Monday, January 3, 2011

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7-14 mm F4.0 ASPH

The Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7-14 mm F4.0 ASPH is an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds system.

This light weigh and compact lens provide a 35 mm equivalent focal range of 14-28 mm!

At it's 7 mm setting this solidly built lens gave a whopping 114-degree angle of view!

According to Panasonic and I quote:

"This high-performance lens system achieves outstanding compactness by combining 16 lens elements in 12 groups, including two aspherical lenses and four ED lenses.

Image resolution is high from corner-to-corner even at the wide-angle setting. It also features F4.0 brightness over the entire zoom range thanks to its large-diameter glass molded lens elements."

There are many reviews on this incredible lens, most however; published sample photos that IMHO did not do justice to this lens.

The ultra-wide Panasonic mounted on my
Olympus E-P2 "Pen" micro 3/4 compact.

Here are some of my shots.

After I bought the lens in Singapore, this was one of the first few shots I did of a Singapore food court.

The ultra-wide zoom was mounted on a Olympus E-P2. Shot at 7 mm, ISO 800, f4; 1/15. Noise Ninja was used to clean up some shadow noise.

Swimming pool at a multi million HDB flat in Singapore.
(@7 mm-ISO 400-f6.3-1/50-EP2)

The London Eye (@7 mm-ISO 400-f5.6-1/10-EP2) This is a lens that make lesser lens cry!

The Colosseum in Rome. (@7 mm-ISO 100-f8-1/200-EP2) * The darkened top of the photo was purposely done in ACR.

School kids at the Colosseum in Rome. (@7 mm-ISO 100-f8-1/160-EP2).
** The darkened top of the photo was purposely done in ACR.

Waiting to get into St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
(@ 7 mm-ISO 200-f6.3-1/1,000-EP2).

Entrance to St. Peter's Basilica, Rome. Notice how straight all the straights are! I can hardly see any curvature distortion with this ultra-wide!
(@ 10 mm-ISO 200-f6.3-1/1,250-EP2).

Red caps inside the Basilica, only a ultra-wide can give you this FOV. If you are traveling with a P&S with a 28mm eqv. lens, you are out of luck ;)
(@ 7 mm-ISO 400-f4.0-1/10-EP2).

The incredible dome inside the Basilica. This was shot at 9mm which have the same AOV (angle of view) as a 18mm lens on a full frame camera.
(@ 9 mm-ISO 400-f4.0-1/30-EP2).

Ultra-wide use to be a heavy lump of glass, this little beauty is light and compact; and look at what it can do, if you make good use of it's spanning coverage! Still at Basilica.
(@ 7 mm-ISO 400-f4.0-1/4-EP2).

You can get real arty with your ultra-wide too! Cartier Bresson would have disapprove?
Taken through the door way of the Basilica entrance of the nagging rain in Roma.
(@ 7 mm-ISO 200-f5.6-1/1,600-EP2).

The world famous and incredible Sistine Chapel!! With a lesser lens, kneel down and cry ;)

It is very dark inside the chapel too AND with that high number of admirers, believe me it is hard to hand held your camera steady!

Tripod is NOT allowed!
I hand held this shot at 0.3 second! High praise for the in-built stabilizer of the E-P2!!
(@ 7 mm-ISO 400-f5.6-0.3 sec-EP2).

Somewhere inside the Vatican Museums, dark, dark; dark! See what a f4 ultra-wide can do for you?
(@ 13 mm-ISO 800-f4-1/4-EP2).

Galeries Lafayette, the fabled high class shopping complex in Paris.

This is the only view you are allowed to photograph, your lens better be bloody good ;)
(@ 7 mm-ISO 200-f5-1/30-EP2).

Brother can you spare a dime.. eh, Euro ;) Right in the hustle bussel of Champs-Élysées, Paris.
(@ 7 mm-ISO 200-f6.3-1/100-EP2).

Water Lilies by Claude Monet being displayed at Musée de l'Orangerie.
(@ 7 mm-ISO 200-f4-1/25-EP2).

A little boy practicing his running watch on by a world renown mural at the Louvre Museum, Paris.
(@ 9 mm-ISO 200-f5-1/6-EP2).

Melting pot of the old and new, the pyramid at the Louvre; surround by
Place du Carrousel, Paris.
(@ 9 mm-ISO 200-f5-1/2,500-EP2).

Inside the world famous Notre Dame, Paris.

A photographer's nightmare! It is VERY very tall and VERY very dark! A place where you get sorted to be a boy or a man :)

Ha ha ha... Trying to capture the grandeur's of the interior with your little point and shoot? You will be disappointed!

Tripod not needed, camera was rested on the pew for support; divine intervention, none.
(@ 7 mm-ISO 200-f4.5-1.3 sec-EP2).

What an incredible ultra-wide zoom! Worth every penny I spent ;)

But how sharp was it at the longer zoom end of 14 mm?

Take a look at this picture...

This shot of a departing underground Paris Metro from Denfert Rochereau station in Paris. The candid shot was exposed at a slow 1/10 sec, f4.5; ISO 200. The lens was zoom to 13mm.

Below is a 100% crop from the left side of that shot.

Here is another shot taken in daylight, of a boat load of tourists in Paris.

This was shot at the maximum 14 mm zoom range, full f4; 1/500 sec. at ISO 200 setting. Below is the 100% crop.

Is that SHARP or what?

Famous Last Words:

You might want to know WHY I used this marvelous Panasonic ultra-wide with a Olympus camera?

A no brainer, the E-P2 have a very effective built-in stabilizer; this is what Olympus claimed:

"The E-P2's three-mode In-body Image Stabilization system compensates for up to four shutter speed steps in the still shooting modes with any of its interchangeable lenses:

Mode 1 for general shooting, Mode 2 for creative high-speed horizontal capture, and Mode 3 for high-speed vertical capture.

The camera's Mechanical Image Stabilization automatically compensates for camera shake in low-light situations or when using a telephoto lens."

After shooting hundreds of slow speed hand held, SHARP pictures with the E-P2; that is NO BULL!

On the other hand, I could have used the Panasonic GF-1 which depend on lenses WITH their Mega O.I.S in-lens stabilizer.

But their top notch ultra-wide DO NOT have Mega O.I.S.!!

Panasonic seems to believe ultra-wide DO NOT need stabilizing, that is bollix!

I will challenge anyone to shoot hand-held at 0.3 second and get sharp image WITHOUT stabilization!

Without a doubt, I can assure you, up to this moment; the BEST compact camera to match to this ULTRA-WIDE ZOOM EXTRAORDINAIRE are those with in body stabilizers!

Another plus for this lens is the top notch resolution at f4! I find I can totally leave f8 and above alone.

If I do need a little more DOF, f5.6 is all I need!

Well done Panasonic for releasing this high performance ultra-wide zoom, no apology for using it on your rival's camera ;)

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Fantastic 14 mm!


yfc said...

Hi CY,

Thanks for your time spend blogging. I'm a recent reader of your blog having just discover you last month! Am thoroughly enjoying your exposition of the E-P2 and the lenses, especially the Pana 7-14 f4.

I've just bought this lens as inspire by you and am enjoying many low light shots like never before. The builtin IS of the EP-2 is the best reason I didn't choose the Panasonic m43! A real blessing as I've got some Canon FD lens with adapter:
55/1.2 SSC Asph

Seeing you use the E-P2 with low ISOs has renewed my fervor for the E-P2 as I had earlier resign it to the cupboard for being too noisy.


p/s: I had made a comment earlier but it for no apparent reason had disappeared!

cy.leow said...

Hi yfc008

You make my day!

I am ecstatic that my blog actually contribute to joy of photography in a small way :)

Your comment driving me on!



fisher1 said...

Very helpful review, nice to see some 'real' photography done with this lens not just test shots. I have ordered the lens but will be using it with a Panasonic GH2, I will be interested to see how your comments re image stabilization apply. Let me know if you do a review of the new Panasonic 14-42 pancake zoom

PingKo said...

Uncle, I will save really hard to buy this lens!!!

cy.leow said...

Hello PingKo... this lens work best with an Olympus OM-D ;)