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Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Lens Review

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G, a lens with a pancake body costing around 290.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle
Price : £225
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle

This 14mm optic for Micro Four thirds compatible cameras from Panasonic offers a relatively bright maximum aperture of f/2.5 in a compact pancake lens body and costs around £290. It is fairly unique in it specification for Micro Four Thirds format cameras in terms of focal length aperture and size at the moment.

Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle
Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Handling and Features

Pancake lenses are supposed to be small, but this lens is truly minute. When teamed up with a Micro Four Thirds camera body, like the Panasonic Lumix G3 used for testing, it makes a very useful, pocketable wide-angle combination. The build quality is excellent and a metal mount should provide durability over many lens changes.

Weighing only 55g, it will add barely any weight to your camera kit and will be suitable for carrying along just in case. The slim lens barrel is mostly filled with the rubberised focusing ring, which has the perfect amount of resistance for making fine manual focusing adjustments. As focusing is performed internally, the lens does not extend and the 46mm filter thread does not rotate, making this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters.

The minimum focus distance of 18cm makes this lens suitable for wide angle close-ups and for shooting in tight spaces. Autofocus is fast and virtually silent.

Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle   Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Performance

Sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame at a maximum aperture and the quality towards the edges is very good. The quality across the frame improves slightly as the lens is stopped down, with the quality towards the edges almost reaching excellent levels by f/5.6. Stopping the lens down further reduces sharpness due to the effects of diffraction, but resolution levels are still good across the frame down to f/11.

Panasonic14mmM43_MTF
Resolution at 14mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Levels of chromatic aberrations are low, and should pose few issues, even in large prints and harsh crops from the edges of the frame. At wide apertures CA levels just exceed half a pixel width but diminish as the lens is stopped down.

Panasonic14mmM43_CA
Chromatic aberation at 14mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

As falloff and distortion are corrected by the camera's image processing engine when shooting JPEGs, Falloff and distortion will only be easily visible when shooting in RAW format.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is reasonably prominent, with the corners being 2.03 stops darker than the image centre at f/2.5. Visually uniform illumination is achieved when the lens is stopped down to f/4 or beyond.

Barrel distortion is reasonably strong for a prime lens with Imatest recording 1.51% barrel distortion. This level should pose few problems, but if your application demands straight lines, you'll be glad to know that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make any corrections straightforward.

Flare can be an issue when shooting into the light, with flare being quite prominent and contrast levels dropping. With light sources outside the frame, this lens is much more resilient.

Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle Sample Photos


Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Verdict

Overall this lens is capable of producing excellent quality images and given its keen price and miniature size, it is sure to find many fans amongst Micro Four Thirds system camera owners. Although it can be quite prone to flare with a strong light source in the frame, this is a small negative when the excellent sharpness, low CA and good build quality are taken into account.

The Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G lens produces excellent images and is good value for money.

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Pros

Miniature size
Excellent sharpness
Fast AF
Low CA
Good value price

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Cons

Can be quite prone to flare with a bright light in the frame

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Panasonic Lumix G Pancake Lens 14mm, F2.5 Wide-Angle Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length14mm
Angle of View75
Max Aperturef/2.5
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size46mm
35mm equivalent28mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus18cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
BladesNo Data
Elements6
Groups5
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens caps, Soft pouch
Dimensions
Weight55g
Height20.5mm

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Comments


lemmy 7 1.9k United Kingdom
5 Oct 2011 2:46PM
I have had one of these for a long while now and use it extensively. It isn't as bitingly sharp as the 20mm f1.7 Panasonic but that is simply phenomenal whereas this is merely excellent!

Strange that one of the most innovative and best lens builders is not one of the traditional lens makers. Less hidebound by 'that's how we've always done it' maybe.

It is actually smaller and lighter than the 28mm equivalent for the new Nikon cameras, I believe.

Remarkable, given the larger sensor size of the 4/3 formats.

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