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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Ken McMahon, March 2011

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise / Lumix G 14mm Sharpness / Lumix G 14mm vs 14-42mm


Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 Real-life sharpness compared to Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 at 14mm


 
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To compare real-life sharpness in the corner and centre of the frame, we shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 and Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lenses mounted on a Panasonic Lumix GF2 body at all apertures. The Lumix G 14-42mm was adjusted to 14mm to deliver the same field-of-view.

The Lumix GF2 was set to RAW to avoid in-camera JPEG corrections; all files were processed in Adobe Camera RAW with lens corrections disabled and the default sharpness settings.

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 lens mounted on a Lumix GF2 body at a sensitivity of 100 ISO. The crops are taken from the areas marked with the red squares for presentation here at 100%.

On the previous page we saw how the Lumix G 14mm performed in the centre and corners at various apertures. On this page we'll see how it compares against the 14-42mm kit zoom, when the latter is set to 14mm.

Starting with the corner crops first, the Lumix G 14mm kicks-off the sequence at f2.5 where it delivers an image which is relatively dark and soft in the corners. On the second row of crops we've stopped the 14mm down slightly to f2.8 and shown it alongside the kit zoom at its widest aperture of f3.5. Here there's very little between them in quality with similar degrees of corner softening and darkness.

With both lenses set to f4, the 14mm prime enjoys a small benefit in sharpness in the corners compared to the 14-42mm kit zoom, but you'll have to pixel-peep to really see it. Interestingly at f5.6, the situation swaps, with a minor sharpness advantage to the kit zoom, but again it's fairly subtle.

The 14-42mm kit zoom remains slightly ahead of the 14mm prime at f8 in terms of corner sharpness, giving it an overall lead, although again not by a huge margin.

Moving onto the centre crops (lower on the page) there's effectively no difference between the two lenses in terms of sharpness and contrast - both essentially deliver the same quality in the middle of the frame throughout their aperture ranges.

Looking at these results you may be a little disappointed by the new 14mm prime, as many expect fixed focal length lenses to always out-perform zooms, especially kit zooms. But here you can see both the Lumix G 14mm and 14-42mm delivering very similar results, and in some cases, the latter actually slightly out-performing it. There's also not much benefit in terms of maximum aperture either, with the f2.5 only offering one extra stop over the f3.5 of the zoom at 14mm - and remember in terms of using slow shutter speeds, the zoom enjoys three stops of optical stabilisation compared to none at all on the prime.

So with similar optical quality, no stabilisation and just one stop advantage in light-gathering power, the only real benefit the Lumix G 14mm has over the kit zoom is size and weight. But measuring just 20.5mm thick and weighing only 55g, it really is a tiny lens. Mount it on the already compact GF2 and you've got yourself the smallest compact with a large sensor and built-in flash.

So don't buy the Lumix G 14mm hoping for better quality than the kit lens, or you'll end up disappointed. This prime is all about minimising size and weight while maintaining the quality of the already respectable kit zoom. As such it comes recommended to any Micro Four Thirds owner who desires the smallest possible lens for portability, and understands it won't be out-performing the kit zoom on quality. You can't have everything, and the job of the Lumix G 14mm is to make the GF2 look and feel like the smallest operational EVIL camera on the shelves - and they certainly make a very portable combination.

Now let's see more real-life images in our Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Sample Images Gallery.



Corner sharpness with both lenses at 14mm

Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 (H-H014)
corner sharpness
 
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f2.5 (H-FS014042)
corner sharpness
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 corner crop at f2.5
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 corner crop at f2.8 not available
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 corner crop at f2.8
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 corner crop at f3.5
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 corner crop at f4
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 corner crop at f4
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 corner crop at f5.6
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 corner crop at f5.6
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 corner crop at f8
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 corner crop at f8


Centre sharpness with both lenses at 14mm

Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 (H-H014)
centre sharpness
 
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f2.5 (H-FS014042)
centre sharpness
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 centre crop at f2.5
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 centre crop at f2.8 not available
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 centre crop at f2.8
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 centre crop at f3.5
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5centre crop at f4
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 centre crop at f4
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 centre crop at f5.6
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 centre crop at f5.6
     
Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5 centre crop at f8
Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 centre crop at f8


Now let's see more real-life images in our Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Sample Images Gallery.



Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise / Lumix G 14mm Sharpness / Lumix G 14mm vs 14-42mm



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