Panasonic 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ & Panasonic Lumix GX1
Size and weight make the Panasonic 14-42 mm X zoom lens, introduced at the end of 2011, an unique interchangeable zoom lens with a viewing angle which equals a 28-84 mm zoom lens on a full frame camera. The Panasonic 14-42 mm X powerzoom is, combined with the Panasonic GX1 just as compact as a high-end compact camera like Powershot G; it easily fits in a large pocket. But is the Panasonic 14-42 mm X better than its cheaper and larger predecessor, the Panasonic 14-42 mm?
Results in this review are based on standard in-camera jpg files. De image ratio of the camera has been set to 2:3, which enables comparing the measurement results with our measurements of lenses on a camera with an APS-C or full frame sensor. For further information on the test method, see the FAQ.
The 3x zoom range of the Panasonic 14-42 mm X equals a viewing angle of a 28-84 mm zoom lens on a camera with a full frame sensor.
Construction and autofocus
The Panasonic 14-42 mm PZ X zoom lens is well built. The advantage of smaller lenses for micro-43 camera’s with respect to APS-C or full frame cameras is very large here. During transport the Panasonic 14-42 mm X is even smaller.
Focusing and zooming takes place through levers on the lens. Those who are used to using a compact or video camera might find this familiar. When you’re used to a SLR type camera, you will need some time to get accustomed.
The autofocus is fast, silent and accurate. Micro-43 camera’s gfocus using the sensor signal, and therefore don’t have any front focus or back focus.
This lens has built-in image stabilization which has to be operated from the camera menu in stead of a switch on the lens itself. We haven’t tested the Image stabilization.
Vignetting Panasonic 14-42mm Powerzoom
Starting at a focal length of 17 mm, vignetting is acceptable even at fully opened aperture. When stopped down two stops, there is no more visible vignetting left at a focal length of 14 mm. Vignetting is easily corrected by software, so it surprised us that Panasonic didn’t correct for vignetting in-camera.
Distortion Panasonic 14-42 mm X
For a zoom lens distortion is very well corrected for in the design of the Panasonic 14-42 mm PZ. Barrel shaped distortion is visible at focal length of 14 mm and 42 mm, but at other focal lengths absent. Distortion can be corrected afterwards by photo editing software.
Bokeh is not too well with this lens, as expected, since this lens doesn’t have a wide aperture and micro-43 sensors are small compared to full frame sensors.
The Panasonic 14-42 mm PZ X has a special multi-coating in order to minimize flare and ghosting. Nevertheless you can experience flare when there’s a light source just outside the image.
Resolution Panasonic 14-42mm Powerzoom
The resolution of Panasonic 14-42 mm X jpg files is high over the entire zoom range. Sharpness in the extreme corners lags behind at all apertures, as can be seen from Imatest measurements.
Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ @ 19 mm f/5.6The resolution of the Panasonic 14-42 mm X equals or outperforms the resolution of the regular Panasonic 14-42 mm. At a focal length of 35 mm the overall optical quality of the Panasonic 14-42 mm X is almost equal to the performance of the famous Panasonic 20 mm lens. See our overview of tested micro-43 lenses to compare this lens with other micro-43 lenses.
Chromatic aberration Panasonic 14-42 X
Panasonic corrects in-camera for chromatic aberration. This delivers jpg files where there’s no visible chromatic aberration. Here the Panasonic 14-42 mm X outperforms the old Panasonic 14-42 mm.Even a 100% crop from the extreme corners doesn’t show any visible chromatic aberration, as you can see in this image.
Conclusion Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS LUMIX G X VARIO PZ review
- Good optical performance, especially for resolution at focal lengths beneath 25 mm
- Very compact
- Built in Image Stabilization
- Powerzoom (especially for video)
- Relatively high price
- Focusing and zooming using levers needs practice
- Visible vignetting at 14 mm up to aperture 5.6
The Panasonic 14-42 mm X powerzoom is, given its size and weight, an unique interchangeable zoom lens. Focusing and zooming takes place through levers on the lens. Those who are used to using a compact or video camera might find this familiar. When you’re used to a SLR type camera, you will need some time to get accustomed. When you compare the performance of the Panasonic 14-42 mm X with the cheaper Panasonic 14-42 mm, the Panasonic 14-42 mm X scores a little bit higher. This is mainly because of the low chromatic aberration of the Panasonic 14-42 mm . When you add the optical performance to the compact size and the powerzoom, you will forget the higher price completely within a few weeks.