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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old April 18th, 2013, 05:40 PM   #1
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Wide Angle zoom for GH3

I'm about to place an order for the camera and will be starting from scratch for lenses. Primes will have to wait as my initial use will be for speaking events where the vagaries of camera placement will require a zoom. Something as fast as possible and preferably without the need for an adapter but not closed to that possibility. I will be getting the 35-100 which I think will be the go to lens for these situations but I do want something wider.

The 12-35 is the obvious choice but need to be a little more budget conscious right now. So I've narrowed it down to the following and would appreciate your yeahs or nays or any other options I might have missed. Autofocus is good but not at the expense of easy manual focus. Image stabilization is also good but not essential. As fast as possible is what I'm really aiming for. And again, the need for an adapter is acceptable though not ideal.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA H-FS014045

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power H-PS14042K

Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens 261060 B&H

I realize the Olympus requires an adapter but have considered it as it is faster as well as seeming to be superior to the above. Which adapter would you recommend?

Also, which of the Panasonics would you recommend if I did want to go adapter free?


Thanks for any input

Last edited by Jase Tanner; April 18th, 2013 at 05:41 PM. Reason: typo
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Old April 18th, 2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

The Lumix 14-45 is a fine lens, and a favorite behind the 12-35.

The Lumix GX 14-42 is great for portability, but the zoom is imprecise.

Though the Lumix 12-35 is pricey, once you've used it you might never use the above lenses again.

Good luck with your choice...
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Old April 19th, 2013, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

As Dan says the first two lenses are fine lenses. I loved the 14-42 outdoors, it's a fun, inexpensive lens that produces great images in the right lighting. I shoot mostly indoors and sold my 14-42mm because is was just too slow for me, as a wedding shooter.

It sounds as if you shoot mostly indoors, and in less than ideal lighting conditions. Is that true?

If that is the case, it is my opinion that the Olympus 14-54mm is the only lens (on your list) that I would consider for your purposes. How it will match with your Panasonic we cannot know but I think it would be worth a shot. The long end of the Olympus is much slower then your Panasonic will be, and you could end up disappointed when matching up cameras, but who knows. It would depend on the lighting.

I used the very similar 12-60mm Olympus and loved it, it was a phenomenal lens. Good luck. I personally would go with the 12-35mm if I were building a camera system from the ground up. The time and aggravation you save by going for the right lens at the beginning would be worth the money spent now.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

Thanks to both of you for the input. These days a lot of my shooting is indoors with less than ideal lighting and no opportunity to do anything about that. That isn't always the case though.

I hadn't really considered how the glass from Olympus might give a different look so thanks for that. In the end I have to agree I'd be better off just getting the 12-35 from the start. Well, I just got booked to work the weekend which I didn't really want to do, so now maybe I can justify that.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 01:37 PM   #5
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

If you get the lenses, please post what you think of them, would like to hear your feedback. I do not have the 12-35mm, but would love to own it. I currently use GH2 with primes for lockdown shots, so while the 12-35mm would be amazing and useful, my primary cams are conventional videocameras.

I do plan on purchasing the lens one day when I have the extra in my budget.
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Old April 20th, 2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

Jase - sounds like you've gotten your answer - but here is another perspective.

Since your shots are locked down, and I presume that your speakers don't move around much, the lightning fast autofocus of the 12-35 may not be an absolute requirement for you. I have rented this lens to test with the GH3, and it is an absolutely fabulous piece of engineering - but it is too expensive for me.

For now, I'm sticking with my Oly 11-22 f2.8-3.5 and Sigma 18-50 f2.8. With the MA-1 adapter, autofocus is slower and noisier than with the 12-35 - but on the screen, it's very difficult to tell the difference.

Which one is the 12-35 and which one is the 18-50?

Lens A (please watch at 1080p):


Lens B (please watch at 1080p):


Cheers,

Bill
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Old April 20th, 2013, 08:32 AM   #7
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

is the 2nd video the Panasonic lens? I like the look better.

I had the Olympus and used it outdoors, it was a nice lens, but it seemed too warm to me or too cool, it was tricky for me to get the right color balance sometimes. At times it was great, in other lighting conditions it seemed hopeless. It was a nice lens but weird at times. The autofocus was, as you say Bill, very slow, like molasses.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

Jeff - If I get the 12-35 I will post my impressions but I am still looking at this. From reading other posts of yours, It seems you do a lot of your shooting in low light wedding situations which I'm going to assume in many cases is probably more dimly lit than what I shoot in. What do you find to be the highest usable iso for the GH? You're using the GH2. Not sure if there's a difference in how the 2 versus the 3 hold up under high iso.

I believe you also have an XA10 which I have and use as a B camera. I like the result in light low far better than what I get from my XH A1. (Time to replace that camera regardless of low light considerations) Any comments on comparing your GH with the XA both in terms of matching colour and how they fare against each other in low light. At 2.8 lets say, which iso would you use on the GH to match with the XA and at what gain setting. Even ball park info on this would be helpful.

Bill - Thanks for this. I have to say I saw slight differences but I can't say I prefer one over the other. These events are not always with the speaker at a podium. They sometimes do move around a little. With the depth of field of a 1/3 inch camera, Its rarely an issue but with a GH3 I'm sure it would be. So my question is given the slow autofocus how easy is manual focus on this particular lens. From what I've been reading some are more manual friendly than others.

And do tell us which is which!

Last edited by Jase Tanner; April 21st, 2013 at 12:54 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old April 21st, 2013, 02:44 PM   #9
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

I always get the best image possible from my GH2 using the lowest ISO possible at all times, I do not use a higher ISO to match it with the XA10. My primary concern is with color balancing when on a shoot.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 03:51 AM   #10
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

Lens A is the Panasonic 12-35 and Lens B is the Sigma 18-50. I never got around to putting together a full edit of my side-by-side comparison for the blog, but my conclusion would have been:

"If you can afford it, get the 12-35. It is a terrific lens - and a perfect fit for the GH3 - splashproof and lightning fast. But if the 12-35 is above your budget limit, and if you are able to find the Sigma 18-50 on eBay, buy one. My Sigma produces great images in relatively low light for not a lot of money and is one of the best lens investments I have made."

Even with the slow autofocus of the Sigma, I can't bring myself to sell it and buy the 12-35. There are still occasions indoors (school plays, graduations) where 35mm is just not long enough.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 09:30 AM   #11
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

I searched around for that Sigma. Unfortunately, the one in the link you sent Bill would only sell to the UK or EU. With the reading I've done here and elsewhere, I think that while I could "get away" with a slower lens the only sensible thing to do is to get the 12-35. I'm going to wait just a little bit as I won't have time right now to learn the camera and feel comfortable with it on a paid shoot. It would drive me nuts to have it sitting here and not have the time to use/learn it. Early May.

Jeff, I'll let you know what I think then.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 10:30 AM   #12
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

I called that wrong Bill.

Sigma is hard to find in good condition, Jase. I happened to find mine locally on craigslist, I got lucky. I was not crazy about the lens, it was hard for me to white balance indoors at weddings, it drove me crazy. I did some very nice outdoor shooting with it, however.

The lens I truly miss is my Olympus 12-60mm, still my favorite lens of all time. That lens produced the most beautiful footage outdoors ever. Auto focus was a tad slow, but it was workable, just too slow for churches at times.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; April 23rd, 2013 at 01:05 PM.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 12:47 PM   #13
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

Fwiw, in another forum, I read an exchange about the quality of
a particular sigma lens. NOt the one in question here but one person said it was great, another not so much. Yet another person said he believed the quality control of Sigmas and other 3rd party manufacturers
was not up to par with the "big boys"
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 01:40 PM   #14
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Re: Wide Angle zoom for GH3

Jase, it is true what you read about Sigmas (and Tamrons as well), at least that is what I have read also.

However, my Sigma 18-50mm was a very nice lens, and a constant F/2.8 is to die for at the price the lens can be had at.

Bill Bruner is something of a resident expert on camera gear, and he is certainly right to recommend the lens. It is a phenomenal value, and a really good lens. (Bill is too modest to be comfortable being called an expert, but he really is, at least compared to me).

Unfortunately, I had to match my Sigma with other cameras. What was frustrating for me, was that at times it captured amazingly nice images, and at other times, (particularly indoors) the colors came out weird. I just got tired of fiddling with it and I didn't like the results sometimes.

If you do look at the lens again, be sure to get the series two version, or whatever the newer version was called. I think the older version had some shortcomings but I can't recall the details.
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