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Keywords: Panasonic GX-Series Wide Mid Tele Zoom Micro-Four-Thirds O.I.S. Stabilized PZ tested


Registered: September 2013
Posts: 3
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by pietro
Review Date: 9/15/2015 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 


Most bad reviews seem to have come about because of perceived shutter shock or blur, and this lens is not alone in that by any means. There is a simple fix if you're worried - google it. On my EM10 this lens works great, not quite as sharp as the 14-45, which I just reviewed, but much smaller and probably as good around 14-30mm anyway. But it scores for being well made, quiet to focus when videoing, and amazingly small. Turns the EM10 into a jacket pocket camera. It is much better than Olympic's power zoom which is outrageously expensive.

Registered: December 2011
Posts: 1
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by kshorter
Review Date: 2/26/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 


I've owned and used this lens now for a couple of years. Had read the reported issues with the shutter blur but kept looking back at the SLRgear chart of this lens performance, its price and the compact size and decided to take a chance. For two years this has been the default lens mounted to my Olympus OMD E-M5. If interested you can see a fairly recent example pic of my work representative of this lens. Data is on this link but I'll point out this image was shot at 14mm which is not the sharpest focal length of this lens but worked for this shot.

Despite some horror stories, I find this lens to be one of my fav all rounders. For me it gets strong points for ease of every day use due to its compactness, acceptable performance across the range getting slightly marginal at 42mm (at which I use it the least). And it has the distinction of rivaling a prime at 25mm and f8. Quite flat and linear with very good sharpness at this focal length/aperture.

So I've read the howls of doom about this lens, to which I howl back with delight. This lens is one of my favorite purchases. I've graded it a 9 in image quality because of its unmatched combination of form factor and ability to rival a prime when applied at the right settings.

Registered: February 2014
Posts: 2
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by gsartori
Review Date: 2/14/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $285.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, convenient
Cons: none, bad press probably due to early samples

I bought this lens just for video due to the power zoom , I was convinced that it's a pretty bad piece of glass. I use sharp Nikon lenses on my D800E and I can't stand bad glass. Ended up being very good. It is always on my Lumix GH3 and I enjoy it very much. Too bad it doesn't start from 12. I do have a 16-85 on my APS-C Nikon and a 24-120 F4 on my D800 and I'd love to have a similar range on my GH3. a 12-70 would be perfect but I can manage with the also good 7-14 that I bought.

Registered: March 2009
Posts: 12
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by PeteD
Review Date: 6/17/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: Small, decent for a kit lens
Cons: none really, perhaps a tadge expensive

When I bought the GX1 I deliberatly didn't buy the kit due to all the negative comments. After time I read a number of reviews from people I respect and decided that this would be handy for travel.

Image quality? ok its not a 20mm f1.7 or a 25 f1.4 and as a kit lens it's not a Fuji 18-55 but it does a respectable job. I've not experienced the issue at selected shutter speeds that some have reported and I know a friend hasn't either. Both lenses were bought fairly recently so maybe Panny have done something.

as an f3.5-5.6 kit zoom it is priced a little high but it is very small. Coupled with a 45-150 and the two pancake primes it makes a very travel kit

Registered: January 2012
Posts: 1
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by photahmo
Review Date: 3/23/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $380.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: compact size; rapid activation; smooth zoom
Cons: negative press!

I have studied the many forums and horror stories, but I have not had this experience. I bought mine prior to realizing there was all the bad press about it.

The range of doom commentary relating to the mechanical action of the OIS and its conflict with certain shutter speeds is facinating, but I haven't had this problem.

It is actually very well made and incredibly small for what it does - my review is based on accepting that fact of the best portability in exchange for I suppose some optical uber-perfomance.

I have Leica, Nikon, Canon, Oly, and Panny experience, and have a favorite camera in the Panasonic LX5 with the Leica lens, so I know a sharp shot ... i dont think this lens is as weak as others are experiencing, and for that I am personally happy. It does appear that Panny has a quality control problem so I recommend you BUY IT, BUT FROM A RETAILER U CAN RETURN IT TO - just in case.

As for value, there is not a comperable product yet; I do think the retail price is too high for the reported performance. I would like to say if it were $299, rather than $399, alot less negative would be said.

My shots close and far have been decent, a few have been excellent - a typical ratio for me. Video use has produced A+ results. Again, compactness of the lens is unmatched.

Registered: March 2012
Posts: 1
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by bg2b
Review Date: 3/17/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: small, light, reasonable optically
Cons: somewhat pricey, slight OIS issue at moderate shutter speeds

I had wanted this lens when it was announced, but given Panasonic's typical delays in supplying US stores, couldn't get one. In the meantime, lots of reports of severe OIS problems at shutter speeds around the 1/80-1/200 range near the long end of the zoom surfaced. Panasonic issued a firmware update which according to many people didn't help much if at all. Based on the direction of the blurring, it was clear that there was some sort of shutter-induced vibration issue which was probably a real hardware problem, not down to just firmware. I crossed the lens off my to-buy list.

Time passed (still without US stock); I read a couple of reports of people who swore their copies were fine. Finally, Amazon got a few in stock, and after some agonizing I decided to try one and see if I got lucky.

The first slightly encouraging sign was that the lens came with firmware 1.1 already installed, so it was obviously of relatively recent manufacture. I had earlier tried a few shots with a copy of the 45-175X that did exhibit shutter-speeds-of-death OIS blurring, so I knew what to look for, and look for it I have in this lens. I can indeed see a slight hint of shutter-induced blur at 1/125 and 1/160 and 42mm, but haven't been able to find it at other shutter speeds. (I'm using a GH2 FWIW.) It's mild enough that I probably wouldn't have even noticed it without straining my eyes specifically trying to find it. At those two shutter speeds, it's further ameliorated if I rest my finger against the lens barrel while shooting. I would have to conclude that the issue is just not really field-relevant in the copy I received.

I can't really conclude anything about the distribution of bad vs good copies. It may be that most of the old ones were bad and the ones of recent manufacture are mostly good. Or it may be that it's just the luck of draw whenever it was made. All I can say for certain is that I have one that was made relatively recently and that behaves acceptably in this regard.

In terms of optical performance, I can only compare it to my current lenses. Here's what I've found from a day of shooting comparative tests.

At 14mm: my copy of the PZ, my 14-45mm, and my 14mm/2.5 are all roughly equivalent (generally good performance from all).

At 25mm: my copy of the PZ is excellent, notably better than my 14-45mm (especially on the left side), and about equal to my Leicasonic 25mm/1.4.

At 42mm: my PZ is acceptable, but definitely worse than my 14-45mm in corners (especially on the right side). In the center, the two are the same. Both zooms are put to shame by my Olympus 45mm/1.8.

Overall, I would call the optical quality acceptable and about as expected for a basic zoom.

Operationally, the zoom switch is a mixed bag. I somewhat prefer a ring, but I can live with the switch (the 45-175X, having both, was much nicer in that regard).

So what to say? It's obvious that lots of people have had bad copies of this lens. On the other hand, I have to conclude that the copy I got is basically OK. It fulfills it's basic mission of being a very light and compact zoom with reasonably competent optics, though not overall better or worse than my old 14-45mm. If you want one, I wouldn't do anything to discourage you, but I would caution you to buy from a retailer with a tolerable returns policy. Good luck!

Registered: March 2012
Posts: 4
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by oluv
Review Date: 3/12/2012 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $470.00| Rating: 3 

Pros: small, light
Cons: soft, extreme reliability issues, expensive

i tested 4 copies of this lens and all of them had serious softness issues.
this was not typcial decentring, because the location of soft areas could vary between shots. i assume this is due to a badly designed OIS-element that can cause softness even when it shouldn't be active.
the already known problem with soft images at 42mm and shutter speeds between 1/100 - 1/200 is true even with OIS turned off and on olympus bodies as well.
even when stopped down this lens is softer than my lumix 14-140!!!
it could be the perfect standard zoom lens for small mFT cameras like GF3 or E-PL3, but this lens is too unreliable for serious shooting.
panasonic didn't provide any fix yet nor did they confirm any issues, so far i am still waiting for a definitve answer!

Registered: February 2012
Posts: 1
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by Eriknielse
Review Date: 2/25/2012 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 2 

Pros: Small, light, fast focusing
Cons: Very unsharp related to the chosen shutterspeed

The bad copies of this lens are useless.
Using shutter speeds between about 1/30 sec. and 1/300 sec. the lens is extremely soft at all f.l. and apertures.

A lot of copies of this lens have this problem.

It doesn´t matter if IS is on or off, and mounted on an Oly. body the problem is the same. (I also bought the Pana. 20mm 1.7. This lens is very sharp.)

I bought my X 14-42 PZ one week ago as a kit with Panasonic GX1, so the sharpness problem isn´t a problem only related to the first shipments.

Panasonic will not answer any questions about this lens.
I hope they are able- and willing to solve the problem.

Registered: February 2012
Posts: 2
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review by Ranger
Review Date: 2/16/2012 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 4 

Pros: Extremely compact, probably a good choice for video use, decent walk around lens
Cons: Sharpness disappointing, mainly at tele end of range, expensive for image quality

I admit, I'm picky when it comes to sharpness and contrast. For a $400 lens, I find my sample wanting. Sharpness at the wide and middle focal lengths is decent. Unacceptably soft at the 42 tele end. Didn't see any difference in my tests with OIS "on" or "off". The controls take some getting use to. The power zoom especially can be frustrating if you are trying to set the focal length to a middle range. I tested this lens side by side with my Panasonic 14-45. The 14-45 outperforms my sample in sharpness and overall IQ at all focal lengths, especially at the telephoto end. IF this was a $250 lens then I would have rated it higher overall, but for $400, you are paying a premium for size, not image quality.


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