A new old lens

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My camera equipment is always on the leading edge of the technology curve – I’ve just bought a second hand Panasonic 14-45 mm zoom lens, a ten year old design, for my battered old Olympus OMD-EM10.

I bought the Olympus with the kit lens – the M.Zuiko 14-42mm pancake. I liked the lens. It was pretty sharp for the price and very small, small enough that the camera could fit into a jacket pocket. The only problem was reliability. I had two of them in four years and they both broke.

Having been without the Olympus for about six months I finally found an affordable replacement. I found a used Panasonic 14-45 mm f3.5-56 OIS (that’s a mouth-full) for just £79.95. This was one of (if not the) first lenses produced for the (at the time) new micro 4/3 format over ten years ago. Reviews at the time were good. It seemed daft not to buy one.

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It fits straight on to the Olympus. Auto-focus works fine, manual focus also works and gives the benefit of auto-magnify and focus peaking (very useful for tricky-to-focus-on subjects). The zoom action is manual, which I prefer to power zoom, and the whole action is smooth and solid feeling. The lens is actually a perfect size with the camera in the hand, much better for hand holding, though it’s no longer so jacket-pocketable.

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A big bonus is the 52mm filter thread size, which means I can use my existing adapter for my Lee graduated ND filter system. The old lens had a ridiculously small 37mm thread.

What about the image quality? That will have to wait until my next trip out but a couple of quick snaps outside the shop and a few more in the back garden show it to be very good indeed. Sharp right across and corner to corner and in fact better than what I’m getting currently out of my Pentax. I suspect this will immediately become my main camera with the Pentax acting as back-up.

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