Having just tested the Olympus 14-42 f3.5-5.6 EZ I was expecting the same sort of performance from this lens. Lets just look at these two for a minute; both are 14-42mm, both are f3.5-5.6 and both have a power zoom (or electronic zoom). Lets see the specs for the lens:
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42 f3.5-5.6 PZ Power O.I.S.
Size: 27mm x 61mm
Aperture: f3.5 - f22
The Panasonic is a little fatter but not by much. It’s 4g lighter and can focus 5cm closer than the Olympus but both take 37m filters. If I didn’t know better I’d think I was talking about the same lens really.
That’s about where the similarities end though. The Olympus zoom is done by turning a ring on the lens, on the Panasonic you use a lever on the side of the lens. I prefer this method (if I have to use one) to the one Olympus implements. That, for me, is the opposite to what I thought a couple of years ago. Strange how one’s tastes changes with time. There is a second lever underneath the zoom lever that is used to focus. Not a bad idea I think.
A little mistake on my side, and something I really didn’t think about before I took the lens out for a test run on my Olympus E-M10 II. I should have checked the lens on a Panasonic body. The reason I say that is that the focus lever doesn’t work unless you put the camera on M. Then you can focus the lens. The second point, which I think is more important is the CA produced by Panasonic lenses on Olympus bodies. The CA will not be removed automatically. And I must admit, this was really, really bad. I was actually shocked at how bad it was. Granted, easily removed in Lightroom but I prefer my images clean directly from the camera.
Lets just say, all in all, it’s actually not a bad lens and I prefer using it to the Olympus equivalent. I believe Panasonic are better making kit lenses than Olympus but it is preferable to use these lenses with the manufacturers bodies. I.e. Panasonic lenses with Panasonic bodies and vice versa, which I tend to do. That does get a little expensive though and I feel privileged to be able to afford it.
I think this little lens will stay and I’ll use it when I want something small and light. It certainly better than the Olympus offering and I also prefer using it. Following is a small selection of images I took during a cold, crisp winters day. My fingers were falling off by the time we got back to the car.