Micro Four Third Cameras

Latest News on Micro Four Third Cameras

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm

Right off the bat, let me just say that I love this lens. It’s sharp, focusing is quiet and fast, and is wide enough to get those ultra wide angle shots. It’s expensive, but in my opinion, well worth every penny. Now that I’ve gotten that said, let me just highlight a few shortcomings that you may wish to consider before purchasing.

First off, it’s pretty big. While it’s not too big, coming from either the 14-45mm and/or 20mm “pancake” (both Panasonic), you’ll be surprised how big this lens really is. It takes a little of the ultra-portability of the GF1 and other M43 cameras away but I feel it’s well worth the added weigth and size. The lens specs are as follows:

equiv. focal length (full format) “14-28mm”
equiv. aperture (depth-of-field only) “f/8″
Optical construction 16 elements in 12 groups inc. 2x aspherical and 4x ED elements
Number of aperture blades 7 (rounded)
min. focus distance 0.25m (max. magnification ratio 1:12.5)
Dimensions 74x83mm
Weight 300g
Filter size – No Threading for Filters
Hood fixed, petal-shaped, non-removable

The lens is listed as a 7-14mm lens but it actually becomes 14-28mm on any M43 camera. This is due the mirrorless design of the M43 format and how that works with any lens’ focal length effectively doubling whatever it’s rated at. 14mm is wide enough to get those wide shots you’ve been craving. On the other end, I find 28mm to be a perfect focal length for everyday shooting. While I also highly regard the excellent Panny 20mm Pancake, I feel the effective 40mm M43 focal length to be a bit to tight for everyday shooting. Ideally, 28mm is perfect for a carry around camera doing spontaneous shots such as street photography. I’m looking forward to the 14mm Panasonic that has just been released feeling that it’s effective focal length of 28mm is perfect for everyday shooting. Granted not as fast as the 20′s F1.7 but still pretty good at F2.5 which gets me to my next gripe about the 7-14mm, that it’s not fast enough for night/dark photography.

The 7-14mm is rated at f4.0 across it’s focal lengths and so it’s probably not as fast as one might want. It’s fine in bright (full sunlight outdoors) to somewhat bright (daylight indoors) scenes just becarefull doing any quick shots at night or in dark indoor situations. I wouldnt go as far as saying it’s crappy in these situations, just keep in mind that the lens isn’t fast and not intended for dim situations. This lens is best best suited for brighter shots.  Here are a few shots to show that it does decent in darker situations but really excels in those bright shots:

That second shot is of the Pantheon in Rome. Doing a quick look through the images in a google search for that term will show you how wide this lens is compared to most of the shots taken of the inside of the domed ceiling.

And you can forget about using the GF1′s built in flash with this lens, the lens’ light guard is just too big to avoid getting in the way. Any indoor shots with flash are going to get that dreaded light guard shadow across the bottom right end of the shot.

One last gripe, and this is probably common sense, there is some heavy altered perspective when wide open. So, you probably won’t use it all the time at 7mm. I feel 9mm is usually wide enough to get the shot you want and the image looks much more natural with little to no edge distortion. You’ll note most of this effect when photographing people. Here’s a shot to best describe what I’m referring to:

So, it’s big not very fast and distorts at wide open, why do I love this lens?  This lens has consistently impressed me with how quickly it focuses, how much information I can get into my shot and how sharp the images are.   I have greatly diminished the number of poor out of focus shots by using this lens and greatly increased the number of good pictures I’ve taken.  It truly is a remarkable lens and worth every penny that it sells for.  I highly recommend this lens for use on any of M43 format cameras.  It’s been a great pleasure to use so far on my GF1.

Highly Recommended! 

If you’d like to purchase this lens, you can help support this site by clicking on the following link to purchase it directly Amazon.com safely and securely:

GF1 + 50mm F1.2 Rokkor Puppy Video

The GF1 is pretty good at shooting video. Here’s a video that I just shot in normal light, wide open at F1.2 of one of the newest members to my household, a four week old female Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu at Four Weeks on Vimeo.