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8-10x super-zoom lenses for Micro Four Thirds


  • most camera systems include a 10x zoom lens for daylight walk-around general purpose photography
  • by necessity, the aperture tend to be a rather slow f/4-5.8 range and the optical resolution and aberrations cannot be expected to match shorter range zooms let alone prime lenses
  • the smaller the camera sensor, the smaller the lens can be and the easier it is to make high optical quality results, which means, Micro Four Thirds system super zooms should give higher quality results
  • indeed, the image quality from these lenses beats the Canon or Nikon dSLR 10x super zoom versions, whilst being more compact

Olympus mZD 12-100mm f/4.0 OIS lens

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Power OIS ASPH HD

  • model H-FS14140 introduced 2013
  • internal focus
  • linear stepping AF motor compatible with the sensor drive at max. 240fps to take maximum advantage of cameras with high-speed AF such as Panasonic GH-3 and the new DMC-G6
  • minimum focus to 0.30m = 0.25x max. magnification
  • 14 elements in 12 groups, 3 aspherical elements 2 ED lenses
  • 7 rounded blades
  • metal lens mount
  • compared with the previous Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 lens:
    • 58mm filter instead of 62mm
    • wider aperture
    • Power OIS instead of Mega OIS
    • smaller (67mm diam x 75mm long)
    • lighter (265g)
    • cheaper


    • “Its light weight (roughly 200 grams less than the original 14-140mm lens) makes it a better choice for travellers, while the improved stabilisation will deliver a higher percentage of sharp pictures and movie clips in poorly-lit situations”
    • “this lens is more suitable for snapshooters than serious photographers who are picky about image quality. However, it's a good choice for anyone wanting a quiet and versatile lens that zooms and focuses smoothly for shooting movie clips.”

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/4-5.8 Mega OIS ASPH HD

  • this high quality lens was introduced with the Panasonic GH-1 in 2009 to provide an optimised HD video capability by introducing for the 1st time in any interchangeable lens the following features designed for HD video (hence the HD designation):
    • near silent AF which is fast enough to work as continuous AF during HD video
    • step-less aperture diaphragm to avoid sudden changes in exposure during videos
  • in addition, it has the usual Panasonic Mega OIS optical image stabilisation (2-3EV) which also works during HD video
  • 14-140mm focal length = 28-280mm in 35mm terms
  • f/4.0-5.8 aperture - unfortunately at 50mm widest aperture is f/5.6, and at 140mm, one really needs to stop it down to f/8 for reasonable sharpness
  • high build quality, with metal mount
  • internal focusing
  • 17 elements in 13 groups (4 Aspherical lenses, 2 ED lenses)
  • 7 rounded blades
  • 62mm non-rotating filter
  • closest focus 50cm giving maximum macro 0.2x
  • high optical quality for a 10x zoom although it does get a touch soft at the long end and does have a lot of barrel distortion at wide end, some CA and significant vignetting although all of these are largely corrected in-camera if you have a Panasonic camera but some Olympus users will not be so lucky and will need to do some post-processing
  • 70mm diam x 84mm long
  • at 460g, rather heavy for a Micro Four Thirds system lens but still works well with the larger cameras such as the GH and G series


    • 6% barrel distortion at 14mm reducing to 0.5% at 140mm - all corrected in-camera to 1.8% at wide end and practically zero at 140mm
    • vignetting worst at 140mm f/5.8 (1.9 EV) and 1.3EV at 14mm f/4, although again, this is largely corrected in-camera
    • reasonably sharp lens given the 10x zoom but very soft corners wide open at telephoto end (stop down to f/8 helps a lot)
    • reasonable levels of CA for a 10x zoom (1.2px at most focal lengths wide open but 1.8px at 140mm) but in-camera correction further reduces this to 0.4-1.2px
    • “Optically, the lens is a good performer, much better than we expected from a 10x zoom. At most focal lengths, you can safely use it wide open or stopped down by one f-stop. Chromatic aberrations can be a bit of an issue at longer focal lengths, but they can usually be dealt with in post processing. Distortions are automatically corrected on both Olympus and Panasonic bodies”
    • wide open, it is sharpest in the 18-50mm range with subsequent deterioration in sharpness in the telephoto range, particularly at the edges
    • “It's more or less on a par with the cream of the current crop of APS-C image-stabilized superzooms such as the Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-5.6 VC, and therefore marginally more consistent than the 18-200mm zooms from Canon and Nikon”.
    • “decent resolution for a 10x zoom, fairly well controlled vignetting and CA, but significant distortion at 14mm” but sharper than the Nikkor AF-S DX VR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IF ED

Olympus m.ZD 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II

  • being an Olympus, it does NOT have optical image stabiliser relying instead upon the in-camera IS system of Olympus cameras
  • 28-300mm range in 35mm terms
  • very good build quality, metal mount
  • unlike version I, this version:
    • is weathersealed
    • has Olympus's ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating on the front element
    • new optical design: 15 elements in 11 groups inc. one dual-sized aspherical element, one ED glass element, and three HR (High Refractive) elements
    • adds Olympus's MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) quiet, internal focusing system
  • 7 rounded blades
  • 58mm non-rotating filter
  • closest focus 50cm giving 0.22x macro
  • 83mm x 63.5mm / 3.27 in. x 2.5 in.
  • 285g / 10.1 oz
  • optional hood
  • optional PRF-D58 PRO is a lightweight, thin protective filter, created with double-sided, multi-coating and blackened glass edges to suppress ghosting and lens flare
  • RRP $US599

Olympus m.ZD 14-150mm f/4-5.6

  • being an Olympus, it does NOT have optical image stabiliser relying instead upon the in-camera IS system of Olympus cameras
  • 28-300mm range in 35mm terms
  • very good build quality, metal mount
  • fast, near silent AF
  • 15 elements in 11 groups inc. 3x aspherical glass elements and 1x ED element
  • 7 rounded blades
  • 58mm non-rotating filter
  • closest focus 50cm giving 0.24x macro
  • 63.5mm diam x 83mm long
  • 280g
  • optional hood


    • 5.7% barrel distortion at 14mm, reducing to 1.2% pincushion at 50mm but corrected in-camera to under 1.3% at 14mm
    • 2EV vignetting at 14mm f/4 but corrected in-camera to 0.9EV
    • unlike the Panasonic version, vignetting is worst at the wide end not the telephoto end
    • reasonable sharpness for a 10x zoom but like the Panasonic lens, edge sharpness gets very soft in the telephoto end and you should consider stopping down to f/8 to get sharper results across the frame
    • mod severe CA wide open at 50-90mm range in particular (2.4-3.4px) and this is uncorrected
    • seems to be a touch sharper than the Panasonic in the mid-range focal lengths

Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III VC

  • announced Jan 2013
  • 52mm filter
  • 63mm x 80mm long (locked or 85mm unlocked)
  • 17 elements in 13 groups
  • 280g

some of my photos with the Panasonic 14-140mm lens

scroll down and then place mouse over blank area at bottom of images to load next 20 images set

photo/mft14-140mm.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/25 23:05 by gary1