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: Image quality
In general, the 12-60mm gives the sort of image quality we’d expect from a mid-range zoom. So it’s better than a cheap kit lens, but no match for a premium optic like Panasonic’s 12-35mm f/2.8. Sharpness is pretty high in the centre of the image, but falls off towards the corners, with the effect being most marked at wideangle. But unless you’re examining images at the pixel level or making prints that are larger than A4, this will be of little practical consequence.
Panasonic integrates some software corrections into the design, most notably of curvilinear distortion and lateral chromatic aberration, which results in clean, natural-looking images. The process is so well integrated into Micro Four Thirds that most users will never notice it’s even happening.
One point to be aware of about this lens, though, is that while the extended zoom range is very useful, the slow maximum apertures mean that there’s very little scope for experimenting with shallow depth of field. Indeed, you’ll only really see anything resembling out-of-focus blur when shooting close-ups, or at the telephoto end with a distant background. This is simply the price you pay for the compact size of Micro Four Thirds.
Image stabilisation is competent, without necessarily being the best I’ve ever seen. When paired with the GX8, the lens tended to deliver images at marginal shutter speeds that were acceptably sharp for most purposes, without being pixel perfect. With care, I found that I was able to get usable images using shutter speeds of 1/15sec towards the long end of the zoom, equivalent to around three stops of stabilisation.