Panasonic Lumix G 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2016

Introduction

Many users aren't really seeking for the very best standard zoom lens with its correspondingly high price tag. Instead they are looking for something that is "good enough", versatile and doesn't cost you an arm and a leg. "Super"-zoom lenses may appear to fulfill those needs but, to be honest, they are often not all that hot in terms of (consistent) quality. In order to close the gap, Panasonic just came up with an "in-betweener" - the Panasonic Lumix G 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS thus a still reasonable 5x zoom lens. It covers a field-of-view equivalent to about "24-120mm". Or in other words it is one of those zoom lenses which may be nice to take in the lonely island scenario. It may not be exciting in terms of speed but the range covers most of the travel needs. Regarding a price tag of about 450US$/EUR, it also remains within reach of most mortals.

The Lumix lens may be quite small and light-weight (210g) but the build quality is really good. The body is made of a combination of metal and plastics parts based on a metal mount. The inner lens tube is made of plastic though. Zooming and focusing works smoothly. Interestingly Panasonic managed to implement some seals and they claim it to be splash/dust-proof. The lens extends when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range. The front element does not rotate making it possible to mount a petal-shaped lens hood (supplied). The lens features a higher-grade Power OIS (optical image stabilizer) which should give you an equivalent gain of 3ish f-stops. Unfortunately you have to fiddle around in the camera menu to (de-)activate it - there's no dedicated switch for this on the lens itself. The OIS can be activated on Panasonic cameras only. On Olympus cameras you have to rely on the camera's stabilizer (which works nicely anyway). On the latest Panasonic cameras you can take advantage of dual IS - thus the combined capabilities of in-lens and in-camera IS. This should give you a boost over the standard IS gain.

The AF is no surprise - it's both fast and absolutely silent. Typical for a micro-four-thirds lens, manual focusing works "by wire" thus you trigger the AF motor by turning the focus ring.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length"24-120mmmm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/7-11.2 (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction11 elements in 9 groups inc 3x aspherical and 1x ED element
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.20m (1:3)
Dimensions (L x W)71x66mm
Weight210g
Filter size58mm
Hoodpetal shaped, supplied
Other featuressplash/dust-proof, image stabilizer