The Micro 4:3 market is maturing nicely: there are products available now to suit a wide range of needs. Up to now the upper end of this sector consisted entirely of fixed focal length lenses, but the Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH. Power O.I.S changes all that. This is the first ‘standard’ zoom lens that DxO Mark has tested that really competes with fixed lenses on this format.
The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S is a high quality zoom lens with a Micro 4:3 mount. It will fit onto cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. The design is of 14 elements in 9 groups, 4 of the elements are aspherical, 1 is UED (Ultra Extra-low Dispersion) and 1 is UHR (Ultra High Refractive) Glass. The lens features nano-surface coating to improve transmission and contrast.
The Focal length range of 12mm to 35mm covers the “standard” range, the relative focal length for full frame 35mm would be 24mm through to 70mm. The maximum aperture of f2.8 is fixed throughout the range and the minimum is f22. The lens is not designated as a macro lens and the minimum focus distance is 0.25m giving a maximum magnification of 0.17x. Autofocus on the lens uses a silent motor design and works during video capture. There is also ‘Power O.I.S: Optical Image Stabilizer which Panasonic claim to be twice as good as their previous system. As one would expect from a fast lens like this, it is quite solidly built, 68mm across, 74mm long and weighing in at 305g.