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


The Panasonic Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 lens served well during the test across dozens of different shooting situations which included landscape photography, portrait photography, event photography, street photography, and product photography to name just a few. The two sample images below give an idea of how well the lens adapts to different situations in relatively poorly lit conditions.

Tilannekuvausta: Peter Vesterbacka esittelemässä Bad Piggies -peliä. Kuvaa on käsitelty merkittäväs.ti
Situational shooting (@12mm, f/2.8 1/40 sec ISO3200): Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka showing off Bad Piggies. Picture has been post-processed.
Tilannekuvausta: Peter Vesterbacka luennoimassa Jyväskylässä. Kuvaa on käsitelty merkittävästi.
Situational shooting (@17mm, f/2.8 1/60 sec ISO3200): Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka lecturing in Jyväskylä. Picture has been post-processed.

The lens delivers every time, even though I would have liked the aperture to be better than f/2.8. Rarely, however, was this due to a lack of light (although those kinds of situations did occasionally come up), but rather because the f/2.8 aperture does not actually offer very good control over the depth of field in Micro Four Thirds systems. After all, a full-frame DSLR offers a similar depth of field at an aperture of f/5.6. Simply put: at least in relation to my own shooting style, the lens produces far too much depth of field in most situations, even with a full-aperture of f/2.8. This issue is, more specifically, an issue that pertains to the whole Micro Four Thirds system. And it is an issue for me personally when comparing Micro Four Thirds cameras to full frame cameras.

Price is another factor that leaves room for improvement. When the lens costs well over a thousand euros (for example, 1299 EUR is the price at the time of writing in the, one can always think about whether such a lens is truly worth the money.

If the aperture were set at f/2 all the way, I would have purchased the lens for myself a long time ago. Now, I cannot help but think again and again about the fact that the Canon EF 24-105 f / 4 L IS I use with my Canon 5D mk II is about three hundred euros cheaper, offers a much better depth of field control, and more effective optical image stabilizing. But it is not a Micro Four Thirds lens. And the whole thing culminates here: the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 is the best normal zoom lens option for the Micro Four Thirds system. Would I purchase this lens for myself? Maybe, if I absolutely needed a zoom lens for my GH2. The jury is still out there, as it has been for some time on this issue.Good:

  • Robust build quality
  • From good to excellent picture quality
  • Moderately high aperture all the way
  • Good Image Stabilization

Room for improvement:

  • Price, expensive for what it actually offers
  • Weight and size; not a small lens by any means unless comparing to full frame lenses

Below you can find a gallery with photographs taken in different situations. Photos can be found in full size inside the gallery by clicking on the link. All photos are (C) Mika Karhulahti; re-use of images without permission is prohibited.

<< High picture quality across all of the apertures

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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