Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Review

May 13, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. is a versatile standard zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Providing a focal range of 24-120mm in 35mm terms, the 12-60mm lens is both compact and lightweight. It combines 11 lens elements in 9 groups, including three aspherical lenses and one ED lens, and has seven blades which give the aperture a rounded shape. The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens is available for £369 / $499 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. is a small and lightweight standard zoom lens covering a versatile 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-120mm. When it's set to 12mm, it measures 7.1cm in length. Zoomed out to the 64mm setting, it then measures 10.5cms. An extra 3cms is taken up by the supplied petal-shaped lens hood, which helps prevent lens flare and also protects the front element from scratches and finger marks. Weight is a mere 210g, thanks to the mostly high-grade plastic construction, the lens is weather-sealed, and commendably there is a metal lens mount.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens mounted on a Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens mounted on a Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens mounted on a Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens mounted on a Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens mounted on a Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens alongside a Lumix DMC-GX7

In terms of features, the LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. has relatively little to offer. There is no distance scale and no focus limiter, and there is no handy image stabilisation switch for the Power O.I.S system either. Instead POWER O.I.S is enabled through the camera's menu system.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Side of the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Side of the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens, extended to 60mm

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Rear of the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Rear of the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. doesn't come with either a lens pouch, but there is a hood included in the box. You can fit 58mm filters to this lens and the filter thread doesn't rotate when focusing.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens in-hand

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Focal Range

At the 12mm end of the zoom range the lens has a diagonal angle of view of 84°, equivalent to that of a 24mm lens in a 35mm system.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Field of view at 12mm

At the 60mm end the angle of view is 20.44°, which is the same as that of a 120mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Field of view at 60mm

Focusing

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens offers near silent focusing thanks to the inclusion of a stepping motor. In use, we found the system surprisingly quick on the DMC-GX7 that we tested the lens with. The lens also incorporates an inner focus system, good news for filter users, as it means that it doesn't rotate in use. This combination of silent and quick focusing makes the lens well suited to shooting both stills and video.

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 slim but adequate for the job.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not really a problem with this lens at either end of the focal range.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, you can see some light fall-off in the corners at both 12mm and 60mm, but nothing too excessive. You will likely only notice this when photographing a subject with large homogeneous surfaces. There is some pretty obvious barrel distortion at 12mm though.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Light fall-off at 12mm

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.Light fall-off at 60mm

Macro

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. has a closest focusing distance of 0.20m/0.66ft and a maximum 0.27x magnification rating, so it's no macro lens, although that's not surprising for a standard zoom lens.

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 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 LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens, Panasonic have employed an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective; so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN
   
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN

Sharpness

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

Entry Tags

lens, compact system camera, micro four thirds, lumix, panasonic, zoom, standard, kit, weatherproof, 24-120mm, 12-60mm, dmc-gx7, F 3.5, panasonic 12-60mm, Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S., F5.6