When thinking of color performance with respect to lens quality, the ideal shade is generally “neutral”.
To isolate color cast from either lens, we shot a variety of images of an X-Rite ColorChecker target with both lenses under controlled, lab conditions. Target images were shot with multiple camera bodies -- a Micro Four Thirds camera from both Olympus and Panasonic -- to offset color shift native to a particular imager. Captured images were run through Imatest imaging software to quantify specific shifts in hue and saturation within the chart’s 24 tiles. Mouseover the image below to toggle through the color results from each lens.
|Mouseover to toggle between the color performance of the two lenses
The images above were taken with the Olympus PEN E-P2 and both Micro Four Thirds lenses. Identical tests were also run using a Panasonic Lumix GF1, with virtually identical findings. We included the E-P2 files in this article to dispel any concern that the color cast from the Olympus glass is a result of its pairing with a Panasonic body, and not purely a reflection on the optical performance alone.
The relative shift from the two lenses shows the Olympus glass presents a colder, less-saturated rendering of the chart. The Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds kit lens in contrast, submits a warmer reproduction, most notably in its green, blue, and magenta hues.
Toggling between the results from the two lenses, it’s interesting to note that the Panasonic lens produces a more hue-accurate reproduction of the chart, though the tones are slightly more saturated.