Photozone review the Panasonic 12-32/3.5-5.6

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dhazeghi, May 29, 2014.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
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  2. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    I am not sure how important these tests are and if most modern lenses are just good enough. I have this lens and another slightly disparaged lens the Oly 17mm pancake, from these lenses I have prints that are excellent in quality they are 27x20" so not exactly small.
     
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  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    It really depends on your expectations. I daresay the smeary corners of my 14-42X were visible at 16x20. The main takeaway for me though is that contrary to some of the earlier user comments, this is a middling kit-quality lens. What you're paying for is the compactness.
     
  4. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Its just one review, and it has results that are counter to what we have heard before. Maybe they have a bad copy. Most reviews have said its outstanding for a kit lens.
     
  5. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    May 25, 2010
    UK
    Graeme
    My main reference for lens reviews is slrgear.com, as their results generally tally with my own findings whereas Photozone often don't. They've not reviewed the 14-42 Mk II, but the 12-32mm does well compared to the 14-42 PZ and the 14-45mm. I'll have to do some proper comparisons myself at some point between the 12-32mm and the 14-45mm.
     
  6. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    620
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    Good to know that I can trust photozone reviews ;)

    What they see pretty much matches my use of this zoom (if I find that the borders not so bad, but the corners are soft to very soft at 12-14 mm).
    I posted several samples here (16 Mpix impages):
    sample 1
    sample 2
    sample 3

    I had 2 copies of the zoom that were exactly the same in terms of sharpness (that doesn't mean they can't be better copies!)
    The corners are soft when you focus to infinity.
    The distorsion is visible at 12 mm even with correction.

    Don't get me wrong, I still love the lens, but there is no miracle: we are talking about an entry level very compact kit zoom.
    For now, I find the image quality sufficient considering the other advantages of this lens.
     
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  7. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    My thoughts were and are; 'are almost all modern lenses good enough' unless you are looking for imperfections closely how important is it? Now I have in the past an embrace the imperfections person, but I realised it was more of a love of lenses with a bit of character, being a bit of a fan of uncoated lenses especially with colour film. So my feelings on this lens and the 35mm pancake is they are good enough even if not stellar performers.
     
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  8. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I agree, but it's also common to classify things by their flaws. Listen to a fan of classical music talk about recordings. The take away is that virtually all modern lenses impose no serious limits on most people's photography in terms of optical quality. If a smaller lens makes you more likely to take the camera, then it has an advantage over a larger, higher quality lens. If size doesn't bother you, then you will scratch head your head over this. As for Photozone, look at their data which is fairly objective and take their conclusions with a grain of salt.

     
  9. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg


    Agree it is best to ignore photozone. (I keep saying this.) They might be right on the 12-32, by chance, but if you can’t trust them to be right, why bother looking there at all?


    IIRC there is a thread on mu-43.com with sample images showing impressive results.
    https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=56928
     
  10. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I find Photozone lens reviews are spot-on. My #1 choice is Lenstips though. They do more in-depth testing and review. Slrgear would be my least favorites, not detailed enough (flare, coma, contrast, OIS and other critical tests are missing from their reviews).


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
     
  11. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I found Photozone review to be very accurate. It becomes more appreciative as you start to print. When you don't print anything at any given size, it becomes difficult to accept their findings. The problem is with the non-standardized output device we call the "Computer Monitor". Not everyone has the finest display monitor and with differing resolution, we all based our judgement on what monitor we use. If your monitor can not display such fine PPI, then you won't see the imperfections. It's the same with Ming Thein and his Ultraprints. You need something like a D800 and Zeiss lenses to meet such high demand of a resolution the print needs. Does it make all the other Nikkor, Sigma, Tokina and Tamron unusable? Absolutely not as these lenses will easily meet the demand of silver print, lower PPI displays and medium resolution digital prints.

    People who are upset with Photozone review simply do not understand the relationship between input resolution and output resolution and that, the belief that as long as I can capture the highest resolution my pictures will be best! Not so as Vivian Maier's work had been demonstrated, because if you look at her work closely, it is soft and some blurry probably from camera shake. But does it really show on the prints? Not really and her lenses are not really all that top notch. I am sure this 12-32 can beat hers.

    If you understand your final preferred output, you will appreciate what you have.
     
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I have two problems with SLRGear reviews - they use their own made-up measurement ('blur units') and they're inconsistent on what bodies they test the lens on. Their reviews of the 12-32, 14-45 and 14-42 PZ are on 3 different bodies with 3 different sensors. Meanwhile from the measurements, I can understand what the difference between an MTF50 of 2400 lp/ph and 2700 lp/ph equates to in real life. The difference between 1 and 1.5 blur units is another story entirely.
     
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  13. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    May 25, 2010
    UK
    Graeme
    That's a rather insulting comment. I'm not 'upset' with Photozone. My problem with them is that on more than one occasion I've owned pairs of lenses that they have reviewed, yet the lens they have rated as softer is clearly sharper when I test them. Similarly, they might rate a lens as being sharpest at or near wide open yet the lens I own is clearly better stopped down. In general my own results seem to agree with those from slrgear, which is why I prefer that site.
    I'm fine with you having a different opinion, but please don't put people down to try and make your point.
    And with that, I think I've said enough on this thread :)
     
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  14. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    620
    Feb 23, 2014
    France
    My main problem with SLR gear is their resolution graph.
    Every lens has a point where they get "0" (even the 15 mm BCL).
    So I don't know is all they give is relative results (compared to the point where the lens is the best) or if you get the maximum score easily.

    Maybe it's the second guess, because if I take my 45 mm f/1.8, it's clearly sharper in the center when you stop down a little, and that's not what you see on their graph.

    Another problem (with all test sites) being that most of them only test 1 lens, and all lenses are not equal, especially with entry level kit zooms where the quality control is probably quite poor.
     
  15. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David

    First of all, what I said wasn't meant as an insult. I'm not sure why someone would think of that, but you need to understand that the Photozone test is simply to remind us that there is ONLY ONE FOCUS PLANE that is sharp and that is WHAT Photozone is testing for in terms of MTF resolution. I'm sure if someone understands the principle behind Photozone tests, they would not be insulted. Ignorant people may as they believe photography is a 3 dimensional art, which is incorrect. What many of you are testing is basically the BOKEH, which is the quality of the blur of what the lens renders. It is because that only one plane of focus is sharp, the rest is blur and depth of field provides the illusion of sharpness from this blur zone. When you guys are comparing sharpness, that sharpness of one lens to another is basically the comparison of its BOKEH. The lens can not be sharpest or sharper, because if the lens resolves @ say 200 line pairs, then it can only resolve 200 line pairs period at ONLY at the one plane in focus and also the output device must also be able to show 200 line pairs. The problem is with the output device and the resolution of this output device provides a subjectional acuity test, because anything that is in front or behind this ONE PLANE OF FOCUS is your subjective view of the illusion of sharpness, because even a human eye has its own MTF. So, your eyes may not be the same as my subjective view. Have you considered I might have better vision or not so good vision as you do? Isn't this also insulting to everyone that someone vision's ability to judge is the only authorative standards to abide by? Don't we all get a say what we feel we judge sharpness wise including Photozone, because this blur zone is basically that, an illusion of sharpness. As Vincent Versace had said before, if you want to get 4 objects at different distances in a photograph sharp, you NEED to TAKE 4 different photographs and in his seminars, he had always emphasized that it is quality of BLUR that you should focus on not sharpness, because this affects how you capture the subject and the printing process.

    Also please consider this..

    A lens is basically the painting brush for the artist. A razor sharp lens can be very useful for product photography or other technical stuff where you need a lens to resolve the highest line pairs. But the same razor sharp lens may not be appealing for portrait photography where the same lens can record and resolve the pimples, the stretch marks, the human folicle etc which in turn will be edited out for hours with Photoshop and the healing brush. I've done this and so do many professional photographers in the business. Why spend HOURS incessantly editing when you can have a lens that has a creamy soft bokeh that renders the model's face smooth and elegant with minimal healing brush touch up?!? Such a lens is actually very high desirable! Vincent Versace uses the Nikkor 70-210 AF-D lens, a slow consumer lens which is not as high in resolving power as the latest G series set to f/5.6 and he's happy as a clam. Why not a Nikkor 70-200 VR 2? Not everyone needs a razor sharp lens and you only use it when you need it. Some people, however, may feel so insecure that they need to own every darn sharpest lens like the Zeiss Otus to make them feel good. Great! But that's one's opinion. Photozone here is providing an objective view and for some people, this lens is a great benefit. For those who's looking for razor sharp high resolving line pairs, they ought to look at the 12-35 or the 12-40 which I tend to agree.
     
  16. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    bikerhiker, please settle down.

    The problems with photozone tests is that they use borrowed lenses from you and me. That is a terrible sampling technique and well worth ignoring the results. Did I send my lens to them because I am proud of it? Or maybe because I suspect it is not the best? Terrible.

    Try lensrentals. They use populations of lenses for their tests, plus long term familiarity, plus balanced view.
     
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  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Of course lensrental has only reviewed a handful of lens models for each mount, and doesn't exactly go out of their way to make comparisons easy, so their value to anybody researching lenses is limited too. I also really doubt most people sending lenses to photozone have either of the motivations you suggest above - most folks simply are interested to know how their lens does (or doesn't) perform compared to others.
     
  18. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    This is a quote from the Photozone.de website..

    Panasonic published some rather unreal MTFs (contrast & resolution characteristic) on their website.

    Given the manufacturer's own resolution figures, we were, of course, curios how the Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS performed in our lab ... unfortunately somewhat worse than expected really. This originates at least partially in automatic distortion correction. The associated image interpolation decreases border and corner resolution.
    The MTF curves of the lens feel a bit odd to newcomers. Due to the small MFT sensor the peak resolution of the system is usually reached in the f/2.8 to f/4 range. Now, because the lens has an aperture range of max f/3.5-5.6 this results in a decreasing center resolution the more you stop down - simply because of the increasing dampening impact by diffraction. This is a physical effect that cannot be compensated via the optical design.

    Unquote..

    If people were to actually read and understand the actual article rather than get emotionally upset by reading the headlines; perhaps you will not call me emotional and insulting.

    First of all, photography is all about the acceptable blur of in-focus area and out-focus area. Diffraction is an area of acceptable out of focus area. So basically stopping the lens down to f/8, f/11 or even f/22 increases the area of out of focus. It does not make the pictures look sharper or at their sharpest. Diffraction is a physical limitation based on the laws of physics. No optical design I know of to date can completely fix this.

    What Panasonic did was, their MTF chart seemed to DEFY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS! It's not the first though as they made claims of a small 35-100 f/2.8 lens that also seemed to defy the laws of physics, but was later corrected as an error on the part of the rep.

    The problem with Panasonic's chart is that, it suggested that this lens actually performs just as well as a lens that has a wide opening like their Lumix 12-35 X which has a constant f/2.8. Since diffraction happens SOONER with MFT compared to a full frame or APS, the sweet spot for MFT lenses would be in the ranges of f/2.8 to f/4. This I agree. But what Panasonic suggested in their website is that, this lens diffraction rate performs the same as a f/2.8-4 lens. Unless somehow Panasonic discovered a method to defy the laws of physics of optics, this claim went unchallenged until Photozone.de did the tests and proved that, really this kit lens performs like any other kit lens and that is, it can not defy the laws of physics of diffraction. The loss of resolution is due mainly because of the slower aperture -- that's it and that's what the tests confirmed. But there are some people who believe that this lens is like Jesus who walks on water. And that performance tests Photozone conducted was explained away as a sample variation.

    But sample variation can not defy the laws of physics. To suggest that somehow in Panasonic's arsenal there does exist a 12-32 that actually defies the laws of diffraction to give you like a f/2.8-4 lens is no different than a great bible story of Jesus who walks on water. Perhaps he did, but I haven't seen anyone who can walk on water. If we can, than we don't need to learn how to swim! No one said you can not accept faith that Jesus does walk on water which is no different that I called the Jesus of the Panasonic 12-32 which does not suffer from diffraction like other slow aperture kits lenses. Sometimes we need to separate reality from faith.

    These tests simply is a myth buster. Nothing more. Still, the MTF chart shows this lens is a capable performer based on reality.
     
  19. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Almost all of those published MFT charts are theoretical. I guess not everybody knows that.

    Here is an article about sample variation in lenses:
    http://blog.mingthein.com/2014/05/06/qc-and-sample-variations/

    Most tests I've seen show this lens as being a very good kit lens. Here is one with a head to head with the 14-42 PZ:
    http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2014/04/lumix-g-12-32mm-f35-56-review-small-and.html


    Is it one of the better kit lenses for m43? Probably.

    Is it the best kit lens for m43? Maybe yours is. If you are lucky.
     
  20. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    That's right. And so it should be. Yet the photozone quote doesn't say this. Are they really unaware?

    f/2.8-4 from the above quote is simply wrong (too low). Why believe them?