Small Gem Kit lens for M 4/3

Started 3 weeks ago | User reviews thread
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AdamT
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Small Gem Kit lens for M 4/3
3 weeks ago

There have been a number of Panasonic 14-xx kit lenses, from the original 14-45 which debuted with the G1, through the GH1`s 14-150 Mk1 which was better at Video than stills and the motor zoom pancake to the cheapened 14-42 Mk1/MK1a and now this - the 14-42-HD , usually called the MkII (though not on the actual lens) , whereas the 14-45 and first 14-42s looked very similar (the 14-42 is a bit bigger, had a smaller front element and no OIS switch) the Mk2-HD is a far smaller optic , though no where near as compact as the PZ pancake .

Optically the 14-45 was always rated the best, I wasn`t particularily knocked out with the lens (had 3 samples) and thought it merely "competent" rather than stellar, it got its reputation because at the time the competition was pretty poor (18-55 NEX and NX) and the Oly`s optically excellent 14-42 suffered the wobbles . this "legacy" was compounded by the 14-45 being replaced with an inferior 14-42 model which wasn`t as dreadful as the NEX 18-55 but a good bit behind the 14-45 edge to edge and Oly were still making shutters which made their 14-42 wobble . The 14-45 hasn`t been in production for quite a while from what I can tell though remaining stock has held up . Thankfully they`ve made a decent 14-42 in this new shiny HD version .

This small light lens is very good even wideopen , I`d say matching the 14-45 at 14mm F3.5 and beating it at full zoom, CA seems better too , stopped down the lens seems to have better microcontrast than the 14-45 had . it doesn`t carry the "X Vario" Tag the powerzoom Pancake does but optically it`s more "X" than the pancake by quit a margin, it`s not as good for fine detail or corner performance as my stellar copy of the 14mm Prime at corresponding apertures but still damn good even wideopen (the 14mm is pretty much perfect at F4 corner to corner), this sample isn`t decentered which is nice to see.. AF is fast and sure (tested on G3) . I like the compactness and the Aluminium-alike finish ..

this lens can be picked up for around £100 split from a kit or used which is expensive for a plastic mount kit lens but it`s worth the money optically and unlike its immediate predecessors (the 14-42 MK1 and facelift MK1A) you`d be happy to use it as a main lens even on higher end body like a GH4 or OMD , this is what the old 14-45 was praised for and I`d say this lens replaces and improves on that ..

Thumbs up - makes it into my Hundred Quid Hits ......... 5 Stars ???. Yep, its relative for the price, find another standard M43 zoom available new which offers what this does for the cash . the Oly 14-42R-II maybe but reports of soft long end dull that one

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS
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