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Design

When you first pick up the PZ 14-42mm, you'll probably do a quick double-take; it's so tiny it feels like it must surely be a prime. Mounting it on a camera and turning it on reveals its secret - the lens rapidly extends to almost twice its retracted length for shooting. It's actually at its longest at 14mm (shown above), but changes only slightly in length on zooming.

The lens also feels well-constructed for its size and weight (although Panasonic has never quite mastered the art of making its Micro Four Thirds lenses look or feel like 'premium' products). The outer barrel is made of high quality plastic, and the inner extending section is metal; it exhibits practically no 'play' even at full extension, which is pretty impressive. The two switches on the side of the barrel that control the zoom and manual focus are also high quality plastic; note though that there's no physical OIS switch (instead this is controlled via the camera's menu system). However the lens's upmarket leanings are confirmed by the metal mount.

Compared to other collapsing kit zooms

The composite image below illustrates the difference in size between the Panasonic PZ 14-42mm powerzoom and the other kit zooms for Micro Four Thirds, plus Samsung's collapsible 20-50mm for its NX system. All the lenses are retracted to their shortest length for carrying; clearly the motorized design allows the pancake zoom to be far more compact than any similarly-speced lens.

Left to right, top row then bottom:
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS
Samsung NX 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II

On the camera

On Panasonic's 'SLR-like' bodies such as the GH2, the PZ 14-42mm looks tiny even when extended for shooting. It's on the GF3, though, that the pancake zoom really comes into its own. It's very small indeed, and the combination will easily slip into a jacket pocket or small bag.

Lens body elements

The lens uses the Micro Four Thirds mount, making it compatible with Panasonic and Olympus cameras. The mount is metal, and the gold contacts are used for communication with the camera body.
The filter thread is 37mm, much smaller than the 52mm diameter of the extending barrel. It doesn't rotate on focusing, which is good for filter use.

Note that, in keeping with the 'pancake' ethos, there's no bayonet attachment for a lens hood.
A pair of (very similar) levers on the side of the lens barrel control the power zoom and manual focus. They're well-placed for use when the camera is held in landscape format, but can be a bit more awkward to use in portrait format.

They're also quite difficult to distinguish by feel alone.
Taking a leaf out of Olympus's book, Panasonic is supplying the lens with a rather natty slimline cap, complete with stylized 'X' logo. It's a small touch, but it helps make the package just that bit more portable.
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140
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18
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I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 181
12
rsalles

Great, M4/3 is starting to make sense.

2 upvotes
DaMatta

Small is better, uhmm maybe for kids with tiny hands, i like to grab strongly my camera with both hands and feel his weight when i shoot clear sharpeness photos, not a toy like this..! and the prices? nah this is a joke.
A lens 3.5-5.6 28-84 mm ? this is worse then the basic lenses offered with a slr camera body.
This is nice cameras and lenses for uh... outdoor family photos at beach..!

0 upvotes
Eric MORAND

Yes, this is nice cameras and lenses for outdoor family photos at beach. Is this supposed to be a bad thing ? Am I missing something ?

3 upvotes
Michael Barker

"A lens 3.5-5.6 28-84 mm ? this is worse then the basic lenses offered with a slr camera body." No ... it is not worse, it is the same range as 18-55 on APS-C - they are both 3x zooms starting at about 28mm-equivalent. The depth of field is slightly larger on the m43 sensor, but that's about it.

0 upvotes
DaveMarx

Some people like the bulk and weight of a Hummer when they get behind the wheel. That doesn't make it necessary, just something that suits their taste/self-image. Others are so big that a Mini Cooper just won't work - no headroom, no leg room, break your back stooping to get into the car. If you'd like to drive a subcompact but can't fit, feel free to complain. If you prefer a Hummer under any circumstances, why enter the discussion? Shrink a Hummer, or blow up a Mini Cooper, and you lose what makes the vehicle special. Neither is a substitute for the other, and it's not a one-size-fits-all world.

New topic: Is a Minox right for you? Discuss!

2 upvotes
pjsalty

I'm impressed! When I bought my GH2 I had a feeling that m4/3 was going to be a great system...now I am sure that it will. This has put the competition miles behind.

As an amateur moving to GH2, the feature I missed most about my superzoom was the power zoom for video. I know that serious videographers rarely zoom at all, but most of us do, and zooming by ring never seems to go smoothly for me.

I'll definitely be keeping my 20 mm/1.7 for low light.

3 upvotes
hammerheadfistpunch

I see this lens being a big hit with the AF100. Power zoom really is nice to have in a lot of video applications.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY

Interesting but I wonder about the lack of a lenshood and I'm not completely convinced on the ergonomics, think maybe there should have been a focusing ring instead of lever. It might be OK though with the focus-by-wire which already slightly disconnects the fingers from the process. Zoom control looks reasonably good from the video.

It will be interesting to see how this compares optically to the current 14-42 and earlier 14-45.

Now they should bring something that starts from 12mm like a 12-55, maybe f3.5-4.5?

2 upvotes
Entropius

I'm not sure about the switch-based focus by wire, but the ring-based focus by wire on standard 4/3 lenses works just fine.

1 upvote
rocklobster

Agree, I would rather a ring but most of the time I would rely on the camera AF - small price to pay for the small size. On that point, why are som many complaining about the slowness of the lens when it is so damn small?

1 upvote
Michael Barker

The vimeo videos only show up when the url for this page starts with www, not when it starts with forums.

0 upvotes
buzzinhornet

Interesting idea, but... They spend all that R&D and decide to go with switches instead of traditional rings to control the zoom and focus. Pentax used rings on the FA*28-70 F 2.8 and their other powerzoom lenses years ago. Using switches means you have to hold the camera a certain way to activate the zoom or focus, rings are what we are all used to on lense, Wake up Pannasonic, I like your tech, but spen more time on the user interface next time.

1 upvote
Corros

Compare the size of the Pentax to this lens....

0 upvotes
buzzinhornet

Are you saying they sacrificed ergonomics for the sake of size, I'm not sure what your saying. DO you like hte rocker switches? The Pentax is an f2.8 full-frame lens this is a crop factor 2 lens on a mirroless camera, size cannot be compared. Panny manages to get a focus ring on the little 20mm f1.7 pancake (see the picture above), all this ring has to do is drive a 4 contact micro switch instead of the rocker switch they opted for. They could have just made it a bit larger around instead of the 2 camel humps where the current switches are. I just hope its optically comptent. As one reveiwer noted, the switch locations are awkward when shooting portraits.

0 upvotes
Lukino

all those complaints on the ergonomics of this lens are just plain silly...
Please tell me how it can be easier to handle, using your thumb and index finger, two rings on a barrel that is half inch thick? do you want an aperture ring too?

0 upvotes
bcalkins

I like that it is configurable variable speed, though...

0 upvotes
safeashouses

"Panny manages to get a focus ring on the little 20mm f1.7 pancake..." does that 20mm lens zoom also? Oh, it's not a zoom? Did you compare a 14-42mm zoom lens to a 20mm prime? " They spend all that R&D..." and all the could do was shrink a zoom lens down to the size of a pancake prime-what a waste!

0 upvotes
Peiasdf

Oh, and joke on those people that bought GF3 with the old 14-42.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf

How do you manual focus with a switch?

2 upvotes
Caleido

Instead of turning faster or slower, you push harder or softer. It's the same thing. Try to open your mind.

And it's completely silence, good news for HD movies.

1 upvote
Aleo Veuliah

I think this lens will go to outperform the old 14-42mm, good lens and nano coating

1 upvote
Aleo Veuliah

I think this lens will go to outperform the old 14-42mm, good lens and nano coating

1 upvote
harrisoncac

Definitely. Because the old Panasonic 14-42mm kit lens is the most crappy lens among micro 4/3 system.

0 upvotes
Vlad S

I think the majority of posters completely miss the point of this lens: it allows to zoom during taking a hand-held video without pushing and twisting the lens. The small size is just a cherry on top, made possible by the absence of the zoom and focus rings.

Micro 4/3 is a great system for video, and the GH line has some of the best video-capable photo cameras out there. There are many compelling lenses for still photos, including many native fast primes, but the video market has only two special lenses: the critically acclaimed 14-140, and the silly 3D lens. I am not into video, but I agree that it's about time they released something special for the video aficionados.

5 upvotes
Marty4650

While this certainly does seem like a nice lens for people who need the smallest possible profile when carrying a cameras, I think the lens we need most isn't even on the drawing board yet.

Either Panasonic or Sony needs to make a faster normal zoom lens. Something like the 4/3 12-60mm or 14-54mm lens, but in a M4/3 mount and scaled down accordingly.

And if they believe there will ever be a pro grade M4/3 camera, then make that lens weather sealed, so it will be ready for it.

2 upvotes
rhlpetrus

I agree, the lack of fast zooms turn me off re m43. I could undersatnd Nikon reserving the better optical for the dslrs at this point, but Panny doesn't really have such a line and Oly is clearly on the way out there as well.

A 12-40 f/2.8 would be really nice.

1 upvote
h00ligan

Not sure if you saw but equivs of 240-70 and 70-200 have been announced.

0 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah

A 12-50mm 2.5 or 2.8 will be great

3 upvotes
safeashouses

I think a 1-600mm 1.0 about the size of the 20mm 1.7 would be nice and it should be free and I wish I were taller and thinner and while we're complaining about the latest innovation I don't like the color, oh and Olympus pen will flop because people love SUVs... makes about as much sense as some of the posters here.

1 upvote
WolfyWho

I think this lens will really appeal to the mFT's video shooters more so than photographers. The zoom lever is variable control, so depending on how far you move it will determine how quickly it zooms in/out. That's important for nice controlled smooth zooms when shooting video.

A "pancake" zoom is very exciting in itself too though.

2 upvotes
Adrian Harris

As taking great pictures is my No1 priority, - thank goodness I have a 14-45. An early one with fully manual controls.

I was so hoping their 'pro' lenses would have something pro about them such as fast glass. - Possibly the No1 rated feature for many aspiring togs.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

Is the 14-45 stil made. I read it's the best of the standards zooms for m43.

0 upvotes
Peter Sills

Interesting. Is this what they think will bring enthusiasts to the line, or are they heading towards the "point and shooters"?

For me, I currently use the E-P1 along with my DSLR kits and was a bit disappointed that the E-P3 didn't really offer much more than the E-P1 in terms of quality and capability. Sorry to say that if this is where Panny and Oly plan to take the m4/3 market (no cross compatibility on day one, consumer friendly vs.enthusiast friendly, etc.) then they are going to push me into the hands of Sony and the NEX-7 and Zeiss glass.

0 upvotes
technic

buy a $2500 NEX7 / 24mm combo with no other quality glass in sight?
you must have a very specific type of photography if you want to spend that kind of money on this one focal length. Makes the Fuji X100 cheap in comparison ...

3 upvotes
Kabe Luna

The LA-EA2 Alpha mount autofocus adapter gives you, ostensibly, the ability to mount, with full AF and aperture control, every A-mount lens available. There is a lot of high quality Minolta AF glass out there, relatively inexpensive, on the second-hand market. And then there are the superb Zeiss AF lenses for the A-mount. I can definitely see the attraction for anyone with access to or existing A-mount lenses.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

Yes, the NEX7 seems like the right direction, let's see if they produce a good fast zoom for it.

0 upvotes
probert500

The nex is a far superior camera. I tested an olympus e-pl2 vs the nex c3 and was pretty stunned by the nex image quality. I sold my canon aps dslr - the nex was better with the kit lens.

The Olympus had noise ay base iso.

The talk about bad sony lenses is way everblown. IOn fact if the m4/3 crowd looked at uncorrected images from their lenses they would be pretty shocked.

0 upvotes
cordon50

Maybe the Sony is better at high ISO, but I have made many great photos with the E-PL2. Also, the size is much better when you include glass, IS, internal flash, etc. I would not trade my Olympus for any NEX.

0 upvotes
Camp Freddy

crazy small! Makes mFT even more "street" useable.

Remain to see if AF and image quality is as good as the mrk II from Oly.

Fast enough with good IOS1600 now, but you will need another couple of hundred spondoolics for sub f3 in a mid range zoom if it comes.

3 upvotes
steve_hoge

I wonder if you need super-low profile high-$$ filters to avoid vignetting on that 37mm filter mount? Couldn't they have threaded it near the outer edge of the zoom barrel?

0 upvotes
StephenL

Maybe it's just me, but I'm a bit underwhelmed. I was looking forward to a faster mid-range zoom lens, not a gimmicky one.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe

A zoom lens the same size as the 20mm pancake is not a gimmick, it fits perfectly with the smaller CSC bodies. A fast mid-range zoom however would make the overall package barely smaller than a full DSLR, so what's the point?

5 upvotes
digifan

+10, correct, there's nothing gimmicky about this 14-42mm I'll probably buy one just for it's compactness. If the quality is better than the 14-45mm that I have than this is a no brainer for me. The 14-45 zoom is very stiff and not suitable for video IMO, I'll take the draw backs of the motorzoom in this case.

0 upvotes
Camp Freddy

Looks like you aren't going to get faster sub f3 zooms from panny, but Oly on the other hand ??

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus

It's nice as a carry on in trips etc. But I agree the main gap in th elens lineup are fast zooms, starting with a nice 12-40 or so.

0 upvotes
ovatab

oops, diaphragm opening is not circular on the premium high-performance product (first pic on page 2)

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake

Not at all, that simply reflects that the lens wasn't quite straight-on to the camera in that particular shot.

1 upvote
ovatab

ok, my bad, it should be - oops, dpreview does not shoot lenses straight-on :)

0 upvotes
mislav

"To achieve full compatibility, all cameras from both makers will need their FORUMWARE updated"

:)))

0 upvotes
EricoftheNorth

Aw MAAAAN. I HATE updating my forumware. Lame.

0 upvotes
Aspiring Shutterbug

Isn't this compatible with the GF-1?

0 upvotes
h2k

I like to use cameras with just one hand, i.e. exposure button and zoom lever used with the same hand, as is the case on a Powershot.

But here, the zoom levers are far away from the exposure button and it seems, you need still two hands. Too bad.

Maybe future Panasonic m43 cameras have built-in zoom levers, or you can assign the function to some buttons.

Then again, Panasonic is not famous for long battery life, but did gain fame for madly expensive copy-protected proprietary batteries. The motor zoom will do no good here.

3 upvotes
duartix

The battery lobby!
LOL.

0 upvotes
IEBA1

I hold hope that... now that a lens can internally zoom, that the camera can be designed with a zoom rocker around the shutter release (like nearly every good P&S) and we _can_ ineed get one-handed operation on m43. That's the main reason I'm still using my PowerShot. Wrangling two kids on any family outing means it's a struggle to even get one hand free to take pictures, let alone two.

0 upvotes
h2k

I like the typo "forumware".

Oh, maybe that word actually exists, but i don't think it was meant here.

0 upvotes
derfla1949

Quote:To achieve full compatibility, all cameras from both makers will need their forumware updated.

Yeah, forumware, that's what we need for great shots!
When in a hurry, walk slowly!

0 upvotes
spacegoret

This is a mad lens!

Can't wait to have a similarly designed lens for E mount!

NEX-5N with something like that on it would truly become the ultimate pocket still/HD video camera hybrid!

Are you listening Sony?

1 upvote
dccdp

No, they aren't listening. Look at Sony's latest lens releases and their leaked future plans. It's sad, really, they simply are unable to design small lenses.

2 upvotes
technic

agree that NEX needs this even more than m43 (m43 already has several good quality compact lenses to chose from). But no, they are not listening; and if you listen to all the fanboys on the Sony forum there is no need for compact high quality lenses, they are happy with their legacy lenses and the kit zooml ;(

0 upvotes
ReflectivePizza

your reply to sony's ears. (maybe panasonic should make lenses for them). and the 5n (easier grip than the c3) has better iq than the nex-7 (unless you need to print really, really, really big.)

5n and anything small and fast, prime or not, and who needs 4/3? But they don't, so 4/3, here I come. (unless fuji makes a small interchangeable version of the x100.. then I'll think about it)

and where, oh where panasonic.. is your viewfinder!? in a small camera? I'm even tempted to go x10 (with nowhere near the quality), to get my viewfinder.

0 upvotes
KACTET

This lens will probably be more compatible with Olympus bodies than with Panasonic ones.
What a shame!!! So the GF1 owners are really overboard :(

0 upvotes
Wickblau

I hope upcoming fw-update for GH2 also includes 1080 60/50p videos AND video follow-focus!!

0 upvotes
GeorgeZ

That's great news!
Are you positive it's fully compatible with PENs? Engeadget says it'S only compatible with GF cameras and Pana lets Olympus adjust their FW to work with these.
Let's wait and see how it does optically.

0 upvotes
Eric MORAND

My next lens. This and the Oly 45/1.8.

1 upvote
stefaan

This feat addresses the only gripe I have with the NEX-7: Sony has no lens like this one for that otherwise near perfect offering.
If this lens proves to be the winner it looks like Panasonic may gain quite some additional customers because of it and m43 has a new advantage added.

1 upvote
technic

yes, just imagine what could happen if Panasonic offers a new 'pro' style body and starts using a state-of-the-art sensor.

It's really sad that Sony seems to get nearly everything right with the bodies but lenses are a disaster. And m43 has a great lens line with some really innovative designs, but outdated sensors and often a bit dull, relatively expensive bodies.

1 upvote
Richt2000

I could handle giving up manual zoom for the compactness.
What I don't understand is how it is compatible with Oly Pens but not the GF-1...

1 upvote
Andy Crowe

It is compatible with the GF1

0 upvotes
leafinsectman

Wow, that's some fast zooming. I like it!

0 upvotes
Yomama

This is by far the ugliest lense I have ever seen.... All the ugly typography. I looks sooooooo cheesy

0 upvotes
keith james taylor

lesses are for looking through not for looking at
photographers manual page 5

4 upvotes
tkbslc

Very cool! I have been hoping they might make longer primes for the m4/3 system in a similar fashion. They could be pancake size while in transport, but extend when powered on like this lens does.

I think we could get used to the power zoom since we've all used compacts, but I do fear the power manual focus might be a bit fiddly.

0 upvotes
Neoasphalt

It's fantastic addition to G series, but I hope Panasonic's GF5 will be in two versions - simplified, like GF3 and something like GF5X with proper controls and extended features for serious photographers, but still easy pocketable.

0 upvotes
John855

Bummer, no GF1 support and no GF1 replacement yet.

1 upvote
thegurge

If it's just the Power OIS that won't work on the GF1 I could live with that

0 upvotes
solenostomus

This lens DOES work on the GF1!!! Autofocus, OIS and the whole optical works will be supported on all m43 cameras.
There are merely some special functions (like reporting the focal length back to the camera display) that the GF1 won't be able to do.

0 upvotes
robvolz

Just wondering, this is personal knowledge and not just speculation?? Lens works with GF1 just fine? All lens functions work right? Just the display, which I don't care about right??

0 upvotes
Corros

Wow! Looking great! Developments like these will someday knock-out the dSLRs

0 upvotes
TheGuyBehindTheCamera
0 upvotes
DeputyPhoto

It's a new feature - allows you to update from the camera in real time just how soft/noisy/poorly focussed your camera is (rather than actually spend time taking pictures....)

0 upvotes
Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul

It's very compact but feel big when attach to GF series. :P

0 upvotes
Lindrake

Interesting development in the mirrorless space. The GF3 can really be pocketable now.

0 upvotes
technic

not pocketable like a Canon S95 etc., but probably close to other digicams that use a sensor that is relatively big, but a big step below m43 size (e.g. Canon G12, Panasonic LX5, Olympus XZ1?)
However, those compacts have a brighter lens, so will be interesting to see how they compete in practice (lens corner quality?).

0 upvotes
Lindrake

Interesting development in the mirrorless space. The GF3 can really be pocketable now.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 181
12