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Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Mega O.I.S. Review

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Mega O.I.S. Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new compact Panasonic Lumix 35-100mm Micro Four Thirds lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Panasonic Lumix Vario G 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH. Lens
Price : BUY NOW£227
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Handling and Features

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 35 100mm F4 5 6 ASPH Lens (3)

This telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras sports a collapsible design, to reduce its size when not in use. It offers an angle of view equivalent to a 70-200mm lens on a 35mm camera, optical stabilisation, is only five centimetres long when collapsed and costs around £300. In this review we'll take a look at how it performs.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Handling and Features

Panasonic Lumix GM5 (13)
The lens barrel is constructed from high quality plastics, with a glossy finish and the bayonet is metal. It weighs only 135g collapses down to 50mm in length when not being used. The lens is extended ready for use by simply turning the zoom ring. 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, such as the Panasonic Lumix GM5, and it also feels right at home on the Panasonic Lumix GX7 used for testing.

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 35 100mm F4 5 6 ASPH Lens (4) Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 35 100mm F4 5 6 ASPH Lens (5)
35mm 100mm


As focusing is performed internally the 46mm filter thread does not rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. The minimum focus distance is 90cm, which is close enough for the occasional close up.

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 1/15sec at 100mm, which is roughly three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would allow.

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 35 100mm F4 5 6 ASPH Lens (1)

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Performance

At 35mm sharpness levels are already excellent across the frame at maximum aperture and remain this way until the lens is stopped down beyond f/8.

Zooming to 50mm results in increased sharpness in the centre of the frame, but at the expense of slightly reduced performance towards the edges of the frame. Even so, clarity is still very good towards the edges, although sharpness is outstanding in the centre of the frame at this focal length.

Finally, at 100mm peak performance is realised at maximum aperture. Here sharpness is excellent in the centre of the frame and good towards the edges.


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 GX7 using Imatest.


Chromatic aberrations are pretty well controlled throughout most of the zoom range. Unfortunately, they are no as well controlled at 100mm when shooting at the slower end of the aperture range. Here fringing exceeds a pixel width, which may become visible along high contrast edges if images are printed at large sizes, or harsh crops are taken from the edges of the frame.


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 GX7 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is fairly typical for a lens of this type, and shouldn't pose too many issues. At 35mm and f/4 the comers are 1.75 stops darker than the centre and at 100mm, and f/5.6 falloff is reduced and the corners are only 0.804 stops darker than the image centre. Stopping down to f/8 results in visually uniform illumination throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is extremely well controlled with only 0.146% barrel distortion at 35mm being replaced with only 0.114% pincushion distortion at 100mm. This low level of distortion should rarely require correction, but if it does, the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame throughout the zoom range, which should make applying corrections in image editing software afterwards, relatively straightforward.

A petal shaped hood is supplied, which does an excellent job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare. Contrast remains good when shooting into the light also.

Panasonic Lumix Vario G 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH. Lens Sample Photos

Value For Money

Priced at £300 at launch, this lens represents decent enough value for money, especially when the excellent performance and compact, retractable design are taken into account.

There aren't really any other close equivalents available to compare against, although the raft of 40-150mm lenses available from Panasonic and Olympus may also be considered by someone buying this lens, especially as those lenses offer more telephoto reach, for less money, having prices ranging from £140 to £180.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Verdict

On the whole, it's difficult to fault this little lens from Panasonic. Optically it performs better than its £300 price tag would have you expect, while being compact enough to be barely noticeable in a camera bag when travelling. Those looking for a compact telephoto lens, should certainly add this lens to their list of considerations.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Pros

Excellent sharpness at maximum aperture throughout the zoom range
Compact, collapsible design
Good build quality
Light weight
Optical stabilisation
Decent value

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Asph Cons

Lower priced alternatives offer more telephoto reach for less money, but are generally more bulky


The Panasonic Lumix Vario G 35-100mm gives excellent sharpness and is as compact as telephoto zoom lenses come.


Panasonic Lumix Vario G 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH. Lens Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Focal Length35mm - 100mm
Angle of View12 - 34
Max Aperturef/4 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size46mm
35mm equivalent70mm - 200mm
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus90cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens cap, Lens hood, Lens rear cap

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oluv 2
4 Nov 2014 4:08PM
there is some blur in many of those images, i wonder if this is bad optical performance or a shutter shock problem. a pity the lens wasn't tested on a GM model, as they have a vibration-free shutter.

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I expect there is in camera correction for distortion and aberrations resulting in good jpgs. So how about raw?
14 Nov 2014 2:36PM
I have to agree with Oluv. Many of the sample image look soft. It does look a lot like shutter shock. Maybe my expectations of a budget telezoom are just too high. I must admit I hoped that this lens was a killer and the perfect vacation and day trip telezoom, but it isn't. I will continue to use my trusted Olympus 75mm f/1.8 for telephoto work (hard to beat that one optically heh, heh).
cfreeman 12 312 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2015 9:47AM
I have the Panasonic 45 - 150 and was pleasantly surprised by its performance. I was looking for a simiar focal length zoom lens for my second camera. So have been looking and favoured this 35 - 100mm. The main reason is it is a sharp lens that is surprisingly small, very light in weight, sub 300 and covers the 70 to 200mm (35mm) field of view.

I have yet to find my perfect travel camera/lens setup but a primary factor is the size/weight. So a GX7 with the 20mm prime and this 35 to 100 zoom should fit in a very small bag. A case of a zoom with good performance that is extremely portable.

As for the previous comment:
No not as sharp as the Olympus 75mm but then again the 75mm is a prime lens not a zoom. Indeed there are very few prime lenses that are as sharp as the Olympus and I have not heard of any zoom lens that comes close.

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