Lens Candy. The Panasonic 7-14mm f4. Tiny and cute.

Stuff comes and stuff goes. A Sony a850 sacrificed itself to I could bring this lens home. I've wanted a copy of my own since I first borrowed this lens from a friend. Nasty thing about even the best friends is that they expect to eventually get their stuff back from you....

What's not to like? The Panasonic 7-14mm is small and light and sharp. It's a 14-28mm equivalent if mapped in full frame angles of view but it's much smaller than the Nikon 14-28mm, almost by a factor of four times.

It doesn't have anything fancy tacked on. No I.S. and no knobs. The hood is part of the structure. The front element protrudes and disallows filter use.

Optically, I can state that the lens is sharp just about every where in its range of focal lengths and from wide open to at least f8. Probably thanks to good design which includes two aspherical elements and 4 ED elements.

This rounds out my optical system for the GH series cameras. These (the 7-14mm, the 12-35mm and the 35-100mm) lenses are the lenses I had in mind from the beginning when I started re-exploring the system in anticipation of the GH4 arriving. The whole system with two camera bodies fits into one, smallish Pelican case. Very cool.

If you own this lens I'd be interested in any comments relating to your use of it and the results. Thanks!

Roger Cicala (LensRental) does a great job explaining MTF curves and data!!


For those of you who may have missed it, Roger Cicala of LenRental wrote a great piece explaining the reality behind those MTF curves you see on lens test sites and in the boxes of pricier lenses. He does a great job explaining both the math (by not using math) and the relevance of the curves in the real world of lens selection. It's very well done. As is Roger's regular blog on his own site. 

And now for something completely different: The 85mm Samsung NX lens on the new-ish NX30 camera.

I was weighing one final equipment change for now. I wanted to pick up the 7-14mm Panasonic lens (I've borrowed one on and off) to add to my GH4 system. I think at that point I'll feel a sense of (at least) temporary completion and stasis with my new m4:3 system. I'll I have equivalent of the holy trinity of zoom lenses that professional photographers always seem to amass for Nikon and Canon system. High quality zooms that effectively cover the range from 14mm to 200mm (in 35mm speak). But I'm being cautious with cash and to make the final acquisition and achieve temporary system stasis I feel like I need to peel off more excess gear. The orphans around the studio now are the Sony a850 and a few attendant lenses. 

I had some hesitation about letting that stuff go because (I rationalized) there may still be times I crave that very narrow depth of field that larger sensor cameras do so well. While I was pondering and dithering about the whole roundabout deal a thought slammed into my consciousness: Would I be happy with the performance and the look of a fast, longer lens on APS-C? Especially the look and performance of a lens I already have; the Samsung 85mm 1.4? So I grabbed the Samsung NX 30 APS-C mirror free camera body (20 megapixels, at least as nice a noise profile as the bigger Sony) and headed out the door to see what's what.  That's what these images are all about. 

The camera is not image stabilized and though a number of the Samsung zooms feature I.S. the 85mm 1.4 SSA does not. The trade off is, of course, a very fast max aperture which goes a long way toward delivering higher, more handhold-able shutter speeds. I shot with the lens wide open and the center 2/3rds of the frame are very sharp while the outer areas are more typical of the fast primes from other makers. 

I stopped down to f2.8 and the lens got very sharp and very well behaved. I think that when it comes to zero depth of field portraits the camera and lens are a very good combination. Having done this test makes me a bit more confident about moving on from the Sony full frame Alpha stuff and into the ever bubbling pot of micro four thirds. The 85mm+the Samsung NX30 will be hanging around the edges like a bokeh lifeguard for those moments when nothing will do but eyelashes in razor focus with earlobes soft and fuzzy. 

One more step forward in the world domination by m4:3s, with the Samsung 85mm as an ally in the wings...

Oh goodness. An almost total immersion into micro four thirds. I may have to give up my Professional Photographer's Decoder Ring...