Andy Westlake tries out Panasonic’s mid-range weather-sealed standard zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph Power OIS review: Introduction
Ever since small mirrorless cameras first appeared on the market, manufacturers seem to have been obsessed with making their supplied standard zooms smaller and smaller. And none more so than Panasonic, which has made a whole series of 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 zooms of ever-decreasing size before settling on its 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 pancake zoom to accompany its smaller bodies.
Yet while these tiny lenses play well to the portability strengths of CSCs, they tend be somewhat compromised either optically, operationally or in terms of zoom range. After a while, photographers may find themselves wanting something better.
For a long time Panasonic’s next step up has been the excellent Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph OIS, but its £700 price tag is something of a sticking point for users with limited budgets. At around £360, the new Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph Power OIS steps into this gap, and provides a more affordable weather-sealed option for users of cameras like the Lumix DMC-GH4, GX8 and the new G80. Indeed, it’s available as a kit with several models for a premium of around £100 over the basic 14-42mm zoom.
However, it’s not just Panasonic owners who might be interested in the 12-60mm lens, as users of Olympus’s OM-D models could well be attracted by its versatile 24-120mm equivalent zoom range, and outdoor-friendly construction. Notably, it’s both longer and faster at the telephoto end than the similar Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ, although it lacks that lens’s macro function and power zoom for video work. So is it worthy of Micro Four Thirds users’ consideration?