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Showing 1-10 of 15 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 22 reviews
on May 10, 2013
The Panasonic GF series blends great features in a (very, for an interchangeable lens camera) compact body, an almost perfect solution for a "travel" camera. While not offering advanced features such as an external hotshoe for add-on flash devices, the touchscreen interface was surprisingly capable with many personalization and creative choices. I found the body solid and well made, with a nice texture that assisted handling, and its small body size was a great boon for space-constricted packing.

When the Panasonic 14-42-X PZ ("X Series, Power Zoom") lens was announced it seemed like the perfect marriage: the smallest 4/3 body matched up with the (now) smallest 'standard' range zoom lens. It promised to be just what I wanted.

Construction-wise, everything matched my dreamy expectations. Both the lens and body worked wonderfully and the lens retracted to an amazingly compact package! I found the lens construction to be very high, with a metal lens mount and well-damped zoom and focus toggle switches. The lens extends no slower, probably faster, than a compact camera's motorized zoom lens, so no real loss in functional speed if you have that reference in mind.

But the MASSIVE letdown is lens quality. The 14-42-X lens suffers from what is being described as "shutter blur" - very similar to "mirror slap", the activation of the shutter mechanism causes a vibration in the body that is transmitted to the lens which causes blurry results. The lens is fine in its short range of focal lengths, say 14 to 30mm. But once you get past that point WATCH OUT - any shutter speed from 1/15 to 1/160 of a second, hand-held or on a tripod, with or without the OIS active stabilization system activated, your pictures will come out a blurry, mushy MESS. It was a MASSIVE disappointment! Short testing at home, upon delivery, fails to create enough variance of subjects and conditions to truly show this failure but once out in the field - on its first assignment - the resulting pictures at the long end of the zoom's focal range are simply horrible.

It broke my heart - this size and technical specifications of the camera were *exactly* what I was looking for - but, in the end, it simply had to go back. It is said that the 14-42-X PZ works very well with any of the mFourThird cameras with electronic shutter options - the GF6, for example - where you can deactivate the mechanical shutter and use the exclusive electronic-mode 'shutter' (scan capture) so that the lens never experiences the physical shock of a mechanism's movement. Also, if you are using this lens for video expect good results - the shutter mechanism stays open during the entire filming, so no shock.

Otherwise and quite regretfully, this particular combination of body and lens is to be avoided like the PLAGUE. You may get a good sample of the lens, one not affected by the shutter shock issue, but I tried 2 different kits and had the same problem; other users on the web seem to imply a maybe 1 in 10 (?) possibility of getting a good one. Maybe even less. Going back and forth in returns in the hope of trying to find a system that actually takes good pictures just isn't worth the trouble.
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on February 17, 2012
Got the GF3 + 14-42X lens just so I could get the lens (before the lens only was in stock).

Initial testing was good, but some images appeared very soft when they shouldn't be. After digging through some forums and reading up a lot, I found this lens has a vibration issue that causes a "double image". Some people attributed it to the OIS (stabilization) but that is not the case.

I did some test photos with the shutter speed between 1/60th and 1/200th second. Taking 18 photos, at least 10 of them showed the double image. I took another 18 with OIS on and again 10 or so had the double image.

I'm pretty positive that there is something wrong with the stabilization lens, such that it sometimes vibrates even with OIS off. If I held my finger against the extended end of the lens barrel, the double images decreased significantly or went away entirely.

I initally thought the issue was only when OIS was on, which wouldn't matter to me on an Olympus E-PM1 as the stabilization is always off if there isn't a dedicated switch on the lens to turn it on and off. Unfortunately it always happens and will ruin a good percentage of your shots.

I could not recommend this lens to anyone until Panasonic fixes the issue and new reports come out of people using and testing it successfully.

The GF3 itself is nice, but not with this lens combo.
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on February 12, 2016
This is a fun and easy to use camera. Image quality is fantastic for such a small camera with the Micro 4/3 system. Focus is fast, and shutter lag is nonexistent. It is far easier to carry around than a DSLR. The touch screen seemed like a gimmick until I used it, and now it just seems natural. I've heard of problems with the included lens, but I have had no issues.

Operation is intuitive. For all the basics, everything is self explanatory. Advanced options are just a screen tap or button press away. Overall, this was a great buy. I've loved Panasonic cameras since the FZ20, and this one is my favorite yet.
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on May 31, 2012
Updated 04/01/2013.
Used with DWM-GWC1 and it was a great combo. I had many 11mm wide angle shots with this combo and couldn't be happier. No visible distortion, no CA and no vignetting from what I can see.

I got this "like new" combo for less than $410 here in Amazon. Love the camera and lens. The lens already came with the latest firmware version 1.1 installed but the camera was at 1.1 not the latest 1.2. I tested against my pan 14-45mm kit lens, which is tack sharp at all focal ranges. The 14-42mm is very sharp at 14mm and 25mm but slightly blurry at 42mm and low shuttle speed. I don't see double images but compare with my great 14-45mm, it is slightly blurred at 42mm with shuttle speeds between 1/60 and 1/200 on a tripod with OIS on. Holding the 14-42mm X zoom extension doesn't seem to help either. However, I will keep the lens because it is so small and useful and I can live with a little blurry at 42mm and low shuttle speed. With the price I paid, I am very happy with this combo. I just ordered the new Panasonic wide angle conversion lens (DMW-GWC1) and I am planning to use that with the 14-42mm x at 14mm. That should be a great combo to get me to 11mm (or equivalent of 22m in the 35mm world). I will update the GF3 firmware to 1.2 and do another test against my pan 14-45mm later with or without OIS on with the 14-42m X. I am planning to keep my pan 14-45mm on my G3 (I will keep that sharp lens for a long time) and use 14-42mm x on the new GF3 for my daily casual shots. If you can find the 14-42mm x lens without the double images, I encourage you to get one. It's a great combo with GF3/GF5/GX1.
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on January 21, 2013
I retired about a year ago, and recently I realized I hadn't used my Nikon DSLR in over a year. Thinking about it, the reason was obvious; it was too bulky and heavy to carry conveniently, so I didn't, and I missed a lot of pix.

Since I got this camera, just about a week ago, I've been carrying it in my jacket pocket whenever I go out. I take a lot more photos than I have in a long time.

The capabilities of this small device equal or exceed the capabilities of my 4 year old Nikon, and for that matter most newer DSLRs, with 1 exception. No hot shoe for an external flash means that the options for flash photography are limited. That said, the external flash was part of the bulk and weight I didn't want.

All in all, the trade offs are worth it to have a camera that takes pictures I can be proud of, and still carry all the time.
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on November 23, 2011
First off, I want to say that I own a GF3 and I love it. I ordered this kit to get the new 14-42 X collapsible zoom lens, and was unfortunately extremely disappointed. At 42mm the lens is hopelessly blurry when the shutter speed is set between 1/80th and 1/250th, especially when focused near infinity. The pictures are extremely soft, and in high contrast areas you can see a distinct double image. This is a problem that has been reported by numerous users on online camera forums, and so far Panasonic has made no effort to correct it. Most people believe it is due to the OIS stabilization system overcompensating for vibrations caused by the camera's shutter. The quality of the pictures resulting from this problem is worse than the quality of pictures from my camera phone!

I'd like to add (perhaps to give some credibility) that I have been using Micro 4/3rds cameras since the GH1 came out a couple years ago, and I can take sharp handheld pictures using the regular 14-42 lens at similar focal length/shutter speed settings. I can even take sharp pictures using the unstabilized Olympus 45mm prime lens at the same shutter speeds, so the problem with the 14-42 X lens is definitely not that I can't hold the camera stable enough. There is a major problem with this lens that Panasonic needs to address. (For more information and sample photos, do a search for 14-42 X blurry at your favorite search engine.)

I also want to mention that the firmware update released by Panasonic on November 17, 2011 does not resolve this issue. I tested it by taking before/after shots, and saw no improvement whatsoever.

I myself returned the camera/lens kit to Amazon for a replacement, but the replacement exhibited the same problem. I may hold onto the replacement for another week or so to see if Panasonic releases any further firmware updates to address this, but if not, this will be going back for a refund.
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on July 4, 2012
Just got the camera a couple of days ago and still fiddling around with it. Basically all the good things people say about the camera is true: it's small, easy to use, great features (especially like face recognition) and takes great pictures and videos. It also does not have the best low light capabilities. Mostly fine for still objects, but not for fast moving kids. But it has a built-in flash, which makes up for it unless you want to get artsy with your indoor, low-light pictures of moving objects.

The PZ 14-42X lens is clear and sharp. Makes the depth of the camera 2 3/8 inches with lens cap on and 2 1/4 with it off (that's about 6cm for the rest of the world). I have to say I am not that impressed with the zoom range. Might have made more sense to go with the 14mm or 20mm pancakes to get better IQ and low light sensitivity, and then just crop as needed. But I got a too-good-to-pass-up deal on this through an amazon third party seller.

I know there have been some problems reported with this lens towards the 42mm focal distance between 1/60 and 1/200 shutter speed. I was apprehensive but confirmed a 2 week return policy with the seller, so I decided to go for it. Happy I did. I did some extensive testing on the lens based on forum discussions on dpreview and didn't find any problems with it -- at least none that I could detect. The zoom works smoothly and plenty fast. The location of the zoom level feels a bit awkward to me, but partly that's because I am not used to holding the lens while I take pictures, so my finger reaches from holding the camera body to the lens itself.

I was deciding between the GF3, the EP-1 mini and the NEX C3. I wanted a small, pocketable, affordable camera -- I don't need the latest technology. I decided against the EP-1 mini due to problems with stability of video (I saw some samples and it made me nauseous). I have small kids and the ability to take good videos is important. I was about to go with a NEX C3 for the low light and overall better image quality. But then I saw this deal and couldn't pass it up. It was slightly cheaper than the going Amazon price for just a new PZ 14-42 lens itself!

I am giving it 5 stars since 'I love it.' But there are some drawbacks I've noticed so far:

1. Relatively limited low light capability. Again built-in flash makes up for it. Though I've noticed that the auto and i-auto modes do not engage the flash automatically unless you've opened it up.

2. Oversaturated red tones (to my eyes), though I am pretty sure there is a solution to this -- I just have to figure it out.

3. Relatively limited zoom. This is of course based on my expectations. Fine I guess if you know what you're getting.

4. Camera makes a pretty loud clicking noise when snapping picks. It's a not a quick, zippy noise but a slow, clunky, chunky noise that is almost sounds like two clicks.

5. I updated the camera and lens firmware as soon as I got it. My main issue here is that it's actually kind of hard to figure out from the panasonic website where to find the firmware updates. But pretty straightforward from there.

But it's easy to nitpick. Great little camera. Can't wait to really start using it.
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on January 17, 2013
A little too unsophistocated fo a serious photographer, but an outstanding product for a point-and-shooter. Has a reputation for a soft lens, but this unit is not soft. Megapixels are3 of high quality.

Can comfortably carry in any jacket pocket or medium pocketbook. I leave mine in the Truck at all times - it is always ready.
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on April 10, 2013
bought it for my wife to use and she loves it. the automatic lens function and the touch function is the best. what i like about the camera is that you can change the lens and reduce the price to half. received like brand new, nothing wrong with it.
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on May 27, 2015
wonderful...a breeze to use ..takes great pictures
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