Initial thoughts on 14-140

threeOh

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
188
I recently picked up a used copy of the 14-140 f3.5 v2, the current model. There’s seems to be more questions about this v2 copy than solid experience. So I figured I’d contribute a bit.

I believe I’ve dealt with the seller in the past (memory and too many lenses). recycledphotolistings on eBay, Boulder, CO. I would compare my experience with this shop to KEH, excellent.

I’m not a pixel peeper. My initial day or 2 with a lens is focused on how I like it. If I’m happy its then used for photography, which in my case is hoping for the right composition, not the right pixel. So, not a lens review but some commentary which someone considering the lens may find of use. All observations below were with shooting wide open.

Body: GX85.

Other m4/3 lenses I currently own: PL15, P25 (will be sold), O25/1.8, P12-32, P12-35, P12-60 (will be sold), P45-150 (will be sold). Other lenses I’ve lived with for a day or 2: PL12-60. I believe my m4/3 lens portfolio is now completed. I also have some adapted Voigtlander L39 primes with more reach.

Received what was probably an unused lens, hood and sleeve still taped in bags. Tested for basic operation and decentering, all fine. Not a speck of dust in the lens. Zero bubbles of any size that I can see. After a day in my yard on the water and a second day on the beach with a NE wind straight in my face, zooming and sweaty finger marks on the barrel extension, still clean inside.

Shot indoors, shaded area outdoors with strong south Florida sun/sharp contrasts and on the beach with strong sun. No shooting into the sun - probably should have.

Use: This is a travel lens for the USA West. Plenty of good light, hot, dusty, could get banged around, long full day walks.

Render/draw: Its a fairly modern render, nice contrast and saturation, better than I expected, no quibbles here. Reminds me of a decent Sony lens - balance, not romance. Its not Leica, Zeiss or early Fuji X. But it’s quite nice. Comparable to my P12-35.

Sharpness: Certainly useable. Center and edges are more than acceptable for me. I shot to test and looked well enough at 100% to make the statement. I did not shoot watch faces at 100 feet and zoom over 100%.

Bokeh: Nothing I’d want to use. Out of focus areas make no contribution. Having noticed them when I normally would not, they must detract. Just a dull out of focus area with no transition. Portrait work not advised. I’ll shoot at f8, but will be mindful if foreground is close.

Vignetting: I don’t notice anything at 14mm/f3.5 with either raw or jpeg files. That’s imported into Lightroom. Those not using lens corrected software will see somewhat pronounced vignetting up to f5.6. Lens profiles work their wonder.

Mechanical build: Far better than I expected. No creep. A notch below the P12-35. Better than P12-60.

AF: I place near zero demands on AF. All use in AFS. Its snappy even in very low light. You need to aim it at a white wall in low light to induce hunt. Irrespective of light, if there's contrast it will focus well.

Ergonomics: Good to excellent. Smooth consistent zoom ring, quarter turn wide to tele. Filter threads are well defined. Hood might actually stay on. Way better than my P12-35 hood. Petal shape does not allow resting camera on hood (why is this so difficult?)

Carry/Balance: Another very positive surprise. I have a permanently torn ligament in the shoulder my strap hangs from. I barely noticed a carry while out for circa 5 or 6 miles. Weight is inboard. Minor camera swing and I use a sling strap using only the left lug.

Quibbles: Like some other P lenses I own, very little room to stack filters or use screw-on hoods even with step-up rings. If you plan to use a polarizer, go with a slim and stock hood. Sweaty finger prints on filter will be the norm. I stepped up to 67mm and still had vignetting even without a filter.

Value: My copy is worth the $600 the lens goes for new. Compared to Fuji 18-135, Nikon 18-200 or Nikon 28-300 superzooms its very much worth $600. No idea how much copy variation there is. I did do quite a bit of research and soul searching before I bought the lens. While I came away with the impression there was copy variation in the f4 and initial v1 f3.5 versions, I did not see any complaints with the v2.

Bottom Line: If you need an adaptable lens to avoid lens changing this one is hard to beat. An easy carry, some level of weather proofing and more than acceptable IQ given its zoom range. Exceeded my expectations. But then I have a specific use for it. Travel in dusty environments, long vistas, close canyons, won’t carry another lens, no changing lenses until back at the hotel. Switch to Europe and its either the 12-32 or 12-35.
 

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