Panasonic 14-140mm (II) vs. Panasonic 45-150mm: How well fares the superzoom against a dedicated telephoto lens? The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 has an excellent reputation for a superzoom lens, but a 10x zoom lens is always a compromise. Is it able to compete with Panasonics latest kit-telezoom-lens the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6?
Does the 14-140mm make the 45-150mm obsolete or is it just something for lazy people, who do not want to change lenses?
There is also a video version of this review on Youtube: https://youtu.be/n_m17MmD2_8
Build quality and looks
Both lenses have the same build quality. They are made of a mix of plastic and metal. The build quality of both lenses is good, although I would have wished the zoom ring and the focus ring would feel less like plastic.
Panasonic 14-140mm (II) vs. Panasonic 45-150mm: Specification Comparison
Regarding focal length the 14-140mm is of course more versatile, but regarding its telephoto capabilities it lacks 10mm compared to its sibling. At 45mm the 45-150mm is also about 2/3 stop faster. However, the 14-140mm offers POWER O.I.S. stabilization, while the 45-150mm only has the (supposedly) inferior MEGA O.I.S.
I made a quick video the compare the two O.I.S. systems and test if POWER O.I.S. is really better:
Panasonic 14-140mm (II) vs. Panasonic 45-150mm @ 45mm (Portraits)
My first tests tries to simulate the use as a portrait lens. This means I am testing the lenses at 45mm and a distance of about 2 meters. I am also adding the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm 1:1.8 here for comparison. Portraits are typically shot at the fastest aperture available, for the Panasonic 14-140mm this is F/4.9 at 45mm. This is why I set the Panasonic 45-150mm and the Olympus 45mm to F/5 so the results are comparable.
I used an Olympus OM-D E-M5 on a tripod for this test. Its settings were: ISO200, image stabilization off, 12 sec. self-timer and 2 sec. anti-shock. All images were shot in raw and developed using DxO Optics Pro and the “No corrections” preset. Of course all comparioson images in this test are 100% crops.
Panasonic 45–150mm vs. Panasonic 14-140mm vs. Olympus 45mm: Image Center
At the image center there are next to no differences. The M.Zuiko 45mm is a little bit sharper, but all three lenses are sharp.
Panasonic 45–150mm vs. Panasonic 14-140mm vs. Olympus 45mm: Image Border
At the image border the differences are not huge, but noticeable. The M.Zuiko is the sharpest lens and show no chromatic aberrations. The Panasonic 14-140mm is less sharp then the M.Zuiko and shows a few CAs, but it is better than the Panasonic 45-150mm, which fares worst.
Panasonic 14-140mm (II) vs. Panasonic 45-150mm at Maximum Zoom
If you buy a superzoom, instead of using a normal kit zoom, it is because you want the telephoto reach. This is why for the second test I choose the maximum zoom and a distance that is similar to that of wildlife photography or to taking pictures of architectural details.
I tried to make this test more realistic. I used a Panasonic G6, which was set to electronic shutter, ISO160 and OIS on. I did three pictures for the image center and three pictures for the image border with each lens and chose the best of these pictures. All images where shot in raw format and developed with DxO Optics Pro and the “No corrections” setting.
In this test the Panasonic 45-150mm is better than the 14-140mm. The reason seems to be a combination of the extra 10mm reach, better sharpness and better microcontrast.
Image Border at Maximum Zoom
The result is identical to the image center, the 45-150mm is clearly better. Camera shake in the result of the 14-140mm might have had an impact. On the one hand it looks a bit like that, but on the other hand, this was the sharpest of 6 pictures and the 45-150mm, with its inferior stabilization, looked sharper in several of the test pictures.
Comparison Close to Infinity
The last test I a photo at maximum zoom of a distant object. I did this test the same way as the former, but this time I developed the images at the settings “DxO Standard”, “Clearview 75” and “Noise Reduction off”.
Both images look nearly identical, both lenses show good results.
Panasonic 14-140mm (II) vs. Panasonic 45-150mm – Conclusion
The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 as well as the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4.0-5.6 are good lenses. The differences regarding image quality are negligible. The performance of the 14-140mm is really impressive for a superzoom lens. Its 10x zoom is of course more flexible and it has the superior stabilization, but it is also a lot more expensive that the 45-150mm. Therefore it is not possible to recommend on lens of the other, as it depends on your personal needs. However it is safe to say, that it is hard to find a reason to own both at the same time.
If you are looking for an upgrade, you should safe your money for the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 (more reach)or the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 (better sharpness and maximum aperture).