n3wblog tech commentary and observations from the future

Lumix GX1: 14mm Street Shooter

Earlier this month I waxed enthusiastic about my latest toy, the adorably-named Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1. Since then, I’ve had a chance to read Peter Thomsons’ review of the 14mm F2.5 pancake lens in his London Street Photography blog. I highly recommend it and the linked reviews from that article, they’re all excellent.

I’ve been a fan of the 14mm pancake since I got mine with my GF2 last year. It is surprisingly good, amazingly compact and unobtrusive. I find this lens on the front of my camera about 50% of the time. I tend to use it as the default when storing my camera in its bag, mostly because it’s compact, and keeps a lens on the camera for shooting if I want to snap something quickly. The other half of the time, I revert to the 20mm F1.7. It’s hard to talk about a micro-four-thirds system without mentioning one of these two lenses they are so canonical to the system.

Reading the reviews of the 14mm made me realize something though: It is a fantastic little lens.

overlook

Maybe because of the low price or diminutive size or plain old utility of it, it never reached out and struck me as a real attention-grabber. It sort of quietly does its job, lets you shoot great pictures and all the while doesn’t draw attention to itself.

It’s also a focal length I really love. At a full-frame equivalent of 28mm, it is a medium wide-angle lens. You can get quite a lot of scenery in a single shot.

pigeons

I was in London last week and when I was lucky enough to do some walking about, I kept this little lens on the front of my camera. It really shines in a street setting, giving you enough room to take in some of the scenery around your subject if you want to. If you want to fill a frame with something, you have to get in close which can be fun (or a little daunting).

procession

If you have a micro four-thirds camera and you don’t have one of these little gems (I believe we’re calling them “the pocket rocket” now), you owe it to your camera to pick one up. They really are amazing.


4 Comments

How are you liking the GF2->GX1 switch? I’ve been assuming I’d hold out for a GX2, but am curious how it is working for you.

Posted by Luis on 30 March 2012 @ 11am

Hey Luis! I like the GX1 a lot. The GF2 was decent, but I found it a little lacking in some areas, notably speed. It could feel slow doing some operations. The GX1 plows over those limitations and adds a ton of power user features on top, including a completely updated sensor. The original 12MP sensor in the GF2′s been around for a few years. The GX1 feels more like a real camera when you’re using it. The ability to use a remote shutter cable was a big deal for me and a sore spot with the GF2.

It’ll be interesting to see how frequently they update the GX line though. I wouldn’t be surprised if they staggered it a bit compared to the more consumery GF cameras. We’ll see.

Posted by boolean on 30 March 2012 @ 12pm

Great review Robert. You’re right about the 14mm being a quiet performer. I’d honestly forgotten to review it because it was always just “there” doing its job. It’s a perfect partner for the GX1 so great job on testing it out around London. I like your shots with the pigeons, you’ve fitted a lot into the frame.

Posted by Peter Thomson on 30 March 2012 @ 6pm

Thanks, Peter. I don’t think I added anything new other than, “I really like this lens!”

Posted by boolean on 2 April 2012 @ 10am