Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH. Finally!

July 15, 20129 Comments

Yes finally! This Is A Big Deal.

Panasonic Lumix G X 12-35 f2.8

Panasonic Lumix G X 12-35 f2.8

MFT is a great format, but native lenses are lacking and finally Panasonic has created a fast and very popular focal length (24-70 equivalent in 35mm) lens for the Mico Four Thirds format. This lens is going to be a game changer for the Lumix line. No other zoom lens to date that Panasonic has developed is fast, and I understand it’s also parfocal (holds focus when zooming) I will test this when I get mine. It’s a big deal. Another plus is the lens has image stabilization. Fast and stable! YES! One thing that might be strange is the built in zoom on the lens. I’m not a zoom guy meaning I don’t zoom while I’m rolling. I don’t like the look. I do like the very slow push. Very slow. If this can do that that would be impressive. I don’t think it will, but we shall see.

Click here for some frame grabs. I recently took the lens out for a little testing.
I need and really only want fast lenses. I the past I would settle for zooms that are f4-f5.6 but not anymore. I want fast and sharp. I’m a duel user. I use my GH2 for stills and time lapse and occasional video use. I also have an AF-100 I use for broadcast work. The lack of a native fast zoom lens was bothering me. I’ve been purchasing PL lenses since I feel those will carry over nicely with other digital cinema cameras when I need or rent them. This was a good call because I use them more than any other lenses I own.

Now Panasonic has this new fast zoom lens that fits perfect for most shooting conditions. I pre-ordered it and can’t wait to get it. When it comes in I’ll shoot a video test to see how well it performs. No charts but real world kind of shooting. I’m not a fan of charts unless you think you have issues and need to test a lens for it.

The early reviews are very good. I’m crossing my fingers! Another fast lens I keep hearing about is the 35-100 f2.8. I think I want this one more!

A key point is this lens is designed with a pro in mind. Weather sealing and metal mount. Higher quality build. Video features. See where I’m going? If Panasonic makes high quality lenses for digital cinema then Micro Four Thirds is going to be a format worth sticking with. Unfortunatly right now people lust at S35. I’m guilty of that as well however haveing a native lens and camera combination would be insanely great. The weight alone is huge and you use all of the field of view from your glass. Thats a big deal! Put a Nikon 50mm on an AF-100 and you get a field of view of 100mm, but you don’t the same shallow depth of field that a native 100mm lens gives you.

I hope we see more impressive announcement from Panasonic and also an impressive new AF-100 in the near future because I’m in. But I wouldn’t be so in if it wasn’t for the GH2. I know that sounds silly but If I could have both systems that uses the same lenses to its fullest meaning both cameras take full advantage of the MFT system I would be thrilled! Lets keep our fingers crossed that Micro Four Thirds for Digital Cinema is not dead.

Here is a great review form Photography Blog This got me excited.

Features from Panasonic.

  • F2.8 brightness over the entire zoom range
  • Nano Surface Coating technology for dramatic reduction of ghost and flare
  • UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lens minimize chromatic aberration while the UHR (Ultra High Refractive) lens realizes high descriptive performance from corner to corner.
  • POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) that suppresses large, slow movement 2x more effectively*
  • Outstandingly compact and light-weight among the lens with the same level of performance
  • Capable of using under harsh conditions with its splash / dust proof design
  • Circular aperture diaphragm
  • Durable metal mount

* Compared with the conventional MEGA O.I.S.

I’ve had this lens pre-ordered for over a month and finally found one in stock so I hope to get it in on July 25th. Looking forward to some real world testing with this highly anticipated lens.

So what do you think? Will Panasonic step up to the plate and make Micro Four Thirds s viable format for digital cinema?

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Filed in: Camera NewsEquipment ReviewsLens TalkMicro Four Third LensesMicro Four ThirdsMirrorless

About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (9)

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  1. Mário Matos says:

    Yes, yes and hell yes!

    Finally we start receiving the tools we so well deserve.

    As you confess, I still like the S35 better than the MFT, because, let’s be honest, it gives us better image quality overall, which is normal, giving that is a bigger sensor, so it’s something inert to its physical characteristics.

    However, the MFT, especially the AF100, is the best option for highly professional work with pretty compact equipment. I do a lot of broadcast and general news gigs and this is decently the best camera for that: small enough, full manual controls and now suitable with great light-weight glass native to the MFT format. But the best of all is the price combo… for under 10k we have a fully equipped professional camera that produces top quality image and will now allow us to build a great set of lenses, from low-light to wide and zooms, well… this last two are coming (I hope) in the next few months…. and the best? They will be affordable and give the MFT a new chance to success for anyone looking for an affordable option to work with at a top-level gear that is well worth the money.

    We know that Sony and Canon are developing new prime and zoom lenses but seems like they will cost something along the lines of the Duclos 11-16mm, so not ideal for smaller budgets, which will make the AF100, in combination with the GH2, the two new Lumix G X lenses (12-35; 35-100) and the future native wide angle lens, alongside with the already amazing Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95, the perfect low budget set for high quality work up to 1080p/60p (with the new firmware update) like never before… and later, when the money comes, we can always add an even better set of dynamic PL glass to achieve even a higher level of image quality. That would be the perfect evolution route for me.

    I don’t care about the charts tests either… I want to know how they’ll perform in the real world with regards to image quality (especially sharpness and low light performance), usability level and video features, namely the parfocal (or not) ability…. and, of course, the build quality, a crucial point for me.

    If the new Lumix G X lenses pass those tests I have no doubts the MFT will fast forward a few steps in the professional market, including the cinema industry, since in this financial difficult times every dime counts, and having the option to use affordable shooting gear that produce grand results will definitely be something that an economic responsible professional will have to take in account in his projects. Of course each job will require specific tools, but that is the case in every line of work.

    Can’t wait to see you try out the new lens ;-)

    • Erik Naso says:

      The size of the sensor alone doesn’t give you a better or higher image quality but it does decrease depth of field. Thats why the 5D is so hard to keep in focus. S35 is a nice balance. It also gives you a little more from your lenses and that is what I like about S35. The new Blackmaguc digital cinema camera has a sensor a tad smaller than the AF-100 and it resolves a 2K image in the RAW format so you see it’s possible to get more resolution from a smaller sensor. It’s mad science! Those engineers can pull it off if they work at it. Another good example is the C300 and F3. Both have S35 size sensors but the C300 is 4K and the F3 is HD. Crazy right?

      • Mário Matos says:

        Yap, I know.
        My mistalke, I think I didn’t make myself understand.

        What I meant was the S35 image quality is better without having to do much setting changes because they resolve better the low light situations and give us more control over the DoF, as oppose to the adjustments we have to do on the AF100 to improve its ability to deal with highlights and low light circumstances. The maximal horizontal resolution of the AF100’s MFT (800 lines) is also a bit inferior to the S35 sensors from Sony and Canon (around 1000), so that probably has its effects too, even if viewing it at the naked eye is almost impossible.

        Don’t get me wrong, the image quality is great on both MFT and S35 cameras (taking the example of the AF100, FS100 and C300), as well has on the full 35mm sensor ones (like the 5D Mark II or the Nikon D800). I’ve worked with all of them, but mainly with the AF100, and I’ve noticed that the AF100 has softer pixel sharpness, which I assume is due to its sensor characteristics since I tried the same CP.2 and RED glass on the AF100, FS100 and C300 with similar adequate adaptors, and still got a slightly softer image from the AF100 (ideal for what I do the most, news and broadcast).

        I guess the secret is not that much related to the sensor size, as you pointed out to me, but in its technology and engineering, because the RAW footage I’ve seen from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera looks really amazingly sharp and clean even though it comes from a sensor smaller than the AF100… so it’s probably that, the sensors technology, because as you said, the C300 and F3 have the same one in type (S35… with a marginally bigger one on the Canon) but capture from different resolutions, Full-HD and 4k, which means they both try to get the most out of the sensor to provide the best possible quality (the time that sets them apart provided the C300 the advantage of being able to capture 4k and downsized the image to 1080, thus improving pixel clarity and taking further benefit from the more recent S35 sensor potentials). That being said, the engineer work is perhaps the most determinant on that note.

        By the way, how do you deal with the highlights and low light on the AF100? I’ve been studying the settings to find the optimal solution with the lenses I own but I didn’t quite nail it yet. Any suggestions?

        PS: I think I will add the BMC later on to my gear and have alongside with my AF100 and GH2… but just food for thought: a good kit of lenses with the 5D Mark II, AF100/GH2 and BMC would be an amazing affordable camera combo… at least for me, because the FS700, F3, C300 and RED SCARLET-X don’t even remotely fit in my budget.

  2. Hi Eric,

    Looking forward to seeing some footage here. I’m hesitant about buying Canon glass myself. Very happy with the 100 and have used some very nice buttery looking Zeiss Primes.

    I’ll be looking for some images soon I hope!

    Best, Tom

    • Erik Naso says:

      Thanks Tom.

      I’m hoping the lens will ship very soon. This focal length is perfect for all around shooting. Video and stills. Cant wait!

  3. Eric Martin says:

    Parfocal is huge. If this is the case it will instantly become my ‘standard’ lens for the AF100, hopefully it’s big brother, the 35-100, and stepless aperture adjustments aren’t far behind.

    I am looking forward to your test/review!

    • Erik Naso says:

      Huge yes! I hope it comes in soon. Really could use this lens tomorrow for a handheld walking dialog shoot with the AF-100. I picked up a Fig Rig for this. Should help, but the Fig Rig and the Lumix G X 12-35 with OIS would be awesome. Oh well one out of two things I needed isn’t so bad.

  4. Mário Matos says:

    Eric Martin said:
    “I am looking forward to your test/review!”
    “Parfocal is huge.”

    Spot on!

    As for the stepless part just invest in a cine modification made by professionals… It will make the job a lot more sooth and overall easier. That along with the features announced will make this series of lenses the perfect match for the AF100… Let’s just hope for the image quality to be the best and the parfocal ability to actually work well.

  5. Jon Furtado says:

    Let me know how it works for run and gun shooting Erik. I’ve been curious for a powered zoom for a while. I’m just curious how practical this will be to zoom while having it over the shoulder.

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