Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm f/4 ASPH - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2010
The Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm f/4 ASPH is one of the most exciting and extreme micro four-thirds lenses out there. Its field-of-view is equivalent to 14-28mm on full format (35mm) cameras - this is about as wide as it gets for a rectilinear (non-fisheye) lens. It remains a relatively compact lens and regarding the rather small amount of glass you may have hoped for an attractive pricing but, unfortunately, such wishes do rarely come true in this business and at around 1100EUR/US$ it is probably far out-of-reach for most amateurs.
At least a part of reason for the high pricing gets obvious when touching the lens - it is build to very high standards. It is made of a combination of metal and high quality plastic parts. Both the zoom and focus ring are tight and operate very smooth. However, the rubberized zoom ring has a slight tendency to collect dust though as you may concluded already from our sample product images. The physical length of the lens remains constant regardless of the zoom setting although the inner lens tube moves little. The front element has a "bulb"-like shape. This is getting popular design approach lately (Nikkor AF-S 14-28mm f/2.8, Olympus 7-14mm f/4, Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6) - it seems to help to control the rather tricky problems inherent to ultra-wide angle lenses. On the down-side there's no possibility anymore to mount front filters for obvious reasons. You may be worried that this vulnerable front element may be too exposed but it resides actually somewhat retracted within the fixed lens hood so it is fairly well protected.
The focus ring is coupled to a focus-by-wire mechanism which is commonly used in four-thirds lenses. This may sound like a worrisome approach but it works really well because the camera switches to a high-magnification view as soon as you turn the focus ring and from here on it's more precise than manual focusing on a conventional DSLR setup. The Panasonic lens features an extremely fast and silent AF micro-motor. The AF accuracy is very high but that's typical for all contrast-detection-based AF systems.
|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)|
|Hood||fixed, petal-shaped, non-removable|