Panasonic 14mm 2.5 opinions?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by snegron, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. snegron

    snegron Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2013
    SW Florida
    I'm looking for a slightly wide (approximately 28 or 35 in 35mm equivalent) as a standard, walk-around lens to use on my Panasonic G5. I don't want to spend too much (I would absolutely love to get the new Panasonic/Leica 15mm, but it is way out of my budget at this time). The Panasonic 14mm 2.5 specs look interesting on paper, and the price is within my current budget as well. I understand that 2.8 might not be the absolute best option for low light work, but I'm used to using prime lenses at this slower aperture.

    Back in the "old film days" I used to carry a Nikon F3 with a Nikkor 35mm 2.0 AIS as my daily walk-around camera. On my DX format (Nikon D200), I discovered I like using a 24mm 2.8 as a daily, walk-around kit. In terms of field of view these lenses are roughly about the same imo.

    What are your thoughts on the Panasonic 14mm 2.5? I noticed there is an Olympus 17mm 2.8 in the same price range. Any major differences other than 3mm?
  2. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    Well, there's this one:

    and this one:

    I like mine quite a bit, but as you note it isn't a low light performer (as used on my E-M5). I love the pancake form factor and, in tandem with the 20mm and 45mm, the 14mm completes the 'poor man's' version of the "holy trinity" prime set. I paid $170 in November 2012, new but without a box (it was a 'kit lens' split from a dealer).

    Sorry, I've no familiarity with the 17mm.

    Hope this helps.



    EDIT: Corrected the price - 380 was what I paid for the 20mm, not the 14mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. snegron

    snegron Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2013
    SW Florida

    Thanks Jim! I forgot to mention that I like the idea of a pancake-type lens. I currently only have two lenses for my G5; the kit 14-42 and the 45-150. What I would like to do is to travel as light as possible; spare battery in one pocket, pancake lens in the other pocket. At some point I would like to have that "holy trinity" outfit as I am finding that my two current kit lenses require me to carry some sort of camera bag.

    p.s. Forgot to thank you for the links! Wow!! Absolutely amazing images!! Even the indoor shots with different types of lighting look fantastic! Thanks!
  4. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    I've seen some excellent photos taken with the 14mm, it can produce some fine results. I love mine, it's compact and renders pleasing color and decent contrast. I think it's great value for the price.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
  6. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Panny 14 is great walkaround lens on Oly body with IBIS. Because of this, it's actually quite good low light performer as well: very fast AF and great DoF at f2.5 in low light. The lens is very sharp so in daylight it can be used with 2x ETC (digital zoom) w/o noticeable IQ loss. Works great for video too. For single lens solution, I think that Oly 17mm f1.7 would be ideal but it's way more expensive. Unfortunately, m43 has no budget bright primes like other formats do.
  7. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    Read the excellent comparative study by lensrentals here. The 14/2.5 is a real sleeper, better than its reputation. Notice the clear gap between its performance and the Oly 17/2.8.....
  8. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    So where are the budget bright 28mm full frame lenses? I assume you mean f/1.x being 'bright'.
  9. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    it's what I use for urban walk around photos in the evening. It works very well. On a budget , there's not really another wide option that is bright enough to hand hold.
  10. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Panny 14mm f2.5 is a real winner of a lens in the M43 system IMO. Buy it without hesitation if it fits your needs. You can get them for $180 on eBay all day long from Asia. Got mine locally for $140 and it might be the best $140 lens I will ever buy. Just incredible value for what it offers. You could have a 25mm mounted in your camera and throw a O45 and this P14 in your pocket and your good to go for a day of shooting!!!
  11. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    Agree that 14mm f2.5 is miles better than 17mm f2.8, although that's not saying much to be honest. Under no circumstances choose the latter! I'd like to add however that the original Panasonic 14-45mm standard MFT zoom is, in my opinion, at least as good as the prime and is light and compact enough to be considered a 'walkaround' lens in its own right. It is far more versatile and comes with stabilisation and a lens hood, which the prime lens doesn't. At this level, slow prime lenses offer no advantage whatsoever, especially when in reality most people end up walking around with two or three of them at any one time.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Except that the 14-45mm zoom is still almost(?) a stop slower at 14mm and the other two primes to cover the same focal length range as the zoom could possibly be the Oly 25mm f1.8 & Oly 45mm f1.8....
  13. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Seems to have been a recent price increase on the 14mm. Last year, it was around $150 on ebay for US buyers. Now, it's gone up 40% to $210. However, I paid that much three years ago and was very happy with the 14mm. It's small, fast focusing, and pretty sharp. The tradeoffs on the 14mm are its tendency to purple fringe at the edges and barrel distortion, if your subject is one to show off distortion. These have never bothered me, but they do make some owners unhappy.

    I added the DMW-GWC1 adapter for $115 to get an 11mm equivalent, which made it the widest lens I owned until I got the 9-18 zoom. Adapted to 11mm, it's hard to see much difference to the zoom at 11mm, and it is still faster.

    • Like Like x 1
  14. Anthonys

    Anthonys Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 17, 2011
    Real Name:
    The 14mm is one of my favourite lenses so far. Mostly because it's cheap and tiny, but also because I like the 28mm FL. It's not great at low light without IBIS and doesn't produce flattering portraits if you get too close but if you're just taking street shots you can't do better for the price!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. snegron

    snegron Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2013
    SW Florida

    Thanks! My Panasonic 14-42 kit lens seems to be pretty sharp. I don't feel to comfortable with the plastic lens mount though. Most of the shots I take with it are at the wide end (14mm), so I'm assuming having the 14mm prime on my G5 most of the time shouldn't be much of an issue. At some point I'll be getting a couple of longer primes to fit in my pocket (hopefully primes that are half the physical length of either of my current kit lenses).

    On another note, I was looking at hoods for the 14mm. Looks like B&H has a collapsible rubber hood available I might be looking into as well.
  16. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    It's a great lens for the price. Small, sharp, fairly fast-focusing. Colors are nice. For a grab-and-go small kit you can't beat it. I got the 17 1.8 and still like and use the 14.
  17. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Real Name:
    I'll be the contrarian and say I prefer the O17/2.8 over the P14/2.5. I have both, but if I could have only one, it would be the 17mm because I find the focal length better for my shooting, which is more often small groups of people. If I shot more landscapes or street scenes, I might prefer the 14mm.

    Please look at examples of the 14mm and the 17mm before you decide.
  18. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2013
    Real Name:
    Theo K.
    Ditto, Richard. I too have both. Bought the 17f2.8 recently.

    First of all, both the 14 and 17f2.8 are at least one stop brighter than all kit zooms at the same FL.

    Personally the 17 is the more versatile lens for daily carry. The 17 allows me to stay back a couple of steps to a more comfortable distance when shooting environmental portraits. There is no doubt that the 14 is easily sharper than the 17 and a bit brighter to boot. However I found the 17's color rendition more pleasing. It's more saturated and contrasty. Maybe this is "Olympus color" some people refer to.

    The 14 is a great lens for street photography. AF is dead accurate and quick. In good lighting, when you lock the focus to hyper focal distance at f5.6 or f8, you can shoot anything lightning fast and sharp from 4 feet. The 17f2.8 is not as good in this regard.

    I'm keeping both.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Mu-43 mobile app
    • Like Like x 1