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Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the ultra compact Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. Lens.

|  Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. in Interchangeable Lenses
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Panasonic Lumix 12 32mm (1)

This standard zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras may not seem like anything special when looking at the on-paper specification, but it collapses down to a minuscule 24mm long. The lens is available as a kit option with some of Panasonic's current MFT bodies, or can be purchased separately for around £300. The zoom range offers a field of view equivalent to a 24-64mm lens used on a 35mm camera. In this review we'll investigate whether this miniature lens compromises in any way.

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Handling and Features

Panasonic Lumix GM1 with lens

The lens barrel is constructed from high quality plastics, with a glossy finish and the bayonet is metal. It weighs only 70g and only protrudes from the lens mount by 24mm when collapsed. The lens is extended ready for use by simply turning the narrow zoom ring clockwise. There is no button to lock the lens in its retracted position. The small size of this lens should make it perfect for use with even the most compact Micro Four Thirds bodies and it also feels right at home on the Panasonic Lumix G3 used for testing.

Panasonic Lumix 12 32mm (3)

As focusing is performed internally the 37mm filter thread does not rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. There is no manual focus ring, which means you're out of luck if you like to focus the lens yourself. However, this may be a compromise many can live with given the compact dimensions of this optic. The minimum focus distance is 20cm between 12mm and 20mm, but raises to 30cm at longer focal lengths, which makes this lens suitable for shooting in tight spaces at short focal lengths. The difference in minimum focusing can take a little getting used to, especially if the lens is zoomed to alter the composition at close distances.

Panasonic 12 32mm Vs Olympus 14 42mm EZ Lens (3)

The optical stabiliser is activated from the in-camera menu on Panasonic cameras. With care, the stabilisation system allows sharp shots to be taken just over half the time at 1/8sec at 32mm, which is three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would allow.

Panasonic Lumix 12 32mm (4)

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StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
4 Oct 2014 7:54PM
How is the focusing speed of this lens Gary?
joshwa Plus
10 924 1 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2014 10:17AM
Hi Straycat, we tested the focus speed of this lens with the GM1 in our GM1 review:
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
1 Dec 2014 4:32AM
Thanks Josh.
dick_b 5
6 Jun 2015 8:27PM

Quote:There is no manual focus ring, which means you're out of luck if you like to focus the lens yourself.

Maybe this was true at the time of the review, but currently you can manually focus the 12-32mm. I own a GX7, and after upgrading to firmware v1.3 it looks like this. Possible that more Panasonic bodies can do this trick, as far as I know Olympus bodies can't.

And while this might not be the lens for pixel peepers, as a walk around lens it's fantastic. Incredibly small and light, fast to focus, versatile zoom range for street photography, and in my opinion very very decent performance. I like this lens a lot.
11 Mar 2016 12:17AM
Hi Gary
I am looking to buy a wide angle lens would you recommend the Panasonic 12mm - 32 mm lens .
Kind Regards

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