Panasonic 7-14mm f4  (2 of 2)

One of the things I really missed when I first picked up the Panasonic GH4 was a wide angle lens. Until I went without it while shooting with the GH4, I hadn’t really thought about how much I actually use that focal length. In my Canon collection I currently have the 16-35mm f2.8 and the much older Canon 17-35mm f2.8. I always have one of those lenses with me when using the 5d mark III and when I’m shooting with two cameras (sony a7s + 5dmk3) I normally carry both.

The only real reason I hadn’t picked up the Panasonic 7-14 for the GH4 was that I was holding out for the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8. The Olympus has been announced as “coming soon” since early last year and I thought I could hold out until it’s release.

Panasonic 7-14mm f2.8  (1 of 2)

While I was waiting for the Olympus, I was also watching ebay, and I started to see the Panasonic 7-14 used price drop down to around $550. After living without a wide angle M4/3 lens for almost 7 months the price was finally attractive enough to suck me in and I added the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 to my collection.

Panasonic 7-14mm f4 examples (1 of 4)

One of the drawbacks to the Panasonic 7-14mm is it’s f4 aperture. While f4 isn’t a deal breaker, I’ve always kind of gravitated towards faster lenses whenever possible. The GH4 isn’t known for it’s low light sensitivity, so the faster the lens you can get, the better off you are. Still (pun intended), if you have enough light to work with, the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 lens provides sharp images. This picture of Hero (my 10 year old pomeranian) was taken at f4 1/100 iso 3200.

Panasonic 7-14mm f4 examples (2 of 4)

Some people like to correct for distortion. Sometimes I’ll fix it in post, but in many cases I enjoy the effect. This photo is from the passenger window on route to Salt Lake City shot at f8, 1/1000, iso 200.

Panasonic 7-14mm f4 examples (4 of 4)

The Panasonic 7-14mm seems to do very well through windows even though you can’t get a polarizing filter on the dang thing and you’d probably have issues (wide angle lenses don’t play nice with polarizers) even if you could. This was taken from the window of gate 4 at the Seattle airport, shot at f10, 1/200, iso 200.

Panasonic 7-14mm f4 examples (3 of 4)

This is probably the most example shots I’ve ever posted from a single lens, but I really do love the wide angle look and I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed using the Panasonic 7-14mm. Above is Multnomah Falls, just outside of Portland, shot at f4, 1/250, iso 800.

Panasonic 7-14mm f4 lens on Gh4 (1 of 1)

Currently there are only 2 wide angle zooms with AF that I know of for M4/3 cameras, the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 and the Olympus 7-14mm f4. The Olympus has garnered some great reviews, but it clocks in at about $1500 and it’s an f4 lens. Olympus lenses are generally well made, but looking at them both, the used price of the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 was what made it the more attractive option for me.

My first opportunity to play around with a Panasonic lens was the 12-35mm f2.8 and i wasn’t exactly blown away by the build quality. It felt very plasticy compared to the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8. The Panasonic 7-14mm f4 is a whole different beast. The lens is small and compact, but it’s plastic/metal body feels very solid. The fly by wire focus ring isn’t anything to write home about, but at f4 on an M4/3 body, it’s not something you’ll likely use much on a wide angle zoom. The lens cap covers a full size lens hood that’s built into the lens and the hood keeps you from scratching the element when you get close to your subject (minimum focus distance of 9.84 inches).

Over all, i’m pretty impressed with the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 lens. I might still jump ship for olympus when they release the 7-14mm f2.8 (depending largely on the price), but I don’t really have any complaints about the Panasonic, it’s a good lens for the price.

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