2019-05-20

Sigma MC-21 Adapter | A Game Changer for the Lumix S1 / S1R

Shot on the Panasonic Lumix S1 with the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L Lens

We’ve been checking out the new Sigma MC-21 adapter which allows you to use existing EF lenses with your L Mount camera. That means you can use EF lenses with the new Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R cameras. We reviewed both of those cameras in the past, you can read our S1 review here.



Lumix S1 / S1R

The S1 is geared more towards video with some very impressive specs while the S1R is more of a photographic camera with that huge megapixel count. That said, both cameras offer you really stunning images and video and I was really impressed with both when I shot with them.

With these cameras being part of a new series of cameras, the ‘S’ series, it’s probably fair to say that there wasn’t a huge range of lenses at launch. Panasonic released three native lenses and of course, with it being an L mount, there are Leica lenses that work with it as well. Obviously there are more native lenses coming down the line, Sigma and Panasonic are committed to bringing some seriously impressive lenses to the S cameras, but what about right now?

Some people have made the case that while the cameras look great, they want to be able to use a wider variety of lenses and this might just be the answer to that problem.

Shot on the Panasonic Lumix S1 with the Canon EF 100-400mm Lens
The MC-21 adapter allows you to use existing EF lenses with your S1 and S1R which opens up a huge number of lenses that you can use with the cameras. You’ve got a massive number of Canon and Sigma lenses so there are a lot to choose from and this means that you can start using some pro lenses and some very reasonably priced lenses with both the S1 and S1R right away.

Shooting with the MC-21 Adapter

So we went out with the S1, the adapter and an assortment of Canon EF lenses to test out how it all works. In particular, with things like this, I’m always keen to look at the autofocus and the image stabilisation. The IS works alarmingly well on the S1 and S1R so I wanted to see if using the adapter would affect it at all.

The actual adapter itself feels nice, it’s a decent quality build and actually, a really nice touch that Sigma have included; it has this integrated tripod socket which means if you are using a longer lens, you’ve got an option for where to attach your tripod.

Now, first things first, I wanted to test the autofocus while using third party lenses and I’m happy to report, it was great. Face and eye tracking still works really well. It might be a touch slower than with a native lens but that is to be expected. I was using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens to take some portraits and I was really happy with the results.

Shot on the Panasonic Lumix S1 with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 Lens
With that all said, when switching to the EF lenses, I was unable to use AF-C and I had to switch to AF-S. This wasn’t really a problem but it’s worth being aware of if you tend to shoot on AF-C.

Otherwise, I had absolutely no issues with the autofocus, the camera was still able to track the face and the eye around the frame so I didn’t have to go hunting for that and ultimately, my shooting experience was much the same as with native lenses, except of course, that I had a much larger roster of lenses at my disposal.

In terms of image stabilisation, I was using the Canon EF 100-400mm lens to shoot flowers and wildlife and I was very happy to see that the IS works just as well as with native lenses. I was able to use a slower shutter speed than I would normally use with a lens like that with no issues and actually, it’s still one of the best systems I have ever used for this.

Shot on the Panasonic Lumix S1 with the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L Lens
I was also keen to try out the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L Lens with the S1. It's one of my favourite lenses to use and it felt great on the front of the S1. The image stabilisation was great here as well and the autofocus was able to quickly snap onto birds as they were moving around.

Shot on the Panasonic Lumix S1 with the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L Lens
Ultimately, this adapter expands the possibilities of the S1 and the S1R in a huge way. It gives you access to all kinds of pro lenses and for a lot of people, it means you can use your existing lenses. While we wait for more of the native lenses to be released, this is a great way to make the most of your S1 and S1R.

You can watch more of our impressions with the adapter below:


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