The Panasonic 12-60 f3.5-5.6 is the kit lens that accompanies the new G81 camera. It was either get the camera only or get the kit with the lens for a pittance more. I selected the second option. I’m certain I can sell it on a popular auction portal for a higher price than what I paid for it if need be.
It has Power O.I.S. built in so theoretically using this in conjunction with the IBIS of the G81, stability should be pretty good. Not as good as Olympus I think but Panasonic have made some great advances in 2016. The G81 also incorporates a new shutter mechanism to combat shutter shock which has plagued previous Panasonic cameras.
This post is meant as an initial look at the Panasonic 12-60 f3.5-5.6 as well as the new G81 camera (known elsewhere as the G85). The camera retails presently for €900 with the lens, and if bought separately costs €450. Whether it’s good value at that price remains to be seen, but certainly by buying the package which I did, it must certainly be worth the extra €100.
With hood on.
Name: Panasonic Lumix G 12-60 f3.5-5.6
Size: 71mm x 66mm
Aperture: f3.5 – f22
It’s actually weatherproof (not waterproof) which is a plus. It’s about the perfect focal length for me, starting at 12mm and ending at 60mm. This makes it a 24-120mm lens in 35mm terms. It doesn’t get any better than that for me as a walk around lens.
It balances well on the G81 but from the feel of the G81 grip, anything will balance well on it. As much as I like the rangefinder type models, the grip does make a difference. All depends on the lens that’s on the camera of course but generally the SLR type models offer more stability.
The new 12-60 f2.8-4.0 looks very nice and is a bit heavier, weighing in at 320g and being a faster lens is slightly bigger at 86mm x 68.5mm. I think we’ll see an increase in image quality with the Pana-Leica lens but that’s very subjective. If so, this lens looks very good indeed. Unfortunately it’ll cost around €1000 (or there about) which makes it an expensive lens. Personally, I like the feel of a well made lens and from past experience with this type of Panasonic lens, it’s going to be a nice one.
Let’s take a quick look at the G81 (as it’s called in Germany). It’s been getting great reviews all over the Internet and I must say it does feel quite nice in the hand. Having the DSLR type body, but smaller and lighter, it is heavier than the older Panasonic bodies. For me, there is such a thing as being too light and the previous Panasonic bodies were certainly that. Now with a bit more weight in your palm it helps steady the camera when holding to your eye.
Weight: 505g (including SD card and battery)
Size: 128 x 89 x 74 mm
I think the best new functions of the G81 for me are 1. The new shutter mechanism and 2. Dual IS 2. DFD focusing system is one of the fastest systems on the market, if not THE fastest. And, it has no anti-aliasing filter which is supposed to allow for sharper images. We’ll see about that.
Although I’m not a video guy I also wanted to experiment with the 4K shooting modes Panasonic have. I’ve seen some amazing images taken with this feature. You get an 8MB image is you take a still out of a 4K Photo series and that should be plenty for my purposes which is mostly web use.
I’ll report back on that in a later post.
The Post Focus feature could come very handy if focus was slightly missed and the Focus Stacking feature could be handy for landscape photographers to ensure sharp focus throughout the image. Exciting times indeed.
Having used the camera and lens a couple of times now I'm really quite impressed. The camera if fast focusing and accurate and the lens is better than I thought it would be. The new Pana-Leica 12-60 f2.8-4.0 will have to be exceptional if I'm to buy it. Of course, having an aperture range of f2.8-4.0 will always be more useful than the f3.5-5.6 of the kit lens. For someone wanting a good kit lens for travel and won't be using it in dim light, I can recommend it and am pretty certain there's no need to purchase the new 12-60 lens. Personally I'm going to wait for the reviews before I put in my order, but then I'm a sucker for good quality gear, always have been.