Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our Fears Confirmed: The Panasonic 12-35mm Is Not Optimized For Video

I mentioned in my earlier discussions on the Panasonic lenses that I considered them too expensive. I've read some people defending the pricing in various forums, and I guess I need to remind everyone that m4/3 is a LOT cheaper to design everything for than APS-C or Full Frame. Fewer materials are required and both the design and manufacturing are easier. Moreover, all of the other major brands --Canon, Nikon, Zeiss, etc.-- have the advantage of significant systems with millions of fans. For lack of a better word, their customers will tolerate higher prices for the sake of the brand.

But back to the lenses. I qualified my statements by saying that if the lenses were video optimized in some way, that may negate my criticisms on the price. Video has some significant considerations when designing good lenses, which is one of the reasons why cine lenses cost as much as many cars. Considering that Panasonic has been stressing the video capabilities of the GH3, I thought it reasonable to at least give them the benefit of the doubt vis-a-vis the lenses.

I have been sadly disappointed. The lenses are not at all optimized for video, and in fact have a crippling limitation: non-constant aperture size.

This is a lethal problem. Unless the focal length is adjusted before recording begins, this lens is useless for pro-level video. In fairness, it would be fine for amateur or "soccer mom" type recording, but THAT IS NOT PANASONIC'S MARKET. The market to which Panasonic is selling this camera, and the only market that will ever be interested in this camera, will not and cannot accept this.

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