Customer Review

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Zoom; a Worthy Compromise., August 13, 2012
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This review is from: Panasonic H-HS12035 LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH X Series Lens (Electronics)
As with all things in photography, the 12-35x is a compromise. A good compromise, but a compromise all the same.

As with all my reviews, I will preface that I am a part time pro photographer. My to kits consists of a 5D Mark II with a stable of L lenses and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 along with the Leica 25 1.4 and the Oly 45 1.8 and now the 12-35 2.8 X.


-great autofocus speed and accuracy on OM-D, very similar to the Leica 25 1.4

-excellent color and contrast, although not quite as good as the Leica 25 1.4

-useful zoom range, but would prefer slightly longer tele end aka 24-105 FF equivalent

-usefully fast constant aperture

-sharp wide open results, especially at the tele end, almost as good as primes mentioned above

-reasonable close focus distance

-weather-sealed construction to make the most of OM-D and a perfect travell / hiking lens

-Canon L series build quality (really feels like a mini 24-70 L zoom!)


-2.8 max aperture good for shutter speed / low light / low ISO, but not enough to create really shallow DOF on 4/3rd sensor (really need 1.8 or 1.4 depending on focal length)

-Chromatic Ab., color fringing in highlights, and slightly soft corners wide open ( none of these are unusual though, even on the Canon version and CA and fringing easily corrected in post)

-Cost, although I am sure Panny will sell enough of these to justify the price. At $999 this lens would be a steal, seriously.

Overall impressions

This is a critical lens for the M43 system and really helps make the whole format a viable alternative to pro DSLRs. There are still some issues with m43rd, ie C-AF and good tele primes / zooms, but with the upcoming 75 1.8 and the rumored 35-100 2.8 X the reasons to stick with the larger formats from Canon or Nikon are becoming less and less relevant for 99% of users. Full frame cameras like the 5D still hold an absolute critical IQ advantage, but most applications don't take advantages of the extra IQ unless you are printing large than 24x36.

Combined with the OM-D, this lens could be the only lens you need for spectacular images in most situations. It still does not replace a great prime like the Leica 25 1.4 for low light shooting, shallow depth of field and absolute image quality, but it comes close. When you add the convenience, weather sealing and overall quality of the Panasonic 12-35 x, you get a very compelling package.

I always say buy the best gear you can afford; you will rarely regret it. Right now this lens is the best Micro 43rd zoom available.

Just buy it already!!

Thanks and I hope this review is helpful in making your decision.

Happy shooting.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 20, 2012 1:12:19 PM PDT
S. Rapoport says:
you should rate a product according to its specs. nothing in the specs say that you're going to have enough depth of field. its like sayin "hey it doesnt make cofee"

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 1:57:20 PM PDT
Gear Addict says:
Thanks for the feedback. While I see where you are coming from, I think it is still a valid point for people trying to decide on buying a $1300 lens. Many users looking at this lens are coverts from full frame and crop sensor dslr's and need to understand both the benefits and the drawbacks of the m43rd format. F2.8 can create excellent bokeh on a 5D but not so much on a m43 rd camera. Also, this fact did not impact my rating; it's just useful info to be aware of.

Take care

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2012 4:58:08 PM PDT
Arteesvn says:
That is exactly what I want to know before buying this lens, Bokeh.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2012 5:35:12 PM PDT
Gear Addict says:
Thanks Khanh. I hope the review was helpful. I really like this lens and the bokeh is not bad at all. Its just that if you want really shallow depth of field you should probably buy the 25 1.4 + the 12 2.0 for about the same money. This lens is all about the convenience and the weather sealing. I can't wait for the 35-100 version to be announced!!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2012 7:40:23 PM PDT
Arteesvn says:
I already have the Pana 20mm f1.7. I total agree with you that this lens should be around $900-$1000. That would be perfect.

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 7:41:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 3, 2012 7:42:24 AM PDT
Angry Panda says:
Thanks for the helpful informed comparative review. I have an OMD with the 12, 20, and 45mm primes, and I also have a Canon 40D with a stable of L lenses that are seeing less and less use. I think I'll pass on this lens at its current price point (I'm pretty happy with my primes, and would only be stepping up for convenience and weather sealing, not IQ apparently), and wait for the upcoming 35-100. If it's of the same quality as this lens (and anywhere near my 70-200/2.8 II IS), I would sell my Canon gear.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2012 10:53:48 AM PDT
tmok2000 says:
This is a problem with smaller (than full frame) sensor size in general. You'll need very fast lens, probably f/1.4, to get shallow depth of field. Or you can try a lens with a longer focal length, e.g., the 35-100mm f/2.8. I think this lens is not just about shallow DOF. It is a good balance of build quality, image quality, convenience, and weather/dust sealing. The $1,300 price is a lot of money. I just wish that Olympus would make something like this, minus the OIS and save a few hundred bucks. Olympus, are you listening?

Posted on Sep 9, 2012 6:49:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2012 6:52:43 PM PDT
Tom North says:
Really appreciate your comparison to the Canon 5D II. I was a large format person (mostly 2 1/4 but some 8X10) but don't have wall space for anything much over my printers 13x19" now. Anxious to hear what you think of the 75 mm 1.8 and please let me know if you have posted any comparison photos.

I printed up the raw test shot posted by dpReview (with the toys, feather, gray scale) for the GH2 and the 5DIII. With a little tweaking of both it is amazing how nearly identical they are up to 16 X 20".

Thanks for your efforts.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 12:48:19 AM PST
Your comment about depth of field is spot on because many will assume that just because this is an f/2.8 lens with a "35mm equivalent field of view" to 24-70, that it will be just as good as an actual 35mm 24-70 f/2.8 lens. In actuality, it's only as good as a 24-70mm f/5.6 lens! That is a huge difference. I shoot both formats as well, and I recently picked up the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC for about the same price so it's VERY hard to justify getting this now.

The real deal-breaker is that this lens, like all Panasonic M43 lenses, flickers when zooming during video. That's a deal-breaker. With the GH1/GH2 (and now GH3) being such great video cameras, it's a shame there are still no REAL video lenses available in the native format.

Posted on Jun 6, 2013 7:26:24 AM PDT
Uncle J says:
Dude, you have convinced me!! very compelling review, you'll do great in marketing! SOLD!
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