The 10 Best Panasonic Lenses

Updated June 17, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Here's something for all you dedicated shutterbugs with mirrorless Panasonic camera bodies. If you're looking to improve your landscape, portrait, close-up, distance, or action shots, check out our comprehensive selection of lenses. Offering an array of features to meet any need, they are available at prices suitable for hobbyists through to professionals. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best panasonic lens on Amazon.

10. Lumix G II Vario 100-300mm ƒ/4-5.6

The Lumix G II Vario 100-300mm ƒ/4-5.6 is a solid telephoto zoom option for anyone shooting on a budget. It reaches farther than the majority of the company's offerings, ending at a 600mm equivalent, and its speed and sharpness are admirable.
  • multi-coated elements
  • power image stabilizer
  • focus ring is too stiff
Brand Panasonic
Model H-FSA100300
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Lumix G 100-400mm ƒ/4.0-6.3

If you're headed out on safari, and you need some serious telephoto reach with a ton of clarity to boot, the Lumix G 100-400mm ƒ/4.0-6.3 is your best bet. It's a lot more glass than the majority of shooters require, though, and its price reflects that fact.
  • built-in sliding hood
  • integrated rotary tripod mount
  • suffers from a little vignetting
Brand Panasonic
Model H-RS100400
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

8. Lumix G Vario 14-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.6

The Lumix G Vario 14-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 doesn't offer the fastest performance in the company's lineup, nor will it give you the best control over depth of field. What it does give you is an extensive zoom range that's sharp at almost every point.
  • 10x optical reach
  • good travel option
  • focus gears are a bit noisy
Brand Panasonic
Model H-FS14140K
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

7. Lumix G Vario 12-60mm ƒ/3.5-5.6

For an all-around zoom that can give you a full range of focal lengths, the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 is something you can stick on your camera and leave there all day. Its 24-120mm equivalent will serve you as well in a small room as it will at a sporting event.
  • dustproof sealed body
  • integrated image stabilization
  • somewhat slow at the far end
Brand Panasonic
Model H-FS12060
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Lumix G Leica DG 200mm ƒ/2.8

The Lumix G Leica DG 200mm ƒ/2.8 provides shooters with a telephoto reach that's the full frame equivalent of a 400mm piece of glass. Its focus limiter can be set between three meters and infinity, which drastically reduces hunting.
  • 15 elements in 13 groups
  • focuses very quickly
  • includes a tripod mount
Brand Panasonic
Model H-ES200
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Lumix G 42.5mm ƒ/1.7 ASPH

The Lumix G 42.5mm ƒ/1.7 ASPH is one of the sharpest options, corner to corner, in the company's lineup. It's focal length and skin tone make it ideal for portrait photography, and for covering events like weddings and other parties.
  • equivalent to 85 millimeters
  • 31 centimeter minimum focus
  • hood fits poorly
Brand Panasonic
Model H-HS043K
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. Lumix G II 35-100mm ƒ/2.8

If you want to add a little bit of telephoto distance to your kit, the Lumix G II 35-100mm ƒ/2.8 will give you a 70-200mm equivalent with a fast, constant aperture, allowing it to work tremendously well in low light, even at its longest zoom.
  • splash-proof body
  • compatible with 5-axis stabilization
  • not great for use in tight spaces
Brand Panasonic
Model H-HSA35100
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Lumix G Leica 8-18mm ƒ/2.8-4

The wide angle range of the Lumix G Leica 8-18mm ƒ/2.8-4 combines with glass from one of the photography world's most highly regarded manufacturers and a durable metal body for professional performance at a price that's hard to beat.
  • nano-surface coating
  • silent aperture adjustments
  • freeze-proof to -10 degrees celsius
Brand Panasonic
Model H-E08018
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Lumix G 25mm ƒ/1.7

The Lumix G 25mm ƒ/1.7 shoots at an equivalent full-frame focal length of 50mm. That, combined with its low price point, shallow depth of field, and durability, make it an ideal option for street photography and candid portraiture.
  • quiet autofocus motor
  • weighs just half a pound
  • good low-light performance
Brand Panasonic
Model H-H025K
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Lumix G 12-35mm ƒ/2.8

The Lumix G 12-35mm ƒ/2.8 provides a great everyday focal length that you can take out on the streets or to the beach with your favorite people. Its constant 2.8 aperture makes it your best choice for mid-range photography in low light.
  • sealed metal body
  • dual image stabilization
  • four aspherical elements
Brand Panasonic
Model H-HSA12035
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

The Micro Four-Thirds Sensor Explained

If you’ve ever shot anything on film, whether through a high-end SLR or a cheap, analog point-and-shoot, you’ve likely done so on 35mm film. From roughly the late 1960s to today, 35mm has been the dominant film format. Obviously, the digital revolution in photography has taken a big bite out of its prominence and production, but it’s worth nothing that the most sought-after DSLR cameras on the market use a sensor size — commonly referred to as full-frame — that matches the dimensions of 35mm film.

The dimensions of a digital sensor have more to do with your overall image quality than pretty much any other feature. Generally speaking, larger sensors perform better in low light conditions. Their individual pixels are correspondingly larger than those in a smaller sensor, so they can absorb more light information where little is available. Bigger sensors also exhibit greater dynamic range, allowing you to see more detail in areas of an image that a smaller sensor would leave underexposed or blown out. More sensor area can also pack more pixels together if the ability to blow up an image is important to you, and they do so without sacrificing much of their other performance bonuses.

The advantages of larger sensors become most apparent when comparing images from a DLSR and a cell phone or a point-and-shoot digital camera. The former have more detail, a dramatic sense of depth, and a professional appearance, while the latter often look like they were shot by somebody’s technologically illiterate grandparent.

The four-thirds sensor derives its name from both its size and its aspect ratio. It measures 4/3 of an inch (18mm) long, and maintains an aspect ratio of 4:3. A full frame sensor, by comparison, maintains a 3:2 aspect ratio with a length of 36mm. Clearly, full-frame has its advantages over the four-thirds format, but APS-C sensors, the closest thing on the market to full-frame, aren’t actually that much larger than a four-thirds sensor. That means you’re getting as close to professional quality as possible from a sensor with a tone of consumer-friendly features. By further comparison, most cell phones boast a 1/3-inch sensor, much smaller than four-thirds.

If you think the micro four-thirds sensor is any smaller than its four-thirds predecessor, you’d be mistaken, at least in the sense of it sensitive area. The four-thirds sensor design was deeper, as it allowed for the mirror necessary for SLRs and many DSLRs to relay an image to the viewfinder. The micro four-thirds format is just as long and just as wide as four-thirds, but it functions without a mirror, and take up far less depth.

Why Buy Branded Lenses

It’s not uncommon, given the variety of the industry’s cameras and lenses, to see photographers and filmmakers using one brand of lens on another brand of body. Some shooters make the jump from one brand body to the next, or from one size sensor to the next, and they don’t want to sacrifice the expensive lens collections they’ve developed.

The biggest problem here is one of matching specifications. For the majority of photographic history, lenses were hand-ground, which led to inconsistencies. Stanley Kubrik, who started as a still photographer before becoming a filmmaker, would order a dozen lenses from a company and test them all out, keeping only one or two of the units that performed to his exacting standards.

Today’s cameras and lenses are made with an incredible degree of precision, however, and while this saves consumers a lot of trouble picking from among lenses, it creates more problems for users trying to mix and match their gear. Despite this, cost and convenience often lead shooters to apply one brand’s lens to another brand’s camera.

This kind of behavior is particularly common in the micro four-thirds realm, since Panasonic and Olympus share the format and a lot of technology and specifications. Tossing an Olympus lens on a Panasonic body might be the only instance where mixing brands is actually a good idea. In all other cases, you’re courting disaster.

The reason for this danger lies in the tremendous precision of modern photographic equipment, and it’s related to our discussion of sensor size. If you try to put a Nikon lens that’s designed for a full-frame sensor on a Panasonic body, you’re going to run into several problems.

The first is that the mounts won’t match, though you could easily solve this problem with a good adapter. The next problem is one of crop factor. Due to the difference in sensor size, a 35mm full-frame lens will perform at an effective focal length of 70mm on a four-thirds sensor, making capturing wide angle shots tremendously difficult. Along those same lines, you’ll find your third problem, namely that you’re going to lose a lot of the light that the lens takes in as it fails to hit a sensor that's too small for its throw.

You could always go with third party lenses that are specifically designed for a Panasonic body and its sensor, but these will present you with the same problems that arise any time you try to save money on electronics by going with a cheaper, off-brand option. Off-brand lenses will generally be less durable, and will produce lower-quality images.

Rise Of The GH Series

Panasonic and Olympus have consistently produced some of the most technologically advanced, user-friendly, and high-quality consumer cameras to date. Their success in the mirrorless approach was a big inspiration for Sony to create their mirrorless alpha series.

Panasonic made a big splash in the professional market with their GH4, however. This micro four-thirds mirrorless DSLR had the ability to record in 4K before any other DSLR on the market. What’s even more impressive is that it could record that high-resolution video directly to the memory card. Even as other companies tried to catch up, they often required an outboard recorder to track 4K.

The company then came out with the GH5, which has taken a lot of what made the GH4 special, and has improved upon it, all built around their impressive sensor.

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Last updated on June 17, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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