I’m going to be upfront with you here… I judge a lens by its ability to deliver professional caliber image quality. That’s it. If I had to use a screw driver to dial in focus but the lens gave me the best image quality available I’d be doing a review on the best screw drivers to use with said lens. Luckily, the Panasonic 35-100mm Lens does not need a fancy screw driver to dial in focus… you can just use the nicely places focus ring.
Does it deliver?
Yes, but you must know how to properly use a telephoto lens. Every now and then I get asked why photographs taken with a telephoto lens don’t turn out as sharp as other photos taken with a shorter focal length lens… the simple answer is that the longer the focal length the more susceptible to camera shake your image is. A quick fix to this is using a tripod to secure your camera or choosing a faster shutter speed (you can increase the ISO if lighting is an issue).
Alright, now that we’ve mastered telephoto lenses then you can feel comfortable knowing this lens will deliver professional quality images with the Micro Four Thirds format. I was very pleased with the soft bokeh and the tack sharp detail that was delivered time after time.
The lens costs about $1,300 but if you’re looking for the best lens then be prepared to shell out $1,000 or greater per lens. It’s got a solid build, it’s small, and it’s light. The zoom is internal so you won’t have to worry about poking your subjects in the face as you zoom in (I’m joking, the lens won’t focus on anything less than about 2.8ft), with an internal zoom there seems to be less of a chance of introducing dust into the lens interior. The lens is considered a “fast” lens because it’s got a constant aperture (it does not matter whether you are at 35mm or 100mm you’ll always be able to use the 2.8 aperture) of f2.8 as opposed to most lenses for the M4/3 format that start at f4 and go to f/5.something as you zoom.
As for build quality it’s slightly less “tough” feeling than the Panasonic 12-35mm/F2.8 lens, because the 12-35mm lens is built with a metal body and the 35-100mm is not, but it still feels like a premium lens (because it is). Both lenses would fall under my “professional caliber” category of lens because of their image quality and the fact that they are dust and moisture resistant. Also, if you’re coming from DSLRs you will be amazed at the size of this thing, it makes Nikon’s 70-200mm lens look and feel like a monster.
If you love this lens then you’ll want to buy its brother, the 12-35mm Panasonic lens that is hands down the best wide zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds format which I reviewed here (the Olympus 12-40mm “pro” lens was just announced and initial impressions is that it’s a great lens… I’ll update this once I’ve put it through its paces).
So what’s your favorite M4/3 lens? If you enjoyed this review be sure to bookmark PhotolisticLife and check back regularly for photography guides, gear reviews, and inspiration. Enjoy!