Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?

Started Mar 24, 2011 | Discussions
StephenL
Senior MemberPosts: 1,079Gear list
Like?
Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
Mar 24, 2011

OK, I know this was taken at the lens' optimum aperture, but I think it shows that the lens is capable of decent sharp results in the appropriate circumstances.

One of my first shots with the GH2. A captive Gyr falcon at a falconry demonstration.

-- hide signature --
 StephenL's gear list:StephenL's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +6 more
Bebrox
Contributing MemberPosts: 608Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to StephenL, Mar 24, 2011

Obviously not, great capture.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jimboyvr
Senior MemberPosts: 1,191
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to StephenL, Mar 24, 2011

StephenL wrote:

OK, I know this was taken at the lens' optimum aperture, but I think it shows that the lens is capable of decent sharp results in the appropriate circumstances.

One of my first shots with the GH2. A captive Gyr falcon at a falconry demonstration.

what idiot said the lens was bad?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
StephenL
Senior MemberPosts: 1,079Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to jimboyvr, Mar 24, 2011

Perceived wisdom says kit lenses are bad, expensive lenses are good
I don't go with the herd!

jimboyvr wrote:

what idiot said the lens was bad?

-- hide signature --
 StephenL's gear list:StephenL's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mpgxsvcd
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,608Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to StephenL, Mar 24, 2011

A lot of people get caught up in lens sharpness. Yes it is important. However, not freezing motion will have a far greater affect on whether the picture looks sharp or not. It looks like you did an excellent job of freezing the subject and the lens seems plenty sharp to me. Great shot.

Were you pretty close to the Falcon?

 mpgxsvcd's gear list:mpgxsvcd's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
StephenL
Senior MemberPosts: 1,079Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Mar 24, 2011

mpgxsvcd wrote:

Were you pretty close to the Falcon?

Yes, about an arms-length. It was sitting on my wife's wrist! Exposure was 1/1000 at iso400.

-- hide signature --
 StephenL's gear list:StephenL's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Betarover
Contributing MemberPosts: 907
Like?
Take a look at SLRgear
In reply to StephenL, Mar 24, 2011

Take a look at the test data at SLRgear.com. On this site you can click on the test data graph which opens it in a new window. You can open additional pages for additional lenses and view the test data for multiple lenses side by side. You can then move the sliders for F stop and focal length so as to see the results at the same time for the lenses.

I take landscapes from a tripod. I want the sharpest F stop and do not care about the shutter speed. For me the most important test information is to set the sliders for the sharpest F stop for each lens, at each focal length and view them on the screen side by side. Seems to me that if the test data is correct the new Olympus 14-42mm (made for the Olympus EPL-2 camera) beats both Panasonics for sharpness at all tested focal lengths. However, in the dpreview review of the Olympus EPL-2 they compared the new 14-42mm against the old 14-42mm and found no difference.

I welcome comments from you folks. Here are the links:

For the Panasonic 14-45mm:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1227/cat/69

For the Panasonic 14-42mm:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1336/cat/69

The new Olympus 14-42mm (for the EPL-2 camera) at:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1400/cat/15

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Betarover
Contributing MemberPosts: 907
Like?
Oops! Mistake
In reply to Betarover, Mar 24, 2011

Oops, I see that SLRgear has not reviewed the Panasonic 14-42mm lens. but you can compare the Panasonic 14-45mm against the 14-42mm lens, side by side by opening the following two pages at the same time:

14-45mm at:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicGF1/page19.asp

14-42mm at:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/PanasonicDMCG2/page13.asp

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
offroad
Regular MemberPosts: 208Gear list
Like?
Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to Betarover, Mar 24, 2011

Its a good lens especially for the price, but the 14-45 is better.

 offroad's gear list:offroad's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mpgxsvcd
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,608Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to offroad, Mar 25, 2011

And the 14-140mm is the sharpest of all of the m4/3s lenses. It costs a lot more though.

offroad wrote:

Its a good lens especially for the price, but the 14-45 is better.

 mpgxsvcd's gear list:mpgxsvcd's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
onlooker
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,749Gear list
Like?
That's quite a statement
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Mar 25, 2011

mpgxsvcd wrote:

And the 14-140mm is the sharpest of all of the m4/3s lenses. It costs a lot more though.

That's quite a statement, and one that is clearly counterintuitive (megazoom vs. standard zooms - or are you including even primes in it?). Do you have any published tests to support that?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jf_tea
Contributing MemberPosts: 757
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to StephenL, Mar 25, 2011

Excellent shot!

Perhaps there are better lenses, but, this picture shows that the 14-42mm can do good things.
--
-JF
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40893548@N06/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
xSDMx
New MemberPosts: 12
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to StephenL, Mar 25, 2011

WOW!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mpgxsvcd
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,608Gear list
Like?
Re: That's quite a statement
In reply to onlooker, Mar 25, 2011

I included every m4/3s lens. Zoom or prime. Panasonic or Olympus. Just check the dpreview lens reviews. The 20mm comes closest to the 14-140mm @ 14mm. However, the 14-140mm edges it slightly for on center sharpness. The 14-140mm also stays sharp through about 50mm.

The only lenses they haven't tested are the 14mm, 100-300mm, and 45-200mm. I have the 14mm and 45-200mm and I have tested them against the 14-140mm. They are no match for it. The 100-300mm is actually a great lens from the samples I have seen. Still no match for the 14-140mm though.

The small aperture of the 14-140mm made it struggle with all m4/3s cameras before the GH2. With the GH2's 1 stop advantage the 14-140mm finally has a camera body that can make it useful in lower light situations.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcgh1/page17.asp

onlooker wrote:

mpgxsvcd wrote:

And the 14-140mm is the sharpest of all of the m4/3s lenses. It costs a lot more though.

That's quite a statement, and one that is clearly counterintuitive (megazoom vs. standard zooms - or are you including even primes in it?). Do you have any published tests to support that?

 mpgxsvcd's gear list:mpgxsvcd's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Zone28
New MemberPosts: 4
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to xSDMx, Mar 25, 2011

Great shot!

I've had excellent results with my 14-42 on my GF1, a great kit lens.
But love the 20mm pancake best I think.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mpgxsvcd
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,608Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to Zone28, Mar 25, 2011

Wide open the 14-42mm is one of the worst lenses available for m4/3s. The Olympus 14-42mm lens might be the only one that is worse. Stopped down like in the photo above the Panny 14-42mm is just fine.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/PanasonicDMCG2/page13.asp

 mpgxsvcd's gear list:mpgxsvcd's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
onlooker
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,749Gear list
Like?
Re: That's quite a statement
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Mar 25, 2011

mpgxsvcd wrote:

I included every m4/3s lens. Zoom or prime. Panasonic or Olympus. Just check the dpreview lens reviews. The 20mm comes closest to the 14-140mm @ 14mm. However, the 14-140mm edges it slightly for on center sharpness. The 14-140mm also stays sharp through about 50mm.

The only lenses they haven't tested are the 14mm, 100-300mm, and 45-200mm. I have the 14mm and 45-200mm and I have tested them against the 14-140mm. They are no match for it. The 100-300mm is actually a great lens from the samples I have seen. Still no match for the 14-140mm though.

That's very interesting. I will follow up on it. I do not have a GH2 at this moment (thinking about it, lack of availability solves any possible impulse buying ;)). 14-140 was the lens I was thinking about, but I was concerned about its quality since it's a megazoom, and those normally do not have the best reputation.

I had the 45-200 mm, but was not thrilled with it. I hope the 100-300 mm will be better.

How do you like your 14 mm otherwise from a practical user perspective? I like that focal length.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Betarover
Contributing MemberPosts: 907
Like?
Not so fast
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Mar 25, 2011

Sharpness seems to depend on, among other things, who does the testing. Check out SLRgear.com. On my wide screen monitor I can display three test graphs side by side and play with the sliders.

As a landscape photographer I am interested in using the sharpest F stop. So when looking at the test data for each focal length I move the F stop slider to give the best result.

If you compare the Pan 14-140mm against the Oly 14-150 I would agree the Pan wins HUGE.

But in my case I am willing to swap lenses to get the sharpest possible landscape at whatever F stop is best. For one willing to do this, the combination of the new Oly 14-42mm (it comes with the Oly E-PL2) and the new Oly 40-150mm micro beats the Pan 14-140mm by a landslide. It is not even close. The two Oly lenses win at 14, 18, 25, 32-35, 48-49, 70, 100, and 140-150mm. It is a clean sweep for the Oly combination at every tested focal length.

Below are the links.

For the Pan 14-140mm:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1251/cat/69

For the new Oly 14-42mm:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1400/cat/15

For the micro Oly 40-150mm:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1374/cat/15

For the Oly micro 14-150mm:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1320/cat/15

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
StephenL
Senior MemberPosts: 1,079Gear list
Like?
Re: Is the Panasonic kit 14-42mm lens really so bad?
In reply to mpgxsvcd, Mar 25, 2011

To be honest I don't spend my time looking at graphs. I much prefer to take photos - of real things, not rulers.

I appreciate that many lenses may be "better" than this 14-42, but I merely displayed the shot to illustrate that in the real world it can, in the right circumstances, take a satisfactory picture. FWIW my favourite two m4/3 lenses are the 7-14 and the 20mm. But I have no idea, or care, if they are the best in the world. As long as they get results that please me.
--
http://www.argyllphotos.com

 StephenL's gear list:StephenL's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mpgxsvcd
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,608Gear list
Like?
Re: That's quite a statement
In reply to onlooker, Mar 25, 2011

The 14mm pancake is sharp but not as sharp as the 14-140mm @ 14mm. The difference between F2.5 and F4.0 is good but not as critical now that the GH2 gives me the 1 stop advantage I was looking for with the GF1.

However, the 14mm is awesome for how small and light it is. I carry the 20mm, 14mm, and 14-140mm with me everywhere in a super small Lowe Pro Top loader Zoom 45AW. However, I don't use the 14mm that much now that I have the GH2 + 14-140mm.

onlooker wrote:

mpgxsvcd wrote:

I included every m4/3s lens. Zoom or prime. Panasonic or Olympus. Just check the dpreview lens reviews. The 20mm comes closest to the 14-140mm @ 14mm. However, the 14-140mm edges it slightly for on center sharpness. The 14-140mm also stays sharp through about 50mm.

The only lenses they haven't tested are the 14mm, 100-300mm, and 45-200mm. I have the 14mm and 45-200mm and I have tested them against the 14-140mm. They are no match for it. The 100-300mm is actually a great lens from the samples I have seen. Still no match for the 14-140mm though.

That's very interesting. I will follow up on it. I do not have a GH2 at this moment (thinking about it, lack of availability solves any possible impulse buying ;)). 14-140 was the lens I was thinking about, but I was concerned about its quality since it's a megazoom, and those normally do not have the best reputation.

I had the 45-200 mm, but was not thrilled with it. I hope the 100-300 mm will be better.

How do you like your 14 mm otherwise from a practical user perspective? I like that focal length.

 mpgxsvcd's gear list:mpgxsvcd's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads