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148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding ultra-wide
How can this outstanding ultra wide micro four thirds lens not have any reviews? I'm not a professional photographer, but I can't sit by idly while this lens is denied its proper accolades.

First, an ultra-wide lens is very useful. The difference between 7mm and 14mm is enormous. The broad field of view at 7mm lets you take amazing landscape pictures. At 7mm,...
Published on October 9, 2009 by Noirist

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A must for MFT architectural work, with compromises
This lens is pretty much required for our shooting of interior architecture due to the aggressive sensor crop factor of the Panasonic GH3. The images and video we get are good but not outstanding, exhibiting more barrel distortion than I would like. This lens is rather expensive at f4, but when you need to get wide it's among the only options.
Published 11 months ago by D. Seeley


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148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding ultra-wide, October 9, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
How can this outstanding ultra wide micro four thirds lens not have any reviews? I'm not a professional photographer, but I can't sit by idly while this lens is denied its proper accolades.

First, an ultra-wide lens is very useful. The difference between 7mm and 14mm is enormous. The broad field of view at 7mm lets you take amazing landscape pictures. At 7mm, mountains are reduced to boulders, and boulders are reduced to small rocks. More importantly, the ultra-wide angle lets you take close ups of objects while preserving their relationship to the objects around them. And most importantly, the ultra-wide angle lets you take pictures in close or cramped quarters that simply would not be possible with any other lens. At 9mm you can sit in the corner of a room and take a picture of the entire room!!! During filming, you can zoom out from 14mm to 7mm to create a dramatic effect that cannot be achieved with another lens.

Second, this is an excellent choice among all ultra-wides. slrgear and dpreview have tested it and found it to provide excellent image quality. It is ideally suited to the Panasonic G1/GH1/GF1 and the Olympus E-P1 because it is the only ultra-wide lens available for micro four thirds that will auto-focus and auto-expose during movies. Auto-focus and auto-exposure are quiet enough under normal conditions that I can't hear them. Auto-focus hunting is minimal. As of firmware version 1.1 (dated 2009/11/25), this lens officially supports auto-focus in 1080p24 FHD movies. It is incredibly light (only 300 grams) when compared to similar lenses in other formats. The next most compact ultra-wide zoom is the otherwise excellent Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm f/4.0 Aspherical Super ED Lens for Olympus Digital SLR Cameras, which costs 50% more and weighs nearly three times as much with the required Panasonic Mount Adapter. And this lens is currently the only native m43rds ultra wide zoom with constant aperture throughout its zoom range (7mm to 14mm). Wow.

Now the bad news.... Flash is problematic. The wide hood at the end of the lens blocks the on-camera flash in the wide field of view that this lens provides and will cast an ugly shadow right in the bottom middle in your frame. So if you take a flash picture with this lens, your picture will have a dark spot in the center bottom where the lens blocked the on-camera flash :( I'm not sure if a hot-shoe mounted flash can solve this problem because I haven't found any that are rated down to 7mm. This is annoying since at f4.0 this lens isn't fast enough for low light photography without a flash.

And finally, my druthers. My favorite use of this lens is photographing tight indoor spaces, where I am always wishing for a faster lens. So I wish this lens was faster, even though it would be heavier and more expensive. But even exactly as it is, I highly recommend this magical lens for confined quarters and for landscapes.

**Update August 2010**

I took the 7-14mm with me on vacation this month and reacquainted myself with its charms. In Santa Cruz, I discovered that the 7-14mm has a magical ability to look around obstacles, and see things that are not visible to the naked eye. Due to an unfortunate seating choice at the Roaring Camp Railroad, all I could see was the back of the Shay locomotive pulling us up Bear Mountain. At 7mm, this lens reduced the entire locomotive to a small part of the frame and the resulting pictures were better than what I could see with my own eyes (see images). The GH1 with this lens is so light that I took a 1080p24 movie of the Dixiana's 20 minute descent HANDHELD. A few days later I used this lens to take aerial pictures of the Bay Area salt marshes. With this lens's huge 7-14mm range, I could frame my aerial shots exactly as I wanted. No other lens on any other widely available still or video camera system can provide as wide a field of view and as excellent image quality in so compact and inexpensive a package as this lens.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing lens and amazingly small..., November 18, 2009
By 
Ken Walsh (Baltimore, MD) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
This lens has been very hard to get for awhile now and it is certainly not cheap. It does, however, deliver the goods. It is a stunningly good performer and its diminutive size demonstrates the advantage the micro-four-thirds has in wide angle optics solutions with the elimination of the mirror-box. The G1+7-14 looks almost comically small sitting next to my Canon 400D+10-22 - and the 7-14 actually goes wider than the 10-22.

Please keep in mind that this is a UWA, so when I and other reviewers praise it we are doing so in the context of a UWA lens. That means expect the corners to not be perfectly sharp, no UWA lens achieves this. But this lens has great center sharpness and corner sharpness the keeps up with the best competition. Simply stunning results. If you've never shot UWA come to the table with the right expectations, if you have UWA experience I think you'll be very impressed.

Flare performance is excellent, comparable to the Canon 10-22 which is another great flare performer.

Be advised, no filter attachment is practical with this lens. This is usually not a problem as polarizers are less frequently useful on UWA lenses (effect will vary dramatically over such a wide viewing angle) and for a digital camera few other filters are useful.

Is it worth the price? Well, that is a hard call as it is not a cheap lens. Right now it is your only option for micro-four-thirds. Comparing to other systems the Canon 10-22 is probably comparable and cheaper. So yes, I think you are paying a bit of a micro-four-thirds premium. That said, once you put it on a micro-four-thirds body and hold it in your hand and look at the results it is a whole new ball game to have something this small with such excellent UWA performance - there is nothing else like it out there. If you are a UWA shooter I strongly suspect you'll find it well worth the cost, its portable size and tremendous performance make it a landscape or architecture photographers dream solution for compact/lightweight gear.

Finally, note that in early 2010 Olympus is planning on releasing a micro-four-thirds 9-18mm lens that will likely be significantly cheaper (probably 40% less). It of course won't go as wide (and there is quite a difference between 7mm and 9mm) and will likely not be as good in the IQ department, but it will use a 52mm filter and might be a more attractive price point for many buyers. As far as that goes you can pry my 7-14 from my cold, dead fingers if you'd like to try...
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A No Compromises Compact Ultra Wide, January 25, 2010
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I wanted a high quality, lightweight ultra-wide lens to take hiking in the mountains of Colorado. The Lumix 7-14mm on my Panasonic GF1 replaces my previous UWA, the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 that I used on my Nikon D300.

Advantages vs Sigma 10-20mmm f4-5.6
* Smaller and lighter
* Constant f4 aperture
* Better build quality
* Integrated lens hood
* Very sharp across the entire frame, even wide open
* Little barrel distortion @7mm.

Disadvantages vs Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6
* Much more expensive
* No filter thread

I occasionally used a circular polarizer with my Sigma to increase color saturation and contrast, but the effect is pretty uneven on ultra wide lenses. The Lumix 7-14mm has very good contrast and color, so I don't really miss the polarizer unless I want to reduce water reflections or glare from foliage.

If you shoot landscapes with a M4/3 camera, you'll love this little gem!
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The real dilemma: this Panny or the Oly 9-18mm, July 20, 2010
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
Probably everyone is wondering the same thing as I did: The Panny 7-14mm, or Olympus m.zukio 9-18mm? Olympus M ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 micro Four Thirds Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Third Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
So I bought both. While testing showed in daylight they are about the same, low light was interesting. First let's tak about the size.

When you see these two diminuitive lenses, you may think, I spent how much for this?? But this is one of a few cases where less really IS more. The Oly lens is about the size of a small jar of baby food, the Panny is probably a about the size of those half cans of Coke. Both are so small/light (compared to the GH1 14-140mm) you may think you forgot the lens. GH1 feels like a toy, but it's really a powerful tool I can carry all day, no sweat.

These ultra-wides beg to be used indoors or to capture places like Times Square. Needless to say, you don't always get good lighting indoors. So speed of the lens was a concern. I shot 200 photos in a high end hotel lobby--dim lights, wonderful artwork, walnut bars, you know the place. I shot ISO100 and 400 in raw and on tripod w/ timer to ensure minimal external influence.

Both WA lenses produced RW2's that were brighter than what I saw with the naked eye. Also, both are significantly sharper than the stock GH1 14-140mm lens, in fact on par or better than just about any WA lens I have used. While both are pretty sharp lenses, I found the Olympus to be slightly sharper in just about every test I ran. I was astonished I could see details on a wine bottle label 15 feet away in Adobe Bridge.

On balance, the Oly seemed to give me 1/2 stop more metering in same scene (dark hotel lobby). As a result, I found the F4-5.6 of the Oly vs f4 of the Panny to not be significant. The Oly hunted slightly as it was focusing, but the photo betrayed no loss of focus.

7mm vs 9mm on WA is very significant on m4/3, at least about a foot or so extra width on either side shooting down a 15' wide entrance hall. If you must have maximum WA, stop reading, go with Panny, if you want slighty sharper pix, go with Oly. I suspect a good RAW workflow could largely equalize these two differences. As far as the 7-9mm range, objects close to the lens will show the fisheye type curvature (not that bad), anything over 10 feet away will look pretty normal.

Oly screw-on filter nice, but not a must have, unless outdoors a lot. I also wish Oly included a lens hood.

Video out of both lenses gives you what you want, amazing perspective. Slight up/downward angle induces some interesting distortion, straight on (level) with nothing near the lens looks almost widescreen anamorphic. The Panny might be a better choice for video, again the 7mm making a difference.

When researching my DSLR, one recurring post on message boards was how many missed a shot because they didn't carry their too big/heavy DSLR around. So, size/weight largely led to my taking the risk on the largely unproven m4/3 platform. Those of us who took a risk on m4/3 vs the traditional DSLR route are being validated by lenses such as these. Both are great lenses, but I went with the sharper Oly lens. I can still recommend the Panny if you need ultimate WA, as I doubt you will notice the slight softness without side by side comparison.

Finally, I offer a grateful thanks to both OLY/Panny. First by having a camera that is practical to easily carry and now by astonishing lenses such as these at a fraction of the weight and size and every bit as good as the DSLR for the average shooter. You both have succeeded in makin selection darn difficult.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Killer App for m4/3, March 8, 2010
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
This is one of the 3 pro grade lenses for the micro 4/3 system The Panasonic 20mm and, just squeaking into this category, the Panasonic-Leica 45mm are the other two. IMO this is the second most important lens for this system (The most important would be a 300mm F2.8 that would have bird, wildlife, and small format fashion photographers flocking to the m4/3 system). The reason this lens is so important is that the real weakness of the m4/3 system is wide angle lenses. And yet right out of the gate, Panasonic delivers a stunning ultra wide angle 7-14mm constant f4 zoom lens.

If you compare this to the Olympus 4/3 7-14 f4 you will be amazed how small this lens is. You could also compare it to the Nikon 14-24 f2.8. Yes this lens gives up 1 f-stop to the Nikon but my GH1 and 7-14mm are smaller and lighter than either of those other lenses by themselves!!!

Ok so it is small but what is this lens good for. There are four main areas where wide angles excel.

The first is shooting in confined spaces. A good example of this is a wedding photographer shooting the bride getting made up in a small bathroom. Not much space and no other way to get the whole scene.

The second is the huge depth of field relative to distance. If you have a lot of stuff you want to get in focus yet don't have room to back up, then the wide angle is your tool of choice.

The third is wide angle perspective. If you take two objects the same height put them different distance for the camera and put on a telephoto then you get a compression effect and the two objects look the same size. If you now put on a wide angle and fill the lens the same amount with the closer object, that object will now appear much larger than the further away object. This can be used for all sorts of photo tricks. Additionally, if you are taking a group photo and the big boss is a shorter person, you can move him/her closer to the camera, let the wide angle depth of field carry the focus all the way through and now the big boss will seem bigger and more powerful. Also, if you want to give someone a clown nose or head then move close to the nose and shoot off angle. The nose will seem abnormally big. Anyway, you can use this property for many neat effects.

The fourth is wide angle distortion. Have you ever seen those stunning photos of great blue sky and clouds that stretch on forever with a little bit of land. Or stunning shots of the land and sky stretching on forever toward you. These skies or landscapes stretching toward you is a result of edge distortion. Another type of distortion you can see is curving buildings, lines that are not straight, etc. This is a combination or barrel distortion and converging verticals.

All of these are signatures of a wide angle lens that will give your photography a fresh and different look than the vast majority of photos.

Pros
Sharp lens
Excellent build quality
Amazingly small and light
Fast focusing
Price
Distortion that gives wide angle look

Cons
Distortion that gives wide angle look (this depends which camp you fall into)
Extreme wide angle lenses take time and effort to really learn to shoot well. I still have not mastered this lens.
I am really struggling to come up with anything meaningful. This is that good of a lens.

Overall
If you want to bring a new and distinct look to your photography you absolutely must buy this outstanding lens.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic lens, December 16, 2009
By 
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
This is a fantastic lens. It's tiny compared to any other lens that covers these focal lengths. It's extremely sharp, corner to corner, throughout the zoom range. I've been taking a lot of test images with the lens on the panasonic G1, wide open at f4, throughout the zoom range. It is sharp across the frame, at all focal lengths. There is very little distortion, and when using Lightroom to process RAW images, I see no chromatic aberration.

It's pretty amazing and utilizes the potential of the micro 4/3 system. Amazing that you can take images of this quality with such a small camera and lens! Just buy it.

FYI, my background: I have used view cameras extensively for landscapes and travel photography, and more recently the Canon 5D and 5DII and a stellar copy of the Canon 17-40mm f4L lens. This relatively small Panasonic Lens and G1 camera produces, IMHO, images that are as good in many situations, and perhaps better in others than the Canon system. And the Panasonic goes a lot wider than the Canon 17-40mm f4L, providing an equivalent to a 14mm field of view at the wide end, which is phenomenal. Just compare it to the size, weight, and cost of the Nikon 14-24mm lens!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultra Wide as Heck, November 21, 2011
By 
Jimbo C (Fullerton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I'm not a guy who makes big prints or does 100% blow ups of resolution charts, but you can find that junk on the web. Whether you want this lens or not will depend, of course, on your needs. Here are mine:

I am a casual photographer, shameful gear luster, and former photojournalist. A couple of years ago I realized that I had a bunch of great DSLR equipment I never used unless I was feeling particularly guilty about not using it, so I got rid of it and reassessed my needs.

A camera is only as useful as how often you actually take it out with you, so I knew I was going to have to go smaller than the 1D. And while I occasionally found myself cropping tighter than my 1.3x or 1.6x plus 70-200 could reach, I realized that I much more frequently wished I could go wider. Seeing how ultra wide would never be wide enough I made my decision to buy into a new system based on one criteria: who had the best ultra-wide lens in a package smaller than an SLR?

My research (in 2010) lead me to this lens: the Panasonic 7-14mm and its associated micro four thirds system. A GF1 with 20mm pancake lens was almost pocket-small, and the effective 14-28mm field of view with this well-reviewed zoom seemed like just the ticket so I took the (May '10) plunge of a combined $1700-1800. I'm happy to say I haven't regretted it for a second.

The 7-14mm is a manageable size and weight, creates quite sharp, contrasty images, and has good flare control given its FOV. The build quality is what I would expect at the price point: the slight heft of quality, though I wouldn't use it to pound tent stakes in a hurricane like I might with some pro gear. I've used many third-brand ultra wides that were worthless indoors or when pointed within 180 degrees of the sun because of their flaring and ghosting. I've also used many of Canon's L series which I imagine is where most of the 'prosumer' segment marks the bench. For my casual, candid, or travel purposes, this lens runs with the best of them. The field of view at 7mm (14 equiv.) is monstrously wide. So wide that I have no problems taking pictures of people who are ordinarily camera shy, because they see me pointed far enough off to the side that they assume they are no longer in the shot. This is a pretty valuable quality when you're trying to be all docu-style in close proximity to people. The latitude you get with this thing makes shooting from the hip very possible, and the quick AF and wide DOF work well enough together to keep it in focus.

It's not all peaches and gravy, of course. Shooting in large indoor spaces your FOV will always capture some of those 1000 watt light bulbs on the ceiling and their flare. When you get this wide distortion around the edges becomes a reality, though it can often be used to your advantage. Although it will focus very close, a 7mm focal length at F4 on a 2X crop sensor will never give you a super out of focus background unless the distance between the subject and the background is remarkable.

All in all, if your needs warrant it, this lens is worth every penny. It has made photography interesting and fun for me again, and I would probably have paid a lot more for that.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Lens!, January 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
Like many others who purchased this lens, I was torn between the Olympus 9-18mm and Panasonic 7-14mm. If you've done any research on these lenses then you are familiar with their particular pros and cons. For me, I was interested in the very best quality which, in my opinion, was the Panny. I will admit, however, that the size issue concerned me. As it turns out, while it is certainly larger than the Olympus, this lens is only slightly larger than the Panasonic 14-45mm. Even at that, it is a l-o-n-g way from lugging a DSLR around. This lens and my GF1 are still a relatively small and light camera and the build quality is outstanding.

Now for the most important part.....the image quality. Although I have only had the lens for a few days, I am very please with the image quality. in a word....Excellent. In the final analysis, image quality, build, and the additional 2mm made the choice of this lens over the Olympus a good decision. The only negative is the fact that you can't put a filter on this lens, so you'll need to be a little extra careful with it.

I'm excited about an upcoming trip to San Francisco, where I'll really be able to take advantage of this Ultra Wide lens.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highest quality lens, January 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
This is the best built wide angle lens I've ever used. The build is flawless - it seems like it was put together by a high
precision robot. There are absolutely no dust particles inside the lens- this is not the case with the Canon and Nikon lenses
I have used. It is built like a mini tank with the exterior panels perfectly aligned and to very exacting tolerances. The lens
coating is superb and minimizes distortion - when coupled with a 4/3 Panasonic camera, the jpegs turn out better than the raw files
corrected with Adobe camera raw - the on camera processing algorithm removes almost all distortion.

The focusing ring has a very smooth yet firm feel to it. At the 7mm end, wide angle pics focused on a near subject have an amazing 3d look.
This is the one lens that makes the 4/3 system shine and seems to be the reason why the 4/3 system was created.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic 7-14mm Lumix Lens equals Leica quality!, January 14, 2010
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This review is from: Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
This Panasonic Lumix lens is the 3rd lens I have bought from Amazon and completes my system for G series of Panasonic cameras and lenses. Even though this lens is a little pricey, it is remarkable as to how sharp it is at all f stops and in the zoom ranges. For it's price, it is a bargain in it's range for wide angle zooms and is almost a must for indoor photography. Now I'm looking forward to using it for nature photography using it's range and unique perspective. It along with all the Lumix Lenses are highly recommended!
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Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds Lens for Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras
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