42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2011
I bought a Panasonic G1 for the sole purpose of mounting Canon FD style lenses (totally manual operation requiring a custom adapter). I took an immediate liking to the G1 and photos it produced with the Canon FD lenses. I thought I might buy a Panasonic lens to investigate how the camera performed when used as it was designed to be used. Being heavily invested in an EOS system I didn't want to spend too much on another system so I bought the new cheaper 14-42 3.5-5.6 model. I was impressed. The lens is very small, light and yes, kind of cheap but not so much more so than most lenses under $500. It focuses quickly, silently and accurately. It produces photos which are very sharp and I particularly like the way the camera/lens combo renders colors. I understand Panasonic does some in camera image correction but the photos are top drawer and the camera is a pleasure to use both as old school manual and modern P&S. I absolutely like the lens and it stands up well against other lenses which I own that costs 3X as much. Generally I would agree, get a metal mount, more expensive build and expect better performance. I have purchased other lenses on the same criteria, but in reality I don't know that I would see any improvement having bought the older better build model. What I really would like is a faster lens, say 2.8 that didn't cost over a $1000. All that aside, I'm very impressed with the photographic capabilities of the Panasonic gear and this cheap little lens in general.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I have both Panasonic and Olympus Micro 4/3rds cameras, and consequently two 14-42mm lenses- this one, and the similar Olympus 14-42mm Zukio, which costs about 50% more than the Lumix. Both are intended to be kit lenses, supplied as part of an entry-level Micro 4/3rds camera package. Technically, either lens can be used with either camera body, but Panasonic and Olympus use different image stabilization systems, so if you want to take advantage of that function, you need to match lens and body.
Even though the Panasonic is significantly cheaper than the Olympus, it compares well in terms of sharpness, contrast, and color correction. The Panasonic does show some vignetting wide open at 14mm, but it's hardly noticeable. Some reviews say the Panasonic tests a bit sharper. Both are adequate for my use.
Construction is similar, with both the Lumix and the Olympus having plastic mounting flanges. Where they differ is that the Olympus is designed to collapse down to a very short length when not in use. To take a photo, you have to unlock the zoom ring and extend the lens, at which point it stick out significantly farther than the Lumix lens, and seems a bit fragile. The Lumix lens is more convenient, and has the added benefit of coming with a lens hood that can easily be attached and removed, or stored reversed on the lens. This is a big help when shooting outdoors under a bright sun or near an artificial light source.
If you're looking for really critical color and sharpness, the Lumix 14-45mm zoom delivers better performance all around, and more rugged construction, but at over twice the price. For the non-pro looking for a good starter lens, or a good all-around lens for everything from interior shots to portraiture to nature photography, this is a good choice, and a good match to the lower priced Lumix micro-4/3rds camera bodies.
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2011
I have read that 14-45 might be a slightly sharper lens, but I have Panasonic GF1. I don't have any of the large G or GH models. So for me, size matters. Since I bought GF1, the idea was to go small. What is the point of getting a small m4/3 camera and then mount large heavy lenses on it? It defeats my purpose, I already have full-frame Nikon D700 with assortment of large and heavy lenses for it. So for GF1 I got 14-42, 20mm, and 45-200. These three lenses cover me from 28 to 400mm.
14-42 is a very small, very light lens. Yes unlike the other two m4/3 lenses in my arsenal, 14-42 is made in China (the others in Japan) and has plastic mount (the other two have metal mount). It also costs $199, comes with a hood, and focuses silently and instantly, in any light. It focuses quieter and faster than 20mm F/1.7 for sure. It has build-in Image Stabilizer. Unlike on 45-200, you cannot turn off the stabilization via a switch on the lens itself. But you can of course turn off stabilization in the camera menu itself so the option is still there, it is just in the camera menu, not on the lens body.
This lens is so light that you don't even notice the weight difference when you mount it on GF1. I plan on using it as a daylight walkaround lens. At night or in low light, I'll switch to 20mm F/1.7. Both lenses are so small that you can have the other in your jacket pocket and then switch them at any time.
My review and five stars is strictly for the use with small m4/3 bodies, like GF1 or Oly pens. For Panasonic G and GH models, well they are large already so perhaps paying twice as much for 14-45 for alleged increase in sharpness (if it truly is there) makes more sense for you, since 14-45 might balance well on such a large body. For GF1/2, the small and silent 14-42 (so no sound of the lens when shooting a movie) is a smarter choice in my opinion
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
This lens gets way too much bad rap. I've owned and extensively used nearly every lens in the micro-four-thirds lineup since I've jumped into the system--from the Nokton, to the Leica, and even the wobbly first-generation Olympus kit-zoom--and, to be honest, this lens fares pretty well compared to the rest. I don't care if I'm chastised for this, but I can't even tell a difference in image-quality among most of the lenses at equal settings. Instead of using the lens like how most people use zooms, I tend to only switch between 14mm and 25mm. It might seem crazy, but that's just how I see and shoot. I've been shooting with primes forever, so I see focal-lenghts more as a personal choice for perspective rather than a way to pull an object in or out of the frame.
Overall, the Panansonic 14-42mm does an admirable job for a daytime or travel lens if I don't need the speed, thin depth-of-field or extra bagspace. It focuses almost instantly and is inexpensive, sharp, and well underated. The only thing limiting me from taking awesome pictures with this lens is my vision. If my pictures suck, as yours probably do on most days, it probably has more to do with my shoddy vision or subject rather than the lens. (Seriously, how many more slight photo variations of your feet, shoes, car, pets, or flowers can you take?) For what it is, which is a cheap and sharp standard zoom for everyday or travel shooting, the 14-42 is a bargain.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2012
I must admit, I shopped cheap for this lens. I found an Olympus Pen E-PL1 with the Zuiko 14-42mm kit lens included on Amazon Warehouse deals. I have a Canon dSLR Rebel T3i, but was wanting to go down with size and weight for certain occasions. My photos are usually my dogs and wildlife/birds taken while kayaking or camping with the dogs.
I had read about the 4/3 systems and decided I would like to try one. Since the price was definitely right for this package I went for it, and I got the Panasonic G Vario 4-5.6, 45 - 200 lens also as used at the same time. When they arrived, the 14 -42 mm lens was inoperatable, a first for me after purchasing 100's of items from the Warehouse site.
Since the camera worked GREAT with the larger lens, I wanted to keep it so Warehouse Deals issued a partial refund on the camera package.
I then ordered this lens, based on reviews, again "used" from Warehouse deals, and it arrived today. It does have a small piece of something between the elements BUT, it is at the base and after doing test shots with different solid backgrounds, there is NO evidence of it in the photos so I am happy with it.
I must say, while I KNEW I wasn't buying a "L" lens from Canon, I am extremely pleased with this lens so far. Yes, it does feel plasticy and, yes, cheap, but, lets face it people...it IS an inexpensive lens!!!
The zoom is smooth as can be, focus is achieved instantly either by auto OR manual, and the colors are superb!!! In fact, I actually like the colors better than those with the canon. I do miss the ability to take photos in darker conditions, but again, I DID NOT expect to be getting a Canon with an L lens and this lens is pretty small to gather a bunch of available light.
It is a GREAT size for a walk around lens, pretty much what I was looking for! I expect to mainly use this for general photos of people and pets while kayaking, etc., and also have the Canon along with long lens for those further away shots and for shots at dusk.
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2011
I found the "Mega OIS" image stabilization to perform well for video but overall, this lens has poor optics in comparison to the 14-45 and does not allow you to extract the full capabilities of Panasonic's excellent M 4/3 technology. It is much more "plasticy" feeling in relation to Lumix's other lenses and doesn't have the same level of attention to detail or build quality. While this lens will get the job done, the additional $100 investment into the 14-45 (even though it is the older version) is well worth it if you are looking in this all-purpose zoom range of lenses for M 4/3.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2011
The only real reason anyone would bash this lens is if they're using it wrong. This is NOT a lens for low light situations. That said, it's still not bad in low light. If you move around and get your shoot position right, you can still get useabe results. In a well lit environment or sunlight this lens shines.
Also, you CAN use this for some great portraits provided there's ample light. On a sunny day or in a well lit studio, it'll work just fine.
I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 16.05 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-inch Free-Angle Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Hybrid Lens (Silver) and Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras.
So here we go, a quick review:
1. VERY affordable
2. Small and portable. I carry this, my GH2 and the 20mm panny, charger, card reader, cell phones, passports, etc in my small National Geographic NG 4567 Small Sling Bag (Khaki).
3. Good for portaits and everyday photography in good lighting.
1. NOT very good in low light
2. Has a limited zoom but then at under 200 dollars its not bad at all.
In a nutshell, this is a great starter lens for someone with just a MFT body. Its VERSATILE and PORTABLE. Good to get used to a zoom lens before you for a more powerful lens.
I'm on youtube as arjunkaul the king of rocknroll
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I received this lens as part of a GF5 kit. Before purchasing the kit I was aware of its reputation of not being a stellar lens and yet I have still been disappointed. For several years I managed a professional photography store and tested many kit zoom lens. The Panasonic 14-42mm is one of the weakest performing kit lenses I've shot and it comes as no surprise to me that Panasonic is replacing the 14-42mm kit lens for their 2013 cameras.
Like many kit lenses to keep costs down the lens barrel is made of plastic. While it makes for a lightweight lens, it also feels very cheap. The lens mount is also made of plastic instead of metal. Having a metal mount does help the durability of the lens. I used to have the Nikon 18-105mm lens which has a plastic mount. One time between shots I set the camera on the ground. While arranging some stuff for the next picture, I accidentally kicked the camera (not very hard) and broke the plastic lens mount. The repair cost on the lens was around $90.
As others have noted the zoom on the 14-42mm is very choppy. I've had the lens for about 2 months and the zoom has loosened up a bit but it is still too choppy for shooting videos.
The image quality from the lens varies by focal length. At 14mm the images have good center sharpness but the edges and corners are blurry. The bottom left corner is particularly bad with this lens on both my GF5 and G5. Even stopping down to f/8 which is usually lenses sweet spot for edge to edge sharpness barely helps to improve the sharpness of the edges and corners at 14mm. The best focal lengths for image quality from this lens comes between 20-25mm. At these focal lengths I get good results wide open and stopped down to f/8. At 42mm the images are soft. On the GF5 because of the lower megapixel capability (12MP) it is barely noticeable. But on the G5 which is 16MP the images shot at 42mm are clearly soft, much softer than the images shot at 25mm.
The one shining aspect of this lens is its AF. The AF is fast and silent which makes it ideal for videos. It's just too bad the zoom is so choppy.
If you are thinking of purchasing this lens for a GF3 or GF5 be aware that the lens blocks the flash coverage at focal lengths from 14-25mm. At 14mm it is quite bad, casting a shadow from about middle of the frame on down to the lower corners.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
This is a cheap, small and light lens for m4/3 cameras.
It has built-in image stabilization that is active on Panasonic cameras and is inactive when using Olympus cameras (which is perfect, because Olympus bodies have in-body stabilization).
The lens is a larger but lighter than the collapsible Olympus 14-42. It also costs about 1/3rd of the price and comes with a hood. In my opinion, it also looks better.
I could discern no difference in image quality between the lenses, with both being very good.
The Panasonic lens is also easier to remove from the camera because it has that wide gray area to grip it by.
For the price, this lens is unbeatable.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2012
This lens is probably disliked because it feels cheap, especially the zoom which is not smooth, and because the lens seems oversized compared to most m43 camera models.
However, when I stop the lens down to f/11, it produces images that are sharp from center to corner, with low chromatic aberration. That's really the best you can expect from a lens that costs this little. I know people will say that f/11 is past the point where diffraction should be reducing the resolution (at some focal lengths I still get a soft corner at f/8), so yes I guess a sharp prime lens like the 45mm f/1.8 will give you sharper images, but only at that one focal length. And yes, obviously this lens is not the go-to lens for low-light photography, or when you need fast shutter speeds, or you want shallow DOF. But for daytime photography at a variety of focal lengths, it gives me the best results I have been able to get with m43.
I have two other m43 kit lenses, the Olympus 14-42 II and the Olympus 12-50mm. Compared to the Olympus 14-42 II, this lens is sharper at all focal lengths, especially the longer focal lengths where the 14-42 II gives me very bad results. My Olympus 12-50mm produces excellent results on the telephoto end, but the wide end is plagued with soft corners and chromatic aberration, which don't improve no matter how much you stop down the lens.
Panasonic gives you a FREE lens hood, and a FREE baggie to hold the lens when it's not being used. Olympus is too cheap to give you either of these, even on their expensive lenses, so I appreciate that Panasonic includes these items with such an inexpensive lens.
This lens is a best buy in m43. Use it if it came with your Panasonic camera, buy it if you have an Olympus and want a better quality kit lens.