Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm F2.8 Review

September 24, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The LUMIX G VARIO 35-100mm F2.8 is the best telephoto zoom for the Micro Four Thirds system. It offers a classic 35mm focal range with a fast maximum aperture in a relatively tiny and lightweight package, backed-up by excellent image quality throughout the focal range.Also on offer are the best build quality of any Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lens yet released, a tactile manual focusing system and impressively fast and quiet autofocusing. The only downsides are that it is a little soft at f/2.8 and f/4 at the edges of the frame (but excellent in the center) and the asking price of £1099 / $1499 makes it more expensive than most Micro Four Thirds bodies.

This lens is very small and quite lightweight considering the zoom range on offer, making it well suited to life as a walk-around lens. It's also extremely fast to focus on the DMC-GF5 camera that we tested it with and also virtually silent too, making it well-suited to candid stills and video work. Build quality is fantastic, with the metal manual focusing barrel an unusual touch.

Optically the lens is a great performer. At all focal lengths, wide open at f/2.8 the center sharpness is perfectly acceptable, but for edge sharpness it's best to stop down by two f-stops for optimum results. Chromatic aberrations are only noticeable by their almost complete absence, while distortions are automatically corrected on both Olympus and Panasonic bodies.

The only real drawback then of the LUMIX G VARIO 35-100mm F2.8 lens is its price, and what an eye-watering drawback it is. £1099 / $1499 is an awful lot to ask for any lens, especially one that probably costs more than the body that it's mounted on. If you really need the versatility of a fast telephoto zoom, though, we can heartily recommend the brand new Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm F2.8 as the default telephoto lens for Micro Four Thirds users.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4