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posted on May 13, 2010 at 4:24AM

Head-2-Head Micro 4/3 Lens Review: Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f4 vs. Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f4

Introduction: The Matchup

By Patrick Singleton


Olympus and Panasonic engineer quality lenses for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds formats that match or surpass those available for APS and full-frame DSLRs. Both companies offer 7-14mm zooms that correspond to a 14-28mm lens on the 35mm format with an angle of view of 114-degrees. The price tags for these ultra-wide optics aren’t small: the Olympus Zuiko ED 7-14mm f/4 retails for $1,799 while the Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f/4 sells for $1,099. The fundamental difference between the Olympus 7-14mm and the Panasonic 7-14mm is that the Olympus has a standard Four Thirds mount and the Panasonic has a Micro Four Thirds mount. With an adapter, the Olympus lens fits on a Micro Four Thirds camera, but the Panasonic can't mount on a larger Four Thirds standard DSLR. We think compactness is a big advantage – maybe the most important advantage – of the Four Thirds format, so we have evaluated the lenses on a Micro Four Thirds Olympus PEN E-P1. The E-P1 is much smaller than typical Four Thirds cameras, primarily because it is not a DSLR – there's no mirror or optical viewfinder. The LCD on the back provides a live preview, and autofocus depends on data from the imaging sensor, so it handles a lot like a point-and-shoot. Both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras use 18x13.5mm sensors, so the E-P1 gives the same angle of view with a given lens as a Four Thirds DSLR, and produces image quality similar to Olympus's DSLRs. 

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