New reviews of Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

admin April 22, 2014 8
New reviews of Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

(New review link added on 4/22/2014)

M43 system has many options if your highest priority is portability. We already have models such as Olympus E-PM2 / E-PL5 and Panasonic GF6 that perform well and in case of Olympus models, they produce IQ as good as any M43 bodies (they use the E-M5 sensor). But with the introduction of Panasonic GM1, portability became even more serious. We now have a body that is SMALLER than the compact Sony RX100!

So how small is it?

On the lens side, we also have many compact (pancake) options:

Now, we have yet a another option for those who seek as much portability as they can – Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6. Currently, the smallest and the lightest lens is the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 (I won’t count the Olympus lens cap). Although still comes in a pancake form, the Panasonic 14-42mm X lens is still quite a bit bigger and heavier.

Here’s how they compare when mounted on the Olympus E-PM2:

size_olympus_epm2_panasonic_12-32_panasonic_14_panasonic_20

Panasonic 14mm f/2.8 is still smaller than the new zoom, but the new zoom is smaller than the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens.

Here’s couple more:

size_olympus_epm2_panasonic_12-32_panasonic_14-42_x_olympus_17_f2.8

The Panasonic 12-32mm is smaller than the 14-42mm X lens but more significantly, it offers the 12mm view which to some (including myself) is more important than 33-42mm focal lengths.

 

Focal Length

Although it doesn’t sound much, there is a BIG difference between 24mm view and 28mm view. This is especially true if you are looking for a wide angle view with few subjects close by to magnify that 3D effect even further which is often done on landscape shots. Just about all standard kit lenses offer 28mm as its widest view while few starts at 24mm. Within M43 system, Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 and Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 all starts at 24mm view.

 

Image Quality

Also important to remember is the image quality. Although Panasonic claimed their “X” series lens will feature higher IQ compare to their standard zoom lens, that was not the case in reality. Other than the premium (read – expensive) standard zoom lenses – Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, the best option is the Panasonic 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6. Panasonic is once again promising that this new pancake zoom lens will feature high level of IQ. If they can deliver at the level of 14-45mm, I will be very happy!

Some test results are trickling in and here’s the resolution chart from m43.eu site, which compares the Panasonic 12-32mm vs Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3:

chart_resolution_panasonic_12-32_olympug_12-50

chart_resolution_panasonic_12-32_olympug_12-50_02

I don’t think they needed to go as far as f/22 as at those apertures, diffraction make images look pretty ugly. But at more reasonable f/3.5 to f/11, the Panasonic performs better. 12mm at corners, they are not even close! I will admit that the Olympus kit lens isn’t the best performer when wide open, but the difference is still much bigger than what I was expecting. At the center, the differences are much smaller. Looks like we now have a nice landscape option on a compact body.

Although more reviews are needed before making any conclusions, things look quite for the new baby zoom lens. This, along with the Panasonic 20mm, will make a great portable lens solution for those who wants the ultimate portability.

UPDATE 12/19/2013:

According to CameraStuffReview, the IQ of Panasonic 12-35mm is decent, easily matching those of low-end kits lenses offered by other manufacturers. Apparently, its resolution at the center is quite decent but it is a bit soft in corners. This is typical of most pancake zoom lenses sold by other manufacturers as well. Its bokeh quality is also no worse than other kit zoom lenses.

UPDATED 1/20/2014:

Once again, confirmed by SLRGear, this lens is very sharp at the center throughout its aperture ranges but it i soft at the edges even when stepped down. This is no surprise given that the lens is in a pancake format. Something had to give.

I’m personally waiting for this lens to become more widely available. My backup camera is a Olympus E-PL5 and it would be a good match with this lens and Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens.

 



Here are the links to the reviews
:

 

Source: Various sites

8 Comments »

  1. Francois Guibat November 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to see real life result. I was so disappointed with the 14-42 X lens that I sold it quickly. If the 12-32 can match the 14-45 kit or better than it will be a great addition to my lenses (I own the 14mm and the 20mm lumix on top of the 14-45)

    • admin November 15, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

      I will most likely to get this lens regardless but it would be nice if the IQ is up there… :)

    • Dirk de Vries November 27, 2013 at 6:28 am - Reply

      I don’t expect the new 12-32mm to match the optical quality of the 14-45mm. My guess is that it’s slightly soft, especially in the corners and it will probably suffer from CA and flare too.

      • admin November 27, 2013 at 8:03 am - Reply

        Agreed!

  2. Francois Guibat February 18, 2014 at 9:57 am - Reply

    I end up getting this lens and I am not disappointed at all. It is as sharp as my old Lumix 14-45, one of my favorite lens, and a lot smaller. In fact, it has not left my GX1 since. I just wish that Panasonic would upgrade the firmware so it would be possible to focus manually…

  3. Christian Marynen March 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    I have the Lumix G5 with the 14-42 kit lens (not the II version).
    Do not know what to buy!
    The old Lumix 14-45 or the new 12-32mm…?

    • admin March 13, 2014 at 7:38 am - Reply

      I would personally go with the Panny 12-32mm since I like wide angle view. :) The difference between 12mm and 14mm is significant.

  4. TysonRobichaud March 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Hi and thanks for the link!

    For those questioning the sharpness, flare or CA, I have to say that I’m amazed at what this lens is capable of. It’s sharp wide open at all focal lengths through about f/8 even to the corners, and compares well to the Lumix 14 and PanaLeica 25 at the corners as well. It handles flare and CA as well or better than any lens I’ve yet used for the system. It’s the best kit lens I’ve seen from either manufacturer yet, and while a little shorter, it is wider which I find to be far more useful personally.

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