So, what happens when you put the 'X' on a consumer grade kit lens?
"Optically, the 14-42X is a bit of a surprise: it’s excellent, even used at maximum aperture. You don’t lose any sharpness close up, either. This is important seeing as anything much beyond f8 is severely diffraction limited on M4/3 cameras anyway due to the very small pixel pitch. Use this one wide open without issue, though stop down one stop to 5.6-8 to gain a very small improvement in the corners. There were two aspects of performance I found especially
Gordon Laing tests this camera with a Panasonic GX1 camera:
"The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 may be one of the earliest native lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, but remains one of the most compelling, delivering superb quality across its focal range from standard wide to extreme wide angle.
With coverage that's equivalent to 14-28mm in the full-frame format, the Lumix 7-14mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscape views and enormous buildings inside and out. It conveniently starts where most general purpose lenses stop, providing the photographer with wider and wider coverage until . . . read more
Cheap kit lenses need some review lovin' too, and Lindsay provides plenty of that. The pan(a)cake with the double vision was tested with a Olympus E-M5 camera:
"So why do I need another “kit lens” when I already have one? Good question. And the answer is convenience. Whilst the 12-50 can make a genuine addition to my casual (non-professional) kitbag thanks to its high degree of weather sealing and it’s genuinely useful macro capability, it is nevertheless a few inches long and when connected to a camera it isn’t pocketable. If I have the Panasonic Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens on my OMD instead, I immediately have what could reasonably be classified as a compact system, which will fit in a large coat pocket or in a make-up bag which can be placed inside my handbag. And this is the key thing about the 14-42 pancake zoom. I don’t know if it’s optically any better than any other variable aperture kit zoom (I . . . read more
Panasonic is set to unveil yet another slow and cheap kit lens, their forth micro 4/3 lens in this zoom range. The previous 14-42mm lens was updated to 'HD' status via firmware back in September, the new one comes HD ready out of the box, complete with the sticker. In Panasonic terms HD is:
|" Specifically these HD lenses excel in tracking focus in video recording while offering silent auto focus and exposure control. In addition, there is enhanced stability of O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) in video recording"|
Furthermore, the new lens is downsized compared to its predecessor, in every dimension: Its lighter, smaller, and takes smaller filters too (46mm vs 52mm). Price will remain unchanged, availability date is set to March 2013.
From my own findings, there's the issue of Sigma's much lower CA and purple fringing when used on Olympus bodies. In any case, the Sigma is an automatic buy anyway, due to its current very low price.
"We see that the Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 has an impressive level of sharpness, even wide open. The Sigma 19mm, on the other hand, needs a bit of stopping down before reaching the same level of sharpness. At f/2.8, the 19mm lens is a tad bit dull, even in the centre of the image frame. This finding is consistent with other tests I have seen. Generally, it is observed that the Sigma 19mm lens is not the sharpest at f/2.8, and improves when stopped down to f/4 and f/5.6. Stopping down beyond f/5.6 does generally not add anything to the overall sharpness, but does give you more depth of focus (DoF). If you need a deep DoF, it may still be wise to stop down to f/8 or even further, but this will give you slightly worse sharpness at pixel level.
The Lens was tested with Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic GH3 body.
"The Panasonic 35-100 mm delivers sharp images across all focal lengths from full aperture to aperture 8. Above that, the resolution decreases as a result of diffraction. This is the best micro-43 zoom lens we have reviewed to date, with the Panasonic 12-35 mm yielding more or less equivalent results (but at a different focal length range). In the graph with Imatest values at the right below, you can see how beautifully high and constant the resolution is. The images are measurably sharper in the center, with the maximum being located at aperture 4 to 5.6. Nevertheless, with the naked eye, the difference in resolution between the corners and the center is not visible." . . . read more
The PanaLeica lens was tested on a Olympus E-M5 body.
"The Panasonic Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F/2.8 ASPH turned in a nice performance; there really isn't much to complain about. Pluses include: low light fall off-even wide open: lens doesn't extend when focusing: lateral color fringing is well controlled: very sharp throughout most of the image area at F/4-5.6: a focus limiter switch; and image stabilization, although that's not very important if you have a newer Olympus camera with 5 axis stabilization control. . . . read more
The lens was tested by David on a GH3 body:
I find distortion in unnoticeable right through the range, and Chromatic Aberration is minimal-its pretty much not there.
To Sum up, this is a valuable addition to the micro 4/3 photographer's armory, and for many of those, this lens paired to the 12-35mm will be all the glass that they would ever need. You'll have the equivalent of a 24mm wide angle to 200mm tele, all at a constant f/2.8 in just two small optics. Add a weather sealed body like the Olympus OM-D, or the Panasonic GH3, and the result is a very capable and versatile outfit using just 3 items of gear. In so far as it matters, its a really good looker. Focusing speed is lightning quick, especially with the firmware upgraded to the current 1.1 version. It has . . . read more
That's a whole train of wide angle mirrorless system lenses, and it seems the caboose* has derailed somehow, pretty soft and fringy compared to the other 3, BUT it was used with a GH3, not the best of combinations. Kudos to Sony to make such a sharp wideangle (used with a NEX-5R) zoom lens, they had a slow start but seem to have begun catching up by now. As for the Fujinon xf 14mm (mounted on the X-E1), it performs as expected, very sharp with no visible Chromatic Aberrations. The PanaLeica 7-14mm falls a bit behind, but it is the oldest lens of the bunch, by a wide (heh) margin. Click on the image for the full thing. For those daring enough to delve through the Google translated text, here's a snip: . . . read more
"Our fourth award is for Lens of the Year 2012, which goes to the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH.
“The LUMIX G VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH standard zoom offers a versatile focal range and a fast maximum aperture in a relatively small package, backed-up by excellent image quality throughout the focal range, the best build quality of any Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lens yet released, a tactile manual focusing system and impressively fast and quiet autofocusing.”" . . . read more
"Finally, in 2012, we got the two f/2.8 zoom lenses, with the premium metal finish. The lens barrel is made of anodized metal with a purple-ish colour. This leaves me a bit unhappy. The lens barrel has two functions, in my opinion: To be solid, and to provide a good grip. With the latter in mind, why make it out of glossy metal? Other manufacturers go for a matte crinkle finish, which I think is better.
While the two kit zoom lenses above look similar, they are in fact very different. The Lumix G 14-42mm basic kit lens has a . . . read more
Dat Purple! This is the real dark side to the alleged micro 4/3 interoperability between lenses and cameras: Nasties such as color fringing and distortion produced by Panasonic lenses are all but eliminated when used with a Panasonic camera. Not so much when it comes to Olympus cameras, and this fact can transform an otherwise excellent lens like this one, to a mediocre one. The problem is, Olympus camera users have nowhere else to turn to, Oly has focused on prime lenses, and their only high-end zoom ones are the old Zuiko behemoths, that don't work very well-or at all, with micro 4/3 bodies. Kurt Munger however does not appear to be excessively bothered by the less than optimal results the Vario 12- . . . read more
"Next two days are supposed to have some sunshine so I'll hopefully get some more decent opportunities to run the outfit through its paces. However this camera already ticks more boxes for me than anything else I've ever bought, so I am expecting great things. Its pretty obvious that there has been some serious input into this by photographers, something that hasn't always been in evidence with some previous Panasonic m4/3 cameras. Those dark days of the
"Panasonic didn't knock this one out of the park, as we'd all hoped they would. Most of us are still waiting for the fast zoom for m4/3 that really opens up the dark for us without compromise. The curtains didn't fully part with the appearance of the 12-35mm, but they've opened a fair amount. I'd be comfortable using this for photojournalistic type use, though I'd need to develop a workflow for raw files to fully extract what I want.
On the one hand, the lens is scaled nicely: it's small like m4/3 bodies are small. It also has a build quality that matches its price. But the 12-35mm is let down a bit by its performance in the corners and at extremes. . . . read more
"Since the advent of the Micro Four Thirds format in 2008, there has been some uncertainty, dare I say confusion, about the place of M43 in the camera world. Some thought it would be a platform for compact camera upgraders, some saw it as a "gap filler" between compacts and DSLR's. I have always seen it as the format best positioned to supplant the APS-C DSLR as the most popular interchangeable lens system. Until now this prospect has not been realised due to a lack of sufficiently convincing M43 products. That has started to change. The Panasonic 7-14mm f4 has always been a pro . . . read more
"I have to say it has been worth the wait. This lens will get a lot of use by me. Panasonic pulled out all the stops on this one as well. Is as good as we thought it might be? Yes! What more could we ask for? Some are saying the price is to high, but this is a “luxury” lens like the one from the other guys. Their’s is much bigger, heavier and expensive. What we get for this expense is a lens that bring MicroFourThirds into the big leagues with it professionalism with a fast tele zoom.
When Panasonic showed the prototype of this lens they also showed a 12-35mm F2.8. O.I.S. This new wonder tele zoom . . . read more
"For those of us who like to take pictures of small things with great magnification, or close-ups of stuff like flower blossoms, a macro lens is a must. Panasonic has the Leica-branded 45mm f2.8 to offer, while Olympus recently introduced the 60mm f2.8 (which is much smaller in reality than it seems). Both allow for 1:1 magnification, and both . . . read more
As an aside, whilst the 12-35 comes with built in Panasonic Power OIS, I haven’t tried it out – I’ve been relying on Oly’s excellent 5-axis stablisation in the OM-D, although at some point I reckon I’ll give it a go.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the results which this lens is capable of. I intend to test it out a great deal more, especially in low-light situations. I picked it up with the intention of using it as a low-light lens for events, and that’s what I’ll post about more when once I’ve given it a good go. In the meantime, here are a couple more sample images… Let me know what you think. . . . read more
"The cons list above may seem a bit nitpicky to some. Especially the last point, so let me explain. The image quality of this lens is outstanding, and the lens is a worthy addition to the Micro 4/3 lineup. However, compared with the newest 70-200mm lenses from Canon and Nikon, it’s not quite going to match those stellar optics. Instead, I’d say it’s on the level of something like the original Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. So, very, very good, but not flawless. Considering it’s $1,000 less than those new Canon and Nikon lenses, though, I can forgive this. Still, it’s a pricey lens at $1,499, and will really only . . . read more
"That leaves us with the three native AF options. I would not buy the 17/2.8 unless size is a critical priority, or you know that you’re going to be shooting only static objects stopped down; otherwise the slow AF speed will drive you crazy. The Panasonic 20/1.7 is in a similar boat; it’s faster to focus than the 17/2.8 and optically better, but nowhere near as fast as the 17/1.8. The 20/1.7 and 17/1.8 deliver similar resolution in the center, but they render quite differently – the 20/1.7 is . . . read more
"Well, it didn’t quite meet my expectations, at least not at the 100mm end which is where my main interest was. But I’d set the bar pretty high. . . . read more
Today i learned there is a giant spring inside the Panasonic 20mm lens:
"The spring has something to do with the fact that the lens assembly extends for close focusing. Whether it helps the motor move the lens, or the motor only moves the lens back and the spring moves it forward, I can’t say. But if you put the lens back together without the spring, it doesn’t focus. (Pretty simple way to figure it out, huh?)" . . . read more
"Distortion is well controlled at either end of the zoom range with only 0.58% barrel and 0.31% pincushion distortion detected by Imatest at 35mm and 100mm respectively. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so any . . . read more
Panasonic's recently introduced and reasonably priced 90-300mm equivalent lens gets the low down by the EPZ crew:
"Although the optical performance of this lens may not be up to the lofty heights of some other Micro Four thirds lenses, especially at 150mm, the low price and good features still make this a decent value choice, especially for those after a . . . read more
The price may be bringing tears to the eyes, but the performance is really up there with the good 70-200mm f2.8 group:
"Optically the lens is a great performer. At all focal lengths, wide open at f/2.8 the center sharpness is perfectly acceptable, but for edge sharpness it's best to stop down by two f-stops for optimum results. Chromatic aberrations are only noticeable . . . read more
"So what’s the 100-300 useful for? To be honest, I bought it out of curiosity and the lack of a telephoto solution for any of my other systems. It’s actually a pretty good option for reach in a pinch, especially when you’re not sure you’re going to need it – and don’t want to carry around a large 300, 400 or 500mm supertelephoto. The combination of lens and OM-D doesn’t occupy much space in the bag at all. Aside from slightly reduced optical quality and a slower aperture, the biggest . . . read more
f2.8, nano coating, stabilizer, metal construction, UED and ED elements, yup, that's the same recipe as the current top of the line 70-200mm lenses on offer at the top of the competition. Available from November.
Panasonic Press Release . . . read more
"The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. is a good albeit not superb telephoto zoom lens as some might have hoped from its "X" designation. The delivered resolution is decent across the image field and the focal length. The lens suffers from a relatively high degree of lateral CAs - despite two extra low dispersion lenses - which is mainly a problem for Olympus users whereas the auto-correction can cope with this issue on Panasonic cameras. . . . read more
"Panasonic have unveiled two new concept lenses, the 12-35mm and 35-100mm, at CES 2012.
Being shown under glass, the Lumix 12-35mm (24-70mm equivalent) and 35-100mm (70-200mm equivalent) are both Power O.I.S lenses with maximum apertures of f/2.8, and they accept 58mm filters.
Other than a prominent sign stating “Concept Lens” behind each one, there’s no other information on if or when they will see the light of day." . . . read more
"The shallow built-hood serves to protect the front element if the lens is placed face down on a flat surface and the lens construction is generally very good, with high quality plastics being used for much of the lens barrel and the lens mount being constructed from metal.
No claims for weather resistance are made by Panasonic for this lens, and there is no way to attach filters