Better optics: Panasonic or Olympus?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by HowieGov, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. HowieGov

    HowieGov New to Mu-43

    Sep 30, 2010
    Found a HeadtoHead review of the Mic 43 lenses and the Panasonic looks a bit better allaround. I woulda thought Oly would have slightly better lenses - anyone else compare the glass alone?

    Head-2-Head Reviews
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  2. Boyzo

    Boyzo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 3, 2010
    Toss a coin :wink:
    Seriously Panasonic have many more m43 lenses in the range and they have OIS built in.

    While Oly have fewer lenses and rely on IBIS are more compact and less expensive.

    It appears from comments / reviews Panasonic seem to have the edge in optical quality but having said that I use the only Oly lens the 14-42 Kit and its excellent for most use given the price (all my other lenses are Panasonic)

    Put it this way I would be happy to shoot with Olympus m43 lenses but as it is I have gone the Panasonic way.

    Eg. The new 14-140 Olympus is compact and very good but I have Pansonic equivalents 14-140 and the 14-150

    One point with Olympus lenses on a m43 Panasonic body no Image Stabilization ... they are best on an Olympus body.
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  3. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    To my eye they are very close, with the Pany maybe a bit better, but not by much.
  4. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Real Name:
    I've somehow managed to acquire both the Panasonic 14-45mm and the Olympus 14-42mm so I could do a comparison at some point.
  5. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    May 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    From the reviews I've seen the Panasonic lens is better in this comparison, which doesn't surprise me as it's a superb lens.

    That doesn't mean Panasonic lenses are better than Olympus in general, however; just that this particular Panasonic lens is better than this particular Olympus lens.
  6. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    Panasonic got a head start with its range of lenses and Oly is just catching up. Like Boyzo almost all my lenses are Panny. When I was shooting 4/3 it was all Olympus and they were superb lenses.
  7. JoeFriday

    JoeFriday Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    My general impression is that Panny is making lenses to the Leica standard, which is exceptional. Olympus has always made good lenses, of course. But they have had different standards based on price point. You have to pay more to get the best Oly glass, but they also offer more economical options, which are good, but not their best. Panasonic doesn't give you options. It's all or nothing with theirs.
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I hear about how sharp the Panasonic 20/1.7 is compared to the Olympus 17/2.8 but I find the Olympus plenty sharp. I think they both make terrific lenses. The Olympus are a bit less expensive (likely because of IBIS on the PEN cameras) and in the case of the pancakes more compact but I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

  9. andy_jansen

    andy_jansen Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 19, 2010
    Herten, NL
    I adore the Panasonic lenses, mainly because of build quality.
    Olympus u4/3's lenses are to plastic for me, which off course make them a lot lighter then the Panasonic's.

    Some people prefer light lenses, some prefer heavier lenses.
    If you ask me, just a matter of opinion. Did a comparision of image quality between Oly 14-42 and panny 14-45 with no difference in quality
  10. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    Rose I took a pic of yesterday at our local church. 45mm Panasonic/Leica f/2.8 Macro, hand-held. Obviously in bad weather. First pic is the original, second is a 100% crop. There has been no post-processing at all in either pic (except for the crop, and an auto-resize of the original by MobileMe, but you can download the original image).

  11. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    I think JoeFriday pretty much got it right in his earlier post, allow me to expand my own conjecture; with their current micro4/3 line ups, Panasonic lenses are very good, they have clearly been learning lenscraft for a good while now and produced a stable with the intent of turning heads. I get the feeling these (LUMIX G primes specifically) are Panasonic's "serious" lens line. Whatever geometric or chromatic distortions they have are very well corrected for automatically, and the final results are excellent.

    Olympus obviously already has an estalished "serious" lens line in the Zuiko HG and SHG 4/3s, and by all accounts, those are some of the very best modern lenses you can buy today; including probably the most optically perfect zoom lenses ever made, it seems they were designed to showcase Olympus' engineering nous, and any geometric or chromatic distortion is very well corrected optically. It is important to note that no native micro4/3 lens from any manufacturer comes anywhere close to these lenses, in terms of build quality, apeture, or sharpness.
    (this is based on dpreview and slrgear sharpness tests and reviewers opinions, as well as my own picture brownsing, just to be clear I am not a professional).

    Olympus' M.Zuiko (micro 4/3) range by contrast was never originally designed to go-toe-to-toe with these HG(£500-£800)/SHG(£1000-£6000) Zuiko's, and the lenses are built with the emphasis on size, and they indeed very compact, even when compared to a similar Lumix G, let alone a similar lens for any other (non-rangefinder) system.

    It is worth noting that the m.zuiko lenses are also cheaper their comparable Lumix G.

    (26/10/10 UK prices at a competitive online retailer, *denotes in-lens stabilisation.)
    M.Zuiko 9-18mm £500 vs Lumix G 7-14mm £900
    M.Zuiko 17mm £200 vs Lumix G 20mm £270
    M.Zuiko 14-42mm L £110 vs Lumix G 14-45mm* £230
    M.Zuiko 14-150mm £470 vs Lumix G 14-140mm* £680
    M.Zuiko 40-150mm £290 vs Lumix G 45-200mm* £260
    This Lumix G lens is currently cheaper than its recently announced m.zuiko counterpart.

    The basic point I hope I have made is that lens design is always a compomise, there is no such thing as a perfect lens for everyone.
    If you want large apeture zooms, be prepared to pay for them - and carry them around.

    If you want lens stabilisation, be prepared to pay for it in every lens you want it for.

    If you want to be subtle/lightweight with your photography, accept a smaller apeture and software distortion correction.

    If you want a weather sealed, large apeture, lightweight, optically perfect lens for under £300, accept that your supplier will go out of business.

    It seems that the "consumer zooms" have now all been rolled out - and since micro4/3, like it or not is so popular it IS consumer, gasp that is a business decison which we have to accept.

    I'm sure that in time both Panasonic and Olympus will produce even better lenses, Olympus will decide what to do to reconcile 4/3 with micro4/3, and following a "pro micro4/3" body will come "pro lenses" that are balanced to a different set of needs and wants - better optics for who? The best optics are the ones right for you, be it sharpness, focal length, apeture, build quality, or price.

    I've only got the 20mm 1.7, and that suits me.

    This seems to have got quite in-depth, and I hope people who stumble across this thread find it useful.

    Take it easy everyone :)
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  12. minh0204

    minh0204 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 17, 2010
    Totally agree that Olympus is in kinda a quagmire right now. Their m43 lenses IQ are somewhat worse than their SG, the cheapest dSLR lenses line up. And they managed to charge more - don't ask me why.

    The Panasonic lenses are quite good in comparison to Olympus' similar offering, no matter what category. For instance, the 20mm f/1.7 looks quite a lot better than Olympus 25mm f/2.8; the Leica 45mm macro is just as sharp as the ZD 50mm, and the 7-14mm is very close to the Olympus SGH offering. So while Olympus deliberately down-grade their m43 glass' image quality to avoid competing with their dSLR line up, they're shooting themselves in the foot and let Panasonic - a consumer electronic firm - get all the hypes about better optics. Shame on you Olympus.
  13. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    Yes, the panasonic 7-14mm does seem to produce results very close to the shg Zuiko 7-14; it arrives at them via software correction rather than optical correction, and lacks the build quality and weather sealing of it's larger cousin, also being much smaller and lighter, it's really a case of affluent enthusiast vs unashamed pro. £900 is still an awful lot to drop on a lens.
    In terms of cost...

    Leica/Panasonic G 45mm £570 vs HG Zuiko 50mm £450
    Lumix G 7-14mm £900 vs SHG Zuiko 7-14 £1400

    Although I wouldn't go so far as to say the Leica/Panasonic is a better lens than the Zuiko 50mm (and neither did you), it is different, smaller, and if not as sharp, a lovely painter.
    I personally think Panasonic have the better head for business, the Lumix lenses must cost far less to manufacture too.

    All swings and roundabouts.
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    The OLY kit is a little soft in the corners at the wide end. But I really don't mind. Its really sharp in the middle of the zoom range.
  15. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Real Name:
    Brian Ronald
    I don't buy this. Everything I've read about Olympus' plans seems to indicate that they can't wait to ditch SLRs for mirrorless cameras. Why would they want to sabotage micro four thirds?
  16. feppe

    feppe Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    I had the 14-42mm Oly and 14-45mm Panny kit lenses and did quite a bit of testing. The Panny was significantly sharper so I sold the Oly. This agrees with DPReview's reviews of the lenses. They have a very nice lens comparison tool on their site which you can use to do head-to-head comparisons between lenses. Panasonic lenses I've checked are better, although they are generally also much more expensive and heavier.
  17. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Real Name:
    It's no secret that Olympus are working towards a pro grade :43: body, which will probably be substantially bigger than the Pen range, or at least accept a large modular grip. The aim is allow such a body to fully utilize all that lovely SHG glass in terms of balance and AF capability. If they pull this off they will have no need to produce anything but budget or SG lenses specifically for :43: That may well be the end of the traditional Four Thirds line of cameras but it's those lenses that Olympus regard as the jewel in their crown. SHG zooms are peerless and simply a class above the best of any other manufacturer, it's just a pity I can't afford them.

    Back in the real world I'm happy to use either Oly or Panny :43: lenses, with a current preference for the Panny 14-45mm and 20mm.
  18. feppe

    feppe Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    I'm eagerly waiting for the pro MFT camera, but if it's significantly bigger that would make the entire point of the format moot.
  19. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I've got a few of each, simply because they were in a kit or something. My personal experience is that it depends on what you mean by better, and which exact two lenses you're talking about. The olympus lenses I have (mft and ft) are all quite good. So are the Panasonic (mft) lenses I have.

    I read seriouscompacts review by Amin(I'm pretty sure) that did a head to head. I think Pana won, at least on sharpness. But like I've said above, all the ones I've used have been good enough for me. This photo may not be tres fantastique, but the sharp bits are sharp(IMO), and this was from the Oly 14-42 on an E-P1.[​IMG]