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Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Asph OIS Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture.

|  Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 35-100mm f/2.8 in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and features
Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 35-100mm f/2.8

Covering angles of view equivalent to the popular 70-200mm range on a 35mm camera, this lens boasts a constant fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, internal focusing and zoom, optical stabilisation and a nano surface lens coating to help suppress the effects of flare.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 35-100mm f/2.8



Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Handling and features

This lens feels very well built, despite being incredibly lightweight and compact for a telephoto zoom with a fast, constant f/2.8 maximum aperture. It is constructed from high quality plastics, that have a dark grey gun-metal finish and the lens mount is made from metal. Also, it only weighs 360g, which is incredible, especially as a 35mm equivalent lens will tip the scales at well over a kilogram. As a result, this lens feels right at home on the Panasonic Lumix G3 body used for testing.


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The zoom does not extend as it is zoomed to the telephoto end of the range and the action is smooth, not tightening up at any point. The zoom mechanism has just enough resistance to prevent zoom creep with the camera pointed downwards, whilst only needing a light touch to make quick adjustments.

Focusing is also performed internally, so the 58mm filter thread does not rotate, making this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. Autofocus is very swift and accurate and the manual focus ring is well damped, making fine adjustments easy to apply.

With care, the optical image stabiliser allows sharp hand held images to be taken at shutter speeds as low as 1/15sec at 100mm, which is roughly four stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would allow otherwise.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 35-100mm f/2.8


Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Performance

At 35mm and f/2.8 sharpness in the centre of the frame is already approaching outstanding levels, and the clarity towards the edges of the frame is good. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame, and very good sharpness towards the edges.

At 70mm, overall sharpness decreases a little, with excellent sharpness being recorded in the centre at maximum aperture and fairly good sharpness towards the edges of the frame. Again, stopping down to f/5.6 results in an increase in overall sharpness, with outstanding clarity in the centre and very good sharpness towards the edges.

Finally at 100mm, sharpness across the frame evens out, although clarity in the centre doesn't reach quite as lofty heights it did at shorter focal lengths. Even so, sharpness hovers between excellent and outstanding levels in the centre of the frame between f/2.8 and f//5.6 and resolution is very good towards the edges at these apertures too.


Resolution at 35mm
Resolution at 35mm
Resolution at 70mm
Resolution at 70mm
Resolution at 100mm
Resolution at 100mm

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 under control well throughout the zoom range, only rising slightly between 70mm and 100mm. Even at these focal lengths, the amount of fringing is only very slight, and shouldn't pose issues, even in large prints, or harsh crops from towards the edges of the frame.


Chromatic aberration at 35mm
Chromatic aberration at 35mm
Chromatic aberration at 70mm
Chromatic aberration at 70mm
Chromatic aberration at 100mm
Chromatic aberration at 100mm

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 of the frame is reasonably well controlled for a wide aperture lens. At 35mm the corners are 1.3 stops darker than the image centre and at 100mm the corners are 1.49 stops darker. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is well controlled at either end of the zoom range with only 0.58% barrel and 0.31% pincushion distortion detected by Imatest at 35mm and 100mm respectively. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so any curvature is relatively straightforward to correct in image editing software afterwards if required.

No issues with flare were encountered during testing. The Nano Surface Coatings applied to this lens help to keep contrast high, even when shooting into the light. A deep round lens hood is supplied with the lens, which does an excellent job of shading the front element from extraneous light that may create issues.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 35-100mm f/2.8 Sample Photos


Value for Money

When the lens becomes available, it will retail for around £999, which seems like rather good value when compared to pro 70-200mm optics from the likes of Nikon & Canon for their 35mm based camera systems.

There are currently no other 70-200mm equivalent f/2.8 zooms available for Micro Four Thirds. The closest equivalent is the Olympus 35-100mm f/2, which has a constant maximum aperture twice as bright as this lens, but lacks image stabilisation and costs a whopping £1910! This Olympus lens would need to be used with an adapter on a Micro Four Thirds body and is much more bulky than the lens reviewed here.

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Verdict

With Panasonic and Olympus both releasing Micro Four Thirds system cameras with professional aspirations, it's no surprise that the lenses available should catch up.

Panasonic's 35-100mm is a fine lens that is priced reasonably, especially when compared to lenses covering the same angles of view for 35mm format, with the added bonus of being much more compact, and lightweight.

Although the price may put this lens beyond the reach of your average amateur snapper, they are not the intended market for a lens like this.

  The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 lens is compact, lightweight and offers excellent performance.


Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Pros

Excellent sharpness
Low distortion
Weather sealed build
Fast focusing
Constant f/2.8 aperture
Effective image stabilisation
Compact size for a telephoto zoom


Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Cons

Sharpness towards the edges of the frame could be better (although perfectly adequate for most purposes)



Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 35-100mm f/2.8 Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Focal Length35mm - 100mm
Angle of View12° - 34°
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size58mm
35mm equivalent70mm - 200mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus85cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens front cap, Lens hood, Lens rear cap and lens storage bag)

View Full Product Details

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lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 2:49PM
Out comes my credit card!
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 3:51PM
mine too, I've got one on pre-order so I just hope the price isn't too high else I may have to duck out

this would complete my lens line up (thank goodness Wink )
lemmy 14 2.9k United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 6:37PM

Quote:so I just hope the price isn't too high

£999 according to Gary's piece. Maybe come down to £800/ £850 ish after a year or two?
Paul Morgan 20 19.5k 6 England
4 Oct 2012 8:18PM
I had the 4/3 35-100, Can`t see Olympus making one for M4/3, it would cost a fortune Smile
theorderingone 17 2.4k
5 Oct 2012 1:03PM
Several places are showing it on pre-order at £999, but I bet this will drop a little once demand subsides.
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2012 11:06PM
I've cancelled my pre-order as they weren't willing to confirn that the pre-order price was a fixed price quote, despite verbal confirmation at the time of placing the order (and wanted to increase it by more than 20%). So I guess I'll just have to wait for it to come down over the next few months (I hope)
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
6 Mar 2013 9:37AM
I finally got this lens yesterday, at £949 (so it still hasn't dropped much).

First impressions are as Gary said, its a remarkably light, sharp and fast focusing lens.

One thing I have spotted is that, as with the 45mm macro, the Panasonic colours appear warmer than Olympus, so much so that I think I will probably make myself a "correction" pre-set in LR4.

For most people it isn't something they would even notice / bother with but I like the look of the cooler more clinical colours from the Olympus lenses, so if you also like the Olympus colour its something to be aware of

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