LensTip.com

Lens review

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S

18 March 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

It’s easy to see what you gain by using mirrorless Micro 4/3 systems if you compare the dimensions of their lenses to those of lenses from APS-C/DX and full frame systems– it’s enough you glance at the following chart where the tested Panasonic was compared to other stabilized instruments with similar angles of view. It is clear that the Panasonic 12-35 mm weighs about two times less and is significantly smaller than the rest. Still you must keep in mind the fact that there is a price to be paid for that in one category – the depth of field. When it comes to the background blur all instruments for bigger sensors will definitely outstrip the tested lens.

The photo below shows both ‘journalistic’ Panasonics positioned side by side. They are so small that, together with a slight Micro 4/3 system body, you can put them inside a bigger jacket pocket or in a small photographic bag.

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S - Build quality and image stabilization


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The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a rear element, 22 mm in diameter. From the side of the mount the lens is completely sealed so no dirt can get inside of the construction.

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S - Build quality and image stabilization


The proper body of the lens, (also made of metal, like the mount) starts with a red dot which makes the alignment with a body easier. On its left there is a distance range of the lens and above it two inscriptions: ’12-35’ and ‘HD’. To the left from that inscription you can find an optical stabilization switch (POWER O.I.S. ON/OFF) and to the right the ‘NANO SURFACE COATING’ notice meaning that special anti reflection coatings have been applied here. On the other side of the lens you can find its serial number and also an info that it was made in Japan.

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S - Build quality and image stabilization


A zoom ring, 22 mm wide, is the next part of the casing. Most of it is covered by rubber ribs and next to them you can see focal length markings at 12, 14, 18, 25 and 35 mm. The rubber sticks to your fingers very well – you can even say a bit too well because it also catches all possible specks of dirt. Because of that, even after just one day of usage, the ring was covered by a lot of flecks of dust.

Further on you see another ring, this time used to set the focus manually. What’s interesting, this time the ribs are made of metal so there is no problem with them getting dirty so easily. The ring is 13 mm wide and it works with electronic transmission. Running through the whole distance scale needs a turn through an angle of about 270 degrees.

The next part of the barrel is an encased front element system which, during focusing, extends on a solid, uniform inner tube made of plastics. The tube is really stable – any attempt of making it swing sideways ends up in a failure. After extending the tube as far as possible (which takes place at 35 mm) the lens gets longer by 2.5 cm. The casing rim of the front element system features a hood thread. The thread surrounds a non-rotating filter thread, 58 mm in diameter. The front element is 45 mm in diameter and around it you can find an inscription with the name and the parameters of the lens.

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S - Build quality and image stabilization


When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with 14 elements positioned in 9 groups. The producer used as many as four aspherical elements , one made of UED low dispersion glass and one UHR element with high refraction index. Inside you can also find a circular aperture with seven blades which can be closed down to f/22.

In the product bundle buyers get both caps, a petal-type hood and a soft pouch. It is exactly the right accessory kit for a lens in this price range.

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S - Build quality and image stabilization


Optical stabilization

The efficiency of optical stabilization we tested at 35 mm, taking several dozen photos for every exposure time from 1/80 to 1/2.5 of a second (with the stabilization switched on and off) and then assessing the percentage of blurred photos. That percentage we presented as a function graph depending on the exposure time expressed in EV, where 0 EV is an equivalent of 1/60 of a second. The result is presented below.

Panasonic G X VARIO 12-35 mm f/2.8 ASPH. P.O.I.S - Build quality and image stabilization

As you can notice the maximum distance between these two curves reaches almost 3.5 EV and such is the efficiency of the optical stabilization in the tested lens. It is a laudable result.