Panasonic 12-32mm Pancake Lens Review:
Hey what’s up everyone, my name’s Chris Winter and today I’m going to take a look at a fantastic little lens, the Panasonic 12-32mm.
Now ive been using this lens on my tiny little micro four thirds camera, the GM1 for around about a year now and really do think it’s incredible just how small these lenses are.
And if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to check out my top 5 best pancake lenses list, i’ll put a link in the description box below. This lens comes in on the list, but make sure to check out what comes out on top.
To start off with, lets take a look at the build quality. Now the very first thing you’ll notice about this lens is just how small it is. Seriously, this is an incredibly small lens with a pretty decent zoom range.
“And it’s pretty light too. But thats not to say that it doesn’t feel pretty good. It’s got a nice metal mount on the back here, but interestingly, no focus ring on the front.
And thats a bit of a pity for me. But the reason for that is that it’s designed for use with cameras with a good touch screen af system, like the gm1.
To use this lens, you first have to twist it around half way and then it will be useable. It does get a bit bigger, but it does keep it compact when it’s in your pocket.
“There is IS built into the lens which is nice but other than that, it’s pretty basic. No focus windows, lens hoods or weather sealing. Oh and it comes with a very very small little lens cap, pretty cool
Speaking of the the wide angle on this lens, starting off at 12mm is actually really quite impressive.
On a micro four thirds camera that equates to about 24mm which is pretty wide.
Just so you can see, this is at 12mm and we can zoom all the way into 32mm. Not the biggest zoom range, but for a little pocket lens, that’s might impressive.
“Now this lens has a variable aperture of f3.5 to f5.6, which isn’t anything to write home to, so getting some really good bokeh is quite difficult.
“But that’s not to say its not possible. I’ve actually been able to get some lovely out of focus areas in a few of my photos that I’ve taken, and I’ve got to say that it’s a very clean bokeh and it looks lovely.
Now it’s definitely not in the same league as my other favorite lens for the gm1, the 20mm 1.7. But it’s definitely not too bad either.
“In terms of getting up close, the 12-32 has a 20cm minifmum focus distance which isn’t going to get you that up close.
“As you can see when your on the long end of the lens, you can get in relatively close, but if you’re looking to do a lot of macro work, there are definitely other lenses to look for.
Now let’s talk quickly about Autofocus.
I’ve actually been very very impressed with the af on this lens.
“And again, I think it needed to be really good because there isn’t an option to even do any manual focus if the AF conks out.
“Using the touch screen on the back of the gm1 here, you can really quickly get some nice focusing. It’s almost as quick as on a dslr, so i’ve been very impressed.
Video af isn’t as good as it is for stills, but that could also be down to the gm1, which isn’t as good as something like my Canon 70d which is filming me now.
But because the 12-32mm doesn’t have a super shallow depth of field at any of it’s focal lengths, you can actually get some nice and useable footage.
Plus it really does look great, very sharp.
One thing to note is that this lens here is actually pretty hard to find. Because it’s designed specifically for cameras like the gm1 or the gm5, not a lot of retailers will actually sell it separately.
Its currently selling for around $299 us at B&H but if you check out Amazon, they’ve currently got it on sale for $185, which is a much better price.
I’ll put a link in the description box below if you want to check out the reviews over there.
So let’s take a look at a few pictures that I’ve taken with this lens.
I took a few of these during a dark Winter in Norway and Sweden, and i was really impressed with how the images turned out.
It really is quite sharp for most photos and color reproduction was superb.
Again we’re not getting very shallow depths of field, but it really was producing some great shots.
“There’s next to no vignetting, only a little at the wider focal lengths and chromatic aberrations were not really there. Flaring was slightly apparent, but nothing I didn’t really like.
Really the best thing about this lens is that it’s so small that it’s always there with you when you need it and paired up with a great camera like the gm1, it’s a real winner.