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We reviewed three of the more popular 'pocket printers,' the Canon Ivy, Fujifilm Instax Share and Polaroid ZIP. Here's the one we recommend...
The GF1 is available in kits with two lenses - the compact Lumix G 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 zoom with optical image stabilization (OIS) that first appeared with the DMC-G1, and the petite but fast 20mm F1.7 'pancake'. We've already reviewed the 20mm pancake (link), so on this page we'll look at the 14-45mm zoom.
The Lumix 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS does extremely well in our studio tests. Panasonic has integrated software correction of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration into the system design, and this pays off with near-perfect results for these aspects of our tests; the lens is also unusually sharp for its class. Compared to the Micro Four Thirds Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ED, the Panasonic does better in almost every regard; it even out-performs the best of the kit zooms for conventional DSLRs, the Olympus Zuiko Digital F3.5-5.6 ED. The differences aren't necessarily huge, but they're there.
|Sharpness||Central sharpness is very high at all focal lengths. At wider settings the corners are noticeably softer, but at telephoto sharpness is very even across the frame. Optimal apertures are generally around F5.6 (as usual for the Four Thirds format), stop down further and diffraction gradually takes its toll, with F16-F22 best avoided unless extreme depth of filed is essential.|
|Chromatic Aberration||Lateral chromatic aberration is being corrected in software, and is therefore essentially nonexistent.|
|Falloff||We consider falloff to become perceptible when the corner illumination falls to more than 1 stop less than the center. There's a little bit of falloff wide open at 14mm, but that's all.|
|Distortion||Geometric distortion is being corrected in software, and unlike the equivalent Olympus lens, almost completely so. Distortion is below 1% at all focal lengths, meaning that in practical terms you'll never see it.|
|The 14-45mm doesn't fare too well in our macro test, as is common with internal-focusing designs. Our measured minimum focusing distance is 28cm, which gives a working distance of just over 17cm from subject to the front of the lens; maximum magnification is 0.18x. The Olympus 14-42mm does rather better in this respect.
Sharpness is very good at the center, falling away slightly towards the corners in our test chart shot; best results are obtained at F8-F11. There's a little barrel distortion visible at such close focus, but no chromatic aberration.
|Macro - 98 x 73 mm coverage
Distortion: Mild barrel
Corner softness: Moderate
Focal length: 45mm (90 mm equiv)
A fundamental component of the Micro Four Thirds system design is the use of software to correct certain lens aberrations. For most users this is completely transparent - the camera corrects both the viewfinder image 'on the fly', and the JPEG files it records. Also, both the SilkyPix software supplied with G-series cameras and industry-standard alternatives such as Adobe Camera Raw convert raw files correctly too (the relevant correction parameters are encoded directly in the raw file, and applied equally by programs which support the format properly). However users who like to experiment with more obscure raw developers which are unable to apply the requisite corrections will find themselves with highly distorted images, mainly when shooting at wideangle, along with color fringing due to lateral chromatic aberration.
The graphic below shows just how much distortion you can expect to see when working with an unsupported converter. There's severe barrel distortion at wideangle which reduces progressively on zooming in, with the lens giving almost perfectly neutral results at the telephoto end. It's fair to say that wideangle images would require correction in most cases - not only to render straight lines correctly, but also to match the original viewfinder composition.
To place this in a wider context, the graphs below shows the distortion behavior, both corrected and uncorrected, compared to Olympus's two 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ED kit zooms, first the 'regular' Four Thirds lens and second the collapsible Micro Four Thirds lens sold with the E-P1.
|Compared to Four Thirds
Olympus ZD 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ED
|Compared to Micro Four Thirds
Olympus M ZD 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ED
The first graph shows that while the the lens's uncorrected distortion is indeed high, the results when the files are properly processed and corrected are very good indeed. The sub-1% values indicate visually insignificant distortion through the entire range (in contrast to the visible barrel distortion that SLR kit zooms such as the ZD 14-42mm tend to show at the wide end).
The second comparison reveals the different approaches Olympus and Panasonic have taken towards lens design and distortion correction in their respective Micro Four Thirds kit lenses. The uncorrected images show near-identical barrel distortion at wideangle, but the Olympus design gives strong pincushion distortion at telephoto, in contrast to the Panasonic's neutrality. Also while Panasonic corrects distortion almost completely in software, Olympus is slightly under-correcting (so that the final results from its Micro Four Thirds lens are almost identical to those from the 'regular' Four Thirds version).
The studio test data also clearly shows that lateral chromatic aberration is being corrected in the ACR-converted raw files (out-of-camera JPEGs are the same). The practical upshot of this is that the camera produces images which are essentially free of the color fringing which is normally visible with this type of lens, most obviously towards the corners of the frame. Note that this isn't anything new with JPEGs - Panasonic's compact cameras and Four Thirds DSLRs have clearly been doing it for a few years - but it's unusual to see it applied in a mandatory fashion to third party raw conversions.
Again we've used dcraw to process our studio test raw shots in order to reveal the lens's true characteristics, and illustrated the fringing visually using the top left checkerboard pattern from our lens test chart. Note that, for the sake of clarity, where necessary we're using images corrected for barrel distortion in this comparison (using Adobe Photoshop's 'Lens Correction' filter with parameters of +7.5 at 14mm, +5.4 at 18mm and +2.8 at 25mm).
The 14-45mm shows moderate levels of chromatic aberration in this test, no worse than typical DSLR kit lenses and indeed overall better than the Olympus M ZD 14-42mm. The relatively linear shape of the CA profiles also helps explain the effectiveness of the software-based correction. Unusually the most visible CA isn't at the widest setting but towards the middle of the range (18mm and 25mm), due to the strong red component at these focal lengths.
One curiosity is that, while Panasonic is correcting lateral chromatic aberration in software, Olympus doesn't seem to be following suit. This means that if anyone does choose to use this lens on an Olympus E-P1, they will see this fringing in their shots.
One feature of the 14-45mm is that its angle of view gets distinctly wider on focusing closer. This sort of thing happens to some extent with most kit zooms, but in this case the effect is much more marked than usual, which is likely due to the internal focus design. The net result is that at relatively near subject distances (~2m or closer) that 45mm telephoto end actually gives a slightly wider angle of view than the Olympus M ZD 14-42mm at 42mm (although at long distances the situation is of course reversed). This has little impact in practical use - you just need to move a bit closer with the Panasonic than you would with the Olympus to get the same framing - but it's worth noting.
Oct 14, 2009
Sep 2, 2009
Oct 10, 2012
Oct 12, 2012
Following testing of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II, we've added it to our Pocketable Enthusiast Compact Cameras buying guide as joint-winner, alongside Sony's Cyber-shot RX100 VA.
If you're looking for a high-quality camera, you don't need to spend a ton of cash, nor do you need to buy the latest and greatest new product on the market. In our latest buying guide we've selected some cameras that while they're a bit older, still offer a lot of bang for the buck.
What's the best camera for under $500? These entry level cameras should be easy to use, offer good image quality and easily connect with a smartphone for sharing. In this buying guide we've rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing less than $500 and recommended the best.
Whether you've grown tired of what came with your DSLR, or want to start photographing different subjects, a new lens is probably in order. We've selected our favorite lenses for Sony mirrorlses cameras in several categories to make your decisions easier.
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The 12th International Garden Photographer of the Year winners have been announced. We've gathered the top photos from each category and rounded them up into a slideshow.
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The Atomos Shinobi is a compact, lightweight monitor that features the same display found inside the much more expensive Ninja 5 monitor/recorder.
Want to know more about the Canon EOS RP? Dying to ask a question that hasn't been addressed anywhere else online? Join the editors of DPReview for a live Q&A about this new camera next Tuesday, Feb. 19 on our YouTube channel. Click through for details.
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NASA's Curiosity rover captures a 360 panorama from its Vera Rubin Ridge 'Rock Hall' drill site before moving on to greener...er...redder pastures.
Xiaomi's new flagship Android smartphone is expected to be launched on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
A quick glance at the spec sheet doesn't make the Canon EOS RP look that exciting. But having shot with it, we've become oddly fond of this little full framer.
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Alongside the EOS RP, Canon showed us mockups of the six lenses it says are in development for 2019. There's a distinct high-end flavor to the options in the works.
The new X-T30 may not be Fujifilm's flagship model, but it arrives with some very impressive features and specifications. Chris and Jordan have been shooting it for a few days and share their first impressions, along with a look at an iconic new building in their hometown of Calgary.
We don't often get excited about $900 cameras, but the Fujifilm X-T30 has really impressed us thus far. Find out what's new, what it's like to use and how it compares to its peers in our review in progress.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is equipped with the same 26.1MP X-Trans sensor and X-Processor 4 Quad Core CPU as the X-T3, along with some autofocus improvements. The new camera arrives in March for $900 body-only.
Fujifilm's new XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a compact, weather-resistant lens that weighs just 155g/5.5oz. It'll be available starting in March for $399.
Fujifilm's XF 16mm F2.8 is one of the widest lenses in the company's lineup of compact primes for its X-series interchangeable lens cameras. We've been up and down the streets of snowy Seattle - a rare sight - to see just what our pre-production copy of this petite prime is capable of.
Firmware version 2.00 brings two new shooting modes and one new setting to its X-T100 and X-A5 camera systems.
Fujifilm has announced its upcoming rugged point-and-shoot, the FinePix XP140.
Get a closer look at Canon's second full-frame mirrorless body and its unique combination of features, capability and price point.
Canon has unveiled its second full-frame mirrorless camera: the entry-level EOS RP. Touting its compact size and approachability for beginners, the RP uses a 26.2MP sensor and will sell for $1300 body-only this March.
A pre-launch event gave us a chance to shoot a sample gallery to show what sort of image quality you can expect from the least-expensive digital full frame camera ever launched.
Nikon has taken the wraps off a new standard zoom lens for mirrorless, the Z 24-70mm F2.8 Z. The new 24-70mm has been on Nikon's Z-series roadmap since the mount was announced last August, and it will ship in spring for $2299.
Canon has announced the development of six RF lenses, including the incredibly compact RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM, two variations of an RF 85mm F1.2L USM, plus a 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM and 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM.
Nikon has announced more details of firmware in development for the Z6 and Z7. As previously reported, firmware is being planned that will add Eye-detection AF, CFexpress support and Raw video over HDMI.
Tripod manufacturer Three Legged Thing has developed a new L-bracket designed to fit a wider range of cameras and allow users to mount their camera in a variety of ways.
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The new Galaxy S10 front camera will adopt several technologies that are already commonplace on many smartphone main cameras.
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 is a weather-sealed 24-400mm equiv. zoom for Micro Four Thirds and will go on sale in March for $900.
We put a pre-production version of Olympus' versatile new zoom through its paces.