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Customer Review

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some image stabilization issues, October 19, 2011
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm/F4.0-5.6 Lens for Panasonic Lumix G-Series Digital Cameras (Electronics)
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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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 24, 2011 12:52:50 PM PDT
Panasonic said updated firmware was required for the new X lenses when they were released. Have you updated the firmware in the camera?

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 8:57:04 PM PST
Roman Schwab says:
Ken, thanks for the "review". I'm not sure if you ever had one of this lenses in your own possession but it sounds like you just copy and pasted part of the review you found on the web. I like the dpreview.com review but purchased the lens myself for my GF2 and did not find anything wrong with it so far. I posted a few pictures and let me know if you can see anything wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 7:23:35 PM PST
Ken says:
Hi Roman,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm waiting to purchase this item myself, there are samples from many users with the OIS problem but all were on the GH2 and G3. I have a GH2 and postponed purchasing when multiple people demonstrated the problem on their GH2. A few people reported no problems on the Olympus cameras. Sounds like it is working well on your GF2 which is good news. The OIS problem is most obvious at about 1/160 shutter speed if you want to double check, it is a very obvious problem if it is happening. I posted my "review" to make sure people were aware of the problem and to check for it. Thank you very much for posting your results.

Better news is that there is now a new lens firmware coming out that claims to specifically address an OIS issue. Hopefully that is the fix, I'd really like to get this lens as besides the OIS it appears to be optically sound.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 7:25:29 PM PST
Ken says:
Yes, all the cameras tested with this lens had the most recent firmware. And actually you don't really need new camera firmware to use the lens, the new camera firmware only enables a few extra features.

On a related note Panasonic just announced new *lens* firmware for the 45-175 and they say it addresses OIS performance. Hopefully this is a fix for the issue everyone was having on the GH2 and G3 cameras with this lens.
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