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Friday, 02 June 2017


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I have the 14-42mm Olympus equivalent to the pancake Panasonic, and it's great: light, unobtrusive, images fine for publication in a print mag. OK, it's a little slow, but does that matter anymore? We're not shooting Kodachrome. I use it on my Oly E-M5, original version, or M10II, works for me on both. I also carry the affordable Panasonic 45-150, same results, same comments. Unless one is really anal about pixels, distortion, sharpness, fringing, the other things that bother digital nerds, these lenses are more than satisfactory. I write/shoot for boating magazines, and no art director has ever complained about my images. (Other than my total lack of a photographer's eye.)

Like Rolex, various taxing authorities and Las Vegas casinos, Leica has mastered the art of separating you from most or all of your liquid assets.

That's a great deal from B&H on the GX85 and two-lens package. But, just as a point of information, the real companion to the 12-32mm zoom is the 35-100 f/4.0-5.6 zoom. It was introduced at about the same time as the 12-32 and is available separately for the same $247.99 as the 45-150. Many will prefer the longer lens for the same price. But if one is looking to keep the kit small and is concerned about a gap in focal lengths with the 12-32, then the 35-100 is the way to go.

To really commemorate Jim Marshall, I think Leica should try to replicate the pattern of brassing on his camera, not create an all-brass finish.

I have the Lumix 12-32mm zoom that came with my GM5, the latter sadly no longer available. Both are great: a fully featured m43 camera with a brilliant little zoom. It's particularly nice for b&w, weirdly. BTW the real companion longer zoom lens for this camera, released around the time of the diminutive GM1, is the 35-100mm f/4-5.6. Nice enough, but not a stand out like the 12-32mm.

FWIW, although I was aware of the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm's sterling qualities, the reason I decided not to shoot with it was because it has no focusing ring. The knurled ring in your product photo is for zoom only. Manual focus is possible, but only by assigning this function to buttons built into the camera body. If you're the sort of photographer who never focuses manually anyway then it's no big deal. If you can't live without a dedicated focusing ring then you had best choose a different lens.

The 12-32 is indeed marvelous, and it's even better if you use one of the Olympus LC-37C automatic lens caps on it. That way the teen-tiny one that comes with the lens won't get lost, and you're not fumbling with a lens cap when what you really want to do is grab a shot.

re: The Panasonic 12-32mm lens: I have one, purchased last year when Amazon was selling them for $179.95. It's very small and light, as you say, and quite sharp. But don't believe that bit about "little distortion at the wide end." It does distort, a lot! It's fixable in Capture One, but since I have an older version it doesn't do it automatically. I suppose it's fixed automatically in-camera if you have a recent camera. My Olympus EM-5s date from 2012-13, so they don't have the software built in to do that.

I really prefer lenses that are designed to correct for all kinds of distortion, but you can't buy those for $179.95, and they wouldn't be small and light, either.

The Panasonic 12-32 was a complete surprise to me. I got it with the GM5 and were it not for wanting (only) shallower depth of field this lens would be the one. Tiny, featherweight, sharp across the board, its field of view fits my preference. I only wish there were some distortion of reality that would allow lenses like this to have shallower depth of field. Hmmm.


As for Leica, I don’t understand why these special editions elicit so much contempt. I mean, Leica is a for profit corporation, it does not have a halo. And in all fairness, shouldn’t the Jim Marshall estate also be judged?

You forgot the Chinese Communist Party 50th anniversary commemorative edition. There are probably quite a few of those slumbering in party cadres' safe deposit boxes beneath the Bahnhofstrasse.

At about $1900 above the cost of a M246 and the lens, the Jim Marshall edition seems to have less of a premium than most commemorative editions, and getting one of his prints almost makes it a wash. If I bought one I'd likely cover the brass bits with black tape before I took it out shooting.

His "Jazz Festival" book is worth getting, though. I leafed through a copy last week at the Leica Café in Mayfair, while keeping an ear on the hedge fund types at the next table who were sorting out some sort of swaps deal.

Mike, did you *really* have to post that GX85 deal? I've been considering moving from dabbling in several minor systems to m4/3, and this might be enough to make me jump.

Grumble, grumble...

What the heck, I just ordered the two lens package and a 25/1.7 through your links. Hopefully this will force me to sell off the NEX and Fuji stuff.

I have this 12-32 and its 35-100 mini-match (much smaller than the 45-150 in this deal). I like them both, but sure a prime can be better. Out with the kids, the 24-64 mm-e is quite flexible, and I like the small Micro 4/3 ethos. They look great on my E-M10, too! With these two, I don't need a bag, just my coat with one of the lenses in a pocket!

I have the Olympus 14-42 and this lens was really underwhelming. I now have 3 (yes three) 12-32 lenses and have used them on most Panasonic cameras. I can only say it really is a truly super lens. For the price plus the 45-150 you really can#T wish for any better combination for a mirrorless Panasonic camera.
The GX85 , which I also own, is a gem for these lenses which are small and unobtrusive. Quality is fine and image quality is all what one could wish for.

Has there ever been a Yul Brynner commemorative Leica?

Got one with the GX85 kit on special offer in the UK at the beginning of the year.. and sold it.
Still think fondly of it as it gave me a new camera for a net £200...

I ordered it through your link. Hope it gets added to your account. (Anything that Gordon Lewis recommends is okey with me.)

The Lumix 12-32mm is one of my all-time favorite lenses. It's tiny, sharp, wide and well-made. What's not to love? I got mine with my GM5 camera but mainly used it on my Olympus E-M1 for shooting at museums, car shows and other exhibitions. It also made the Olympus an easily transportable back-up camera since I could slip the E-M1 with the 12-32mm and lens hood attached into the lens pockets of my camera bags. Two thumbs up!

I have the 12-32, and I love it because it is so inconspicuous : light enough to carry it in the mountains, wide enough to frame many things where, no, you can't take so many steps back, and its IQ is...well, it might have been lauded as a miracle a few decades ago, now it just does the job - whereas, to my taste, the 20/1.7 draws attention to its sharpness eg.
There are some auto-closing caps for it which are also quite convenient, if a tad bulky when you compare it to the lens (I have the JJC one).
I'm sometimes longing on its closer telezoom companion, the 35-100/4-5.6 (135g vs. 200g for the 45-150), but didn't go much farther away than procrastination on that topic (among others).

Hi Mike,

I acquired the 12-32 with my GM5 and despite my low expectations am pleased with its performance:heft ratio. It's a great spokeslens for the m4/3 system, demonstrating to what's possible at the small end of the range. Not only does it go as wide as 12mm (as opposed to more typical 14mm kit zoom) they somehow managed to cram OIS in there, important on the non-stabilized GMs.

Reasonably sharp and contrasty with controlled distortion are all honest claims. Lacking a focus ring and hood are penalties one accepts to have an actual pocketable lens+camera. Confess I always forget to extend the lens from park before shooting, an extra step.

I have no qualms leaving home with it and the GM. Add batteries and a fast prime of say between 40 and 75mm and you have a fine travel and leisure setup that is blissfully easy to tote and stow. I can also take it places that are normally cameraphobic (more common by the day). There are better normal zooms but none replicates the little 12-32.

I think Jim Marshall would have found this quite funny...

I've had a 12-32 for a couple of years, and now I have 2. I bought a GM5 with the lens before it disappeared, and now often carry the GM5 and the 12-32 as a second camera to my main m43 equipment.

Note that the lens comes with either a metal mount or a plastic mount. I forget which was the one I bought separately and which came as the kit, but I have one of each. There seems to be no other difference in the lenses.

The 12-32 and 35-100/4-5.6 are not outstanding, but are very good with no real flaws and way better than most kit lenses, and are definitely tinier than just about any other zooms. I really can't fault the lenses unless I pixel peep, and I've learned that that is really mostly useful for pixel peeping, and not photography. When it gets darker I put a 17/1.8 on the GM5 and the package still stays tiny, but I lose IS.

I prefer the 12-35 when i need a wide zoom. Or the 9-18 if i need even wider. And the 14 or 20 when i need a small lens. I do have the new olympus 14-42 electronic zoom (came with a body for 'free') which is occasionally ok when just need a very compact snapshot zoom. But it is not great. I often get focus problems with it. M4/3 is great. Too many lens choices..

I wanted the 12-32 as a small travel companion with my Olympus cameras. But here in Oz it was just a little pricey. Luckily it came with the newish GX850 as a deal for just a few hundred dollars more. Not exactly a pocketable package... but not bad considering it's a 4/3's sensor inside the tiny body. Is it better than the Olympus 14-42 kit? Dunno yet... but it is a nice piece of engineering.

Regarding: To The Rescue,
In the 1920s, Gibson guitars produced an early commemorative guitar, the Gibson "Nick Lucas" guitar for a popular singer/guitarist of the time.
In the early 1950s, Gibson created the Gibson Les Paul, again to commemorate a then-popular guitarist (and his wife) to gain sales for their electric guitar line.
In the 1990s and 2000s, that trend continues with the odd idea of a Jimmy Page Les Paul guitar. A newly produced Les Paul guitar with all the modifications that Jimmy has on his "Number One" 1959 Les Paul that was sold to him many moons ago by Joe Walsh. There is a Slash (Guns 'N Roses) guitar, a Paul Kossoff (Free) guitar, among many, many others.
Now all the manufacturers, Fender, Gibson, etc., will make you a spot on replica, of Strats and Les Pauls that have been falsely aged with gouges, scrapes, nicks, cigarrette burns, and whatnot precisely like the guitar (s)of David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Slash, Paul Kossoff, Jeff Beck. (The list goes on). You can even buy a NOS (new old stock) version, it's new, but still with all the adaptations and changes each famous player made to his own Les Paul or Strat or Telecaster guitar without the fake aging.
For a mere $50,000 or $100,000 you can have a new/old guitar as exact to the original as humanly possible.
They generally make 50 or so of these guitars for sale, and they go almost exclusively to fat-wallet collectors, while the star, if still alive, gets a couple of prototypes from the long process of getting it right, in addition to #1 of the 50 or so to be sold for ridiculous money.
Generally later, us "po folk," Southern slang for poor folks, can turn in our aluminum cans for a more widely produced, lesser version from the Fender and Gibson Custom Shops and buy a mere $8,000 - $10,000 Ace Frehley (of KISS fame)Les Paul guitar just like his smoking Les Paul from the seventies, or a lesser copy of Jimmy Page's Number One. etc.
It looks as if Leica is doing something with cameras in this vein.
I'll never afford to be able to buy either dream custom shop commemorative guitar OR a commemorative Leica.
I do however have a po-man's commemorative Leica, of a sort, a 1967, 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution commemorative Zorki 4 rangefinder with Jupiter 8, 50mm, f/2 lens.

I'm with Chuck on this one, though maybe the reason Leica didn't actually copy Jim's distressed camera was because they already made a similarly distressed limited edition designed by (wait for it...) Lenny Kravitz:


The Lumix 12-32 is very nice optically and has OIS, but it has no focus ring. I prefer the new 14-42 v2 Lumix, which is very similar in size to the 12-32 once the latter is opened for shooting. Great optics are good but I dislike losing control of basics like focus override, regardless of the AF talents of the camera.

I have a 12–32 bought used, and enjoy it as a walking-around lens, though I’d like a GM5 to use as a rear lens cap—my Olympus E-M5 is too bulky to put in a pocket!

The distortion at 12mm is enormous when opened in Capture One—6.3% according to the Photozone website, but corrects well, albeit with consequent loss of view angle and edge sharpness.

I must make time to test it against my Zuiko 11–22 ‘incredible hulk’!

my 3-lens kit for the past couple of years: 12-32 & 17/1.8 & 45/1.8
The 12-32 seems to be used more than the other 2 ;-)

I have both lenses and think they are great.


Panasonic seem to have learned something from Fujifilm here. There was time, back when the X system was growing, where Fuji offered cash back or lens deals that seemed to make things impossibly cheap. Seems like it's a good way to get people to buy into the camera eco-system.

I have owned a Panasonic 12-32 for about a year and a half now. It is my current social lens. It will be in my pocket, on a Panasonic GF7 body, at my niece’s wedding this afternoon. It accompanied me to a friend’s wedding a month ago. When I know I’ll be shooting outside in the sun, I put it on an Olympus EM-10 body. This pairing goes with me on vacation because of its small size. It went with me to Washington, DC, in November and to Paris in December. It also gets carried along on camping trips.

I really like this lens. I almost always shoot it wide open; and inside I enable the image stabilization. I commonly shoot at 1/30 or 1/15 second inside, and the IS seems to do a decent job. Do keep in mind, though, that it’s a slow lens (aperture wise) and that you can’t manually focus it.

I don’t usually shoot serious work with this lens, but I think that’s just a hang up of mine. I also own the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8, and it seems that I ought to take it out for serious shooting. After all, it is a “professional” lens. Still, when I get into a lens testing mood, I find that the 12-32 is not quite as sharp as the 12-35 in the center, but the 12-32 has much better corners. I do like sharp corners.

Your post was particularly well timed. I’ve been thinking that the 12-35 f/2.8 ought to go on the bench for a bit. I think I’d better take the 12-32 out for a walk.

I too would find the lack of manual focus ring on teh 12-32 a problem. The 14-42 v2, which also has a bit of a cult following, does have a focus ring, is almost as diminutive, and does bokeh rather well for an 'umble' kit lens.


[I know what you mean...check out this for example:


If that's not sharp enough for anyone, well, maybe actual sharpness isn't actually their problem. ;-) --Mike]

@ Peter Gilbert: "Has there ever been a Yul Brynner commemorative Leica?"

Not that I'm aware of, but there certainly should/could have been. He was an excellent amateur photographer. I've long had this book of his work, produced posthumously by his daughter Victoria. And, of course, he was an avid Leica shooter (as well as other cameras.)

The other candidate for a commemorative camera edition: Sammy Davis, Jr. But I'm wandering into other waters...

The Jim Marshall store is sort of across Prince street from the SoHo Apple store in NYC and everytime I walk past it I am reminded of how Hollywood pinstriper and sometime gunsmith Kenny Howard, aka "Von Dutch" became a brand after his death.

Of course the kids think that Jim Marshall is the other Jim Marshall and wonder why there aren't any guitar amps except in some of the pictures.

"The distortion at 12mm is enormous . . . but corrects well, albeit with consequent loss of view angle and edge sharpness. "

The loss of angle of view is avoidable. DxO Photo Pro corrects by outputting a file larger in pixel dimensions than the input. PTLens can do much the same thing, for less money and a bit more fussing.

I wrote a little about this, with examples, on Christmas, 2015 and Kevin Purcell commented further.

Since then, I did a more detailed comparison between correction methods, happily with the 12-32 lens that's the subject here.

Unfortunately, explaining everything that's going on in those images, some pretty subtle, requires about 900 words, a bit lengthy for this venue.

But it should be obvious from the images alone that the cropped AoV of in-camera JPEGs, ACR/LR, Viewer 3 and Silkypix, is not the only way.

My spouse uses the 12-32 as her main (and frequently only) lens while hiking. It's wide enough for landscape and just long enough for flowers. Adding a 37-52mm adapter ring and a Hoya HD3 polarizer (expensive but worth the money) adds about 6mm to the length of the lens, but then you can use a regular Nikon 52mm lens cap, which is much easier for chilly, stiff fingers to handle.

Ah, the fleeting existence of digital cameras. The last thing I need is another Micro 4/3 camera, but Gordon's review and the deal on this bundle got me to follow the link to B&H where the "body only" option reveals that the camera is discontinued. Man, it seems like this just came out!

So it looks like the deal on the bundle may not be around for much longer -- hop on it if you want it.

[I haven't been able to get any confirmation of that, but, if true: "wow, that was fast." The GX85 was only introduced a year ago last April.

If true, it's probably because it's going to give way to a II version soon. Panasonic seems to be revamping its lenses and cameras for Dual I.S., which apparently can't be done just with firmware. --Mike]

It is a great lens. I had one on a GM3 before I decided I could not put up with the fact that there was no way use anything other than LCD to compose. When GM5 came out( what, two or three years ago?) I thought I would bide my time and save some money when price came down. Not only does the lens seem to defy physical law, the GM5 seems to defy laws of economics. I don't think it has come down in price, at all.

[Not only that, but the GM5 is discontinued. Not only that, but Panasonic has announced that it is no longer going to keep the GM[x] line of cameras going. Not only that, GM5's are going at a premium on eBay.... :-( --Mike]

Re: Franklin Mint, here's a good skit - http://viz.co.uk/daddy-ive-done-poo-poo/

The 12-32 is a remarkable little lens. I use it as walkabout, ever to hand, on my GX7, with the lovely little Panasonic 45-175 f4-5.6 in my pocket. The first three pix of this series: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/59654599 were taken with the 12-32 just this last Fruday.

I have the cheap JJC three leaf auto-opening lens cap on it for quick action.

The (much) more expensive Panny 12-35 shades the 12-32 -- but not by much. For most practical purposes, you can't tell them apart.

Cheers, Geoff

I can't wait for the stylish all-gold with orange top M-Donald (model T).

I think it may be just the GX-80/85 two zoom bundles that are being discontinued (here in the UK at least).

Panasonic UK have just announced a raft of "cash back" discounts including £100 off a GX80/85 with 12-32 kit (giving just under 20% off the typical retail price).

Fuji and Canon have been ratcheting up their UK prices considerably recently so after faffing for the longest time I'm now on the micro 4/3 wagon with Panasonic. First impressions of the GX80/85 + 12-32 reviewed in Lightroom are pretty good. The distortion correction doesn't seem to have as much of an adverse impact on the corners as I'm used to seeing from using Lightroom profiles with my Canon 70D + 15-85....

....and the 12-32 is just so tiny!!!

This is a carry around camera that is small enough and light enough that I really will carry it around, plus it has IQ not far off the APS-C Canons that I'm used to using (maybe better in some instances). I'm liking it enough that the 35-100 mini-zoom and 25 f/1.7 are on their way to me as I write.

Regarding Leica, a few things:

1) Whatever it takes to keep the doors open and R&D funded is fine with me. No one is becoming billionaires off of niche camera manufacturing in Germany. Let them stay in the black however they can.

2) This package is only $1000 more than a non-commemorative combo of the same. Plus, this way you get the classic version of the Summilux.

3) This is all said fully knowing how silly the design is in regard to Jim Marshall. If you were truly making a Jim Marshall edition Leica, it would be a black paint MP with a crate of Tri-X and a note: "Shoot until there isn't any paint left on the camera."

The 12-32mm lens is a fine performer. I bought one to use with my Panasonic G3 when I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with some friends. Needless to say, keeping the weight down for everything was essential for my creaky old knees. Some of my favorite photos were of the thick tropical forests on the lower slopes.

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