Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6G II Lens Review: The little kit lens gets smaller, lighter and sharper


posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8:21 AM EST


Kit lenses tend not to get a lot of love. They're often cast off as mediocre with lackluster sharpness or lots of CA or distortion. With our latest lens review on the Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH MEGA O.I.S. G Vario, this lens bucks the trend with improved sharpness, low distortion as well as a smaller and lighter build -- making it even more portable with those smaller Micro Four Thirds cameras.

The Panasonic 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 II is, despite the "II" moniker, the third version of the G-system and GF-system kit lens and is slightly smaller and lighter that the older model, weighing in at just 110gm (3.88 oz). This is around 50gm lighter than the previous G-series kit lens. Panasonic has achieved this reduction in weight by changing the design of the lens: it only uses 9 elements in 8 groups, including 2 aspherical lenses, where the previous kit lens used 12 elements in 9 groups. As well, the lens is physically smaller, at only 1.9" in depth instead of 2.4".

Performance-wise, the new version is sharper, even wide-open. Other optical characteristics are all within acceptale norms -- there's some vignetting, particularly wide-open at 14mm, but nothing too severe, and CA and distortion are well-controlled for the most part.

Head on over to SLRgear to read the full Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH MEGA O.I.S. G Vario review, complete with our in-depth report, final conclusion as well as our full range of test results and sample images.

The Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens is not currently available for sale as a standalone lens, but rather part of the kit with the Panasonic G6 and GF6. You can purchase this kit from one of our trusted affiliates. [Purchasing this lens, or any other product from one of our trusted affiliates helps support this site and keeps these reviews coming!]

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray using the Panasonic GX1. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

GX1: 19mm, f/5, 1/125s, ISO 160
GX1: 42mm, f/11, 1/160s, ISO 160
GX1: 36mm, f/5.5, 1/250s, ISO 160