Customer Review

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lens overall. Excellent for video., July 16, 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)
I've been waiting for this lens ever since I sold my Canon 17-55 f/2.8 lens a year ago. My wait started before any rumors this lens existed. I always dream for a fast constant aperture lens. It's no longer a dream. This lens is here and better than what I expected.

The build quality is great.

Size is about 3 times the Panasonic 20mm lens. It extends out more during zoom. This is one of the larger lens in the Micro Four Thirds lineup. I uploaded some pictures of the size comparison under 'customer images' above.

It weighs 305g so it's more comfortable on a camera with hand grip - I'm using it on a GH2. It's also weather sealed so it should be difficult for dust and water to get in. Zoom and MF rings are well damped. There's image stabilization.

The lens comes with a lens pouch and petal lens hood.

It's a marvel to get a 24-70mm field of view with a f/2.8 into this size. It's way lighter than the 17-55mm lens from Canon and Nikon that weigh 645g and 755g respectively. Weight is the reason why I sold my Canon lens. I still love Canon's image quality, but I prefer a lighter photography setup.

Image quality is great. Sharpness is reasonably good, best at f/4. There's little discernible fringing at the wide end.

The depth of field is deeper but difference isn't that drastic, especially on the wider end.

Kit zoom lens usually start around 28mm field of view (FOV). This starts at 24mm which means you are already equipped with a useful wide lens. Minimum focal distance is 25cm.

At the long end, it's a 70mm FOV. I generally shoot around 24mm to 50mm FOV, so I'm happy my range is covered. Anything extra is useful. The focal length and f/2.8 aperture is suitable for most general purposes, such as outdoors, and indoor when it's not too dark. For night time, it's better to swap for a f/2 lens or faster.

The AF speed is silent and fast.

I shoot video often and this lens is a godsend. I usually shoot from far to get context, and near to get a close up. In an ideal situation, I need two lens (or cameras), if not I move my feet which is almost all the time because it's more convenient than swapping lens. Not having to swap lens with the 12-35mm is a huge benefit for me.

With the 3x Tele mode in GH2 during video, it gives a working focal range of 24-70 & 72-210mm. How's that for range? Video quality drops in tele mode but I still find the result quite respectable. To see a video I've made with this lens, go to Vimeo and search for "chaophraya sketchwalk" and download the 1080P video to see how the lens handles handheld video.

This lens sacrifices some shallow depth of field as compared to lens with larger apertures, such as the 25mm lens that I usually use. The difference is noticeable since there's 2 stops difference. So if you require background blur, it's still better to use lens capable of f/2 or faster. Wide angle depth of field difference is minimal though because it's already quite deep to begin with.

AF during zooming in video mode is quite accurate. I notice that the AF hunts less when you set the AF box to smallest. Even if it hunts, it's really quick to get back into focus. I use MF anyway because there's no chance of focusing on the wrong subject.

MF is focus by wire and the implementation is flawless, as usual. I always say this for Micro Four Thirds lens and camera because it is true. MF is as responsive as you can get compared to an actual manual lens.

About the price. Yes, it's expensive. I don't like comparing with the Canon and Nikon 17-55mm lens because they are not Micro Four Thirds but the Canon is cheaper and Nikon much more expensive. I want emphasize that both are more than twice as heavy and will always be.

Still, it's a lot of money to pay for the lens. I feel it's worth it considering its performance, that and the value of a good lens will always stay with it.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 20, 2012 1:09:13 AM PDT
Nice review. I have a question though. How does the Panasonic lens compare to your old Canon 17-55 f2.8?

I have a Panasonic GF-3 and a Nikon D7000 that I was thinking of purchasing some new high quality lenses. However, Nikon's 17-55 f2.8 is a rather large/heavy lens and I was thinking of just buying better glass for my m4/3 camera. I'm curious to see how well it performs compared to good APS-C lenses or 24-70 full frame zooms. Thanks ahead and look forward to hearing your reply.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 6:00:24 AM PDT
Parka says:
Comparing the photos taken with the 12-35mm and the 17-55mm I once had, I still prefer the Canon photos. Maybe it's the colour, or better bokeh or shallower depth of field, I can't really pinpoint.The sensor plays a more important part too. The 12-35mm lens performs remarkably well, and it should be given the price.

Having said that, I still prioritize having a lighter camera and lens, so I will go with the 12-35mm. A GH2 is 392g (body) and the lens (305g) is still lighter than the 755g Nikon 17-55mm lens alone.

It depends on what you prioritize in the end.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 6:25:11 AM PDT
Thanks for the answer, Parka. By any chance, which m4/3 camera body do you normally use?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 6:45:21 AM PDT
Parka says:
GH2 is my main camera for more than one year already. And a GF1 for two years.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 10:22:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 10:24:40 AM PDT
Jimmy says:
Great review. I have a question about the Manual Focus. I understand it is focus-by-wire but is it the same god-awful accelerated focus that is present in all of the other focus-by-wire m43 lenses?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 6:51:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 6:52:21 PM PDT
Parka says:
It's the same as the other focus-by-wire lens.

I found it to be responsive. In fact, I say it compares quite well with the manual lens I have.

It's certainly not god-awful. Fujifilm X100 sets the standard for god-awful manual focus. You can hear how loud their users are screaming.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 2:05:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 8, 2012 11:47:33 AM PDT
M. Aubrey says:
For their equivalent field of view, the difference between the Canon's DOF and the Panasonic is virtually a non-existent. It's a little bigger with the Nikon DX's 1.5, but the Canon 1.6 crop hurts its DOF more than you'd expect.

At 10ft and 70mm equiv., the difference in DOF between the two lenses at f/2.8 is four inches, though the 17-55 also has the benefit of the extra reach at the long end toward 88mm equiv. With that said, I think I'd also prefer to have the 24mm equiv. of the Panasonic over the 27mm equiv. of the Canon.

I can definitely understand the colour issue though. Panasonic isn't know for its great colours, though I wonder if its the lens, or the camera. I wonder how it would look on an Olympus. Olympus cameras make far better colours than Panasonic.

Posted on Sep 1, 2012 8:24:36 PM PDT
BMill says:
Just got the lens. Was thrilled with the silky focus and zoom wheel, but then I tried a slow zoom in video mode and was shocked that the "constant aperture" was not constant at all. You'll see in this outside video it changes and flickers a few times:
https://vimeo.com/48673906
password: 1235

My apologies for the yapping dog in advance.

I saw another video online with the same problem. I wish I knew if this was a problem with the lens or if there was some odd setting I don't know about.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2012 9:44:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 2, 2012 2:25:46 AM PDT
Parka says:
Flicker can be caused by changes in exposure. Either the aperture, shutter speed or AutoISO can be the culprit.

If you're shooting in manual mode, the aperture will be constant because you're controlling that.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2012 9:48:02 AM PDT
BMill says:
I've tried manual mode and it doesn't work. It seems others have confirmed this. I'd love to know how your lens fairs. It's been a real bummer realizing this isn't the lens I thought it'd be. There's a whole thread about it here: http://www.mu-43.com/f38/12-35mm-x-constant-aperture-through-zoom-32435/#post318076
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Parka
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Location: Singapore

Top Reviewer Ranking: 21