The Panasonic PZ 45-175mm f4-5.6 MFT lens (pleasantly!) surprised me. I had returned a Panasonic 45-200mm lens (that was relatively inexpensive and sharper than expected), which had, for me, an unacceptably high level of chromatic aberration problems. I hesitated buying...
The Panasonic PZ 45-175mm f4-5.6 MFT lens (pleasantly!) surprised me. I had returned a Panasonic 45-200mm lens (that was relatively inexpensive and sharper than expected), which had, for me, an unacceptably high level of chromatic aberration problems. I hesitated buying this PZ ("power zoom") lens due to comments about a frequent problem with "double-imaging" at some shutter speeds with the lens used near 175mm, reportedly mediocre performance near infinity-focus, and the relatively higher price. When it appeared that new stock of the lens had arrived at Amazon (and with that, perhaps some "fixes" had been made), I decided to give it a try. I was attracted by its compact size (which doesn''t change with either focusing or zooming), by its reportedly low level of CA, and by its having a power zoom lever (possibly useful while shooting video).
What I found with the sample I received was that the image was sharp to the image corners even "wide" open at infinity-focus (and also at close-focus) throughout its zoom range, its distortion level was low, its CA level was also low, its illumination was quite even, and its resistance to flare and ghosting was high. I then checked it with many photos shot at 175mm in the potentially "offending" shutter speed range of 1/60th to 1/200th second. Only one of the photos was not sharp (but it did not show double imaging with in-focus high-contrast edges...). (BTW, this lens that I recently bought from Amazon had the firmware update version 1.1 already installed.) Next, for "fun", I tried some low-light photos at 175mm and f5.6 with the camera used hand-held for 1/10 and 1/15th second exposures at ISO 1600 with the G5. MUCH to my surprise, some of the photos were quite sharp, even when viewed at 100% - and they even looked good otherwise! (I''m still getting over this surprise!) This turned out to be a VERY good lens!
I tried adding a Nikon 3T achromatic close-up lens to the front of the zoom (I needed a 46mm-to-52mm step-up adapter ring to do this), and found that this turned the 45-175mm zoom into a useful and sharp macro zoom lens! (BTW, this Nikon 3T achromat also works well on the Panasonic 14-45mm zoom lens without an adapter.) I then tried stacking the 3T and a 5T, which both have the same power) to double the power (I adapted the 5T to the front of the 3T with a 52mm-to-62mm step-up adapter ring). This also worked very well, and it resulted in very high magnification with the zoom set at 175mm.
I then tried shooting video with this lens. The G5 is unusual for a camera of its type in having an on-body zoom lever for use with the couple of Panasonic "PZ" lenses available, of which this is one. These PZ lenses have zoom levers, but I found it easier to control zoom smoothness (while keeping the camera steady) if I used the zoom lever on the camera rather than using the one on the lens. The G5 also has (in its menus) additional zooming speed-rate selections making it possible to have the very slow zoom rate that I prefer to use while shooting video. But, this lens is not parfocal (it changes focus with zooming), and there have been a couple of problems resulting from this and with the lens aperture changing with zooming. I will see if I can find ways around these problems, and if successful, I will report my findings here.
An additional note: a rattle can be heard as the lens is tilted. This is normal when the power is off (it is not indicative of a fault).
I am VERY happy with using this lens for still photography, and I''m hoping to find ways of using it while zooming during the shooting of video.
I found that by using "Continuous-Focus" set to "On" in the video menus, and with the auto 23-segment AF focus pattern selected, I can get much smoother exposures with zooming while shooting video while using the on-body (G5 and G6) zoom toggle.