Buying a new camera or lens isn’t currently at the front of our minds. With many of us living under lockdown, the opportunities for photography are shrinking. And, along with our lives, I assume, our spending plans for new equipment have been put on hold.
This is understandable. But taking a tip from Warren Buffet’s theme of contrarian investing, could now be the ideal time to splash out on a bit of new equipment? It’s also a good opportunity to support some of our favourite dealers who will struggle to stay afloat in the coming months.
Most camera stores in Europe and North America are now closed, but many of them are keeping the flag flying with an enhanced mail-order business and some tasty offers. Overall sales must be dire, I should imagine, but that can only mean more and better deals for those brave souls who can see beyond lockdown.
Our friends at London Camera Exchange are currently offering a stunning deal on Panasonic’s L-mount camera, the S1. While the body, at £1,890 (after cash-back) is about par for the course, the kit, including the versatile Lumix S 24-105mm F4 Macro OIS zoom, is very attractive at £2,300. That’s just over £400 for a lens which has a recommended tag of nearly £1,300.
Kit lens though it may be, it isn’t half bad. It isn’t in Panasonic’s Pro range and it cannot be compared with, say, Sigma’s f/2.8 24-70mm Art or Leica’s f/2.8-4 24-90mm. But in my opinion, it performs above its pay scale and offers a relatively compact and light (700g) zoom with a very useful extended range.
However, you may prefer to put up with the shorter Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens which costs around £950. This is a professional-quality lens which compares well with the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 but at a quarter of the cost. Of course, you do lose than extra 20mm of reach although it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, especially if you intend to use it on a 24MP camera where cropping opportunities are that much greater.
If you wish to put your toe into the L-mount market and don’t want to shell out for a Leica SL and matching lens, then LCE’s Panasonic S1 kit deal is a good place to start. Despite having a lower-density 24MP sensor, the S1 is an excellent camera and, as I’ve said already, don’t ignore that bargain of a “kit” zoom.
I bought this kit last year but sold the S1 body to make way for the SL2. I held on to the 24-105mm zoom since it wouldn’t have fetched a fortune, and I’d glad I did. It’s proved to be a very versatile and lightweight complement to the new Leica, particularly since I prefer mainly to use prime lenses.
The advent of the L-Mount Alliance has definitely opened up new vistas for us all.