Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH Review

4.0
April 17, 2014 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH is a tiny standard zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds system of interchangeable lens cameras. Offering an effective focal range of 24-64mm in 35mm terms, the collapsible Panasonic 12-32mm lens weighs just 70g and measures less than 2.5cms in length. Read our in-depth Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH review to find out if it's too small for its own good...

The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH is a tiny standard zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Providing a focal range of 24-64mm in 35mm terms, the 12-35mm lens is both compact and lightweight. It combines 8 elements in 7 groups (3 aspherical lenses, 1 ED lens), and has seven blades which give the aperture a rounded shape. The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens is available for £329.99 / $349.95 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH is a tiny and incredibly lightweight collapsible standard zoom lens covering a fairly versatile 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-64mm. When it's collapsed it measures just 2.4cm in length. Zoomed out to the 64mm setting, it then measures 5.5cms. Weight is a mere 70g, thanks to the mostly high-grade plastic construction, but commendably there is a metal lens mount.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens mounted on a Lumix G-M1

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens mounted on a Lumix G-M1

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens mounted on a Lumix G-M1

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens mounted on a Lumix G-M1

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens mounted on a Lumix G-M1

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens mounted on a Lumix G-M1

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens alongside the Lumix G-M1

In terms of features, the LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH has little to offer (apart from its small size, of course). 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 O.I.S is enabled through the camera's menu system, usefully offering around 3-stops of compensation.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens, unlocked

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Rear of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Front of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Rear of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH doesn't come with either a lens pouch or a hood. You can fit 37mm filters to this lens and the filter thread doesn't rotate when focusing.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens in-hand

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 X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Field of view at 12mm

At the 32mm end the angle of view is 37°, which is the same as that of a 64mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Field of view at 32mm

Focusing

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens offers near silent focusing thanks to the inclusion of a stepping motor. In use, we found the system surprisingly quick on the DMC-GM1 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 simply not possible, as there is no manual focus ring on the lens, one of the neccessary compromises it seems to make the lens so small.

Chromatic Aberrations

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

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

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 32mm, 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 X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Light fall-off at 12mm

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Light fall-off at 32mm

Macro

The LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH has a closest focusing distance of 0.20m/0.66ft from 12-20mm and 0.30m/0.98ft from 20-32mm, and a maximum 0.13x magnification rating, so it's no macro lens, although that's not surprising for a standard zoom lens.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH 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 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH 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

compact system camera, lens, lumix, micro four thirds, panasonic, zoom, standard, f3.5, f5.6, kit, dmc-gm1, gm1, 12-32mm, panasonic 12-32mm, 24-64mm, Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH, F 3.5, F3.5, f 5.6