This blog is a user's perspective on the Micro Four Thirds camera system. Read more ...

Lens Buyer's Guide. Panasonic GH4 review.

My lens reviews: Olympus 9mm f/8 fisheye, Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, Leica 25mm f/1.4, Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8, Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm f/2.8, Sigma 19mm f/2.8, Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix X PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6, Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Leica Lumix DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro, Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, Lumix G 7-14mm f/4, Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye, Tokina 300mm f/6.3 mirror reflex tele, Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye lens
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Sunday 19 October 2014

Improving the ergonomics of the 12-32mm lens

The Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 (my review) is representative of a trend I dislike: That every consumer electronic item must be clad in a smooth metal surface. This makes the items harder to handle, as I see it.

Here is the Lumix 12-32mm lens (on the top), compared with the Nikon 10mm f/2.8 (bottom):

The Nikon lens has the glossy tab on it, which makes it easy to feel with your fingers which way to mount the lens to the camera. It also has the ribbed ring on the front, which provides a good grip.

The Lumix lens, on the other hand, only has the thin, smooth ring with the white dot and the "12-32" text on it to hold on to when mounting it. And there is no physical mark to feel to know which way it goes on the camera. None of the two lenses have a focus ring.

If you are like me, annoyed by this trend, here is a tip to make the lens more ergonomic. What I did, was to attach a cable tie around the inner ring, with the tab on top of the white dot symbol. This provides a physical reference, so that you can easily feel which way the lens goes on the camera.

Here is the lens, a rubber band, and a cable tie:

First, I put the rubber band around the lens, so that the cable tie will not slip off later.

The cable tie needs to be at least 20 cm long.

Cut off the excess cable tie:

To make the lens easier to handle still, I roughed up the cable tie surface with a sanding paper, to make it less slippery.

Here is the Lumix GM1 camera with the slightly modified lens:

The black ring in the front lens threads is not a filter. It is a cheap 37mm filter which I removed the glass from, to create a simple hood. It helps me avoid getting finger prints on the front lens element, and does not create any vignetting at 12mm.

While I use the Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, with updated ergonomics, I hope that the trends will change, and that the manufacturers again dare to put ergonomic details on lenses and cameras. Currently, there is a perception in the market that a smooth metal surface is always the best, which I think is counter productive.


  1. The solution seems very practical,but looks terrible.On the other hand:Form follows function.

    1. I agree that it could have looked better. But I generally prefer function over looks. So I am happy.