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
Design and InterfaceBy Patrick Singleton
Both the Olympus and Panasonic lenses have bulbous front elements that are protected (a little) by tulip-petal lens shades. The shades stick out far enough that one could put the lenses face down on a flat surface without having the glass scratched. The shades are cut out at the corners so that they don't cut off the image. Both lenses are set up so that the front glass sinks into the shade as the lens zooms to higher focal lengths, so the shades remain effective.
Neither the Olympus nor the Panasonic can accept filters. Practically, any flat filter you could put in front of the lenses would vignette, and would degrade image quality toward the edges. It's really not much of a loss photographically: color correction is better done with custom white balance or post-processing. Putting a polarizer on such a wide angle lens would be problematic because the effect of the polarizer would vary so much across a 114-degree field. The significant drawback of not being able to put filters on the lenses is that the front element is bare and vulnerable when the lens is in use.
Both lenses have separate zoom and focus rings, with focus in front. The Olympus has a distance scale, which the Panasonic lacks. The fit and finish and quality of materials are good on both lenses. They seem durable.