The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS: the indispensable.

It was a bit of a surprise for many of us when the new Panasonic Lumix GX9 has been presented in Canada in combination (only) with the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS. At that point we were anticipating a different lens combo match with may be a smaller size zoom lens or even a fix focal length optic. But Panasonic not only maintain this combo-offer but have issued a new one with the introduction of the newest Panasonic Lumix G95 (G90) leaving no doubt about the sustainability of the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm Power OIS standard zoom lens.

I have already did a short french review of this enduring standard zoom lens because I have always thinking that it has been underrated very often especially with the apparition of the newest Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 Power OIS as an high-end alternative.

The first important think to mention about the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm OIS is its very low price point if you decide to buy the combo kit. And honestly you are not loosing anything because the optic can be used either as an A or B lens option in your camera kit. It is light, weather resistant and the stabilization function is efficient when you need it. Its overall size is small considering its focal length variation. Its major drawback is its modest maximum aperture that will prevent you to get shallower deep of field and ask you to use higher ISO setting in low-light situations.

The ergonomic of the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm OIS is good. The zoom ring control is large and easy to identify. The focus control ring is narrower and offer a moderate resistance without any turning limit (which is not really ideal for manual focusing). The filter accessory size is 58mm and the dedicated (plastic) bayonet mount lens hood (reversible for stocking) is included with the product package.

Having the possibility to use a wide angle of view of 84 degrees (for a 12mm focal length in MFT image sensor format) has been always an advantage cherished by many photographers. At the other end the 60mm focal length correspond perfectly with a good portrait vocation although the F5.6 maximum aperture wont win for sure a first price of the shallowest deep of field.

Optically the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS is a very decent performer. Over the years and working with different copies, I have been surprised with its constancy all along its different focal length range. Using it with the latest Lumix MFT camera models it demonstrate its ability to produce  high quality image output even with the newest 20MP image sensor. Contrast is good, color rendering is faithful, aberration and distortion minimal if not unnoticeable (thanks to the in-board camera optical correction system), flare resistance very good and focusing accurate edge to edge. Sure more “pro” lens models can produce crisper results with a larger maximum aperture (shallower deep of field) and their higher optical resolution but the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm OIS can deliver on its part of good to very good pictures.

With a weight of 210g the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS zoom lens correspond really to the compact definition of the MFT image sensor format system. As an everyday, travel, casual or creative camera lens, it can be a faithful companion of many if not almost all of your photo sessions. It won’t fit into your pocket but it will slip easily into your satchel or into your bag almost discreetly. In all it represent an easy recommendation to combine the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS lens with your next Panasonic Lumix ILC buy.


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