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Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Review

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new, more compact, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD
Price : £600
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD

This new 10x zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras, is an update to the existing lens, which is essentially the same specification, except that this lens has a marginally faster aperture throughout the zoom range. This lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 28-280mm lens on a 35mm camera. Panasonic's Power Optical Image stabilisation system is included, which is another upgrade over the other 14-140mm lens. This newer lens costs around £600, which is about £140 more than the older lens. In this review, we'll take a look at whether this lens is worth the extra money.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Handling and Features

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD
Weighing only 265g, this lens is quite lightweight and compact, especially for a 10x zoom. High quality plastics finished with a gun-metal effect have been used for much of the lens barrel and a metal lens mount adds to the overall robustness. The lens balances well with the Panasonic Lumix G3 used for testing.

Much like its predecessor, this lens doubles in length as it is zoomed to maximum telephoto. The zoom action is smooth, not tightening at any point in the zoom range and zoom creep isn't an issue.

Focusing is performed internally, so the 58mm filter thread does not rotate, making this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. Autofocus is very quick in good light, only struggling slightly in darker conditions. The manual focus ring is smooth to operate and well damped, which makes applying fine adjustments a pleasure.

The Power Optical Image Stabiliser is activated via a switch on the lens barrel. It allows sharp hand held images to be taken at shutters speeds as low as 1/20sec at 140mm, which is roughly four stops slower than the usual rule of thumb for sharp hand held images allows.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD Performance

Sharpness in the centre of the frame at 14mm and maximum aperture is already excellent, and the clarity toward the edges of the frame approaches very good levels. Stopping down improves sharpness slightly, but not by all that much, with similar performance being maintained until the lens is stopped down past f/11.

With the lens zoomed to 50mm, performance is much the same as at 14mm, with sharpness being excellent in the centre fo the frame and very good towards the edges. In fact, this is one of the most consistent super-zoom lenses tested so far, as at 140mm, there is little to differentiate the performance here from that at other focal lengths.

Panasonic14140mm2MTF@14mm
MTF @ 14mm
Panasonic14140mm2MTF@50mm
MTF @ 50mm
Panasonic14140mm2MTF@140mm
MTF @ 140mm

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.

For a 10x zoom lens, chromatic aberrations are very well controlled throughout the zoom range. Fringing is at its most prominent at 14mm, where it covers just short of 0.7 pixel widths. This amount of fringing may be visible in some situations, but is low enough not to cause too much concern.

Panasonic14140mm2CA@14mm
Chromatic aberration @ 14mm
Panasonic14140mm2CA@50mm
Chromatic aberration @ 50mm
Panasonic14140mm2CA@140mm
Chromatic aberration @ 140mm

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.

Falloff of illumination towards the edges of the frame is fairly well controlled throughout the zoom range. At 14mm the corners are 1.86 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture and at 140mm the corners are 1.58 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down by one stop from maximum throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is extremely well controlled for such a superzoom lens. At 14mm Imatest detected 0.978% barrel distortion, and at 140mm this decreases to 0.01%. The distortion pattern remains constant across the frame throughout the zoom range, which should make corrections in image editing software afterwards relatively easy to apply although the amount of distortion present is so low, it will rarely need correcting.

No issues with flare were encountered during testing and only a slight loss of contrast can be seen when shooting into the light at telephoto focal lengths.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD Sample Photos


Value For Money

At around £600, the price of this lens is almost the same as what its predecessor sold for at launch. If you don't mind the slightly slower maximum aperture and slightly reduced performance on the whole, then the older lens can be picked up for around £470.

Those who want a lens to cover this range for less money have the Olympus 14-150mm as an option. This lens costs around £400 but lacks optical stabilisation, which may not be too much off a loss if your Micro Four Thirds camera already has stabilisation built into the body.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD Verdict

When we tested this lens' predecessor, we liked it a lot, as it offered good performance for a 10x zoom. As this lens performs even better throughout the zoom range, we like it even more. Very few zoom lenses are able to deliver as consistently as this lens does throughout the zoom range. Although this lens may seem expensive when compared to its predecessor, or the Olympus equivalent, it is probably worth the premium.


 
 
  The Panasonic Lumix G Vario delivers good sharpness consistently through the zoom range.
 

Panasonic Lumix G 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Pros

Consistently good sharpness throughout the zoom range
Low distortion and falloff
Effective stabiliser
Compact and lightweight
Good build quality

Panasonic Lumix G 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Cons

CA levels may be high enough to cause concern for some
Maybe a tad expensive (but probably worth it!)

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. HD Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length14mm - 140mm
Angle of View8.8 - 75
Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size58mm
35mm equivalent28mm - 280mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus30cm
StabilisedYes
Construction
Blades7
Elements14
Groups12
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight265g
Height75mm

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Comments


franken e2
12 3.3k 4 Wales
10 Aug 2013 9:21AM
Excellent review.

I hope to get one early next year.

Ken

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franken e2
12 3.3k 4 Wales
10 Aug 2013 10:12AM
I can't find an EPZ review on the Olympus 14-150, is there any chance of a comparison review?

Ken
joshwa e2
4 710 United Kingdom
10 Aug 2013 12:47PM

Quote:I can't find an EPZ review on the Olympus 14-150, is there any chance of a comparison review?

Ken



We are planning on reviewing it. Hopefully soon. Thanks
lemmy e2
7 2.1k United Kingdom
11 Aug 2013 4:07PM
I have replaced my older 14-140 with this one. Not so much for the optical performance because the old one was good enough but because the size and weight of this one make it so much less of an encumbrance even by MFT standards.

Also, if I stop it down to f8 it is just as sharp as my two f2.8 Panasonic zooms and in good light a lot more convenient.
19 Aug 2013 7:35AM

Quote:I have replaced my older 14-140 with this one. Not so much for the optical performance because the old one was good enough but because the size and weight of this one make it so much less of an encumbrance even by MFT standards.

Also, if I stop it down to f8 it is just as sharp as my two f2.8 Panasonic zooms and in good light a lot more convenient.



Is that using it on a Panny or an OM body Lemmy?

Curious because I like the sound of this lens, but haven't always had great results with Panny lenses on my EM-5.
8 Jan 2014 5:40PM
Right now you can get this lens at less than that price with a Panasonic G6 stuck on the end of it ... what a bargain ... see

www.camerapricebuster.co.uk
Though I do browse around the reviews on the internet, I still find the Ephotozine reviews to be the most helpful in deciding what to buy. Here the graphs show that this lens maintains its sharpness right out to 140mm and the sample shots of the clock and the white flower lend serious credence to this. Having studied the reviews on the three rival lenses in this class, my choice is the Panasonic, even if it is the most expensive.

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