** ONE VERY VERSATILE LENS**

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Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,612
** ONE VERY VERSATILE LENS**
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Panasonic 14 – 140 Mk 2 F3.5 – F5.6 Lens review:

Based purely on specifications, this lens may well appeal as a singular walk-around option for anyone who owns a M4/3rd body and who seeks to shoot the vast array of subjects made accessible through its very versatile focal range.

For wide (ish) landscapes, street, portraits, still life through to wildlife and travel/ vacation photography, the 14 – 140 (28 – 280mm EFL) covers much of these with no requirement to change from one lens to another. For that reason, this simply has to be one of – if not THE most practical of all lenses produced for this format.

As if it wasn’t versatile enough for the subjects already mentioned, a pretty useful bonus that tempted me to buy it is the lens’s minimum focus distance of just 0.30 m (11.81”), adding close-up/near macro photography with zoom to its already broad umbrella of uses.

Admittedly, in this day and age of massive zoom ranges, just shy of 300mm is arguably a little short for some wildlife photography. But with old-school field craft/stealth tactics/hides and/or maybe some post cropping employed, lots of bird/animal species are within the scope of this lens. If used on the more modern 20mp sensor, crops down to 10mp may effectively create the illusion that one is shooting at around double the lens’s native optical range with zoom at maximum extension. Results of such a procedure can look anywhere from good to excellent with sound shooting techniques utilised in line with appropriate light/conditions and providing accurate focus is achieved with distant subjects. (See my illustration below).

If you possess reasonable amounts of patience and skill, you can achieve good results with virtually any gear, the limits of which are largely down to your experience or lack thereof. Yes, you will optimise your chances of capturing small creatures through a longer lens, but here I’m creating scenarios where the only option you have is the 14 – 140 mm that’s attached to your camera.

You know how it goes. With an ILC, there are always those moments during which you have the less than ideal lens attached. You just happen to have bought the 14 – 140 because of its sheer versatility. Don’t rue the fact you’ve left the 100 – 400mm at home because you didn’t expect you’d need it today. That was your choice and, for the most part, it was the right one for every situation that the 100 – 400 would have been too much when you required shorter focal lengths or even a wide angle for that wonderful landscape scene that could otherwise have gone a begging. Make the most of the lens you have. And if you still can’t capture the image you can see in your mind’s eye because you don’t have 800mm of equivalent zoom for an off-the-cuff bird shot, simply shrug your shoulders and move on after using the 14 – 140 as best as you can.

SHARPNESS and FOCUS SPEED

From the perspective of what really matters to most of us, in my experience this lens is sharp throughout its entire focal range even when shooting at the widest apertures available, albeit that some may view F3.5 at wide angle and F5.6 at zoom as relatively slow. However, the fact that the sensor is so good in the G100 camera to which I attach the lens enables me to shoot comparatively clean Jpegs up to ISO 1600, maybe even ISO 2000 at a push. Hence I’m not at all disappointed with the speed or optical performance of the 14 – 140 2.

On the contrary, I generally rate this lens very highly from purely a results perspective. The fact that I pair a Panasonic lens with a Panasonic body means that I possibly maximise focus speed too, and this combo is certainly no slouch from the perspective of speed and hit rate. Around 95% of the time, focus is as accurate as I would expect it to be when employing my favoured AFS setting with medium burst mode or even single shot depending on circumstances.

JUST ONE ISSUE

The only gripe I have is in relation to hands-on use. When turning the zoom ring, there’s a noticeable increase of friction at around 1/3rd to 1/2 of full lens extension. If turned slowly in this range, we get a bizarre step-zoom kind of effect that smoothes out completely both before and after the sticky spot. Whilst this causes me no real problem when shooting still images, the apparent stiffness in operation would undoubtedly prevent smooth transition from wide angle to telephoto (and vice versa) when shooting video. Consequently, had I bought the lens specifically for movie making purposes, I’d have been disgruntled by this problem to say the least.

From what I gather, this stiffness is a widely recognised issue that tends to free up the more that the lens is used. I can see how and why this may prove to be true. But I’m puzzled as to how long one has to use the lens before everything frees up.

I’ve already taken over 5000 shots of various focal lengths with mine during the last two or three weeks with no sign of the friction having eased from day one. That’s despite that in between sessions, I’ve occasionally sat for five or ten minutes at a time just extending and retracting the zoom with the camera switched off. Folks who see me doing this probably think I’m crazy. And of course, they may well be correct.

Although I could and undoubtedly would live with it as is, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has experience of the problem rather than those inevitable cases where users claim it never even existed or that it may be a rare quality control issue. I don’t need to hear that yours has always been a smooth operator from the day you unboxed it. Please, only reply in the event that you have or, at least, had the problem that may have rectified itself in use by now.

As I say, I can live with it and it may be something to do with the seals Panasonic have put in place to prevent moisture or dust ingress. This is, after all, the mark 2 version of the lens released in 2019. Beyond it having splash and dust protection, it is otherwise supposed to be the same as the original 14 – 140 released in 2013 and which may not have been affected at all by zoom stiffness.

Beyond this one gripe, and for which I’ve docked the lens half a star in my final score, I rate this lens very highly and am now likely to keep it almost permanently attached to my G100, unless of course I’m shooting purely landscapes and for which the 12 – 32 kit lens is better suited from its 2mm (4mm EFL) wider perspective.

(Note that I also own the Panasonic 45 – 150 lens, which is as cheap as chips and equally as sharp as this 14 – 140 across all shared focal lengths and apertures, and all for less than a third of the price of its more versatile stable mate. With the 45 – 150, however, there’s an obvious requirement to change lenses more frequently to enable wider angle shooting, but the 45 – 150 is a lens that I also highly recommend to anyone searching for a true budget zoom option. It’s not splash and dust proof like the 14 – 140, but it does punch well above its weight for image quality and its far cheaper price tag. )

Overall, I’m really pleased that I treated myself to the 14 – 140 despite it costing more than I would normally have paid for a lens only. (When I shell out £600, I’m used to seeing a camera attached to the other end of the glass for the money I’ve spent, not just a lens and nowt else. )

Anyway, the main selling points/advantages of this lens for me were that relatively short minimum focus range mentioned above, its relative light weight, the weather sealing and convenience of rarely needing to change from one lens to another. In this respect, my G100 plus this lens is like using a shorter range and relatively light bridge camera, which, as a huge fan of the FZ range, actually suits me fine.

CONCLUSION

In both its original and this latest Mk2 version, the 14 – 140 has been around for years, during which time it’s received excellent reviews from a great many of its users… and for good reason.

Ultimately, from a results and convenience perspective, in my experience, the 14 – 140 is probably as good as anyone ever claimed it to be. For the most part, it’s almost sure to remain attached to my super duper little G100 most of the time. Together, they make for one convenient and pretty useful combo with which around 90% of my photography from here on in will be covered. Yay! No more searching for the holy grail of light camera and lens combinations. As things stand for me at the moment, the job’s well and truly done, although YMMV.

Below are some 14 – 140 II examples that I’ve shot with my G100. By and large, all images have been cropped/reduced in size for uploading purposes because I have a comparatively slow internet connection. Beyond that, they are pretty much as they popped OOC in fine quality Jpeg format.

For those who may be interested, my G100 camera review can be also found here:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4604513

Thanks very much for looking in.

Happy shooting and kind regards to all.

Cheers...

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Power OIS
Telephoto zoom lens • Micro Four Thirds • H-FSA14140
Announced: Apr 5, 2019
Stevie Boy Blue's score
4.5
Average community score
4.5
Panasonic 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 II Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 II ASPH
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