14-42X vs. 14-42 Comparison

Started Jan 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
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WoodWorks Senior Member • Posts: 1,408
14-42X vs. 14-42 Comparison

I've been using the Lumix G Vario PZ 14-42 f/3.5-5.6 lens with my Panasonic DMC-GX1 for almost a month now, and finally had the time to do a somewhat systematic evaluation of it, and compare it to the regular Lumix 14-42mm lens, as well do some comparisons with the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lenses.

What follows are some comparison shots between the lenses. I tried to level the playing field and show each lens under the best possible, identical circumstances. Both the camera and the lenses have the latest firmware updates.

All of the following images were shot raw and developed in ACR 6.6 at the default settings. There is no sharpening, color correction, noise reduction or any editing other than resizing the full frame images, and cropping the 100% crops.

There are two different scenes. The first, where I shot hand held images with daylight white balance in manual mode. All of these images were shot at ISO 160, 1/640 sec, f/7.1, and OIS turned off. These were done in a way that I hope eliminates the potential for degradation due to faulty OIS or handshake at slow shutter speeds.

First, the scene that I shot at 14mm.

And the same scene at 42mm. Both of these were shot with the 14-42X.

And here are some 100% crops of the center of the frame. The 14-42X is on the left, the 14-42 is on the right.

I then compared the 14-42X to the Olympus 45 f/1.8.

Compared with the 14mm f/2.5 I could detect no difference in the center of the frame. Here are some corner crops, the 14-42X at the left, the 14mm f/2.5 at the right.

I then moved to the center of town to shoot a scene where I could shoot at a lower shutter speed, where the 14-42X has exhibited problems with sharpness. I zoomed to 42mm and focused on the lower edge of the center window. These were also shot in daylight white balance and manual mode and ISO 160, but at 1/125 sec. and f/5.6. Here I shot a couple of bursts with each lens with OIS turned off, then with OIS turned on, and finally mounted to a tripod with OIS off.

I first shot a burst with the 14-42X and then the 14-42, both with OIS off, and then extracted the sharpest frame from each burst, reasoning that this would help eliminate the effects of hand shake.

Here is a 100% crop from the best frame from each burst, with OIS off. The 14-42X is on top, the 14-42 on the bottom.

These are with OIS on, again with 14-42X on the top, and the 14-42 on the bottom.

And here are the two lenses with the camera mounted on a tripod with the OIS off, 14-42X on top, 14-42 on the bottom.

I hope this comparison will help you judge the quality of the lens yourselves. But this test, and the previous month's usage, has finally allowed me to decide whether or not to keep the lens.


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