Review: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8

I recently tested the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 “normal” zoom, which is undoubtedly one of the best zoom lenses in the Micro Four Thirds category. Creating interesting novelty, this model is the first Micro Four Thirds ”normal” zoom lens that features a constant aperture throughout the zoom range.

I was curious to investigate how the lens serves users in various shooting situations, and so after a reasonably long test period I can now report my findings. This article is divided into four parts: the first deals with the general touch and feel of the lens; the second part focuses on the image stabilizer functionality; the fourth part examines the image quality and the fourth part ties everything together, along with a photo gallery.

Contents of the article

1. Robust construction – general information about the lens (this page)
2. Stabilize!
3. High picture quality across all of the apertures
4. Conclusion

Robust construction

What strikes the new user immediately is that this is no ordinary zoom lens, because the finish and workmanship differs considerably from consumer priced zoom lenses, so much so that it can be considered a professional grade lens. As the ”Made In Japan” label implies, the cheapest factories have not been used when manufacturing this lens. As is typical for Panasonic lenses, this one also comes with a lens hood and a pouch. The overall quality even  exceeds that of the Panasonic Leica 25 mm f/1.4 and the Olympus 12mm f/2, both of which I have used for some time now on an every day basis.

The lens feels quite heavy and large. But since the Panasonic GH2 itself is quite large, the camera and lens fits in a balanced form. With a smaller camera, however, it (the 12-35 f/2.8) certainly seems unreasonably large and a pocketable camera is of no use unless the lens is of the same caliber.

GH2 + 12-35 @12mm
Panasonic GH2 + Lumix Vario G X 12-35mm f/2.8 @12mm
GH2 + 12-35 @35mm
Panasonic GH2 + Lumix Vario G X 12-35mm f/2.8 @35mm

Panasonic Lumix GX Vario 12-35 f/2.8 also feels like a high quality lens when taking pictures or shooting video with it. Autofocus operates quietly and efficiently, and there are no autofocus issues under normal conditions. During the test,  I ran into some problems in a dimly lit conditions with low-contrast subjects. In those situations, the autofocus would have been a challenge for any camera. Since I tested the lens for the most part with GH2, it may be that the camera body was at least partially to blame for the success. The built-in optical stabilizer (O.I.S.) helps a lot in both still photography and video shooting situations.

Page 2: Stabilize! >>

6 Comments on “Review: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8

  1. Päivitysilmoitus: Testissä: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 « Pelivara

  2. Wonderful review – and nice site!

    However:The traditional focal length /shutter speed safe rule is at least twice that of the focal length, I believe. Therefore, at 70mm, the traditional rule would call for 1/250, giving a four stop improvement at 1/15. Four stops is pretty good, I would say.


    • Hello Christian, thanks for your kind words 🙂
      I guess the rule depends on the source. I have always seen the rule referred to as shutter speed vs. focal length in Full Frame. Focal length has to be doubled on m43 to get proper shutter speed, of course..

  3. Finally came across your site again 😉 I meant to correct my previous statement, as I realized I made a mistake in claiming the old rule calls for double the focal length. (I’ve heard that also, but the common rule is at least as fast as the focal length).

    Still, that means that shooting at 70mm, according to the classic rule you would have to shoot at 1/120, not 1/60 as you state in your review. Therefore the improvement is 3 (86% keepers) to 4 stops (37% keepers), depending on what keeper rate you would consider acceptable, no?

    Anyway, great site, I will definitely check back for updates 🙂

    • Or 1/80 for that matter 😉

      But I guess you are right about that one I guess.. The keeper rate also really boils down to your preferences on the matter…

      Anyway, thanks for visiting again 🙂

  4. Päivitysilmoitus: Testissä: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 «


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