasty scene). Other parameters are using LR defaults. Unfortunately, the lighting was changing very rapidly that day so although the exposure is the same on both, the light is actually a little better (more contrast) with the Sigma image. C'est la vie!

Sigma 16-28 (shot at 16mm)
1428_1.jpeg
  • Panasonic - DC-S1R
  • 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary 022
  • 16.0 mm
  • ƒ/11
  • 1/80 sec
  • Pattern
  • Auto exposure
  • -0.7
  • ISO 100



Lumix 14-28 (shot at 16mm)
1428_2.jpeg
  • Panasonic - DC-S1R
  • LUMIX S 14-28/F4-5.6
  • 16.0 mm
  • ƒ/11
  • 1/80 sec
  • Pattern
  • Auto exposure
  • -0.7
  • ISO 100


You'll notice that there are some colour differences. The Sigma renders with a slight magenta cast, the Lumix slightly greener. I think the Lumix is the more natural/real, but you could easily get any result you want by an appropriate profile/tweak in LR so I don't think these differences will bother most people.

Here are some crop comparisons to assess sharpness:

Centre:
1428_3.png




Left edge:
1428_4.png



Right edge:
1428_5.png



Bottom left:
1428_6.png



Bottom right:
1428_7.png



Remember that these are 100% crops from the 47Mp S1R. Overall, I think this is really an excellent result from both lenses. I'd be very happy with either.

Although these are shot at f11, neither lens displays significant deterioration as the aperture opens up. Even the Sigma at f2.8 shows good sharpness right out into the corners. I'd be happy to shoot with either wide open if I needed to without worrying about mushy corners.


2) Flare

These two shots are into sun. They both show a little flare, but it's not a lot for either. I also had a UV filter attached to both so I can't rule out effects from that. I think they both do well in handling flare.

Sigma 16-28
1428_8.jpeg
  • Panasonic - DC-S1R
  • 16-28mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary 022
  • 16.0 mm
  • ƒ/11
  • 1/50 sec
  • Pattern
  • Auto exposure
  • ISO 100



Lumix 14-28
1428_9.jpeg
  • Panasonic - DC-S1R
  • LUMIX S 14-28/F4-5.6
  • 16.0 mm
  • ƒ/11
  • 1/50 sec
  • Pattern
  • Auto exposure
  • ISO 100



3) CA / Fringing
It's hard to spot, but there is a tiny amount of CA and fringing on the Sigma, but virtually nothing on the Lumix. What little there is on the Sigma can be easily tidied up in LR, so I have no complaints with either.
1428_10.png




4) Sunstars
The Sigma is a clear winner here. Both shot at f16:
1428_11.png




5) 14mm vs 16mm

Only one lens goes to 14, and I think it's a notable difference. Both with the Lumix 14-28.
14mm
1428_12.jpeg
  • Panasonic - DC-S1R
  • LUMIX S 14-28/F4-5.6
  • 14.0 mm
  • ƒ/11
  • 1/80 sec
  • Pattern
  • Auto exposure
  • -0.7
  • ISO 100



16mm
1428_13.jpeg
  • Panasonic - DC-S1R
  • LUMIX S 14-28/F4-5.6
  • 16.0 mm
  • ƒ/11
  • 1/80 sec
  • Pattern
  • Auto exposure
  • -0.7
  • ISO 100




6) Build, size, weight, handling, operation etc

This is what they look like. The Sigma is slightly longer and narrower.

1428_14.jpeg
1428_15.jpeg



In terms of the other physical differences, it's best expressed as a table:

Lumix 14-28Sigma 16-28
ControlsZoom, focus, AF/MF switchZoom, focus, AF/MF switch
Zoom actionClockwise min-max. Internal zooming (or more correctly, the front element moves, but within the outer barrel so size doesn't change).Anti-clockwise min-max. Internal zooming.
Length / width89.9mm / 84mm100.6mm / 77.2mm
Filter size & vignetting77mm. No vignetting at 14mm with a slim filter. Some vignetting with two. No vignetting at 15mm with two filters.72mm. No vignetting at 16mm with two slim filters.
Build & feelAverage. The focus and zoom rings are typical Panasonic S - rubberised and dust traps. The build is all plastic and feels it. It's OK, but it doesn't feel special.Above average. The focus and zoom rings are typical Sigma "Contemporary" but are nice to handle and operate. The build is plastic but it feels better than the Lumix.
Weather sealingWeather sealed against splashesNot weather sealed
Weight372g480g
Close focussingVery close (semi macro, but goodness knows why anyone would buy a UWA for macro).Not so close.



7) Conclusion

There's little to separate these two lenses so far as basic IQ is concerned. I'd be very happy with either. If I had to separate them, I'd say this:

Lumix 14-28Sigma 16-28
Field of viewExcellent range. Uber wide at 14mm. 2x zoom range.OK. 16mm might be wide enough for most, but 28mm at long end means only a 1.75 zoom range which isn't a lot.
Max aperturef4-f5.6. Not great for low light. Probably not the best internal architecture lens. Ideal for landscapef2.8. Would be much better for internal architecture and similar uses.
Sun starsAverage for a zoom. Not well defined.Really excellent for a zoom.
Weather SealingPanasonic claim it's dust and splash proof.Sigma only claim sealing at the lens mount, so the majority of the lens is clearly not sealed and there is no claim of any dust or splash resistance.

So, it would seem to me that the Sigma is really a better lens for interior architecture/low light lens where its fast f2.8 aperture will be most useful, whereas the Lumix is better for landscape where its wider FOV, weather-sealing, and smaller/lighter build will help. But either would suit both genres with really only a little compromise.

I still have them both, but I'll be selling the Sigma. But I'll do it with a little sadness in my heart!

Hope this little comparison has been helpful!
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