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14mm Pancake vs 14-42 Zoom

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Bl0at3r, May 21, 2012.

  1. Bl0at3r

    Bl0at3r Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2012
    Essex, UK
    Was bored so thought I would do a little (less than scientific) test of the 14mm pancake vs the 14-42mm manual zoom as a number of people have asked recently whether the 14mm pancake was worth purchasing......

    • GX1 mounted to a tripod approx 2.5m from the fence
    • Focus point for the wide shots - fence post to the right of the spikey plant
    • Focus point for the bokeh shots was the Andrex logo
    • ISO was locked at 160
    • Aperture fixed at largest or smallest
    • Shutter was allowed to do what it wanted (Aperture Priority mode)
    • Straight out of camera and resized to 1024 - not tampered with at all

    First up - field of view..

    14mm pancake wide open at f2.5

    14-42mm zoom wide open at f3.5

    Edge sharpness is much better on the pancake

    Second test - field of view (f22)..

    14mm pancake at f22

    14-42mm zoom at f22

    Not alot in it there

    Third test - bokeh

    14mm pancake at f2.5

    14-42 zoom at f3.5

    Pancake is ever so slightly better here as you would expect

    In summary...

    I don't think there is really that much noticeable difference between the pancake and the zoom when it comes to image quality in everyday use, but clearly the choice comes down to whether you want a small prime lens or a larger flexible zoom lens.

    There is always the 14-42 PZ lens to choose if you want something that zooms but is not much bigger than the 20mm pancake (when retracted) but reports of flaky copies are common and then there is the extra drain on the battery life and the additional price.

    I still love my 20mm pancake and this is my lens of choice, but the next choice is the 14mm pancake with the zoom 'my least likely to be chosen lens' - even behind the 8mm fisheye!

    See the next post for the bokeh on a 20mm at f1.7
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Bl0at3r

    Bl0at3r Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2012
    Essex, UK
    But the clear winner for bokeh is the 20mm pancake at f1.7 :thumbs::thumbs:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    An interesting test but I really don't think one can say much about relative lens sharpness when the image is downsized to 25% of original size, unless one of your lenses is grossly defective.

    In this case, I'd say your 14-42 is either defective, or there's some other variable skewing your test results (offhand, perhaps random differences in focusing).

    I'd also stay away from f/22 for sharpness testing. At 3 stops past the diffraction limit, all lenses will be almost identically sharp (soft), so again unless one of the lenses is defective, it's not going to give much insight into the lens's actual performance.

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