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Anyone have experience with the Lumix 16-35mm f/4?

Jonathan-Mac

Well-Known Member
I had my eye open for a lens either wider than the 20-60mm or longer than the 90mm I have and today I grabbed a bargain on a used 16-35mm f/4 Lumix with a two year guarantee for €600. Even with the current €200 discount on that lens bought new it's still less than half the new price. I bought online so I won't have it until Monday probably but it means I'll have a couple of weeks to return it if I'm not happy.

There are plenty of reviews of it out there and sample images on Flickr but it doesn't seem to be mentioned on forums at all, here or elsewhere. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or feedback on their experiences with the lens.
 
Yes, I have it. An excellent lens. Just don't be confused by the MF clutch, which allows you to pull back on the focus ring to enter MF, regardless of the setting of the focus switch on the body. It works fine, but if you accidentally pull it back, then you might be frustrated by the fact that the focus switch on the body doesn't appear to do anything, leading to a post along the lines of "Why doesn't my focus selector switch work anymore?" :)

But, again, it's an excellent lens and at that price, a phenomenal bargain.
 
I have it and like it a lot: it's by far my most used lens on the S5 thanks to its excellent image quality, range and ability to focus close. The photos I posted of Ripon Cathedral on the April 2023 Image & Video Thread were taken with the S5 & 16-35. The only possible negative I could point to is an occasional tendency for purple fringing on very high contrast edges (tree branches against a white sky) at 16mm; this decreases through the zoom range and is completely gone at 35mm.
 
I have it, and like it. And I especially like the price you paid. I used it a lot on my S1H, but have not used it as much recently. The 20-60mm is awfully good for most things.
 
I had also tried it out and the picture quality is really great. Even though haptically it seems to be of higher quality than the Panasonic primes, I didn't like the plastic feeling in the hand. In the end I sold mine because I used it too rarely - I found that I just don't need a focal length below 28mm. But it might be a great lens for your use case, especially for the price.
 
Thanks everyone. Hopefully it will arrive with everything working. I'm looking forward to trying out one of Panasonic's "pro" level lenses.

I imagine the 20-60mm will get less use even though it goes quite a bit longer.
 
Thanks everyone. Hopefully it will arrive with everything working. I'm looking forward to trying out one of Panasonic's "pro" level lenses.

I imagine the 20-60mm will get less use even though it goes quite a bit longer.
I use the 20-60 when I want to travel light & am satisfied with a single-lens solution (and I know I'll want to go wider than 24mm). I use the 16-35 when I want to cover a broader FL range and I'm willing to carry another lens, like the 24-105.
 
One thing I do want to point out about the 16-35 is that it's main weakness is color fringing. While both Capture One and LR can effectively remove the fringing for normal resolution shots, I have found that Capture One cannot remove all of the fringing from HR shots (have not tried LR). The fringing is most apparent from 24mm+, but you can still see it at 16mm in the corners, again, particularly in HR shots.

It's possible I have a sub-par lens, but others have seen this as well.
 
I don’t own this lens even though I kind of want it. The examples I’ve seen of the purple fringing put me off. It’s not so much the fact it suffers from it, all lenses suffer from it to some degree. But this lens new is £1,500 and has a Leica approved badge. With that price and that label I’d expect less fringing. That being said If I found one with similar discount to Jonathan I’d probably buy it.
 
I'd say the fringing is not anything to worry about. There really isn't that much of it from what I've seen so far.

My impressions of the lens so far:

Build

Honestly, I had expected this lens to be a lot more solid-feeling. I have no complaints about the build of the kit 20-60mm - it's the best kit lens I've ever used by a mile - but I had expected a €1500 "Pro" lens to feel a lot more solid and it really doesn't. It feels quite plasticky and as if it's much bigger than it needs to be, as if it were largely hollow. My Sigma I-series and Art lenses feel much, much better built and are far more pleasurable to use, especially the manual focus and zoom actions.

Image quality

I've no complaints so far. As mentioned above, there's some very minor colour fringing in the corners in very high contrast areas, but you need to really zoom in to see it. Sharpness is fantastic, even wide open, and contrast seems good. I can't comment on colour as I've only really used it in B&W since it has been dull and grey mostly since it arrived.

Usefulness

16-35mm is a great focal range. Not the widest of the ultra-wide but I don't think there's anything that goes wider and still goes to 35mm at the long end. 16mm is plenty wide enough for me (when I went on trips with my old kit 15mm or 16mm was the widest I ever had - on APS-C) and going to 35mm means it's still useful for stuff that isn't really wide, making it a decent all-rounder for many situations. f/4 is OK for the range and price. I've enjoyed it a lot taking pictures of tall buildings and am looking forward to using it for landscapes whenever I get a chance (no time soon).

Additional

I'm happy with the lens so far for what I paid for it but if I had paid full price then I would have been very disappointed by the build quality and likely would have returned it and bought the Sigma 17mm f/4 or some other ultra-wide zoom.
 
I'd say the fringing is not anything to worry about. There really isn't that much of it from what I've seen so far.
Yes, both LR & C1 are very good at correcting it, although in C1 I sometimes have to click the "Analyze" button to remove it all.

Where it becomes more problematic is high-resolution images. Near as I can tell, the CA correction algorithms in C1 are not tuned to properly remove CA from pixel-shift images.

My impressions of the lens so far:

Build

Honestly, I had expected this lens to be a lot more solid-feeling. I have no complaints about the build of the kit 20-60mm - it's the best kit lens I've ever used by a mile - but I had expected a €1500 "Pro" lens to feel a lot more solid and it really doesn't. It feels quite plasticky and as if it's much bigger than it needs to be, as if it were largely hollow. My Sigma I-series and Art lenses feel much, much better built and are far more pleasurable to use, especially the manual focus and zoom actions.

Image quality

I've no complaints so far. As mentioned above, there's some very minor colour fringing in the corners in very high contrast areas, but you need to really zoom in to see it. Sharpness is fantastic, even wide open, and contrast seems good. I can't comment on colour as I've only really used it in B&W since it has been dull and grey mostly since it arrived.

Usefulness

16-35mm is a great focal range. Not the widest of the ultra-wide but I don't think there's anything that goes wider and still goes to 35mm at the long end. 16mm is plenty wide enough for me (when I went on trips with my old kit 15mm or 16mm was the widest I ever had - on APS-C) and going to 35mm means it's still useful for stuff that isn't really wide, making it a decent all-rounder for many situations. f/4 is OK for the range and price. I've enjoyed it a lot taking pictures of tall buildings and am looking forward to using it for landscapes whenever I get a chance (no time soon).

Additional

I'm happy with the lens so far for what I paid for it but if I had paid full price then I would have been very disappointed by the build quality and likely would have returned it and bought the Sigma 17mm f/4 or some other ultra-wide zoom.
 
I rather like the build of the 16-35, although I do find it a bit heavy at times; it's certainly better built than the 20-60. There is, however, a green (or green and purple) ghost that sometimes appears when the sun is in frame.
 
I wanted to add an update here. Firstly, I've had a chance to use the lens more and I'm very happy with the image quality but there is a problem with slight mis-focusing at times, in images with very good light and plenty of contrast in the scene. I'd estimate this affects maybe 5% of photos but that's enough to make it worthwhile to zoom in to check focus on each image to make sure it's as good as you hope in this respect. You can see some example photos in the thread here.

Secondly, like my other two Lumix lenses, this is affected internally by the widespread Lumis S lens problem, what Panasonic apparently calls "fogging": visible marks when looking into the lens with a light source at the other end. It's currently with those other two lenses being looked over by Panasonic's repair team and I haven't heard anything back from them yet.
 
The mis-focus issue you are reporting may be related to the fogging, which reduces contrast and would likely affect the hit rate of the AF system. And probably also means the images you posted in the other thread are not fully representative of what the lens can do from a contrast perspective.

Too bad about the fogging, BTW. Hopefully the company you bought it from stands behind their warranty.
 
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I rather like the build of the 16-35, although I do find it a bit heavy at times; it's certainly better built than the 20-60. There is, however, a green (or green and purple) ghost that sometimes appears when the sun is in frame.
I do agree - I think the 16-35 has a fine build quality. On-par with my Sigma 14-24 F2.8 Art. Maybe even a little better. Sure, it's not as delightful as the metal Sigma primes, but it would be a tank if it used that construction. Even the Sigma 14-24 Art has substantial plastics in the build. And I do love the snap-back MF ring on the 16-35 as well.

And yes, it has color fringing. Kind of surprising for a "Pro" lens. As I said earlier, if you don't use HR mode, and rely on a good raw processor, you likely won't ever see it. But it limits it's utility for HR landscape shots, for example.
 
I was planning to get the 16-35mm but then the 14-28mm was released and I went for that lens as it was a bit lighter and went wider. However I do love shooting at around 35mm so the 16-35 might have been better for me. Every time it's on sale I get GAS but thankfully have talked myself out of it.
 
Yes, one of the handy things I've found about the 16-35mm is that, unlike most ultra-wide zooms, it isn't just an ultra-wide. With a 14-24mm, for example, if you see something that won't really work as a photo using an ultra-wide you'd need to swap lenses and that isn't necessarily the case with the 16-35mm.
 
have seen a bit of green ghosting but I provoked it by shooting more or less into the sun so not bothered.
Likewise no problematic purple fringing.
Love the focal length range for a wandering around somewhere new sort of use and expect that coupled with the 24-105 it will be part of my holiday pair.
 
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