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Panny 14-42 X user feedback

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by mattia, May 19, 2012.

  1. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I'm pondering getting the 'pancake zoom' for travel purposes, and I'd like a bit of real-world feedback from folks using it. A lot has been written already regarding occasional odd behavior at certain shutter speeds, I've seen reviews (summary: optically OK, not great), but if anyone who actually owns and uses (or owned and got rid of) the lens would like to weight in I'd appreciate it...
     
  2. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I have it and it's pretty good. I avoid the focal extremes where I know from the forum (and pixel peeping) that it's not as sharp wide open. I now use it between 16 and 40mm where it's quite sharp, and generally don't shoot with it wide open, I'll switch to a prime if I need more light.

    In my observation if you don't use the full image resolution (for web images for example) there's no discernible difference in sharpness at the focal extremes.

    I don't use it very much anymore just because I either want the 7-14 on, or I want one of the fast primes. I use it mostly when it's sunny out and I just want to bring the camera with a lens on and I want more flexibility than the 20mm.
     
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  3. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Timos L

    Timos L Mu-43 Top Veteran

    721
    Dec 26, 2011
    Athens, Greece
    Timos :)
    I have it and I am very satisfied from everything, size and performance, on my G3.

    I haven't noticed any blur problem in any of the speeds that other people reported.

    Check my photostream in flickr, all the last photos are taken with this lens, except some with a c-mount 25/1.4 and a couple with 7.5mm fisheye which you will recognize easily :)

    Flickr: Timos L's Photostream

    All shots are taken in RAW mode and then processed in LR3.6 and LR4 the latest ones.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Thanks guys, food for thought. Basically I'm interested in it as a 'snapshot' sort of lens - may try to get it second hand and just try it for myself. See if it does what I want it to.
     
  6. CUB

    CUB Mu-43 Veteran

    275
    Apr 19, 2012

    You need to be particularly careful buying used, because many/most of the used samples on offer will have been rejected by their owners for poor optical quality and/or problematic OIS. You need to buy from a seller with a good returns policy.
     
  7. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    If it's for "poor optical quality" it's just about their expectation compared to the 14-45 or primes, not really something wrong with the particular copy of the lens...

    If it does the blur at the particular shutter speeds, then that's the OIS.
     
  8. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    187
    May 3, 2010
    it doesn't seem to be the OIS, as some people are getting the doubled edging problem with the stabilization off. this worries me, as i'd love such a small, light lens, but i hate doing exchanges and returns.
     
  9. CUB

    CUB Mu-43 Veteran

    275
    Apr 19, 2012

    I'm sorry, but Panasonic specifically marketed this lens as a high quality optic.

    It isn't a high quality optic.
     
  10. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    187
    May 3, 2010
    dunno about that. i hear that when one gets a good copy, it's a very sharp and high contrast lens.

     
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The killer feature of the lens is the size. It's no larger than the 20/1.7 pancake.

    But I've now tried 3 different samples, from different stores, the most recent one last week, and they all have the same problem - blurring at the 42mm end at intermediate shutter speeds (1/50-1/200 in my case). At 14mm and 25mm the lens is fine. There is no correlation between serial numbers, camera body used or anything else that I can find.

    So unless you really really want a small lens, I'd pass. Supposedly there are good samples floating available (though I've yet to see one), but it will most likely take you a good many tries before you find one.

    DH
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Hmm. I guess at this point, I'll just take the 45/1.8 along for the ride and 'live with' the lack of zoom until the 12-35 is actually released. Or just use the Oly 12-50 despite the fact it totally de-stealths my E-M5.

    Thanks again for the feedback, guys. I think I need to stick with higher quality over portability to prevent annoyance - I've shot little other than L glass or adapted Zeiss on my Canon lately, so there are standards to live up to...
     
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Believe me, if zoom is what you were looking at the Lumix X 14-42mm for, then you are NOT missing out on anything! Have you tried using the zoom on a compact point-and-shoot? You know how you have to hold the switch at (W)ide or (T)ele, then tediously wait for seconds while the camera attempts to zoom in or out? That's exactly how the zoom on the Lumix X 14-42mm works. So much better to get a prime lens!

    Then there's the Manual Focus power switch... I can't even begin to describe that, because there's nothing else out there to compare it with... :rofl: Just imagine trying to apply that same tedious slow point-and-shoot zooming system to manual focus, and that's what you get. This lens is essentially an Autofocus-Only lens. I know some people simply don't use Manual Focus, but to drop that option takes away far too much control from the camera. May as well drop PASM off the mode dial, since you already have iAuto. At least this is better than the Nikon 1 option (the 1 Nikkor 10-30mm Pancake Power-Zoom), which doesn't even have a manual focus switch or any kind of MF option whatsoever! This is a bad trend for manufacturers to follow...

    You will never get a consistent consensus as to the optical quality (or lack of) in this lens, nor the quality control and the existence of "good and bad copies" or the validity of the buggy OIS, as all that is too subjective to personal standards. However, you simply cannot overlook the operation of the lens no matter what your standards for Image Quality are. Granted, some people seem to live with how a Point-and-Shoot operates (which also has no manual focus), and as such could live with the Lumix X 14-42mm power zoom/power focus which operates the same way. If you're coming from a DSLR, Rangefinder, or Medium Format background though, then forget it...

    It never ceases to amaze me when the topic of the Lumix X pancake zoom comes up, how all the discussion revolves around optical quality, OIS problems, bad copies, etc., yet nobody seems to point out the most obvious design flaw which is physically right in front of us - the lack of zoom and focus rings.

    For what it's worth, I don't find the lens all that compact either... It's very flat, but it's also beefy and bulky. More compact than most, but certainly not worth the loss of control.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Good point Ned. If Pany can implement a quick shift manual focus ring similar to the one that Pentax has on some of its Ltd lenses, it'd increase the usability by leaps and bounds. Add a non-power zoom ring, and it'd be even better. Heck, I still haven't quite figured out why Oly and Pany keep giving us focus by wire manual focus ring. I love the mechanical ring on the Zuiko 12-60.
     
  15. Timos L

    Timos L Mu-43 Top Veteran

    721
    Dec 26, 2011
    Athens, Greece
    Timos :)
    Ned, I respect your opinion and your experience. However, there is a point where this kind of manual focus is useful, and please correct me if I'm wrong. It is useful during the night, where it's difficult to manual focus through the VF or the LCD, but this distance line on the LCD can give the shooter an indication to "zone focus", something that can't be done with the other kit lenses that have no distance indication on them.

    As far as its bulkiness, I can tell that it is as large as the grip on my G3, so this combo produce a total of a "two-dimensional" "brick" which does not have a "prominent - three-dimentional lens".

    Since my copy is sharp enough, I find it very pleasant and I am very satisfied with it, but I'm just an amateur that takes pictures. For more specific cases, other solutions may apply.

    My conclusion is that it's good to have many options to choose from, and that photography is full of compromises as far as equipment goes ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    That's just silly. You just change the zoom speeds (regular + fine adjust). Manually focusing on any lens is more tedious than waiting for this lens to zoom. Regarding the manual focus toggle I agree with you, it's pointless on this lens. It was designed for people who don't care about MF.

    On the other hand I'd rather have my 14-42 X than a regular 14-42 which I'd never waste the space for it in my bag. I barely bring this as is, just because it's not as fast as the primes.