SLR Gear, an offshoot website of the Imaging Resource, one of the web's most-trusted resources for all things digital photography, has just posted an in-depth review of the new Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6 ASPH lens, which was designed to put the 'micro' into Micro Four Thirds thanks to the optic's extremely small size.
So, how does it do in practice? Short answer: very well.
Optically, the lens is really good. In terms of sharpness, the lens is good throughout the focal range, displaying impressive sharpness at all focal lengths. As an item of note, the ens does have some corner softness, even stopped down, but it is actually very minor and should not be a cause of concern among potential buyers. As for chromatic aberration, vignetting, and distortion, all are very well controlled and should not present any real problems in real-life shooting.
Mechanically, the lens uses an inner-focusing mechanism with a stepping drive motor technology, which results in silent, virtually instantaneous AF. As for manual focusing capability, this is controlled on the camera via the camera body's touch screen as there's no MF ring. To date, the GM1 is the only compatible camera but, in the future, one has reasonable expectation that future cameras will have this compatibility (see also: all digital cameras are disposable). As for construction quality, the lens is made of plastic and collapses in the extreme. At its smallest, the lens measures less than an inch long.
If there is one nitpick on this lens, it is its lack of a manual focusing ring. Besides being a bit awkward for some users, this means that, to date, the GM1 is the only camera that's fully compatible with the lens. Expect that to change in the future, though.
Overall conclusion? Barring the lack of a MF ring, very positive, with SLR Gear going as far as to call the lens a 'stellar' companion to the GM1.
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