14/2.5, 7-14 & 14-45 compared...

Started Feb 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
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kenw Veteran Member • Posts: 5,350
14/2.5, 7-14 & 14-45 compared...

Well I bought a cheap 14/2.5 off E-bay the other day.

First off, I've got to say, I'm not entirely sure of the complaints on this lens. Yes, the extreme corners at 2.5 are a bit soft, but over most of the frame it is very good wide open. At 2.5 it looks about like the 14-45 at 3.5. It is ridiculously small and lightweight. I do understand that compared to the kit zooms it isn't a huge improvement, only one stop and not that much better IQ wise whereas something like the 20/1.7 does a lot the zooms can't. I guess it would be fair to say it doesn't do a whole lot compared to the zooms other than be really small and at the list price seems like not a great value. At the current E-bay prices of about $190 shipped I think it is a great companion to the 20/1.7 or any prime set (assuming you don't have the 12/2 I guess). Did I mention it is insanely small!

I took the 14/2.5, the 14-45 and the 7-14 out to my local "infinity testing range" as we finally had a sunny day. I shot the horizon diagonal to get targets in the extreme corners. This is the scene:

Anyway, I found that at 5.6 and 6.3 all three lenses were identical across the frame. That one test site recently linked in some thread here must have had a bad 14-45, my 14-45 is matching the 7-14 at all apertures across the entire frame.

At f/4 and lower a slight advantage to the 14/2.5 in the extreme corners. The 7-14 and 14-45 are identical to each other at f/4, the 14/2.5 maybe a little better in the corners.

Rather than spending an hour pulling crops from every exposure, here is an entire gallery of all three lenses shot at apertures 2.5, 3.5, 4, 5.6 and 6.3:


Full size originals viewable there. Full EXIF there as well. All default conversions in LR3. View and compare to your hearts content, or just believe my summary.

All shots tripod mounted. I shot three for each, two AF and one MF. In general all three exposures were identical in quality, the one exception was the 14-45 at 3.5 where I think I accidentally had AFC set, for that one only the MF exposure was good. I've only uploaded one good exposure from each three shot set. At f/2.5 it is a tad higher exposure than the others, I was pegged at 1/4000 and base ISO. Also, the 14/2.5 at 6.3 I forgot to shoot with the original tripod configuration and so you'll notice a slightly different framing and that shot was done about 10 minutes later.

As a final note, the 14/2.5 seems to be IR compatible. I shot it on my IR converted G1 (720nm) and there are no hot spots, still reasonably contrasty. Like almost all lenses shot in the near IR it is not as well corrected at the edges and extreme corners. Getting a little soft at the frame edges compared to shooting visible wavelengths.

Anyway, I'm happy with my 14/2.5 purchase - at least at the price I got it at.
Ken W
See plan in profile for equipment list

 kenw's gear list:kenw's gear list
Sony RX1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Olympus E-M5 II Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS +34 more
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