on January 25, 2011
When I first opened the box for this lens and pulled it out I couldn't believe it. It is unbelievably small which is a big reason for me purchasing this lens. The front lens cap is thinner than the one on the 20/1.7 and the rear lens cap is also thinner making the whole package even smaller. After reading reviews stating that this lens is a compromise with heavy vignetting I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, all I can say is that this lens is sharp. In the center of the frame it appears as sharp as my 20/1.7. On the edges maybe just a tad less sharp but not by much. As to vignetting, maybe a little but barely noticeable and only in some pictures of blank walls. It's a non issue. I am very happy with the image quality and when I look at this lens on the front of my E-PL1 I just feel amazed at the small size. This lens, coupled with my Panasonic 20/1.7 and a Voigtlander 40/1.4, makes the most wonderful compact kit that I have ever owned and that is the main reason why I converted from my Nikon to the micro 4/3 system. Would I like it if this lens was faster? Sure I would but then it would be bigger. Personally I say bravo to Panasonic for this lens.
I was never pleased with the image quality (IQ) of the 14-42mm kit lens, good center sharpness but very soft edges and corners, and was hesitant on purchasing the 14mm pancake since some reviewers said its IQ was only on par with the kit zoom lens. Doing an actual IQ comparison test between the 2 lenses on a G5, the 14mm pancake produced noticeably sharper images than the 14-42mm kit lens. At wide open, f/2.5, the 14mm pancake was as sharp in the edges and corners as the 14-42mm at f/8 which is the lens's sweet spot. Stopping the 14mm pancake down to f/4 and f/5.6 the edges and corners become crisper producing much better sharpness in the edges and corners than the 14-42mm. In the IQ comparison test I also noticed a slight improvement in the center sharpness with the 14mm pancake across the respective f/stops. While the 14mm pancake did produce noticeably sharper images than the 14-42mm I wouldn't say at any point the sharpness along the edges or corners was outstanding. The Panasonic 20mm pancake in comparison is capable of producing images with outstanding sharpness edge to edge. The center sharpness of the 14mm pancake is outstanding though.
The Panasonic 14mm lens is the most compact lens Panasonic makes for the M43 system. It is even 2/10" shorter than the Panasonic 20mm pancake and its diameter is 3/10" narrower than the 20mm. Because of the larger diameter of the 20mm I had difficulty mounting my GF5 to a tripod since the lens hung down lower than the body. I have no problem mounting the GF5 with the 14mm to a tripod though.
The focusing of the 14mm is very fast and silent. I would compare it to the quick focusing and silence of the 14-42mm non-pancake lens at 14mm. It is noticeably faster and quieter than the Panasonic 20mm. The 14mm also supports continuous AF (AFC) and flexible AF (AFF) which the 20mm does not when shooting pictures.
With an f/stop of 2.5, the 14mm lets in twice as much light as the 14-42mm kit lens at 14mm. The kit lens has stabilization whereas the 14mm pancake does not. Although stabilization is nice to have, with a wide angle lens it isn't as make or break as with a telephoto lens. One can take an image without visible camera shake at 1/30 of second with the 14mm. At 1/30 of a second any subject that could possible move (person or tree branch) would need to be pretty still to avoid motion blur in the frame. Obviously if you are trying to convey motion in the frame or shooting still life having stabilization would allow one to shoot at shutter speeds less than 1/30 of a second.
The build of the 14mm pancake is similar to the 14-42mm kit lens with the big exception being that the 14mm pancake has a metal mount compared to the plastic mount of the kit lens. At $319 the 14mm pancake is a little pricey for what you get. If the lens produced images with outstanding edge to edge sharpness or was faster, f/2 or f/1.8, it would definitely be worth $319. The great thing is that this lens was included with many GF kits and there are a lot of used copies available at almost half that price. At $170-$180 for a used copy it is definitely worth getting.
One last thing worth noting is while the 14-42mm kit lens technically has the same wide angle focal length as the 14mm pancake, the 14mm pancake does produce slightly wider angle images than the 14-42mm kit lens. This isn't uncommon if you've ever tested standard zoom lenses at the widest angle focal length to wide angle primes of the same focal length.
on August 1, 2012
Good aperture speed, sharp, great colors, super light & small. Auto focuses as fast as the Olympus E-P3 is capable. Received it just in time for my recent camping trip in the Sierra mountains. Captured lovely lake and pine forest images, as well as dramatic wide angle effect when used up-close or down-low for scenic and flower shots. Although I also carried the legendary Olympus 50mm f2 macro lens with me, I found that this lens focuses as close as 7.1 inches from the sensor, so it held it's own very well and I rarely felt the need to use the true macro lens. What I did not expect was the quality of bokeh to be so creamy. I really don't have anything negative to say about this lens. As is I like the compromise chosen by Panasonic to offer a quality lens at the affordable price.
I do wish at times for an even wider FOV, but not want to spend big bucks on the Olympus 12mm f2, or the pricey ultra wide zooms which at wide open is just f3.5. So I ordered the lens converter (part # DMW-GWC1) for this puppy which brings the FOV to 11mm. Yippeee!
I really like the 14mm lens for shooting in close quarters, moderate to dim lighting, as well as landscapes. Good luck with all your photography.
Been using this lens more than I thought I would, along with the 11mm wide converter. I find the 28mm (equivalent) and the Olympus Digital Tele-converter (2x) which in a pinch gives 56mm work well. The image quality is high. I've sold the Panny 20mm f1.7 lens because the FOV between the two lenses is very close. Having 11, 14, and 28mm in such a small package is handy. I am considering (more curious than a need) getting the 25mm f1.4 for low light, and the storied Leica look. Pleased with the 14mm purchase.
on March 5, 2012
I recently bought the 14mm pancake used from Amazon for around $250. I've had a couple weeks to play with it, though it didn't take that long to fall in love with.
I'm just starting my first system with m43 and the Olympus E-PM1. After getting used to the kit lens, it's nice to use this prime with very quick AF. There is also quite a difference in IQ from the Olympus kit lens, even to a novice photographer like myself. And an extra stop from the aperture is nice too. Close focusing is another thing I was happy to find, minimum focus distance is around 7", and I hear Panasonic will be releasing Wide, Tele, Macro & Close up lenses for the 14mm soon. So the focusing distance will be even shorter with the macro and Close lenses attached.
Reasons I bought this lens:
- Wide-Angle Prime
- Fast & silent AF for occasional video use
- Pancake. On the Epm1 body I can easily fit this into my hoodie pocket and walk around.
- IQ and Aperture were both a step up from the Oly kit.
- Minimum focusing distance
UPDATE [03/18/2012]: I feel some people are being a bit unfair with the rating of this lens, giving all the fanfare to the 20mm 1.7. Now, while the extra stop would be very nice, the quicker and quieter AF [from what I hear] on the 14mm is more to my liking.
Since I received this lens, it's only found it's way off of my camera a couple times. And each of those times were just a shot here and a shot there. I tend to do more of the composing in post processing with cropping and/or stitching [OH NO! He didn't admit that, did he?], so I enjoy having such a wide angle. I haven't had or tried the 20mm, so I can't be too harsh on it, but I love my 14mm.
on November 27, 2010
Incredibly small and light. Perfect materials and workmanship, an exquisite camera-object. Fast,quiet, accurate focus. Extremely sharp including corners, from full aperture. Beautiful light and color. Perfect for street photography, well-paired with the equally fine panasonic 20mm 1.7. Now an equally good micro 4/3 40-50 f2.0 or 1.4 is needed for portraits (this one with stabilization), and micro 4/3 will be irresistible.
Since converting over to the Micro Four-Thirds system I've been slowly replacing the kit zooms that came with various bodies with single focal length lenses, both for better quality and to gain a few extra f-stops. Sure, I'd like to buy a set of Leica or Voigtlander lenses, but like most non-pros my budget is limited. I try to find a middle ground between the best quality and the best values, and I buy used whenever I can.
The star of the Lumix line for quality and value, from everything I've read, is the 20mm f/1.7. It's a full two to three stops faster than the usual 14-42 or 14-45 kit lens, and very sharp according to tests. But 20mm equates to 40mm in the full-frame 35mm world, and that's not an ideal focal length for me. I contemplated buying one (I've seen used ones going for around $300) but decided instead to go with the cheaper, slower 14mm, in part because my favorite 35mm lens was the 28/2.8 Nikkor, and in part because Amazon had used ones for two thirds the cost of a new one
Now a lot of reviews have stated that the 14/2.5 Lumix isn't significantly better than the kit lenses, and the lack of image stabilization on the 14/2.5 means it's no better in low light. To which I reply, perhaps. But the 14 is a fraction of the size and weight of a kit lens, and stopped down it is indeed sharper. Having many fewer elements than a zoom should,also mean much better contrast (fewer internal reflections) and that can make a much bigger difference in image quality.
Too often we get wrapped up in what many call "pixel counting" and worrying about how many lines/mm a given lens will resolve. Reviews show images blown up to what would be poster size to illustrate that lens X is a bit softer around the edges, or that lens Y shows some diffraction at f/22. Most of the time it doesn't make a bit of difference. 90% of my photos live on the web, where they're displayed at far less than 100dpi. Some of my photos get reprinted as 8x10s or 11x14s, but I've printed 8x10s shot with a 7 Mpixel Canon Digital Elph that look like Kodachromes. Controlling light when actually capturing an image and knowing how to process an image for printing can count a lot more than how many pixels and lines your camera and lens can resolve.
But I digress ;-) if you're looking for a very compact wide angle lens with good contrast and reasonable speed that doesn't cost a fortune, the Lumix 14/2.5 is a good choice.
on April 20, 2011
I've had my GF1 for almost a year now. My 20mm lens is quite dear to my heart - sharp, fast, small.. perfect in almost every way. Just not nearly as wide as I need it to be in indoor situations when I'm shooting photos for architectural studies.
Enter the 14mm f/2.5. Although it is noticeably slower and less sharp, it is also noticeably wider! Suddenly I can fit more things in the frame without having to step super far back, or without compromising with clever cropping.
I've had this lens for a couple weeks now and am quite enjoying it. It's extremely light, even lighter than the 20mm! Quite a feat, in my opinion. I'm looking forward to shooting even more with this.
Had quite a bit more time with it and I must say, I find this lens to be only good for excursions during the daytime or with really good lighting already established. I'm spoiled by the speed of the 20mm, but the 14mm's weakness in dim lighting and night scenes is just too apparent. I'll be keeping the lens since I do still believe it's great during the right situations, but I would advise against those who want speedy glass.
on April 19, 2011
Love these micro 4/3 cameras and lenses! Originally bought the Oly 17mm 2.8 for my new E-PL2, but wanted a wider walk around prime that was (hopefully) faster. Though it's only marginally faster, I definitely got what I wanted in the Panasonic 14mm 2.5. The Oly is a good lens, but in my experience falls short of the Panasonic in a few areas:
1) Panasonic is sharper
2) Panasonic has a wider aperture
3) Panasonic internal focusing mechanism is very quick, faster than the Oly
So the Olympus has gone back, Panasonic is a keeper. Do I wish it had an even better aperture? Sure, but it's unbelievably small, which makes it a great walk-around prime. I would supplement this with the 20mm 1.7 if I had the cash at present. Perhaps in the future.
on February 11, 2012
I saw the reviews, I saw the images, I also have the Panny 20mm f1.7. I know what to compare it against. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the images & the 14mm view. Sure my Olympus E-PL2 came with the 14-42 f3.5+ II MSC zoom lens, same 14mm, but the brightness & colors of the Panny REALLY stand out. The extra stops of light compared to the kit lens instantly made this the replacement.
Note: I've yet to take the 14mm off the camera for the 20mm or my Olympus Zuiko 50mm f2. It's gone on & it's stayed on.
Oh, did I say this lens is extremely small? Tiny. Micro.
on May 26, 2012
This lens gives you the classic 28mm film wide angle view. It's amazingly small and makes a good hiking lens. Sharpness is excellent in the center and distortion is not bad. The corner sharpness is only decent and you need to get down to f4.0 to get the corners to appear sharper. It produces contrasty pictures and colors do pop out. This lens doesn't wow you like the olympus 45mm f1.8 or panasonic 20mm f1.7 with their gorgeous brokeh -- and it won't due to its field of view. There is very noticeable chromatic aberration on Olympus bodies in high contrast areas like tree leaves and branches. It's a very solid lens you can get for a low price. If you already have a good kit lens in 14mm range, it may not be worth it unless you really like it's super small size and f2.5 aperture.