Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens (Part 1)

5/29/2013 2:35:11 PM

Featured with the compact design and stable optical images, this new and standard zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras can cover the same area with a 28-84mm lens of a 35mm camera.

Features and handling

Just weighting 110g, the lens is made of high quality plastic, and the finished by processing a gun-metal effect, which makes it feel very solid. As marketed as the luxurious substitute selection for other lenses which have different standard zooms, the lens mount is made of metal. What makes this lens so perfect to use is the small size, with even the most compact Micro Four Thirds bodies and it fitted nicely when installed into Panasonic Lumix G3, which is used for testing, just like they are produced by the same manufacturer.

The lens after installed into the camera

The lens after installed into the camera

Focusing which is operated inside the non-rotate 46mm filter makes this lens so ideal to use with graduated and polarizing filters. The focus ring is extremely sensitive, which means options are applied immediately just by a light touch. The minimum focus distance is 20cm between 14m and 20mm, but increasing to 30cm if the focal length is longer, which makes this lens so suitable to use in a narrow space with a short focal length. The requirement of a short period of time to get familiar with the minimum focusing might be the difference in this feature, especially when the lens are zoomed to change the components at a close distance.

The optical stabilization is enabled from the in-camera menu on the Panasonic camera. If you pay good attention, you would recognize that the optical stabilization allows the sharp shots being captured just more than half of the time at 1/10sec at 42mm, which is approximately three stops slower than the regular rule when your thumb dictates.

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42mm II

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42mm II


The center of the image is really excellent at 14mm sharpness, although the clarity towards the edges of the frame is just good enough. This drawback can be much improved by stopping down the aperture, peaking at f/8. The sharpness is still exceptional in the center of the frame and the clarity level towards the edges of the frame converges at the excellent level.

Zooming to 25mm level affects badly on the center of the frame’s sharpness, although the excellent level still remain between f/4 and f/5.6. The outstanding clarity towards the frame’s edges also remains at these apertures.

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens

Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens

Finally, at 42mm, the center points of the frame still keep the excellent sharpness, although stopping down to f/8 creates a slight increase in sharpness here. The clarity quality of the frame’s edges for this focal length falls to under the excellent levels.

The falloff and distortion are just visible easily when working with RAW files, because they are adjusted by the particular image editor of the camera when shooting pictures with the JPEG format.

Chromatic aberration evaluation

Chromatic aberration evaluation

How to read these charts?

The blue columns show figures from the center of the picture at different apertures and the green ones represent that from the edges. Take the average of those two figures we will come up with the red weighted column.

The scale on the left shows the practical resolution level of the images. The higher the column is, the better the quality of the lens.

In this review, the lens was tested on Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

Between 75mm and 150mm level, the chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are nicely controlled. There is a considerable increase of these edges’ fringing at 300mm. That increase in CA level may become a real problem, especially when shooting with high-contrast setting towards the edges of the frame.

The evaluation of images' sharpness

The evaluation of images’ sharpness


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