ePHOTOzine: Top 12 Best Panasonic Lenses 2018

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/top-12-best-panasonic-lenses-2018-27053

“We’ve taken a look at the Panasonic lenses that we’ve reviewed to date, crunched some numbers and have combined the results in a round-up that features the highest scoring lenses so you can make a more informed choice when making your next purchase….”

Commentary

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Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS standard zoom lens, provided as a kit lens with some of Panasonic’s more affordable rangefinder-style cameras but a very worthy lens to consider for all of their cameras, though it is not available for sale on its own in many territories. This lens can be bought new or in good used condition at eBay, and other online and offline retailers.

With a dearth of local retail outlets where one might see and try before one may choose to buy and an over-reliance on online reviews that are often not specific enough, sites with well-qualified reviewers and enough history to have broad, deep overviews prove invaluable.

I came across ePHOTOzine through the video reviews of former Fleet Street photographer David Thorpe and thus discovered his articles for the magazine as well as his own website, and now ePHOTOzine benefits by basking in his expert glow.

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All of Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds lenses as of April 2017.
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Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric prime lens, another highly-regarded small, affordable lens and that is the equivalent to 40mm in the 35mm sensor format, often referred to as “perfect normal”. The legendary Leica/Minolta CL/CLE analog cameras were supplied with 40mm lenses as standard.

I have had few enough opportunities to discover the many pleasures and challenges of Panasonic Lumix and Leica Micro Four Thirds lenses in real life, and so rely on these “best lenses” lists to better my understanding.

Given an unlimited bank account I would first choose Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses for my professional documentary stills and video work given their many advantages and especially their manual clutch focus, but photography is my daily passion as well as my less frequent paid work and so cheaper, smaller hardware has its uses too.

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Panasonic Lumix GX8 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric II Mega OIS kit zoom, a more manageable small outfit for daily carry than with the larger, heavier though excellent Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro.

Right now I am considering adding a handful of tiny Panasonic Lumix G lenses to my smaller daily carry kit bag, for use with smaller cameras like my beloved Panasonic Lumix GX8, and ePHOTOzine’s list as well as the ones below is proving invaluable to me as I hope they will to you too.

I will be buying some of these lenses online and secondhand as local camera stores seem have given up on buying and selling secondhand gear, and the usual caveat emptor (buyer beware) applies.

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The Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Plus Camera Bag is an excellent waist-pack for carrying a minimal kit such as a GX8 plus two or three small lenses or one large one.

If purchasing from sites like eBay ensure that the seller provides a good selection of close-up photographs, all the correct information and model details, and pay through PayPal so that refunds can be made if the lens does not live up to its description.

Above all else, do your research and if you have access to stores that sell secondhand then give them a go before buying online as there is no substitute for try before you buy.

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Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II Aspheric prime lens

Here is my own long list of small, discrete Panasonic Lumix G lenses for purchase secondhand:

This is my three-lens shortlist of small, reasonably fast Panasonic primes:

  • Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II Aspheric
  • Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric
  • Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Aspheric Power OIS

If I could carry just one prime lens for any format it would be the equivalent of 35mm in the 35mm sensor format, which is 17.5mm in Micro Four Thirds.

Panasonic does not make a 17.5mm lens though, and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 is reportedly suboptimal for effective video and stills use, so my affordable one lens solution needs must be a zoom lens that includes that focal length and others:

  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS, or
  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II Aspheric Mega OIS

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The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Power OIS, an excellent lens with a very Leica-like optical look and feel, if you can afford. I preferred German lenses and especially Leica lenses during the analog era when I was shooting colour transparency film, but nowadays I am exploring other brands of lenses and their own particular ways of rendering flesh and blood.

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These lenses are listed in order of recommendation in ePHOTOzine’s Top 12 List of 2018.

  1. Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPHB&H
  2. Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 Asph OISB&H
  3. Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power O.I.SB&H
  4. Panasonic Lumix 35-100mm f/4-5.6 Asph Mega OISB&H
  5. Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIB&H
  6. Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 AsphB&H – only available bundled with certain Lumix cameras in some territories and now unavailable as a standalone purchase via B&H.
  7. Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPHB&H
  8. Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8B&H
  9. Panasonic Lumix G 20mm II f/1.7B&H
  10. Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH ProB&H
  11. Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPHB&H
  12. Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 AsphB&H