Panasonic 14mm review at Photozone.


Image courtesy: Photozone

How good is that tiny Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens? Combined witht the Panasonic GF2 it makes the smallest digital mirrorless package of the world (The NEX camera itself is smaller but the 24mm Sony lens is huge compared to the Panasonic lens).

Photozone tested the Panasonic pancake and the conclusion is: “Such tiny and light-weight pancake lenses like the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 ASPH turn micro-four-thirds cameras into almost pocketable combo. This is surely the primary appeal of the lens because performance-wise it does not stand out. The resolution capabilities are only decent but not stellar for a fixed focal wide angle lens. The center quality is very fine whereas the border and extreme corners are generally on a good level except at f/2.5 where the corners are somewhat soft. The amount of vignetting is a bit on the high side at f/2.5 and you need to stop down a few stops to resolve the issue. Distortions and Lateral CAs are very well controlled and not relevant in the field – that’s at least true for the auto-corrected image files. The build quality of the lens is excellent despite the low weight of merely 55g. The focus-by-wire approach (manual focusing) may be odd at first but you should be able to used to it in no time. The AF performance is very good and AF accuracy is nothing to worry about either.
Read the full review at Photozone (Click here)

Click on those links to see the lens at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

  • There are just too many reviews like this about this lens, each of them killing my interest for this overprized glass.

    I’d rather wait for what Olympus will come up with.

    • MikeS


  • Panasonic made some compromises in order to design the most compact lens possible. Despite that, contrast and sharpness are more than acceptable, even at F2.5. It’s not as good optically as the 20/1.7, but it’s half the weight. I use the 14/2.5 to complement my 20/1.7: when I needed as small a kit as possible, I used to leave the house with only the 20mm pancake. Now I pop its 14mm sibling into a pocket for the times I need something a little wider. I still take most of my photos with the 20mm lens, but it’s nice to be able to switch to 14mm for the odd wider shot. In that context the 14/2.5 performs very well.

    • But don’t you think that the price is a little too high considering you’re rarely using it yourself and the image quality is rated weaker rather than stronger review after review?

      If the lens was half the price, I’d buy it. But at its current price tag, it’s just an insult.

  • Jules

    I puzzles me that being half the weight of the 1.7/20 would a key feature for anyone. Isn’t the 20mm small enough already?
    Is it really that important that it makes up the smallest package of ’em all?

    Actually, I got fed up of seeing the word “pocketable”. Get over it, its not a holy grail of lightweight design.

    • AirShaker

      Maybe a 14mm with the size of the 20mm would be marginally better quality wise and that in the other hand heavier elements would mean slower autofocus (the speed difference with the 20mm seems to be not so subtle), the fact is that im not an optic designer and I like to think that they made the best choice but who knows

  • AirShaker

    Photozone is my first source when I want to check lens reviews, but Im more interested in their numbers since their conclusions seem a little biased against m43 or I might have missed something. I looked at reviews in other comparable systems (APS-C) with primes having a close field of view :
    – Pentax 20 (five times heavier)
    – Pentax 21 (three times heavier)
    – Nikkor 20 (five times heavier)
    – Canon 20 (eight times heavier)

    Despite being much lighter the lumix 14mm outperforms them all in border sharpness. The only lens that is on par performance wise is the zeiss distagon 21 (12 times heavier, five times the price, manual focus …)
    The closest competitor in term of size is the sony nex 16mm. At f/5.6 it only manages to give border sharpness equivalent to the lumix lens at f/2.5. Opened wider, the borders are simply mediocre to unusable.

    isn’t it enough to make this lens “stand out” a little bit?

    • El Aura

      Except for the Pentax 21 mm, they are all lenses designed before digital and more importantly, they all have to contend with a mirror which is a big design downside for this focal length.

      • AirShaker

        I do agree completely with what you said but in the end when you are on the market for a moderately fast wide angle lens These are the choices. And the mirror thing is indeed a drawback in these focals and should be labeled as such not as an excuse

    • sacundim

      “Despite being much lighter the lumix 14mm outperforms them all in border sharpness.”

      The numbers from tests on different systems on Photozone are NOT COMPARABLE. The sensor resolution, filters and format size have an effect on the numbers. The other lenses you cite were tested on cameras with lower-resolution sensors than current ones, which can affect the MTF-50 frequency. Other sensor design issues can affect these numbers (e.g., differences between manufacturers’ antialiasing filters).

      Still, I agree that Photozone’s reviews of m4/3 gear are just strangely negative. In particular, the reviews have repeatedly penalized the system for being designed around software correction of distortion and CA.

      • El Aura

        You confuse ‘criticised’ with ‘penalised’.

      • AirShaker

        There are some exageration in my post and I did my best with what I had which means AVAILABLE results. Still the lack of quality on the borders wide open of those lens should really be there since when there are stopped down the results improves to acceptable values.

  • panka

    it seems to be the least successful among the M4/3 lenses

    … I guess becouse it’s overpriced … and the M9-18 by oly giv’s better result’s …

    • AirShaker

      I do consider oly 9-18 as a work of art considering its tiny size and range but it still isnt in the same league size wise and the fact that it is two stops slower at 14mm wont be relevant the day iso3200 will give the same image quality as iso800 …

      • panka

        yep .. but a zoom with better performance than a fixed lens? .. it seems people doesn’t buy this lens .. is it an answer or not? IMHO it could be …

        • AirShaker

          Ok, ok first The point I was trying to make in my first post was that considering the analysis results compared to other systems (ok aps-c systems), a conclusion like : “the lumix 14mm is a breakthrough in the photography world outperforming every other lens in its category (moderatly fast wide angle prime) in corner sharpness while being by a wide margin the smallest of them all” wouldn’t have been much wronger but the overall feeling about this lens would be dramatically diferrent.

          Then fixed lens is not only about quality. fastness and compactness are also important reasons to go for those designs especially considering sensor size and what makes mirrorless stand out in the first place.

    • safaridon

      Thanks for posting this link to current lens sales rankings in Japan.

      I wouldn’t say the 14mm/f2.5 is the least successful among the M4/3 lenses by any means as none of the current kit lenses are ranked very high because people buy them as included with the camera. Ie you don’t see NEX lenses listed even if the NEX5 is a best seller but Panys 20/1.7 is #3.

      What I do find significant from the BCN listing is the popularity of fast normal single focal length lenses in the equivalent 35mm equivalent range of 30-75mm/f1.4-1.7 range. Most people are buying their new DSLRs with 2 lens the std zoom and a tele zoom and the main lenses they are adding are a fast normal lens or buying a 28-270mm superzoom lens instead. Also 28-35mm is considered to be the most frequently used focal lengths according to most surveys I have seen and most people do not prefer the higher distorsion and perspective of still wider lenses, so a small 28mm/f2.5 as Pany has produced is very attractive with its very small size and weight on the GF2.

      As Panka in post noted the APS-C equivalent lenses from Can/Nik/Pentax have not tested as good and are several times heavier and bigger based on Photozone tests? Also if you check the 14mm/f2.5 is also better than NEX 18mm/2.8. Wide open the 14mm/f2.5 is also better than the Oly 14-42 a stop slower and improves considerably if stoped down to same aperature?

  • I’ve been following this lens for quite a while. Although i’d love a wider perspective (closer to 24mm in FF equivalence), it is still wider than my 20mm and equally pocketable. For me at least, the pocketability is a defining aspect of m43, otherwise i have my 7d. In any case, i see a dichotomy between the objective reviews of this lens and real world results. The reviews are so/so, but the actual pics i’ve seen coming from it are very good. It shares quite a bit of the 20mm “character” and that’s quite a compliment. I have one coming in the mail at this very moment :)

  • Etiquette

    You really shouldn’t publish the entire conclusion of a review this way. At worst, it is a copyright violation. At best, it is rude.

    • admin

      Hi Etiquette! I am in touch with the Photozone reviewer. I have the right to use one picture and cite parts of the review. There are always at least two links to the review. Bye

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