Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 Needs to Perform Better Wide Open


I just read a review of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH zoom lens on PhotographyBLOG that helped me understand more about this promising fast aperture zoom lens. As continue to depend on micro four thirds cameras for some of my work, I'm looking for a zoom I can use for existing light assignments.

Based on the review, this looks like a finely constructed lens with excellent mechanical performance. I could use it on my Olympus bodies by simply turning off the optical stabilization on the Panasonic lens (Olympus builds IS into the body).

But the problem is that the center sharpness at all focal lengths is soft with the aperture wide open. PhotographyBLOG writes, "It is a little soft at F2.8 though, so it's best used stopped down to F4 for the best results..." And their test images clearly bear that out.

I don't want to spend good money ($999 in this case) for a fast lens, just to stop it down. If I have a f/2.8 zoom, chances are that I'm shooting wide open most of the time.

So, for the time being, looks like I have to stick to prime lenses in low light situations. Too bad. That Panasonic zoom looks like a great lens at f/4 and beyond.


I'm very seriously thinking of getting the Olympus 45mm f1.8 for my EM-5. By all reports it's a fantastic lens. And after shooting with the Panasonic 17mm f1.7 I'm really enjoying shooting wide open.


The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is my sharpest micro four thirds lens. I love it. Even ponied up for the accessory lens hood. I've used it on a couple of assignments, including covering the Adobe Cloud event at de Young Museum, and it delivered like a champ on the OM-D. Highly recommended glass.

Ed I just came in from doing some backyard testing with the 45mm. The backyard poppy is a subject that I have had trouble with year after year and the lens performed like a champ

Hi Derrick I looked at the samples here and have to agree. I have a camera junkie near me who will have this thing as soon as it hits stock so I'll definitely borrow his to make my own conclusions before seriously considering any purchase.

Hi Libby, a field test of the Panasonic 12-35mm would be greatly appreciated, no matter how brief. I'd be happy to post your first impressions here on TDS. Let me know if you do indeed get your hands on it. Thanks for your comment!

Kind of disappointing news about the 12-35. I wasn't going to buy it, but I was hoping it would be a stellar performer for the occasional rental. I am hoping that the forthcoming 35-100 f2.8 is great wide open; a high quality telephoto zoom is a major hole in the Micro Four Thirds lineup and would be super useful.

And I'll give a 3rd vote for the 45mm. Everything looks good with it. I know a lot of people complain that Micro Four Thirds doesn't provide the depth of field control that larger formats give, but I can get as shallow as I want:

Here's another report, this time from that writes, "The lens offers almost tack-sharp performance when used wide open at Æ’/2.8, with only a bit of softness in the extreme corners; stopping down to Æ’/4 provides solid edge-to-edge sharpness."

Hmmm... so what is it? Is this lens sharp at f/2.8 or not. PhotographyBLOG and SLRgear seem to really disagree. Here's the SLRgear link: