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Thread: Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 and Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2 - An Informal Easter Shootout

  1. #1
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    Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 and Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2 - An Informal Easter Shootout


    I was using these two lenses today, the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 on the GH2 and the Pentax 21mm f/3.2 on the K-5.

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    I briefly tested them against one another for sharpness and found them to be very much the equal of one another throughout the frame. Both have very strong central sharpness and adequate peripheral sharpness. With obsessive pixel peeping, the Panasonic was a bit sharper (and noisier) everywhere, but a little extra sharpening applied to the Pentax files (to make up for the slightly stronger AA filter of the Pentax) leveled things.

    Here's a sample 100% center crop at f/4, Panasonic on the left (tripod, self-timer, aperture priority autoexposure, shot in triplicate, processed with default Lightroom 3.3 sharpening and NR plus default Nik Output Sharpening which maximizes detail but also increases noise and artifact):

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    Edge crop from the same image:

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    The Panasonic performance at f/2.5 was on par with the Pentax at f/3.2 (data not shown).

    Operationally, I find the Panasonic superior in most ways. The Lumix is much quieter, much faster to focus, is smaller, and lighter. In contrast to the Pentax, the Panasonic doesn't extend during focusing, takes a conventional filter without removing the hood, and doesn't exhibit focus ring movement during autofocus. The Pentax feels more precious (standard Pentax Limited metal build/finish) and is superior for zone focusing due to mechanically-linked manual focus (focus by wire with the Panasonic) and distance scale. In addition, the Pentax lens is stabilized on the K-5, whereas the Panasonic lens is not stabilized on the GH2.

    My strong bokeh preference was for the Panasonic. The two lenses provide a similar amount of background blur when used at their respective max apertures and min focus distances (which are very similar), but the Pentax OOF rendering wide open is very harsh relative to that of the Panasonic. Here's an bokeh sample image shot with the Panasonic:

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    I took a similar shot with the Pentax and will show two representative 100% crops. In each case, the Panasonic crop is on the left:

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  2. The following 5 members thank Amin Sabet for this post:


  3. #2
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    I definitely like the rendering from the GH2 + 14mm better. Sharper image and more pleasant bokeh.

    I'm finding that the more I use the GH2 and K5 side by side, the more I like the GH2!
    Armanius
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    BBW

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    Interesting comparison...plusses on both sides of the equation!
    BB

    **an evolving photographer.

    ~ BB's Flickr photostream & Flickriver or Fluidr

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  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armanius View Post
    I definitely like the rendering from the GH2 + 14mm better. Sharper image and more pleasant bokeh.

    I'm finding that the more I use the GH2 and K5 side by side, the more I like the GH2!
    Same here. The main thing keeping the Pentax in my house is the 70/2.4. If Olympus or Panasonic make a good 50/1.8, I think my K5 will be in the classifieds.
    Amin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amin Sabet View Post
    Same here. The main thing keeping the Pentax in my house is the 70/2.4. If Olympus or Panasonic make a good 50/1.8, I think my K5 will be in the classifieds.
    That's really saying something. Hmmm

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  11. #6
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    The auto focus of the GH2 seems to be much more reliable. I consistently get sharper images from the GH2 vs. the K5.
    Armanius
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  12. #7
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    My K5 AF is pretty good, but the GH2 AF is better. Faster, quieter, more reliable, and better able to get a lock in low light.
    Amin
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  14. #8
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    With my K5, I get mixed results. With the FA35, it seems fairly reliable. Focus with the DA21 and FA43 were decent as well.

    With other lenses FA100, Tamron 17-50 and Sigma 17-50, the accuracy varied. But I was never able to pinpoint the condition that was causing the off focus.

    With the recent DA15, it's just bad altogether in all conditions.

    BTW, how is the AF speed on the PanaLeica 45mm? Is there a focus limiter on it for non-macro use?
    Armanius
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    Armando, the 45 macro is said by some to have slow AF, but that's not been my experience. It does have a focus limiter switch. With the focus limited to non-macro range, AF is reasonably fast (and also pleasantly quiet) on the GH2.
    Amin
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  16. #10
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    I may just focus on expanding my m4/3 lens collection and just use the K5 solely with the FA35 for now.

    Amin, with the PL45/2.8, do you still feel the need to have a DA70 as part of the lens arsenal? Or am I comparing apples and oranges, notwithstanding the macro function?
    Armanius
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