My Love Affair with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Pancake Lens – Perfect for Landscapes!

Olympus E-M5 OM-D with Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.4 lens

I want to share briefly my experience with the amazing, Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Pancake lens. It’s beautiful, ultra small and compact and a joy to shoot with. Combine it with the adventurous Olympus OM-D E-M5 and you have quite a professional and pocket-able mini-landscape combo! I’ve shot with this lens both on Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras; the G1, GF1 as well as the E-P2! The lens looks perfect on all these camera bodies and significantly smaller than the legendary Panasonic 20mm F1.7 Pancake.

My first impression of this lens, when I first got it in the mail, was how dinky it was in size and the feeling was somewhat bitter-sweet! However the lens quickly grew on me and I’ve began using it as my primary wide-angle because of the ease of use and it looks very streamlined with the Olympus cameras. I like it better than the Zuiko 17mm F2.8 Pancake that I have. BTW, the old Olympus 17mm got a really bad rap, but I really love the sharpness and quality of that lens. Maybe I’ll post another short review with image examples shot on the E-P2, since that lens has also created some superb landscapes with my talent, of course.

Yes, I did own the legendary super wide-angle Panasonic 7-14mm lens but it was real bulky and unable to accept screw-on filters which left something to be desired… It produced some stunning landscapes for me over a few years time and I loved it but ended up selling it on eBay while keeping the 14mm pancake! As a standard wideangle, it’s not super-wide, but it’s adequate for any landscape or architectural work. It is capable and adequate for professional work as well. I’m not the type of guy that buys into all the marketing hype and I’m definitely not a pixel-peeper either. The photo of my feet, wearing Chacos above the San Juan Goosenecks was captured with the same Pancake. This photo example was good enough to get accepted in a Santa Fe art gallery along with some of my other prints that will be on exhibition soon at the Jezebel Gallery in New Mexico. The great thing about the 14mm lens is that it’s a prime.  I prefer prime fixed focal length lenses versus zooms which is probably another reason why I chose to sell the Panasonic 7-14mm When I was shooting the Panasonic super-wide zoom, I was always shooting at the widest field of view; 7mm and I miss having that capability of course. What would be really cool is if Olympus or Panasonic could engineer a super-wide prime (not a fisheye) that could produce good outstanding results? I would invest money in such a lens especially at the 7mm focal length!

In this short post, I’ve included real world results of my work with this lens to demonstrate it’s characteristics and show you it’s capable of some serious work. I’m very happy with the results I have gotten so far and have taken many photos with it on my OM-D!

Goosnecks, San Juan, Utah

For a pancake lens I was mesmerized by the quality of the glass. This is the San Juan Goose-necks near the Navajo (Diné) Reservation in the Four Corners region. This image was shot with a Panasonic GF1. The rest of the images below were shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M5. All the images were post-processed on an iPhone using Snapseed and Pixlr Express, and Instagram Filters. All photos were shot in JPEG right off the OM-D with minimal processing except for using filters and lightening shadows in the dark areas of some of the photos.

lumix_14mm_f1.5 sample

Panasonic Lumix 14mm F1.5 Samples by Nathan Cowlishaw

Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Samples

Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Samples

Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Samples

Panasonic Lumix 14mm F2.5 Samples

The following photos were below were during flash flood that took place in Zion National Park in July of 2013. while hiking with my best friend, Omar Hernandez. We got stuck in a massive cloudburst, and water started to come off the cliffs forming instant water falls. Back in 2008, I was stuck in a flood in Havasupai which gave me a lot of experiences under such dire circumstances and this definitely was not the first time I’ve been holed up by flash flooding. It was sure a beautiful day to take pics though out on the Angels Landing Trail.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park. Wideangle

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah

Omar in Zion National Park

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this lens for any dedicated Micro Four Thirds user. It is a wonderful little lens at a dirt cheap price that you cannot beat being that it’s a prime. It’s perfect for adventurers and hikers who want to travel light. I got my lens on eBay, brand new for around $150 dollars. That’s unbeatable! You get excellent image quality in a compact package. It’s a joy to shoot and reinvigirates my excitement to do photography every time I shoot. I love the Micro Four Thirds camera system and the variety of lenses available for the format. I was first introduced to Micro Four Thirds while attending the 2008 PMA convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. It prompted me to sell off my Nikon equipment. Stay tuned for more interesting posts…

Comments

  1. Boris Frenkel says:

    I am using 25 Pana for a while, but you did it in a pro level.
    What is the F number you were use? Is it HDR?

    Great shots, like it.
    Boris

  2. Great photos and a nice vindication of an unfairly maligned lens.

  3. nice blog & pics
    … as 14 f/2.5 is presently my only prime I have apart of kitzoom ..I like it too, portability mainly
    dont like the distortion it provides …so not suitable for quick shortdistance portraits

  4. I found your site when looking for reviews on the 14mm panny… A very underrated lens for sure! It’s good to read a review from a professional.

  5. Dude, you’re photos are spectacular! When am I going to start seeing more of your camera reviews going? Get this “tech” blog going! :) I’m really excited!

  6. Denise Sorensen says:

    I run a wedding photography business but I was looking for something to start doing more fine art landscape work. I’ve also been thinking of getting a micro four thirds camera but I’m afraid I may stop liking my Canon. :(

Leave a Reply