Superzoom Showdown: 14-140mm MkI vs 14-150mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Luckypenguin, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I was just reading a thread which linked to a recent review of the Olympus 14-150mm superzoom that delivered impressive results. Ephotozine had also previously published a less glowing review the Panasonic 14-140mm MkI. One disclaimer to be made when looking at the test data is that Ephotozine tested the Olympus on a 16mp G3 as opposed to a 12mp GF3 on which they tested the Panasonic.

    I thought that it might be worth sharing my own test results when I was able to compare the two lenses back-to-back.

    The crops below were performed at 14, 50, and 140/150mm at maximum apertures. Distance to target was between 0.5 to 1.0m depending on the focal length used. An Olympus E-M5 was used in jpeg mode to eliminate any additional in-camera processing performed by Panasonic bodies on Panasonic lenses. The results below will show that the Olympus processing engine has no special tricks to favour the Olympus lens. Please note that here I tested the original MkI f4-5.8 version of the Panasonic rather than the new MkII f3.5-5.6.

    Wide Angle 14mm

    The Olympus shows perhaps a little more contrast than the Panasonic but is already suffering more CA at the edges. Edge sharpness trails the centre for both lenses.

    14-150mm Centre
    <a href="" target="_blank">" border="0" alt=" photo 14mmCentre14-150mm_zps2b9c78d9.jpg"/></a>

    14-140mm Centre
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 14mmCentre14-140mm_zps84f66bcd.jpg"/></a>

    14-150mm Edge
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 14mmEdge14-150mm_zpscae78ce9.jpg"/></a>

    14-140mm Edge
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 14mmEdge14-140mm_zps8e09aee3.jpg"/></a>

    [B]Mid Range 50mm[/B]

    At 50mm the Olympus is again showing more contrast in the centre but the edge is starting to look damning for it. Sharpness drops off noticeably compared to the centre and CA is present. In comparison the Panasonic seems to look better at the edge than the centre!

    14-150mm Centre
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 50mmCentre14-150mm_zps417fc04b.jpg"/></a>

    14-140mm Centre
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 50mmCentre14-140mm_zps04b03407.jpg"/></a>

    14-150mm Edge
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 50mmEdge14-150mm_zpsf11d00d4.jpg"/></a>

    14-140mm Edge
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 50mmEdge14-140mm_zpscb2d8956.jpg"/></a>

    [B]Telephoto 140/150mm[/B]

    At maximum telephoto the Olympus is starting to struggle for resolution at the centre and once again is not good at the edges. The Panasonic is now sharper in the centre and again is much sharper at the edges, if not quite as impressively sharp as at 50mm.

    Oly 14-150mm Centre
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 150mmCentre14-150mm_zps3dfd7a84.jpg"/></a>

    Pan 14-140mm Centre
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 140mmCentre14-140mm_zpsc471f40b.jpg"/></a>

    Oly 14-150mm Edge
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 150mmEdge14-150mm_zps3343a0b3.jpg"/></a>

    Pan 14-140mm Edge
    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 140mmEdge14-140mm_zpsd0e1a09b.jpg"/></a>

    My conclusion between the two samples tested is that the Panasonic was noticeably the better of the two lenses, lacking only in centre contrast at shorter focal lengths which is easily corrected. In practical use I find that my Panasonic 14-140mm is strongest edge-to-edge between 18-50mm, loses edge sharpness at 14mm and is a bit inconsistent at longer focal lengths where camera shake is more prevalent.

    Sample variation being what it is I can't say that my results will always be true when comparing these two lenses, but in this case I found the Panasonic to be the better superzoom at the expense of greater size and weight.
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  2. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    I have been thinking on get a Pana 14-140mm mkI used for a while. Good to know it is a very good lens. Thanks.
  3. Dduval

    Dduval Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks for this. I read that review too and put the oly on my short list. Now that I see your results here, I'm going to have to rethink this. Pretty dramatic difference here with the panny easily out shining the oly.
  4. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I think you're missing the point. It's not all optics, P14-140 I weighs 460 g, O14-150 weighs 280 g, while the IQ differences are negligible.

    Even Panasonic realizes this. P14-140 II is not only slightly faster, it is also 265 g and 75 mm long. That is the new champion super zoom if its IQ is same as Mk I.
  5. peter124

    peter124 Mu-43 Regular

    Very interesting, thanks for doing the tests. I wonder if results taken at such a short distance to the target are necessarily representative of use at more normal photo distances?
  6. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Not necessarily. :smile:
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    That is a good point to make. While it tends to be less of an issue in interchangeable lenses, there are examples of fixed lens cameras (the Fujifilm X100 and Canon G1X come to mind) where they struggle for resolution across the frame at their closest focusing distances. In my previous test I was almost at the closest focusing distance of ~0.5m of both superzooms at 14mm and 50mm and around 1m at 140/150mm.

    I had taken some more images at longer focusing distances which are shown below. In this case I would have been around 2m from the target at the 50mm focal length and about 4-5m at the 140/150mm focal lengths. In this case I had a target where I could take crops from the extreme corners as opposed to the edge of the frame. The edges of the frame at these two focal lengths showed the biggest difference in the first test so we'll see if that is still true here. Again, these are 100% crops from E-M5 jpegs with no post processing applied.


    Once again the Olympus starts to fall apart away from the centre of the frame compared to the Panasonic.

    Oly 14-150mm Corner
    <a href="" target="_blank">" border="0" alt=" photo 50mmCorner14-150mm_zpsed9febb2.jpg"/></a>

    Pan 14-140mm Corner

    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 50mmCorner14-140mm_zps56b4c904.jpg"/></a>


    The same again is true at maximum telephoto with the Panasonic much better than the Olympus. An interesting thing to note here is that despite there only being 10mm difference in the numerical focal lengths the Olympus has visibly more reach than the Panasonic

    Oly 14-150mm Corner

    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 150mmEdge14-150mm_zps296f353c.jpg"/></a>

    Pan 14-140mm Corner

    <a href="" target="_blank">[img]" border="0" alt=" photo 140mmEdge14-140mm_zps793b8bf7.jpg"/></a>

    The results here again show that of these particular copies of each lens, the Panasonic is the one to have.
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    That really depends on how someone views their Micro 4/3 gear. If they only see it as a lightweight, lower quality option then maybe they'd be happy to take a hit in IQ to save 180g. If you're someone like me who expects Micro 4/3 to stand up to any equivalent system then choosing the Panasonic in this case is a no-brainer. To me the differences in edge and corner performance between the Olympus and Panasonic in my tests are significant. Of course I'd be delighted to get the same output from the smaller and lighter 14-140mm MkII but if that turns out to not be the case I'd happily keep my copy of the MkI.
  9. paladaxar

    paladaxar Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013
    Have you had a chance to get your hands on the Panny mkii yet? I'd be very interested in the results of the newer lens now that it's been out for a bit :)
  10. nang3

    nang3 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2013
    I recently did a quick non scientific comparison between the mk2 14-140 and the Oly 14-150.. basically just borrowed the lenses from the shop, took a whole bunch of pics of the same objects at same settings etc then compared them on my PC screen and there wasn't much in it really... I found the Pana to produce slightly better contrast which made images look a little more realistic if that makes sense - most of which could be done in PP anyway - and the pana also felt a little smaller but fatter and overall nicer on my OMD.. I think that plus the fact it has IS in case I ever go to a non-IS body swayed me in the end but I think both are great lenses.
  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    With the extra weight and size of the Mk. 1 compared to the Mk. 2 14-140, is it still a worthwhile lens? I've accumulated a fair number of legacy primes and a fast zooms and I now have a nice range, but having a lot of lenses and a big bag takes a bit of the spontaneity and enjoyment out of having a compact camera.

    I've seen prices as low as $370 for used 14-140 Mk. 1s, which is now about half price compared to the Mk. 2s. I think it's pretty hard to justify 1/2 a stop at the wide end and ~200 g of weight for $300, but if it's optically a fair bit better as well...
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2010
    it's still worthwhile if the size and weight doesn't bother you, and if you have a bigger camera body like a GHx to balance it. the ~200g might not sound like a lot, but it's like carrying two lenses, which might affect the spontaneity factor like you mentioned.

    I never owned mk1 long enough to get a feel for the IQ, but I did have the oly and now I use the mk2 on the gx7. I can't really say one is better than the other IQ wise, but the mk2 is great for video because of the stablization, and I feel that the way the panny zoom ring turns is more intuitive for me than oly, that's why I sold the oly and kept the mk2.
  13. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Real Name:
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I only have the Oly 14-150, and I agree about its CA problem. It is not that hard to remove CA in post processing, but it certainly needs to be done to get the best results from this lens.
    • Like Like x 1