Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Review

April 17, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. is a new portrait-length prime lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Offering a 35mm camera equivalent focal length of 85mm, the Panasonic 30mm lens is comprised of 10 lenses in 8 groups including an aspherical lens. It incorporates a direct-drive linear stepping motor, whichr makes the focusing action smooth and silent for use in both photo and movie recording, a 240 fps Drive Auto Focus (AF) system, closest focusing distance of 31cm and a built-in POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer). The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens is available in black or silver for £349.00 / $399.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. is a tiny prime lens, offering a 35mm equivalent focal range of 85mm and easily fitting in the palm of your hand. It's also very light at only 130 grams, making it a perfect partner for a smaller camera body like the DMC-GM5.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens attached to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens attached to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens attached to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens alongside a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

In terms of features, the lens is pretty sparse. It doesn't have a distance scale or a focus limiter switch. There is POWER O.I.S image stabilisation, though, which is turned on and off via the camera body's menu system, rather than more conveniently via a switch on the side of the barrel.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Side of the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Rear of the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens has a mostly metal construction and the lens mount is also made of metal. Panasonic does not claim any sort of weather resistance for this lens, though, and indeed you cannot see a rubber seal around the mount.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Side of the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Side of the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens in-hand

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Usefully the lens comes with a cloth storage bag and a circular lens hood, and it accepts 37mm filters.

Focal Range

The lens has a diagonal angle of view of 29°, equivalent to that of a 85mm lens in a 35mm system.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Field of view at 42.5mm

Focusing

The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens offers almost silent focusing. In use, we have also found the system surprisingly quick on the DMC-GX7.

The 37mm filter thread does not rotate on focus, which is good news for users of polarisers and graduated neutral density filters.

Manual focusing is possible in a focus-by-wire fashion. This should not put you off using it as it feels pretty natural in use, and actually enables the camera to display a magnified view of the subject automatically, i.e. without your having to press a dedicated button or enter the menu. The focus ring is generously sized given the overall dimensions of the lens.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only conspicuous by their almost complete absence, as shown by the 100% crop below.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is some light fall-off in the corners, which disappears completely by f/4.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.

Macro

The Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. has a closest focusing distance of 0.31m / 1.02ft and a maximum 0.2x magnification rating.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens, Panasonic employed a diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in a pretty nice bokeh, at least in our opinion. However, recognising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a few examples for your perusal.

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.
   
Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

review, test, lens, compact system camera, micro four thirds, panasonic, telephoto, portrait, 42.5mm, Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S., Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Review

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