The Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 Aspherical is a super-wideangle zoom lens best suited for interiors and landscape photography. Being very compact and lightweight, it is very easy to carry along the whole day.
Design & Build Quality
The lens is designed for Micro Four Thirds System cameras. In 35mm terms, it is equivalent to 14-28mm f/4 lens. The build quality as well as the finish is very good. Its front element is bulbous and hence filters cannot be attached. The lens mount is made from metal and has eleven gold-plated contacts for communication with the camera body. The 7-14mm lens comes with its integrated lens hood. The lens weighs 300 g and is made in Japan.
The lens is constructed with 16 elements in 12 groups which include 4 ED glass elements and 2 Aspherical elements. Some of the elements are multi-coated to reduce flare and ghosting. The lens covers a diagonal angle of view of 114° at 7mm and 75° at 14mm. The diaphragm is made of 7 blades (circular diaphragm) and the aperture range is from f/4 to f/22. The lens does not incorporate image stabilizer. The closest focussing distance is 0.25 m (0.8 feet) at all focal lengths and the maximum magnification is 0.15x (35mm equivalent). As mentioned earlier, filters cannot be attached to this lens.
The Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 Aspherical’s zoom ring is marked at 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14mm settings and the ring is towards the camera body. Both, the zoom ring and the manual focus ring are adorned with serrated rubber rings for a better grip.
The 7-14mm lens was very easy to use, though the body felt too small in my hands. But then this is a lens review and one could always use a larger Micro Four Thirds body if need be. The only drawback is that ilters cannot be used with this lens.
Autofocus was accurate and quite swift, even in moderately low light. When used wide open (at f/4) at 7mm, central sharpness was good but the corners were slightly softer. This is quite normal for such superwide- angle lenses. Stopping down the aperture to f/5.6 improved the overall sharpness. At the other end (at 14mm), when used wide open at f/4, we felt that the sharpness was fine but not as good as at 7mm. This could possibly be due to the greater depth of field at the 7mm setting. Here too, stopping down a bit, improved the overall sharpness. The optimum aperture seemed to be between f/5.6 and f/8. At f/16, there was definite loss of sharpness due to diffraction of light.
Slight corner darkening was noticed at all marked focal lengths with the lens wide open in spite of Shading Compensation being enabled. In everyday use though, this is not likely to pose any problem. Very slight barrel distortion could be seen at 7, 8 and 9mm settings while very slight pincushion distortion was noticed at 14mm. Flare was very well controlled and we were unable to trace any chromatic aberration, which speaks highly of the special elements used in the lens construction.
Value for Money
We could not find the MRP on Panasonic India’s website but Amazon.in shows the price at Rs. 94,615. At this price we feel that the lens is fairly expensive |SP
FINAL SCORE 81.5%
Design and Build Quality 17/20
Key Features 16/20
Noise Control 3.5/5
Auto WB 4/5
Value for Money 7/10
• Compact and lightweight
• Sharp images
• Excellent control over Flare and CA
• Cannot use filters
The Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 Aspherical zoom lens is compact, lightweight, easy to use and a very good performer. The only negative point against it is that it does not allow filters to be attached. Normally, one wouldn’t attach a polarizing filter to such a wide-angle lens (due to the uneven darkening of the sky that would result) but what about using ND, graduated ND or lens protection filter? If you disregard this aspect, the 7-14mm lens is a very versatile and and extremely useful lens for the Micro Four Thirds System. Definitely a Best Buy!