Panasonic G5 - Panasonic 12-35mm - Panasonic "Dream Team?"

I wrote a piece recently about whether the Olympus OM-D E-M5 + 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom could be considered the m4/3 "Dream Team". Well here's something that might run it close  and certainly at this moment in time probably qualifies as the best 100% Panasonic combination you can use.

This combination of lightning fast AF, lens stabilisation and electronic shutter is certainly capable of extremely sharp results, and as far as my work is concerned, allows me to shoot at the apertures I want, no matter what the circumstances, knowing that any shutter speed down to about 1/30th. sec. will be pin sharp. While other lenses may not be far off the 12-35mm's optical performance when mounted on a tripod, hand-held outdoors this camera / lens combination works so well that unlike the indoor set-up shots, the benefits of the lens become clear. Certainly, I've found that the pictures I create with it on the G5 are just about the sharpest I've ever taken on m4/3. 

Regarding the electronic shutter, I've taken to switching on a sound that indicates its firing. Since it is completely silent, its sometimes difficult to know whether I've taken a shot or not when I've got instant review switched off, which I do often as it shuts off the viewfinder / screen to display the image. This is a problem when shooting multi-images for panoramas. Particularly if I've only got a small window of light to get the shots.

Today saw the announcement of a new Fuji interchangeable lens camera and the release of some firmware to make the old one work better (Not before time?). Using the G5, I've realised just how good it is compared to all the nonsense I went through with the X-Pro1. Plus, while it obviously goes against what many people (mistakenly in my opinion) believe about the X-Pro 1's image quality, I like the G5 files a lot better. While the Fuji wins hands down at higher ISO's, and despite improvements the G5 is still not particularly good at this, at the low ISO settings I use the G5 takes some beating. The 12-35mm lens is also a wonderful piece of engineering and I'm still impressed by how well it handles. The "stuff it in your pocket" brigade won't like it at all, but if, like me, you like well constructed lenses that feel solid in your hand then the 12-35mm is up there with the best of them. 

It is somewhat different to other m4/3 lenses and certainly has the best "feel" of any of them I've used. It does have the same tactile presence as a "legacy" prime and despite being a fast zoom, is still amazingly small and light for that class of lens. When I first got it, I wrote that it reminded me of some of the larger Zeiss m-mount lenses and I certainly still feel the same way about it. The G5 is still the usual Panasonic G series polycarbonate look and feel, and while with my experience of previous Panasonic bodies I have no reason to doubt that they are made well, adding the 12-35mm does give the outfit an added dimension. Not quite up to Leica standards but getting there. Unlike other cameras that "flatter to deceive" the G5 has no 'lookaleica" pretensions and the G series apart from the GF1 and GX1, have all tended to go their own way and follow this design pattern. I'm certainly not a great fan of this miniature DSLR or bridge camera look, but it works and certainly the more I use it the more I like the new grip. Olympus re-invented the small DSLR with the OM-D and it would be nice if the GH3 followed that pattern, though I suspect its going to look very similar to the G5 with a sturdier body. 

The G5 is another decent addition to the G family tree and certainly to my mind, is a significant improvement on the G3. Its got some great new features under the hood and shows the slow and steady development that Panasonic are making with their sensor. Obviously they have to respond to the slight improvements that Olympus made possible with their Sony sensor in the OM-D, but from what I've seen there is actually very little difference between that and the G5. 

I'm waiting for the 35-100 f/2.8 companion lens to the 12-35mm and I'm hoping that it isn't going to be that much bigger and heavier than its wider counterpart. Those two lenses will just about be everything I need for what I do. Not because I need the speed, but because the "sweet" apertures will start much wider than on the "slower" zooms. Plus, of course, with what I'm presuming will be the same construction values, the 35-100m should be another great lens to handle. 

So is the G5 + 12-35mm the Panasonic "Dream Team?" well yes, I think it is. 

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