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The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F4-5.6 II: The easy MFT out-going optic.

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 It was an extended review of the Lumix G95/90 published by the nomad and Belgium blogger Cynthia Bil that give me the hint to try the versatile “one-in-all” trans-standard Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F4-5.6 II (Power OIS). It was clear that Cynthia was relying a lot on the latter to produce her magnificent pictures (see here). For my use and tastes, those long trans-standards optics are almost the perfect camera match although their very modest maximum aperture may ask you to bring with an extra-large aperture small prime lens for specific low light situations or if you are looking for a narrower deep of field effect.

The Lumix G Vario 14-140mm II is a good all-around zoom lens for serious photographers that don’t want to carry a lot of photo equipment and decide which to use and don't want to lose too many opportunities in the process. The key word here is versatility that define the strongest aspect to own an optic of this specific type. In a context of one camera-one lens combination, it may be a winner for many photo enthusiasms. The lens is relatively, small, light, and well-constructed. Two good sized control rings allow the zoom (focal length) and the manual focus (if asked) selections and there is a switch selector to enable or not the lens optical stabilization system (OIS). Filter accessory diameter of 58mm is also very reasonable.

With an optic like the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm II zoom lens, the choice of perspective is yours from a contextual view (wide angle) to a more intimate one (telephoto). You can switch from one angle of view to the other but often you will have already decided which specific (or around) focal length setting you may work in priority. This Lumix optic is not an extreme one for super wide-angle shots or for very long telephoto subjects (which are more specialized subjects to cope with) but it allows much creative picture possibilities in a small and handy package.

According to already mentioned nomad photographer Cynthia Bil, the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm II may be "the" traveler zoom type of lens of preference on the market. These optics are mainly designed for daylight use although it is still possible to get picture from them into more dim light situations using a careful approach of the subject especially in regard of the slower shutter speed or the higher ISO setting you will be asked to select.

The Lumix G Vario 14-140mm II is splash-proof according to Panasonic specifications which is always a nice reassuring feature. It won't prevent you to take precautions when use it in very adverse conditions. The trans-standard zoom lens is easy to manipulate for zooming and focusing purposes. It is a well balance optic that will couple harmoniously with the camera body of your choice even the smaller rangefinder style models such as the Lumix GX series or the Olympus Pen-F or EP ones. The optical stabilization system is also a welcome feature and can be switch off from the lens itself. 

Close focusing capacities

The Lumix G Vario 14-140mm II is not and by far a specialized macro lens but it can perform very decently for near subject photography. Its minimum focusing distance varies from 30 cm (wide angle) to 50 cm (telephoto) which is practical for smaller objects as long you are not trying to do try subjects alongside with high reproduction ratio like 1:1 or 2:1. 

Picture rendering

The Lumix G Vario 14-140mm II is in a good performer in terms of image definition, contrast, or color rendering although I never do scientific analysis about the optics I use. With large zoom range like this, it is always a greater optical compromise that designers are facing. So, some limitations are inevitable such as a bit of pincushion (narrow silhouette effect) at its telephoto setting and, may be, a glimpse of barrel distortion at the extreme wide-angle position although, frankly, I didn't observe it myself. It is true there are still some rare bad lenses on the market (and not necessarily the cheapest ones!) but this model is certainly not part of that avoidable category. 

In brief

In North America, Panasonic doesn't offer the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS as a kit lens optionality like in Europe for example and frankly, it is a pity. It should be the case as it is already for the excellent Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS because it responds to a different type of users that privilege the capacity to better isolate their main subjects and are less incline to work with more contextual photographic projects and the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS should be a real handy and competent photographer companion on the run.
Photos Daniel M: Lumix GX9 / G Vario 14-140mm II
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A trace of light that survive a little further than the actual moment of flash.


Daniel M on Flickr

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Great review, Daniel. I will copy this to the lens database a little later. 

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