Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. &
A pocket pair for everyday everywhere travellers!
Behind the fact that the traditional camera users tend to be older it is a universal phenomena that most of the people regardless of their respective ages want to be more mobile. In doing so we are looking for devices or equipment with less inconvenient in size and weight. You just have to look at the sport and outdoor accessories evolution since two or three decades to be convinced.
Compaticity in photo equipment is an historical quest since the beginning of this new medium. Some photo experts or enthusiasms have and still denigrate the ability of using smaller devices and obtain quality photo results. This debate was particularly fierce during the golden age of 35mm film. Today we know for sure the futility of these assertions.
Digital photography is another step to the direction of creating compact, simpler and performing cameras and the introduction of the micro 4/3 image captor format has contributed to establish the credibility of it. Today M4/3 camera system is world widely used and appreciated. For sure in the vast photographic universe there is always place for larger format as it has been proved by the reintroduction of « medium » captor format by Hasselblad and Fujifilm preceded by the Ricoh-Pentax offer without forgetting the digital backs designed by Phase One.
Olympus and Panasonic have been the commercial pioneers of the M4/3 format cameras. They have designed very compact devices with different interpretations and priority intended uses. Moreover they develop accordingly an optical offer that suit the compactness primary idea of the new format. Today we will look at a typical lens combination available from the Panasonic line-up.
Smart and Compact
A small reminder in the recent time-line of the different Lumix models recalls us the Panasonic first introducing of the GM1 and GM5 successor model declinations. They were very small M4/3 cameras and Panasonic had rightly associated these ones with their newest Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. diminutive in size standard zoom lens. (see my GM5 report). Soon after Panasonic added the Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S. tele-zoom lens as a complement of the first one. The whole package is simply the correct expression of many of us consider the real purpose of the compact M4/3 format system introduction.
The Panasonic pair lenses are contracting lenses for easy equipment carrying. The Lumix G Vario 12-32mm Mega O.I.S. will be considered by many photographers as their primary lens since it deliver a very useful wide angle of view of 84 degrees similar to the 24mm lens into 24X36mm film format. That wide angle of view is rightly appreciated by many as a very fine and creative contextual lens for street travel, interior or social photography. On the other end of the zoom 32mm focal length you will obtain a narrowed 37 degrees angle of view which is practical but won’t have the same versatility compared to others bigger trans-standard zoom lenses such as the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm option. You may consider the 12-32mm more as a wide to normal focal lenght utility lens. No lens hood has been included by Panasonic for the 12-32mm although you may find one from independent manufacturer such as JJC. The filter size diameter is 37mm and could be considered for adding some kind of optical protection or special effect filter. My only complaint is that Panasonic didn’t « standardized » its filter size between the 12-32mm and the 35-100mm F4.0-5.6. I would also love that Panasonic have been added the automatic camera shut-off option when you are contracting the lens to its storing position. Lastly no manual focusing ring of the lens. That « flaw » can be partially compensated by using the pre-focusing option on the camera and than reframe your picture thereafter.
Using the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm lens more extendedly over the years prove to be a very handy optical device for doing photography « on the spot ». Image results are pleasing and could be shared or presented without complex. Even if the 12-32mm have a small maximum aperture you can rely on its ability to do good interior pictures, thanks to its internal optical stabilization combined with the camera in-body counterpart if available. This is a good urban traveler option. The very compact design assimilated with more amateur camera models and in doing so give you a more discrete presence regarding the people surrounding you. If you add a ranger finder style camera the intimidated factor will decrease a lot. For sure quality won’t be at the same level compared to to the higher and bigger lens models offered but for most of the digital presentation channel the difference should not be noticed. As usual I never pretend to analyse lenses or cameras on a purely technical point of view knowing that there already exist a lot of more competent people that do so over the Web universe.
The Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S. can be assimilated as the compagnon lens of the 12-32mm if you are looking for that focal length range. The Lumix 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 is a compact optic that can be slip in a coat pocket or in a hand bag without adding volume or exceeding weight. This 2 inches long lens will give you an angle of view variation between 34 and 12 degrees. It comes with a lens hood and you can add a 46mm size filter if you wish (As already mentioned this 46mm diameter is different from the 37mm size of the Lumix 12-32mm). The stabilization lens and cameras options are very essential tools to be activated when you are using the Lumix 35-100mm f4.0-5.6 lens mainly because of its modest maximum aperture and its long focal length.
While I have been a strong adept of small focal fixed telephoto lenses such as the Lumix 42.5mm f1.7 OIS and the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lenses I consider the Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 variante as a very good substitute product. For sure it lacks the shallow deep of field characterized of the larger maximum aperture of the two prime but that flaw can be partly compensated by the longer final 100mm focal length of the zoom lens. Because of its inherent compactness the Lumix 35-100mm fF4.0-5.6 is again a very non-intruse lens that facilite the casual picture session. In my view there is no quality issue regarding the image output of this lens. And again stabilization option is a key factor for reaching beautiful picture results. Because of its particular medium telephoto focal length the Lumix 35-100mm f4.0-5.6 can be a real composition tool with a good isolation and compression of the main subject.
As I have already mentioned in the past I consider the mirrorless camera category as the real modern successor of the basic idea of a compact camera device with the interchangeable lens option. A kind of Leica legacy of our today world. For sure direct Web connectivity has to be addressed by the different M4/3 format camera manufacturers in the near future to respond to our actuel need of personal communication. But at least the basic of the photographic technique parts are fulfilled already.