Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 Handling and features

For a lens covering a range stretching into super-telephoto territory, this optic is remarkably light weight and compact. Even so it can feel a little large when used on one of the more compact Micro Four Thirds bodies, such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 used for testing.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6

High quality plastics have been used for much of the lens barrel's construction and the lens mount is metal. The zoom action is smooth, and zoom creep isn't an issue as the zoom mechanism has just enough resistance to prevent the lens travelling forward on its own when pointed downwards.

Focusing is performed internally, so the 52mm filter thread doesn't rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters. Autofocus is reasonably quick in single focus mode in good light, although it may struggle to keep up when attempting to track moving subjects. The manual focus ring is well damped, which makes fine adjustments quite easy to apply.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6

The optical image stabiliser allows sharp hand held images to be taken at shutters speeds as low as 1/50sec at 200mm, which is around three stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would allow otherwise.

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