Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS review - The Cheapest ‘Standard Zoom’ for Micro 4:3 and Surprisingly Good

By Ben Boswell - Thursday April 04 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS lens performance | Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS versus competition | Conclusion

Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS vs. Lumix G X VARIO PZ 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Power OIS

This is quite an interesting comparison in that the basic specification of focal length and aperture are identical. The PZ version has a Power Zoom and the O.I.S is ‘Power’ too: Panasonic states that the Power O.I.S is twice as efficient as Mega O.I.S. These extra features make the PZ version more expensive, and you might expect that it would perform better too. It is the cheaper version that takes the prize for quality, however. The DxOMark Overall score for the PZ version is 10 against 12 and Sharpness, Distortion, Vignetting and Chromatic Aberration all favor the cheaper lens. Unless you need the Power Zoom the choice should be easy.

comp1-pmpix

There is a clear advantage for the cheaper, non PZ lens, especially at longer focal lengths

Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS vs. Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ vs. Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO 12-35 f2.8 Asph. Power O.I.S

There are alternatives: Panasonic’s Lumix G X VARIO 12-35, f/2.8 Asph. Power O.I.S that we reviewed recently is certainly better, but it is much more expensive. Nearly all of the advantage that the 12-35mm has is achieved with the aperture fully open so it is not a perfect comparison, since the 14-42mm can’t go there, but if you can afford the extra, then the 12-35 is a superior lens.

Olympus has an offering that is close in specification too, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ. It is nice to have the slightly longer zoom range but the Olympus lens scores lower than the Panasonic, achieving a sharpness score of just 4 P-Mpix – it is also more expensive. Olympus certainly make the best prime lenses for Micro 4:3, with 4 of the top 5 of all lenses being Olympus, but for Zoom optics Panasonic has the same dominance, with 4 out of the top 5 zoom lenses coming from them.

comp2-score

The 12-35 Panasonic lens is both the most expensive and the best, but the cheapest, their 14-42 is better than the Olympus 12-50