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Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Lens Review

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6
Price : £259
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Panasonic 45 150mm Lumix (3)
This 3.3x telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras, provides a zoom range equivalent to a 90-300mm lens on a 35mm camera. It also includes optical image stabilisation, a silent focusing motor and a relatively lightweight, compact design.

Panasonic 45 150mm Lumix (4)

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm Handling and features

Compared to a 35mm or APS-C lens covering the same angle of view, this optic is remarkably light weight and compact. Being only 200g in weight, this lens will barely be noticeable carried around as part of a multi-lens kit in a suitable bag, making it the perfect companion for Micro Four Thirds bodies, such as the Panasonic G3 used for testing.

High quality plastics with a gun metal finish have been used for much of the lens barrel's construction and the lens mount is metal. The zoom action is smooth, and zoom creep isn't an issue as the zoom mechanism has just enough resistance to prevent the lens travelling forward on its own when pointed downwards.

Focusing is performed internally, so the 52mm filter thread doesn't rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters. Autofocus is pretty quick in single focus mode in good light, although it may struggle to keep up when attempting to track moving subjects or for focusing in dim lighting conditions. The manual focus ring is well damped, which makes fine adjustments quite easy to apply.

The optical image stabiliser allows sharp hand held images to be taken at shutters speeds as low as 1/40sec at 150mm, which is around three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would allow otherwise.
Panasonic 45 150mm Lumix

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm Performance

Sharpness in the centre of the frame is already excellent at 45mm with good sharpness produced towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Images taken at f/5.6 yield the highest levels of clarity in the centre of the frame although sharpness towards the edges of the frame never quite reaches the same high remaining between good and very good levels of clarity from maximum aperture down to f/11.

Zooming to 75mm results in an increase in sharpness to very good levels towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Sharpness in the centre remains excellent, peaking as the lens is stopped down to f/5.6.

Finally, as is typical with lenses covering this range, clarity falls off as the lens is zoomed to the telephoto end of the range. At maximum aperture, sharpness is good in the centre and just short of good levels towards the edges of the frame. The highest levels of clarity across the frame are achieved with the lens stopped down to between f/8 and f/11, where sharpness in the centre approaches very good levels, and good clarity is achieved towards the edges of the frame.

Resolution @45mm
Resolution @45mm
  Resolution @75mm
Resolution @75mm
Resolution @150mm
Resolution @150mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are kept well within acceptable levels throughout the zoom range, with fringing never exceeding half a pixel width at any aperture or zoom setting. These low levels of fringing should allow large prints, or harsh crops from near the edges of the frame to be made without hesitation.

Chromatic aberration @45mm
Chromatic aberration @45mm
  Chromatic aberration @75mm
Chromatic aberration @75mm
Chromatic aberration @150mm
Chromatic aberration @150mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc. to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is reasonably controlled, with the corners being 1.59 stops darker than the image centre at 45mm, and 1.6 stops darker at 150mm. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down by two stops from maximum aperture throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is extremely well controlled, with Imatest only recording 0.125% barrel distortion at 45mm and 0.238% pincushion at 150mm. These levels are so low they will be virtually imperceptible in most shooting scenarios. If absolutely straight lines are paramount, then what little distortion is there should be relatively straightforward to correct, as the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame.

A deep circular hood is supplied as standard, which does an excellent job of shielding the front element from extraneous light that may cause a loss of contrast, or flare. Even when shooting into the light, contrast levels hold up well, only being reduced slightly at 150mm and maximum aperture.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Sample Photos


Value for Money

Priced at around £260, this lens represents reasonably good value for money, given the closest equivalent for Micro Four Thirds cameras is the Panasonic 45-175mm f/4-5.6 X lens, which retails at around £320.

Those after a little more reach at the telephoto end may also consider the Panasonic 45-200mm f/4-5.6, which retails for around £250.

The closest equivalent from Olympus is the 40-150mm f/4-5.6 lens which retails for around £229. However when used on a Panasonic camera, the benefit of Image Stabilisation is lost, as Olympus build this feature into their camera bodies.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm Verdict

Although the optical performance of this lens may not be up to the lofty heights of some other Micro Four thirds lenses, especially at 150mm, the low price and good features still make this a decent value choice, especially for those after a compact telephoto lens on a budget as sharpness is good to excellent throughout the zoom range in the centre, build quality and handling are excellent too.

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm offers good to excellent sharpness and is reasonably priced.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm Pros

Reasonably priced
Lightweight
Excellent sharpness in the centre between 45mm and 75mm
Deep circular hood included
Extremely low distortion
Effective optical stabiliser
Low CA

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm Cons

Although sharpness is good at 150mm, it could be better.

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length45mm - 150mm
Angle of View8.2 - 27
Max Aperturef/4 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size52mm
35mm equivalent90mm - 300mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus90cm
StabilisedYes
Construction
Blades7
Elements12
Groups9
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens cap, Lens hood, Lens rear cap
Dimensions
Weight200g
Height73mm

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Comments


josa 2 25 Czech Republic
20 Sep 2012 9:11PM
Not bad at all, the price is great!

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12 Oct 2013 6:02PM
This is a very good little lens that works well on my Olympus E-P5.

Per

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