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A review of the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 pancake lens for micro four thirds cameras

By Edited Mar 17, 2014 0 0

Panasonic 14mm f2.5 pancake lens

In the world of micro four third digital camera lenses Panasonic are the guys to beat. There’s no doubt about it, the Olympus micro four third lenses, such as the 17mm pancake lens and the 14mm – 42mm zoom lens, are good but the Panasonic micro four third lenses are so much better. 

The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 pancake lens is the smallest and lightest lens currently available in micro four thirds format and it is absolutely tiny. This 14mm micro four thirds lens is a basic and no frills lens, which is not surprising given its tiny dimensions. The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens is built solely to take great images and it does exactly what it says on the tin. 

Here we have the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 (on the left) next to the Olympus 14mm - 42mm kit lens. The Olympus kit lens is small but the Panasonic lens is absolutely tiny. The Panasonic lens can be used on any micro four thirds camera, regardless of the brand.

Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens next to the 14mm - 42mm

The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 micro four thirds lens is an excellent lens that is more than capable of capturing some great images but it is not as sharp as the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 micro four thirds lens, neither is it as popular as the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. So, if the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 is not as sharp, and cannot produce images of the same quality as the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 then why buy it?

The answer to this question is simple. The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 micro four thirds is a true wide angle lens, unlike the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. If you take the crop factor in to account a micro four thirds the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens has the same field of view as a 28mm lens in 35mm format. The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 has the same field of view as a 40mm lens in 35mm format therefore the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 isn’t even a wide angle lens. The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 is the only true prime wide angle lens for micro four thirds cameras. There are zoom lenses that go wider but these are bigger, bulkier and much more expensive than the 14mm f2.5, which puts them out of the reach of many people. 

There have been many comparisons made between the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens, however these comparisons aren’t really fair since the lenses are totally different. Trying to make a comparison between the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is like comparing apples and pears. Many people argue the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 isn’t very sharp, and compared to the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 it is soft towards the edges of the frame, but it is still pretty damn sharp. Besides, wide angle lenses do suffer from softer edges, so this is to be expected.

The question you have to ask yourself is do you want the additional field of view a Panasonic 14mm f2.5 provides and if so are you prepared to sacrifice some image quality. The loss in image quality is so small most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, however those people that like to pixel peep and like facts and figures will argue they can easily tell the difference in sharpness and image quality. If you want a 14mm lens there is only one way to go and you will have to suffer the tiny loss in mage quality. 

A 14mm lens offers the same field of view as a 28mm lens in 35mm format, and this focal length is considered to be one of the most useful. A lens with an effective field of view of 28mm can be used for any type of photography although it is most useful for interior shots and architecture. It is also ideal for landscape shots to portray some depth and it is great for taking pictures of cityscapes. This focal length can be used for group shots and for taking images of people in an environment but it is not suitable for portraits as the facial features will be distorted and not look right. 

Here we have the Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens mounted on an Olympus PEN EPL1. Note how small and portable the combination is, making it ideal as a general walk around camera and travel camera. Even though the lens and the camera are made by two different companies all features work together including auto focus.

Panasonic 14mm f2.5 on Olympus EPL1

The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 is a great lens for Olympus PEN series cameras and works exceptionally well, and the auto focus is unaffected even though the camera and the lens is made by two different manufacturers. That is the beauty of the micro four thirds mount as they are fully compatible with each other. The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 on a PEN camera makes a small, light combination that can be used anywhere.



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