Panasonic 12-60: The Queen of Lumix Kit Lenses

The Panasonic Lumix 12-60 f/3.5 – 5.6 is a kit lens I got bundled with the G85. It also ships with the G95, and sometimes the G9 and GH5. When I declare that this lens has a place among the “Royals” of lenses, I’m referring to the class of Panasonic Lumix and Olympus non-pro lenses.

Price

This lens is going for $500 on Amazon and you can find it used for around $270 on sites like KEH. If you’re looking at this lens and also need a camera, I recommend picking it up with a bundle as it’s a much better bargain.

Competition

12-32mm – Check out this comparison video.

14-42mm (and 14-45mm) – The 12-60 is wider and 18mm longer.

Build Quality

MountThe lens mount is made of metal and includes a weather-sealed rubber gasket
Zoom RingThe zoom ring is wide and smooth, but it wouldn’t hurt if it was smoother
Focus Ring The focus ring is smooth to turn, but ring is quite narrow. Like many M43 lenses, it’s a focus-by-wire lens which works for most consumer scenarios
Physical Buttons There’s no physical buttons are present on the lens
Minimum Focusing DistanceMinimum focusing distance (.2m, .66 ft)
Weight Weight: 3.52 ounces / 100G
Filter Thread The filter thread is 58mm
Build quality descriptions

Features

Variable Aperture

Aperture is variable from 3.5 to 5.6, again, if when you zoom from wide to telephoto, the exposure will change.

Stabilization

It’s a stabilized lens which I really like and I’ll speak more on this later.

Weather-sealing

This lens is weather-sealed.

Conclusion

Reasons to skip this lens

  • If you’re looking for something sharp, there’s other sharp lenses available like 25mm f/1.4 or the Lecia 12-60 f/2.8-4.
  • If you’re looking for constant aperture, you’ll want to skip this lens as this has variable aperture.
  • Focus is not parfocal, so if you get focus at 12mm then zoom into 60mm, you will lose focus.
  • The widest aperture is f/3.5 so this isn’t great for low-light video or photography. If you need something for low-light, you’ll want to look at low aperture lenses, like 25mm f/1.7, 15mm f/1.7 or the Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7.

Reasons to get this lens

  • Dual Image Stabilization. That’s the power of this lens. If you shoot video and control the camera movements, you can avoid using gimbals.
  • The 12mm is a perfect FOV for vlogging and if you want to capture footage at a far distance from you, the 60mm comes in handy. Remember the 12-60mm on Micro Four-Thirds is equivalent to a 24-120mm on full frame. It’s also perfect for home video, travel, and non-professional photography.
  • The best Panasonic (not Leica) kit lens and it’s worth upgrading from 12-32 or 14-42 for the higher focal range. Many Lumix MFT cameras have a crop in 4k so having that extra reach with 12mm, comes in handy. This is the only Lumix kit lens with weather-sealing.

Why queen? If you’ve played chess, you know the queen is the most versatile players on the board. The Panasonic Lumix 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 also has that same versatility among the Micro Four-Thirds lenses. The wide 12mm, zoom range, and dual stabilization. The G85 with the 12-60mm lens, is one of the best budget camera bundles. It makes an even more compelling case to pair this lens with the Panasonic Lumix G7 – as this camera body doesn’t have in-body image stabilization. Pair that with a rode video mic and an ND filter, and you’re set for YouTube, social media and home videos!

The Queen of Panasonic Kit Lenses: Panasonic Lumix 12-60 f/3.5-5.6
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