Panasonic 7-14mm tested by CameraLabs. And issues on the 12-35mm X stabilization system?

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Strange Panasonic 12-35mm Shakiness (w/14-140mm comparison), GH3 on tripod, image stabilization is off, manual mode, shown @200% from John Bklyn.NYC on Vimeo.

CameraLabs (Click here) just posted the full Panasonic 7-14mm lens review. The lens got a “Highly Recommended” mark by Gordon (the reviewer). So far s good but…there is also a not so good news for Panasonic. A DVXuser forum member sent me the link to his post where he explains an issue encountered on the 12-35mm X lens. Apparently the IS remains active even if you set it as “off”. And that’s a real issue for long exposure pics and causes a “shimmer” on the image. There is an example you can see here at http://vimeo.com/59358100 (video is also embedded on top).
The tester came to the conclusion that “this lens is not very suitable for tripod work or still photography with long exposures“.

UDPATE: A very detailed report of the issue is also available at Personal View Forum. There are more videos to watch like this one:

Panasonic 12-35mm Shakiness (Test #2 w/new lens) — unacceptable image jitter on tripod even when IOS is turned off from John Bklyn.NYC on Vimeo.

I hope Panasonic acknowledges it!

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Store price check links for the…
Panasonic 7-14mm lens at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay Panasonic 12-35mm lens at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay

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  • Bob B.

    I am not surprised with the review of the 7-14mm….AND it is great that a lens this old can still withstand the critique with the newer bodies with only minor flaws. I love mine..and it still works like a charm on my GX1 and OMD (although I have not noticed any flare issues with my Oly body…I will have to look into that…
    ..I would be happier if it was offered in silver though (just kidding).

    I wonder if the Pany X 2.8 Zoom can be turned off if Panasonic offers some kind of firmware fix. That is kind of a pretty big deal killer for many. I know I would not purchase one as I do a lot of tripod work. Great to find out about the problem tho. This website can be very useful!!!!!

    • ED

      It interesting to know u are not facing the ghosting issue this lens has been reported to show with the OM-D. This happens when you have a bright source in the frame usually.

      I hope Oly releases an ultra wide prime sometime soon.

      • Bob B.

        Hmmm…I am not saying I don’t have it …I want to test some specific lighting to see if I do….So…the OMD sensor is to blame…or what …this is the first I have heard about this …what would cause it?

  • Thats a disaster if true. Firmware fix?

  • Yun

    Not suitable for tripod & long exposure works , fine cause I don’t belong to such works .
    The reason why I don’t buy in the lens is because it not quite suitable in low night photography considering the luxury price tag , it should able to .
    Damn , just learned from NewCamera , GX2 likely to have GH3 sensor . This is disappointing , let’s boycott this product if it turn out to be true .

    • Garypen

      Huh? Boycott which product, GH3 or GX2? And, more importantly, why????

      • MJr

        The GH3 sensor is great for video, but for photo it could be better …

        • Sensor is perfectly fine.
          jpeg engine is questionable and the last time I checked, in-body noise redux is not as aggressive as that of Olympus.

          Compare all the latest m43, I mean all of them, shoot raw with honest technique and honest post process again with honest technique and let the debate rage over academic arm chair hair splitting…

    • JF

      I use the 12-35 f2.8 with E-M5 and I never had any problem with long exposure !!!
      Exemple of a 10 s exposure shot, OIS of the lens is off, IBIS on:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/j-f_leguen/7735180734/

  • Duarte Bruno

    The apparent explanation on this behaviour isn’t in the IS still being active. The issue seems to be in a magnetic field that holds one of the elements in place, thus it happens whether IS is on or OFF.
    I’m not expecting an easy fix is this is really the issue. :(

    • > I’m not expecting an easy fix is this is really the issue. :(

      And I can imagine why it would affect the f/2.8 lens but not the f/4.0-5.6 – the IS element is larger/heavier in the f/2.8 lens. The size compromise rears its ugly head, now not only in the IQ.

  • d3xmeister

    No word about AF. I bet that with AF turned off the lens won’t wobble.

    • MJr

      Using AF for a test like this would be idiotic. Somebody with a GH3 and 12-35 is probably not an idiot.

  • Garypen

    The 12-35 issue may be a defect in the reviewer’s copy. One would think that an inherent flaw this major would have been discovered a little sooner.

    • MJr

      Indeed, maybe just a broken switch.

  • Dan Carter

    This is a misrepresentation of the real issue! This issue has occurred for a few documented users (me included) when the lens is pointed down, and cropped to 200-300% (unlikely in real world). There is no evidence indicating it has anything to do with OIS.

    I’ve used this lens almost exclusively, for six projects, since August 2012. None of them has suffered from this issue, and the lens remains my favorite.

    It would be a shame to see this lens villainized due to the misrepresented grumblings of a few users.

    • Anonymous

      This stems from the fact that panny didn’t address the pancake zoom double image issue probably. So now when they have a minor issue with future lens, things will get exaggerated.
      When they ignore problems with past lenses, they start to earn a bad rep

    • John Bklyn.NYC

      I respect that the lens falls within your acceptable range for use, but to be fair I think using the word “villainize” is a bit uncharitable.

      Truism: lenses should be able to produce stable images when securely locked down on a tripod. This goes for all lenses whether they are $120 or $1200. I hope no one seriously disagrees with this statement. (And we don’t know what is causing the issue until Panasonic can diagnose it correctly for us. Until then, conjecture is forgivable, in my book.)

      As for “few users” — well, we don’t yet know how many users are affected, do we?

  • Rinaldo

    @ d3xmeisterNew @ GarypenNew… Nope! Everyone that tested got the same problem, no matter AF, IS, GH2 or GH3… The tester exchanged his lens a couple of times, same thing. There is a specific position for the camera that it is more noticeable.

  • PW

    A similar issue happened to me with this video I shot with the 12-35 mm built in IS off, and the OM-D stabilization on: http://professionalwatches.com/2013/01/sihh_2013_cartier_mysterious_t.html

    It could have been me, but I think it is the lens.

    • PW

      @Alan, yours has the same problem.

  • seadragon

    My 12-35 copy has this issue. It only happens if the camera is pointing down. Here is a video I just did with it:

    http://youtu.be/AcbA-GDB5V4

    I tested my 35-100 also and it does NOT exhibit this problem.

    • PW

      @seadragon – that is a good observation, my video I linked to above was definitely in the down shooting position, but it doesn’t seem to happen as much is the shooting is horizontal. Still, this is silly for a $1200 lens.

  • Sam Waldron

    7-14mm looks good, the comparison vs the Olympus 12mm is odd though – the Olympus does not really sharpen up as stopped down.

    My Olympus 12mm is quite a lot better than that, although I did try two copies.

  • Mr. Reeee

    No surprises with the 7-14mm review. It’s truly a great lens and one of the M4/3 system defining lenses!

    It’s a shame to hear about problems with the 12-35mm. Hopefully it’ll be fixable with a firmware update and we can all move on… ;-)

    • PW

      The 12-35 mm is very good except for this video problem.

    • No surprises with the 7-14mm review. It’s truly a great lens and one of the M4/3 system defining lenses!
      – ever seen those purple artifacts? Every d**mn shot with 7-14 in Narrows trail in Zion park was ruined by EXTENSIVE purple sh**t!

      • WSG123

        That’s the only reason I don’t own this lens.

      • Post processing with Lightroom helps you to get rid of the purple fringing. It’s not a reason to shun an otherwise excellent lens.

        • It’s not fringing, so it can be barely reduced in PP.

  • Paul Alexander

    I would recommend that Panasonic Issue a Voluntary Recall or Swap program IMMEDIATELY.
    I seriously doubt this a firmware fixable issue.
    Good job on the samples and responses !

  • Rapscallion

    Issue with 12-35 lens confirmed over here. Using with GH3 for product photos where camera is angled down anywhere from 20 to 50 degrees.

    I first started to visibly notice when setting the manual zoom assist to 10x. I thought that my tripod or hands were possibly not stable enough, even though I’m using a remote shutter release. Now I know the real reason.

    My pics look decent, but not as sharp as expected for the price.

    Panasonic should offer a recall and replacement after they sort this out.

  • andrew

    First the shutter induced image blurriness with the 14-42 X lens, now this.
    What is going on at Panasonic?

    And why don’t they care to fix these?

    • Paul Alexander

      To reiterate my incessant refrain….
      “The don’t fix it because enough customers by these ‘beta’ products to keep them afloat. If we order a BOYCOT until Panasonic fixes the obvious issues, they will pay attention to us and knowing that it will hurt their business, they will fix.
      Praying for firmware fixes and product upgrades is a losing proposition friends.

  • jazzcrab

    This should not happen with such an expensive lens. I will wait for the fast Olympus zoom announced and see how this fares. I do not need the OIS with my E-M5.

    • 4646

      If you think this is expensive wait an see what Olympus will charge for its fast lenses lol.As far as I am concerned the 12-35 is not a high grade lens it is uses software crutches far too much maybe the concentrated too much on keeping it small rather than image quality.Even though I expect the Olympus lenses to be more expensive I will also wait and see

  • gf

    i hope this is not present in the 35-100mm lens, as i am quite interested in getting that in the near future..

  • Will

    Wow, I do long exposures often, I was considering this lens with the 25mm f1.4 and an OMD (next one) as a kit but this is crazy bad.

  • JF

    Maybe the problem can be fix just by…swiching on the OIS ? Anybody did the same test with OIS on ?

    • seadragon

      I tested with both OIS on and off and the results are the same.

      • JF

        :(

        • JJDSGVR

          I have used the 12-35 for long exposure landscape shots with no problems . I will post links to RAW files later on today.

          • JF

            Me too, I never noticed any problem before with long exposure but now, I wonder if there is a loss of sharpness with long exposure…I will make a test to see

  • blohum

    “The tester came to the conclusion that ‘this lens is not very suitable for tripod work or still photography with long exposures’.”

    So, he didn’t come to the conclusion that it might just be an issue with his lens?

    • John Bklyn.NYC

      Hello everyone,

      I’m the original poster of the video.

      I’d like to clear a few things up:

      1) After I found the fault with my 12-35mm lens, I returned it and purchased a new one, thinking that it was simply a busted lens. The second one exhibited the same problem, albeit it to a lesser extent. There are varying degrees (no pun intended) to this issue, and many users have reported that their lens(es) are totally fine.

      2) The jitters only occurred in about 2/3 of my test shots. Sometimes you’re totally fine. And on horizontally level shots the jitter rarely occurs.

      3) To reiterate: since I ran my tests and posted these videos, many users have reported that their 12-35mm are totally fine. This is good news. ** Glass half-full**, folks.

      4) I am not a professional camera tester and I’m not on a witch hunt. Hey, I happen to LIKE Panasonic — A WHOLE LOT. I hope that everyone who owns this lens will test for themselves and decide whether or not the lens is within their tolerances.

      I no longer own the lens, but will hopefully get a copy soon once people with much more camera testing smarts than me determine what causes this. And if this is simply a result of user error, I will be a very happy man because no fix would be needed.

      Best of luck to everyone.

      John

      • blohum

        Thanks for the detailed explanation John… out of interest, were both your copies from the same supplier? It could just be a dodgy batch of lenses affected if other people are not experiencing this… I hope you manage to find a good copy soon!

        • John Bklyn.NYC

          blohum,

          My first lens (serial prefix XT2LD) was purchased from Amazon in early January. My second lens I tried and returned (XT2JD) was from B&H Photo.

          John

  • poster

    I noticed, solution is to go to the menu and turn OIS off in there too

    • seadragon

      This is interesting! Which camera body are you using? The GH3 does not have an “Off” setting for OIS unfortunately.

    • JF

      I did the test and I have the shake effect…how do you turn OIS off in the menu, on which camera ? I think on E-M5 it’s not possible…

    • VO

      I think in GF1 this is possible through menu settings. Could someone please test the issue with a GF camera. I think it would mean that a firmware would be possible.

      • VO

        …i meant firmware fix could be possible:)

  • Eskil

    This problem is neglible in most circumstances… the ois is one of the best I’ve seen and makes the lens extremely usefull. Perhaps not the best for product photography, but for handheld video it’s really really good.

  • Anonymous

    Damn! Was thinking of getting GH3 + the two 2.8 zooms. Now this problem comes up. Will be a big personal investment for me so if this problem is a real manufacturing defect, I’m going to hold off purchasing until there is a fix. These aren’t cheap kit lenses where I’ll just “learn to deal with it”! So many QC issues with all brands lately :(

  • I have both the 12-35 and the 35-100.

    I’ve been very happy with both in the few weeks I have had them. Very good lenses that compare well in most respects to the Nikkors I use on my ‘big’ cameras.

    I don’t shoot video though (at least not in any sort of serious way) so perhaps this issue is less likely to affect me. I have seen no evidence of it yet in any case.

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