The Panasonic Lumix 35-100mm f2.8 Zoom Lens Review

A hands-on review and test of the Panasonic zoom 35-100mm f2.8 Lumix ASPH “X Vario” lens.
In association with ePHOTOzine –

My M4/3 Blog:


Terry Staines says:

Weighing up all the pros and cons of M4/3 I’m seriously thinking of switching from my dslr but i own a Canon 60d with battery grip and mainly shoot motorsport as i live close to brands hatch and landscapes. With that in mind do you think m4/3 would suit my needs David? 

zoomfx777 says:

Hi David, Always a solid review and your working knowledge as a photographer is spot on. Thank you!

Quentin Cooper says:

I wonder what its like compared to the Canon 70-200mm (same equivalent used with a GH2). I imagine the OIS would be better on this than on the Canon although tthe Canon has two modes depending on which way you are panning.
Plastic doesnt do it for me, but if it does the job well Im not picky. The Panny 14-140 rocks even if it looks and feels crap.

Jan Pitman says:

Thanks, another great video! Transitioning (slowly) from Nikon DSLR to Micro 4/3 (pro photographer), and have settled on the Olympus E-M1 after trying the GH4 (personal preference, not the specs). For lenses – this ones seems to be perfect, combined with the 12-35 2.8. Keep posting like that please, your 7 minutes here were more helpful then other 30 minute “reviews”.

Billy Hughes says:

I really want a telephoto for my G7. The Lumix 14-140mm seems a very good option and is cheaper than the 35-100mm, but already owning the 12-35mm has spoiled me a bit for that better build quality/fit and finish. Hmmm,….the price is really the only think holding me back, but,…probably not for much longer.

David Thorpe says:

The C_AF is never the strong point on MFT cameras because the contrast system they use has to go past the focus point and then back (maybe several times) to find the point of maximum contrast. So, C-AF is as good with this lens as any (better than some) but will always lag behind good DSLRs.
Even so, for 90% of the time the C-AF is beyond criticism but with fast moving subjects, ones moving towards or away from the camera that 10% comes into play. It’s not bad but better would be better!

Dolharubang1 says:

Thanks for the clean and simple review.

Seb Biddle says:

Fantastic, fantastic channel, thanks David!

igetsmart says:

Thanks David for a great review. You got me sold 🙂 now a quick question – I see I can get it from Japan the Import version from Ebay at $1000 or B&H US model for $1498 – Ebay sellers seems to be trusted or over 1000 sales at 99.6% satisfaction. I wonder why so much difference ? Would you get the Import version ? If it was body then I would go with US model but I am thinking lens should not matter – but still wondering about the price difference but at $500 savings import model is tempting

Chris Williams says:

I’ve just laid out for this lens on eBay – the guy selling it is ‘trading up’ to what I was waiting on and hovering about – the Olympus 40-150 f2.8. As I have the smaller stable mate [the 12-40 f2.8], I’d expect the new optic to be tack-sharp, fast focusing and incredibly well built. Along with that stellar construction quality, it also of course has a useful 50mm [100 in 35 equ terms] of reach over the Panny.

So, sight unseen, I expect it to be a ‘better’ lens. So why am I still not waiting? I won’t deny price comes into the calculation – the Panasonic has come down a bit [I’ve got a decent price on what will soon be mine] and the Olympus is a fair bit more expensive. But the thing that really cinched it? Well I’ve already got the Oly 50-200 f2.8-3.5. True that does trombone, it goes out to f3.5 at the longer end and it is not a native MFT lens – which means whilst it does OK on my EM1, it’s not lightning quick.

But it is sharp and like the 40-150 relatively large. And relatively heavy. There’s the rub: If find if I need it for something I carry it around, but I don’t do so routinely. And with the 35-100, I can’t think why I wouldn’t. Which is why I moved to MFT in the first place…

exwhyz33 says:

The Lumix FZ200 comes with a single F2.8 constant aperture lens.  So we know Panasonic CAN make such lenses.

Bob Jones says:

The perfect lens for sporting events or places where you can’t walk around and get closer to your subjects. Decent in low light too. I know it sounds silly but JPEG photos with 2-4x digital zoom came out much better than I expected for 200-400mm shots. I suppose you could just crop the picture and get similar results though. 😉

I have the 12-32mm Kit lens that came with the Gx85. Along with the 25mm f1.4 and this 35-100mm f2.8. Nice all-around range, DOF and low-light package. All fits in a medium sized camera bag with a shoulder strap, weighing about 3 pounds total. Pretty nice!

hereo zero says:

The AF on the 35-100mm seems very fast on S-AF, but what about C-AF? is the C-AF fast and accurate on your GH3?

David Thorpe says:

You’re welcome but there’s more to a picture than bokeh!

powermichiel says:

Hi David,
Thx for inspiring me to take a look at the MFT-system as a substitution for my 12KG backpack. I have recently received my GH4 and i couldn’t have imagined how much pleasure this little camera has already brought back to me. I was quite fed up.
What struck me most is the sheer fun this camera brings to photography. It is very easy to operate and it is a complete, very well built and light package.
I ordered a panasonic 35-100 lens today and i am already very happy with my 12-35. The smoothness of the focus and zoom-ring are a joy and a relief to use during filming if you compare them with Canon lenses. The only drawback so far is a little loss in dynamic range for stills and less DOF. But hey, the AF on the 5DII is an embarrassment compared to the GH4 so at the end of the day, the success-rate with the GH4 is much higher dan with the 5DII. Add the weight, price and versatility on top of that and i am a very happy camper !
Last but certainly not least; the GH4 is VERY unobtrusive ! When i take it out of my bag, i am just another guy with a camera. Awesome !! Nobody even notices me walking around, taking ambush-shots on the streets of… wherever ! One of the biggest drawbacks of the big Canon (hence the name i guess), is that whenever and wherever you present it, it draws everybody’s attention to it. It is an attention-magnet ! Not only to the common people but also for the shady people. When you travel with a big Canon with several lenses to for instance Africa or anywhere outside Europe, you need to be focussed on your stuff all-the-time. Because when it’s gone, it’s bad luck and the insurance won’t cover the damage. You need to think about what hotel you go to, if the safe is big enough, are the windows sturdy, etc, etc, etc.
But i am back now and i am enjoying photography again ! 
Thank you !

VIBECK 87 says:

Panasonic 35-100 or Olympus 45-150 (F2.8 both) ?? 

ceeloc says:

will this lens be good with a gh5 to shoot hidden camera pranks?

TheFisham says:

hi there,im currently using 14-45mm lense with my gh3 which i own it for a month and still struggling to get a good shot at,do you think this lense would help?and the price is more than £600 so i need to do a complete survey thanks

Malachi O' Doherty says:

I am getting sharper images from this lens on my GM1 than on my G6. Is there any logical reason for this? (I know this is another daft question.)

jsm666 says:

12-35mm, 35-100mm, 100-300mm – Three lenses to rule them all, pretty much. Just how big a reproduction do you need to make before APS-C or FF sensors show an advantage over M4/3? I’m not sure an enthusiast like me, who never goes beyond 5×7 glossies or a laptop screen, is going to notice much of a difference.

Also, do I understand correctly that Panasonic and Olympus M4/3 lenses and bodies are completely interchangeable in all their important aspects? (i.e. excluding specific proprietary features, but including the ability to signal their aperture status and identity to the camera and successfully & appropriately execute autofocus and aperture orders).

Some of these camera/lens combinations are beginning to approach the size of the smaller film SLRs, but there’s no doubt that even an APS-C DSLR body/lens combo in the equivalent focal lengths would be MUCH bigger.

I sense the end of the compact camera coming. Between smartphone cameras becoming increasingly capable (especially with clip-on lens elements) and M4/3 with a good basic kit zoom, there’s depressingly little space remaining. The one thing the compacts still have going for them is a flat profile with zoom lenses and an internal flash.

David Thorpe says:

The limitation is one of the method itself. My E-PL5, GX7 and GH3 all perform pretty much the same. But for fast moving unpredictable subjects none could match the Pentax K5 I had a while ago.

Quentin Fichet says:

Hi David, thanks for your great videos. You have a unique take on reviews which is greatly appreciated.
I’m an OMD user and looking for a fast telephoto… do you think the extra weight and size of the oly 40-150 2.8 is worth the extra 50mm compared to the Panasonic 35 100 2.8? Can a teleconverter + 35 100 2.8 pull it off? Cheers

Yoko Kurama says:

So even at 100m you can use f2.8?

kyle87t says:

So… 35-100 2.8 vs the 14-140 mark 2?

powermichiel says:

Thx !

moustachestores says:

Hello David,
I just don’t get it, why is it so blurry at 4:06 ? aperture effects the DOF, but also effects the sharpness of the image ?
What if its a low light situation and I want to shoot my video with maximum zoom with f2.8, how should I avoid softness in this situation?
I really appreciate your reply the soonest because I am thinking of buying this lens.  
Thank you 

RodC14 says:

Hello David,
I am about to invest seriously in my M4/3 based on the lumix GX7 with the purchase of the two f2.8 zooms, 12-35 and 35-100 rather than my Pentax K30.  I took this decision mainly due to weight and travel.  Can I expect to get similar IQ with these two zooms as with equiv. zooms on a APS-C based camera?
I see you have made the jump to M4/3 from larger formats and would like to benefit from your advice.

Pedros Pedroski says:

Hi David! I’m begining videographer buliding up my dream gear (wish to do weddings) and found myself folowing your advices almost 100%. I’ll be getting both 12-35 and 35-100 I am current owner of Olympus 45mm 1.8f I do like low light performance but missing flexibility of zoom lens.  Do yourself owning now 35-100 still find a lot of use for Olympus lens? Thanks

Bob Lorrimer says:

Thank-you for your well reasoned report….before I commit to the relatively expensive X lenses can you tell me if the OIS ‘jitters’ in Video mode.  (I am a Videographer and I want to move over to MFT  Gh4.     No longer have the strength to lug the indestructible Canon 70-200 2.8 around!

Dave Patterson says:

Does the “constant aperture” cause exposure shifts like the not-so-constant aperture of the 12-35mm Lumix lens? I love the 12-35mm, but exposure shifts when zooming are problematic and have ruined a few shots. I just can’t trust the 12-35 when zooming for consistent expsoure.

Levi Holiman says:

All the info I needed. Thank you. 

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers says:

beautiful lens. tough to decide between this and the 12-35. Is this one also parfocul? that would be a deal breaker for me

Lakes Photographer says:

My E-PL5 tends to do it ridiculously fast! Even in low light conditions!

Jonathan Pellicano says:

what are the best lenses for a gh4 shortfilm and aerial video (caribbean)

Gee Games says:

Did they fix the OIS jitter problem?

Abhishek Shah says:

Hey I need help, I’m buying the Gh4 but the lens option has got me confused. Should I buy the Canon 70-200 and use a metabones speedbooster with it or buy the native Lumix 35-100? Which one would produce a sharper image with little/no vignetting. Sharpness is my main criteria. Also, which speedbooster would be better, .64 or the .71 considering I’d only use the full frame lenses.

Artisan Samoyed says:

The 12-35mm 2.8 and 35-100mm Panasonic lenses are metal construction with rubberized zoom rings and a metal mount. The body is not made out of plastic like the 7-14mm/100-300/etc. are. 

David Thorpe says:

The lens will be the same but I assume that the difference, if the US is the same as the UK (I am assuming you are in the USA), is that by importing direct, you avoid US customs duties and taxes. The danger is that the package gets opened and duty has to be paid. Also that possibly Panasonic would not honour the warranty. Not that I’ve ever known a lens go wrong. A decision only you can make, I think!

Charlie JEONG says:

Thanks for wonderful review. Question….I shoot landscape which means I always stop down. What telephoto lens would you recommend? This 35-100 f2.8 should be very good but I really dont need 2.8, any other alternative panasonic or olympus lens you would recommend in terms of image quality when stopped down. Thanks

MrVoayer says:

You said it all.
You showed it all.
That 35-100 lens accompanied with 12-35 one would cover 95% of all my needs.
Thank you David.  

Keith Spillett says:

I am continually blown away by the performance of Panasonic’s optics. I have Panasonic and Nikon kits, but find myself returning to the M43 more often than I would have expected. I love your videos by the way.

Saurat says:

You mentioned a fantasy 12-200mm lens towards the end of the video David, well, we now have the Olympus 12-100mm Pro lens. Pretty much the only lens I’d ever need, at least 90% of the time. At well over a grand (probably) I’ll never get to try it, alas.

David Thorpe says:

Clean and simple is exactly what I aim for – thanks for putting it so well.

EvilBlizzard says:

How does it perform in low light David ?


The question remains…”Did they fix the OIS jitter problem?”, contrary to the statement here that the “OIS works just fine”, I have been unable to find objective information anywhere regarding the jitter question.

Good still image review!! Thanks

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