Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lumix 45-175mm f/4-5.6 ASPH X Lens on OM-D

The lens we are trying out is known as...

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6 ASPH/POWER O.I.S. Lens

What a mouth full!

August 2011, Panasonic launched two new powered zoom lenses for its Lumix G Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Of the two, the Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6 ASPH/POWER O.I.S. lens provides the longer 3.9x zoom magnification and covers a focal length range equivalent to 90-350mm (in 35mm term).

According to Panasonic...

"This is the world's First Digital Interchangeable Power Zoom Lens."

"Panasonic introducing a new cutting-edge interchangeable lens LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH / POWER O.I.S. with electric-powered zoom operation from the new premium lens brand “X”.

Crystallizing Panasonic's optical technologies, the “X” lens features a unique Nano Surface Coating for minimal ghosts and flaring and natural atmospheres with remarkable transparency."

 From the optical diagram at Panasonic site I can see
 the complex optical design of this zoom lens, with 14 elements in 10 groups; there are 2 aspherical elements  along with 2 ED (extra-low dispersion) glass elements to suppress chromatic aberration!

What I really like about this lens is when you zoom the physical length of the lens remain the same!

By moving internal elements during zooming, the lens stays the same length for all focal length settings. This allows the lens to be used in underwater housings and has also enabled Panasonic to produce a lens that is very compact and light weight for its zoom range.

 The POWER ZOOM lever can be controlled with the thumb of your left hand with the lens barrel cradled in the palm of your left hand. A standard zoom ring is also provided on the lens, which provide faster manual zooming.

If you are shooting video, you would want to use the power zoom instead.

The first time I hold the lens, I was stunned how short and LIGHT it is! It is obviously made mainly of plastic, I was pleased it have at least a METAL lens mount!

Call me SKEPTIC but I have doubt how good the lens will be!

Until I took my FIRST TEST SHOT...

The church above Oriental Parade, Wellington; my favorite test building.. simple shot? Until I crop in on my iMac!

Not bad at all!  I can detect just a trace of chromatic aberration and the zoom is SHARP!

The only lens that can beat this X-Zoom will be my 20 year old Leica 90 mm Summicron -M,  see picture below!

Look ma, NO CA!!!!  Leica 90mm f2 Summicron M @ f5.6 on E-P2.

Lets get back to the Lumix X lens...

The X lens on my OM-D E-5M, the supplied metal lens hood make the lens look longer.  The weight of the lens (not heavy) balance well with the OM-D.

Below are more samples...

My favorite Wellington vista :)
Yes, these were the ducks cropped from the picture above!
Real estates on Mt Victoria and Oriental Parade, shot from Queens Wharf.
Reflection of Mt Vic on the glass panels of Wagamama.
Strong back light and colour saturation are handle really well!  Must be the NANO coating!
This shot was purposely taken to test the dynamic range of the OM-D and Lumix X lens combo. The shadow area was at least 7 stops under exposed!
After adjusting in Photoshop, OM-D sensor You Won Again ;)
What about the Power O.I.S image stabilizer in the Panasonic lens?

Does it work with the OM-D who have the latest in camera 5 axes stabilizer, or does the O.I.S. interfere with the Olympus?

After all, you CANNOT turn off the Power O.I.S. on the zoom lens!

To answer those questions, I did some test shots with the lens zoom to 175mm; exposure were all 1/15 sec.  Two sets of shots were done, one with the OM-D stabilizer ON and the other set with stabilizer turn OFF.

What do you know! It made NO DIFFERENCE at all!! I can only conclude that when the OM-D stabilizer is off, the Lumix O.I.S. take over the steady job!

Does that make sense?  Mind boggles ;)

We also took for granted that we can now shoot 1/15 with a focal length of 350 mm (equivalent) !!

Famous Last Word...

I am really impressed with the optical quality of the Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6 ASPH/POWER O.I.S. lens.

Mind you, this is NOT a cheap lens; at NZ$ 750.00 it is worth every $$!!

No, I DID NOT get a free lens from Panasonic ;)

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