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
Handling & UsabilityBy Patrick Singleton
Handling & Usability (Panasonic)
The hardest way to use them is to shoot scenes that look natural. Part of the problem is inherent: the perspective is so different from the way humans look at things that it takes a lot of care to get a real looking image even with a perfectly-corrected lens with this angle of view. The lenses exaggerate any tilt, so it's important to keep the camera perfectly square with the subject. The effect is obvious with architecture, but not just that – landscapes look odd if a stand of trees seems to converge. Distorting human subjects isn't flattering, and even if that's okay, the look gets boring very quickly. Getting far back enough to limit distortion and the people or other subjects are tiny in the frame. If we had a lens like this, it wouldn't get much use. It would come out of the bag on those rare occasions when our back is literally against the wall, and we just can't get the whole subject in – the occasions when it's that lens, or no shot at all. If we used it at a wedding, we wouldn't want more than one frame from it in the album.
Beyond these inherent problems with the focal length, there are these lenses' particular drawbacks. The distortion and the falloff we note in each lens would frustrate us in post processing, if we were trying for natural-looking shots. For architecture, these lenses are thoroughly problematic – their images are distorted in complicated ways, have significant and odd falloff, and in the case of the Olympus, distractingly bad image degradation in the corners.