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8 Tips for using the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12 – 35 mm / F2.8 II ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12 – 35 mm / F2.8 II ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12 – 35 mm / F2.8 II ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12 – 35 mm / F2.8 II ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. is one of the best-selling lenses in the Micro four-thirds world. Let’s take a look at how to get the most out of this stellar lens.

#1. Know the Field of View Conversion
This lens is listed as having a 12-35mm focal range. But Micro four-thirds sensors have a much smaller area compared to a full-frame camera. If you’re coming from the world of full-frame photography, then the field of view is equal to that of a 24-70mm lens.

24-70mm is perfect for a wide variety of photographs. Journalists, in particular, make great use out of this field of view because it allows you to capture everything from architecture and landscapes to portraits at moderate range. So long as you have this lens, the only other generalist lens you need is a telephoto with more reach, such as a 50-150mm or greater lens.

Aperture-priority, 12mm (24mm equiv.), f/14, 1/160 s, ISO 200 © Sam Fischer

Aperture-priority, 12mm (24mm equiv.), f/14, 1/160 s, ISO 200 © Sam Fischer

#2. Make use of the Wide Angle Field of View
12mm (24mm full-frame point of view) works wonders when I’m shooting landscapes and architecture. I can capture even large events like concerts thanks to the expansive field of view. And the zoom lets me capture everything else; an equivalent 70mm field of view is an optimal portrait view.

#3. Optical Image Stabilization is Very Useful
Using a tripod can be a pain at times. But shooting handheld has its challenges as well. Luckily, this lens has optical image stabilization (OIS) built in. These lens elements help counteract motion blur that forms when shooting handheld.

No matter how stable I think my hands are, there is always some slight motion. And this motion will negatively impact the sharpness of my images, especially when using slower shutter speeds. OIS not only preserves sharpness but also allows me to shoot using shutter speeds much slower than otherwise possible without a tripod.

Aperture-priority, 19mm (39mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/800 s, ISO 200 © Sam Fischer

Aperture-priority, 19mm (39mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/800 s, ISO 200 © Sam Fischer

#4. Zoom Lenses with Constant Apertures are Easier to Work With
Those of us familiar with or still using the kit lens of our camera may note that the aperture numbers are listed as a range. A common range for DSLR kit lenses is 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6. This means that as I zoom out towards the maximum focal range the aperture closes up. The advantage is that this keeps the lens cheap. But I lose out on everything a wide open aperture has to offer.

I also have to remember that my exposure is constantly shifting as I zoom, which complicates operating in Manual mode. Having a lens like this with a constant aperture takes this equation out of play.

And having a nice wide open aperture like f/2.8 gives me much better low light performance compared to a smaller f/3.5 or f/4. The open aperture paired with the OIS of this lens makes shooting handheld portraits incredibly easy to do even in challenging lighting.

Also, the difference in shallower depth of field is immediately obvious using f/2.8 vs. a kit lens.

#5. Keep a UV Filter on the lens at all times
Given the price of this lens, the last thing I want is for a curious child or moment of clumsiness to result in a scratched or cracked lens. Many photographers, therefore, opt to place a UV filter on the front as a protective measure. UV filters also help reduce atmospheric haze and help clarify images.

However, this benefit generally extends only to landscapes where there’s a significant amount of space in the image. If I’m shooting mostly portraits there won’t be any noticeable difference in clarity using a UV filter. Still, the filter adds a little extra peace of mind in addition to a tiny amount of image clarity, so leave it on whenever possible.

Aperture-priority, 17mm (35mm equiv.), f/22, 1/100 s, ISO 800 © Sam Fischer

Aperture-priority, 17mm (35mm equiv.), f/22, 1/100 s, ISO 800 © Sam Fischer

#6. Moisture and Dust sealed for All-Weather Performance
As a near-mandatory purchase for the Micro four-thirds world, it’s only natural the body construction is high quality. The lens body is weather sealed to ensure dust and light water splashes can’t enter the lens and cause issues with mold or worse. This pairs nicely with the weatherization many Olympus and Panasonic camera bodies already have. Nature and other outdoor photographers, rejoice!

#7. The autofocus motor is top notch
The inner stepping motor of the LUMIX 12-35mm f/2.8 has two significant advantages to remember. The first is that because it’s designed to be incredibly smooth and silent, it works very well for videographers. And the second is that all of the mechanisms are configured inside in a way that keeps the lens from needing to rotate as it finds focus. This makes it perfect for photographers who use polarizing or graduated neutral density filters. The alignments can sometimes be thrown off by the rotations of other autofocus motor designs.

#8. Pair it with an Olympus camera body with caution
The obvious comparison for this lens is Olympus’s similarly priced M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens. Because both lenses use the Micro four-thirds lens mount, I can use either one for my Panasonic or Olympus mirrorless camera with few difficulties. Note, I said “few” and not “none.”

While, for the most part, the two brands are cross-compatible, occasionally the in-lens image stabilization of the lens won’t properly pair up with the sensor stabilization of a cross-brands camera body. Panasonic and Olympus both have listed on their retail pages which lens models work with which camera bodies. So I need to ensure I do my research beforehand to avoid potential disappointment.

Conclusion
This lens is a top seller for a very good reason. While this individual lens may cost nearly as much as your camera body, lenses hold their value over the years. So don’t hesitate to make the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12 – 35 mm / F2.8 II ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. lens a part of your collection today!

About the author
Sam Fischer is an amateur photographer and writer with an unhealthy addiction for landscape photography. When away from his camera, he’s usually attempting to brew the perfect espresso or trying to grow the tastiest tomato. Sam created the Iconic Camera blog to share inspiration, and help photographers pursue their passion. Check out Sam’s free resources and articles at IconicCamera.com.
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