Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Good value in an all-around kit lens
on November 29, 2012
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.