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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
I was concerned about the double image problem reported on various blogs, and sure enough there it was on the first shots. But after downloading the updates for this lens and the camera (GX1) from Panasonic the issue was completely resolved.
Then I discovered just how good this lens really is. There is a tiny bit of sharpness fall-off at the long end but completely usable there and remarkably clean over most of it's range. The light weight and small size make it the perfect companion for the 14-42X.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
I've been using this lens for the last couple of months with Olympus E-PM1 to great success. Very sharp wide open at all focal lengths even for distant objects. I have not experienced any OIS issues others have been reporting. OIS is disabled on Olympus bodies so I wouldn't know anyway. The lens is light and compact (46mm filter thread), the zooming is internal so the lens does not extend. Power zoom feature (optional) is very useful for video and also for stills. I find it very precise and superior to manual zooming. I use power zoom exclusively with this lens. The pace of zooming is control by how hard you tilt the toggle conveniently located on the left. Image quality is superb. Great color, contrast and sharpness across all focal lengths wide open, no need to stop down (it doesn't get visibly better anyway). My experience is in agreement with many reviews which said that the lens is optimized for wide open shooting. This is important because it is not a bright lens and one would have to watch the shutter speed so using apertures as large as possible is recommended.

Compared to Olympus 40-150mm (I used to own one), Panasonic 45-175mm is better in every way:

- Better optics. The lens is sharper especially for shooting at a distance (you would need to stop down Oly 40-150 to f8 to get acceptable corner to corner sharpness, plus Oly is not that sharp at full zoom)
- Has noticeably better contrast and color
- Slightly faster AF especially at full zoom but more so in lower light (tested on same body). The AF is significantly faster during video (C-AF) vs Oly 40-150mm (same E-PM1 body)
- Internal zoom (IMO, all zooms should be like this, we're in 2012)
- Power zooming (invaluable for video). Yet regular manual zoom is still there
- Useful additional zoom range (175mm vs 150mm)
- The lens is supposedly a little longer than Oly 40-150mm but it feels smaller due to much smaller filter thread (46mm vs 58mm) and feels much smaller in actual use due to internal zooming (Oly feels gigantic when extends and easily overwhelms small m43 cameras)
- MUCH better build quality, rubberized zoom/MF ring, solid metal mount, made in Japan
- Comes with a very nice and compact reversible hood, pinch lens cap (perfect for use with the hood) and a lens pouch
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2011
REVIEW UPDATED FOR NEW FIRMWARE

The optical image stabilization system for this lens did not work properly when first released. Multiple users tested it on multiple cameras and in most cases it produced a severe double image with shutter speeds between 1/100 and 1/300. Tested on both GH2 and G3 with same results. It appears to be shutter vibration causing the OIS system to detect a false movement and then attempt to correct for this false movement. Bottomline, users were finding images are better when they turn OIS off.

For extensive details and test images look in the Micro Four Thirds forum at Amazon's partner site dpreview.com. Also check the very long thread in the Lumix Lifestyle UK forum.

Panasonic released a new firmware for this lens on 11/17. It appears to have significantly improved the OIS for many users. The shutter speed of 1/160 still appears to be a weak point, especially on the G3, but the "double image problem" has been resolved at most settings for most users. It has not completely gone away, however. Again, the forums referenced above have lots of users tests with both the old and new firmware in them.

I hope to run comparison tests between this lens and the 45-200 and will update the review when I have the opportunity to do so. Optically, without the OIS issues, the lens appears very good. I hope to upgrade this to five star review once after more testing.

FINAL REVIEW UPDATE

Well, I've now had the opportunity to run tests with this lens myself using the lens FW1.1 on a GH2 with body FW1.1 as well. The result is that the OIS performance is not spectacular. Shooting at 175mm there is still an occasional double image problem around 1/160th shooting speeds. At that shutter speed the OIS is only slightly better than hand holding. At slower shutter speeds the OIS is much better than hand holding. At higher shutter speeds I think you are better turning off the OIS. I'd say the performance is "adequate" as far as OIS goes. It is a bit of a disappointment, in the range of 1/350th to 1/160th where you'd expect the OIS to be doing you the most good and giving you sharp images it really doesn't help much compared to IS off. Where it does help is at very slow speeds (say 1/40th) where you have no expectation of a sharp image at all but it does give you decent if not "tack sharp" results that are vastly better than without IS.

Comparison with the 45-200 is difficult. The 45-200 OIS system is not spectacular either but many folks are reporting they get better results with it. In my testing it was hard to tell, but I might also give the nod to the 45-200. The issue is that the 45-200 is a heavier lens and so we would expect it to be held more stably to start with. Basically I think compared to the 45-200 the 45-175 IS is definitely not better, perhaps the same but more likely worse despite being marketed as superior.

Finally, to image quality. The 45-175 is on the whole a nice sharp contrasty lens. That said, I shoot landscapes at infinity focus and at that focus distance the 45-200 is actually sharper, especially at the edges. I suspect at moderate focus distances the 45-175 is probably superior, and this is where most people shoot, but for my uses the 45-200 was actually better.

I'm torn as to what rate the lens in the end. I'm going to stick with three stars as I consider given it is suppose to be a premium product and is at a premium price compared to the 45-200 it just isn't any better as far as image quality. It is smaller and has a number of nice features but I really feel it does not live up to its billing. For many folks I think it would be fair to call it a four star product, definitely not five, but I'm sticking with three as personally I'm underwhelmed by the lens.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2013
The Panasonic PZ 45-175mm f4-5.6 MFT lens (pleasantly!) surprised me. I had returned a Panasonic 45-200mm lens (that was relatively inexpensive and sharper than expected), which had, for me, an unacceptably high level of chromatic aberration problems. I hesitated buying this PZ ("power zoom") lens due to comments about a frequent problem with "double-imaging" at some shutter speeds with the lens used near 175mm, reportedly mediocre performance near infinity-focus, and the relatively higher price. When it appeared that new stock of the lens had arrived at Amazon (and with that, perhaps some "fixes" had been made), I decided to give it a try. I was attracted by its compact size (which doesn't change with either focusing or zooming), by its reportedly low level of CA, and by its having a power zoom lever (possibly useful while shooting video).

What I found with the sample I received was that the image was sharp to the image corners even "wide" open at infinity-focus (and also at close-focus) throughout its zoom range, its distortion level was low, its CA level was also low, its illumination was quite even, and its resistance to flare and ghosting was high. I then checked it with many photos shot at 175mm in the potentially "offending" shutter speed range of 1/60th to 1/200th second. Only one of the photos was not sharp (but it did not show double imaging with in-focus high-contrast edges...). (BTW, this lens that I recently bought from Amazon had the firmware update version 1.1 already installed.) Next, for "fun", I tried some low-light photos at 175mm and f5.6 with the camera used hand-held for 1/10 and 1/15th second exposures at ISO 1600 with the G5. MUCH to my surprise, some of the photos were quite sharp, even when viewed at 100% - and they even looked good otherwise! (I'm still getting over this surprise!) This turned out to be a VERY good lens!

I tried adding a Nikon 3T achromatic close-up lens to the front of the zoom (I needed a 46mm-to-52mm step-up adapter ring to do this), and found that this turned the 45-175mm zoom into a useful and sharp macro zoom lens! (BTW, this Nikon 3T achromat also works well on the Panasonic 14-45mm zoom lens without an adapter.) I then tried stacking the 3T and a 5T, which both have the same power) to double the power (I adapted the 5T to the front of the 3T with a 52mm-to-62mm step-up adapter ring). This also worked very well, and it resulted in very high magnification with the zoom set at 175mm.

I then tried shooting video with this lens. The G5 is unusual for a camera of its type in having an on-body zoom lever for use with the couple of Panasonic "PZ" lenses available, of which this is one. These PZ lenses have zoom levers, but I found it easier to control zoom smoothness (while keeping the camera steady) if I used the zoom lever on the camera rather than using the one on the lens. The G5 also has (in its menus) additional zooming speed-rate selections making it possible to have the very slow zoom rate that I prefer to use while shooting video. But, this lens is not parfocal (it changes focus with zooming), and there have been a couple of problems resulting from this and with the lens aperture changing with zooming. I will see if I can find ways around these problems, and if successful, I will report my findings here.

An additional note: a rattle can be heard as the lens is tilted. This is normal when the power is off (it is not indicative of a fault).

I am VERY happy with using this lens for still photography, and I'm hoping to find ways of using it while zooming during the shooting of video.

Recommended!

UPDATE:
I found that by using "Continuous-Focus" set to "On" in the video menus, and with the auto 23-segment AF focus pattern selected, I can get much smoother exposures with zooming while shooting video while using the on-body (G5 and G6) zoom toggle.

--DR
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2011
The lens focuses quickly and can be zoomed manually or powered. It is compact, light, yet provides more reach than most SLR lenses. The lens does not extend during zooming which helps to keep dust out and provide a more stable lens body. Of course none of this would matter if the images were not sharp but they are! Even the bokeh is good.
I updated the software but even before that the lens did not have any issues (on a G3). It makes a rattle when turned, until the camera is turned on. May be the OIS but it is apparently by design so I am not concerned.
Some images taken with this lens can be seen at: [..]
(not all are with the 45-175, some are with a 14-42 or 7-14 but any long shots are with this lens).

Cons: I wish it were constant f/4 but then the price, size, and weight would all be greater. The 46mm filter thread would have been better by matching it with the 52mm of the kit lens so we wouldn't have to buy more filters.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2012
This lens got some bad press in the beginning regarding IS problems. Several users reported double images at certain shutter speeds. It sounded pretty ugly but I also found reports from several users that loved the lens and reported good results with no problems.

I bought the lens reluctantly and had a "test program" worked out to thoroughly check the IS problems as well as the image quality. When it arrived, I upgraded the firmware to 1.1 and began to take pictures at all focal lengths and shutter speeds. I shot many, many shots at 1/160th second, which was reported as the worst single speed where IS failed.

To the point, I have shot hundreds of pictures with this lens and have not had a single IS problem, not one! The quality of the images is as good, or better, than any zoom lens I have ever used. It seems especially sharp at max zoom. The lens is now getting good reports on the same forums where the IS problem was reported.

This lens is light and handy, less than 1/2 pound, and is a perfect mate for the smaller m43 cameras. Image quality is excellent at all focal lengths and all shutter speeds. The power zoom lever is a nice feature, especially for zooming during video. IS on the lens is EXCELLENT and the view through the EVF is very smooth and stable.

Anyone needing this sort of lens that has reservations due to the early reviews about IS, should be assured that the problem, if there was one, has been fixed. I'd recommend ordering the lens,upgrading the firmware, testing it, then enjoying it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2012
I am using this lens on my Olympus OM-D. My rating of five is based on the overall performance plus the price. it is very sharp even at 175mm and is quick to focus. My previous camera was a canon 7D and I often use a canon 70-200 L and it is clearly in the same league.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2011
REVIEW UPDATED FOR NEW FIRMWARE

The optical image stabilization system for this lens did not work properly when first released. Multiple users tested it on multiple cameras and in most cases it produced a severe double image with shutter speeds between 1/100 and 1/300. Tested on both GH2 and G3 with same results. It appears to be shutter vibration causing the OIS system to detect a false movement and then attempt to correct for this false movement. Bottomline, users were finding images are better when they turn OIS off.

For extensive details and test images look in the Micro Four Thirds forum at Amazon's partner site dpreview.com. Also check the very long thread in the Lumix Lifestyle UK forum.

Panasonic released a new firmware for this lens on 11/17. It appears to have significantly improved the OIS for many users. The shutter speed of 1/160 still appears to be a weak point, especially on the G3, but the "double image problem" has been resolved at most settings for most users. It has not completely gone away, however. Again, the forums referenced above have lots of users tests with both the old and new firmware in them.

I hope to run comparison tests between this lens and the 45-200 and will update the review when I have the opportunity to do so. Optically, without the OIS issues, the lens appears very good. I hope to upgrade this to five star review once after more testing.

FINAL REVIEW UPDATE

Well, I've now had the opportunity to run tests with this lens myself using the lens FW1.1 on a GH2 with body FW1.1 as well. The result is that the OIS performance is not spectacular. Shooting at 175mm there is still an occasional double image problem around 1/160th shooting speeds. At that shutter speed the OIS is only slightly better than hand holding. At slower shutter speeds the OIS is much better than hand holding. At higher shutter speeds I think you are better turning off the OIS. I'd say the performance is "adequate" as far as OIS goes. It is a bit of a disappointment, in the range of 1/350th to 1/160th where you'd expect the OIS to be doing you the most good and giving you sharp images it really doesn't help much compared to IS off. Where it does help is at very slow speeds (say 1/40th) where you have no expectation of a sharp image at all but it does give you decent if not "tack sharp" results that are vastly better than without IS.

Comparison with the 45-200 is difficult. The 45-200 OIS system is not spectacular either but many folks are reporting they get better results with it. In my testing it was hard to tell, but I might also give the nod to the 45-200. The issue is that the 45-200 is a heavier lens and so we would expect it to be held more stably to start with. Basically I think compared to the 45-200 the 45-175 IS is definitely not better, perhaps the same but more likely worse despite being marketed as superior.

Finally, to image quality. The 45-175 is on the whole a nice sharp contrasty lens. That said, I shoot landscapes at infinity focus and at that focus distance the 45-200 is actually sharper, especially at the edges. I suspect at moderate focus distances the 45-175 is probably superior, and this is where most people shoot, but for my uses the 45-200 was actually better.

I'm torn as to what rate the lens in the end. I'm going to stick with three stars as I consider given it is suppose to be a premium product and is at a premium price compared to the 45-200 it just isn't any better as far as image quality. It is smaller and has a number of nice features but I really feel it does not live up to its billing. For many folks I think it would be fair to call it a four star product, definitely not five, but I'm sticking with three as personally I'm underwhelmed by the lens.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
I purchased this lens because I wanted to stay true to the 4/3 concept of being portable and lite weight but I needed a great zoom for wildlife. I use this on a GF3 that came with the 14-42 kit lens. I have to say that this lens is so much better than the kit lens that I just don't use it any more. It is less weight, the brightness and the colors are so much sharper that I even use it for indoor and portrait. I will say here that I have to back up further just like a prime lens I have to move to an angle and distance and the right light to create the right photo but it does work far better than the kit lens. The biggest problem is the focus in that whatever is closest will be focused and the rest will be slightly blurred. This creates wonderful shots if that bird you want to capture is up front but if back in the tree then the closest limb becomes your focus. It is tack sharp at maximium distance and everywhere in between. I do get the ocasional blurry shot but that is me and not the lens. The video is spectaculer with this lens and you need to remember one thing about pictures and video with this lens, it is an HD lens so by downloading to your computer if you do not have HD it won't look as good. I use an HD cable to my 60" HD TV and the pictures and video are the best I have ever taken and I come from a long time affiliatin with Canon DSLR cameras with many lenses. I chose to change because of the weight. I plan to buy the Panny 25mm lens, ( 50mm equivalant) and use this lens along with that one for all my photo and video needs. I don,t think any other lens will be needed and if I do need a wide angle, well I still have the kit lens for 28mm. I bought the camera on closeout and will upgrade somewhere in the future to one with EVF but the lenses will be fine for down the road, and as for the earlier ratings involving double imaging, well that doesn,t happen anymore if you have a recent camera with the firmwire upgrade. I find the little poorly reviewed GF3 to be a pretty darn good camera with this lens. If you doubt the ability of this lens and you have a pretty decent camera I urge you to give it a try as the images I pull up on an HD TV are are night and day between this and the kit lens.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
CONs: (1) Tried four copies of this lens, updated the firmware on all four, and all four still had the edge-doubling issue when used with both my G1 and G3 at 175mm and shutter speeds between 1/80-1/250. The 1.1 firmware fix Panasonic supplied improved this issue slightly, but what it mostly seemed to do is program the cameras to avoid this shutter speed range when possible, at the expense of increasing the ISO. In practice, if you use any of the auto or P modes, most of the time you won't see this problem, because the camera will skip that shutter speed range whenever possible. But when you do shoot at the long end of the zoom range, inside this shutter speed range, the edge-doubling problem seems to show up about 30% of the time. Weirdly, the lenses all seemed to improve somewhat with use. Initially, about 50% of the shots at full telephoto, in this shutter speed range, had double images. (2) No OIS switch.

PROs: (1) The lens is much lighter than the 45-200, about as sharp on average (sharper wide open, a bit less sharp at the edges stopped down a little when compared to the 45-200) and, (2) because it does not extend externally, it's not subject to zoom creep. Also, (3) zooming is quite smooth with the power zoom, making it a better choice for video. (4) It handles much better on the small G3 than the 45-200.

DETAILS: The lens is sharpest between f/5.6 and f/7.1. Diffraction doesn't noticeably kick in until around f/10.

P.S. Another pro: Amazon.com was quite gracious about taking these lenses back and flagging them as defective - which they are - as was the other vendor I tried, hoping to get a different batch that didn't display the problem.
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