Cheap 14-42 kit lenses from Olympus and Panasonic

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by mgs, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. mgs

    mgs Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 30, 2013
    Bay Area, CA
  2. Joelmusicman

    Joelmusicman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    I've heard the Panny is better, but I've never been much of a fan of kit lenses anyway. For me they practically stay in the box until I resell the camera.
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  3. stenlius

    stenlius Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2013
    Oly is better, if the Panny is the first version.
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  4. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    The Panasonic 14-42mm II is better than the Oly which is better than the Panasonic 14-42mm I.
    I'd get the Panny 14-42mm II, as the build quality of the other two lenses is rather wretched.
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  5. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    In my opinion, it depends on what body you use it on. The advantage of the Panasonic 14-42 is that it has optical image stabilisation, but that only works on Panasonic bodies. On my EPM1, I much prefer the Oly 14-42mm iir. It's smaller, lighter, the zoom is much smoother and autofocus is quicker. Put the Panasonic kit lens on the little EPM1 and it feels (and looks) clumsy and poorly balanced. The zoom is notchy, which isn't a problem on the Lumix due to the extra grip it has, but it makes the EPM1 feel very insecure in the hand. The auto-focus is much slower and is less likely to lock-on than when mounted on my G2. My silver Oly 14-42mm iir on the Lumix G body just looks wrong, and I lose OIS.

    Image quality, outside in good light, I'd say my preference again is the Oly. It seems sharper with better contrast. I think it has slightly more distortion at the wide end, but I haven't really done any side by side comparisons, I've just noticed it more on the shots I've taken with it. Indoors, the Panasonic has the slight advantage of OIS whilst mounted on my Lumix G body, but I'd generally use my 20mm f1.7 indoors.

    I think both lenses are capable and versatile if used within their limitations, but my Panasonic 14-42mm is my least used lens and would be the easiest to give up (next to my Canon 18-55mm DC3, which I really don't like, but I keep it for higher risk situations).
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  6. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    If you have a Panasonic camera, keep both. The Panasonic Lumix body does some electronic correction to the image with most Lumix lenses so generally I would expect the Lumix 14-42 "kit" lens to perform a tad better on a panasonic Lumix body.

    I've had a Pen E-PL1 with the version 1 of the "kit" lens and an E-P3 with the version 2 of the "kit" in the past and found the Oly "kit" lenses to be pretty good performers.

    The Oly lens will probably perform a tad better on Oly bodies as a previous poster explained.

    But if you keep both, you have a lens to include with camera bodies you might sell later on.

    I have a pair of GH3's right now, a GX1 and when I need a flexible "kit" zoom to use with any of them I have the Lumix 14-45 "kit" lens originally sold with some early G and the GH1 models.
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  7. Edsiajb

    Edsiajb Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 22, 2013
    The new Panasonic 14-42mm II is so good (and compact) that I just sold my long-coveted 14-45mm. I'm a big fan and user of prime lenses, but I do use zooms from time to time, and the 14-42mm II is among the best (as is the new Panny 12-32mm).
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  8. mgs

    mgs Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 30, 2013
    Bay Area, CA
    Is this really true? I've read some reviews elsewhere where people didn't notice much of a difference of the new version II vs the version I or the 14-45. But then there are also reviews which say the 14-45 isn't that much better than the 14-42 ver I.
  9. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I've never used Panasonic's original 14-42, but I own the Panasonic 14-42 II, and I've owned the Oly 14-42 II R. The Panny 14-42 II is a big improvement over the Oly ... my copies, anyway. :smile:

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4
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  10. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    For perhaps a little more $£'s you could get the Panny 14-45, best kit lens out there IMVHO.
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  11. I currently own and use both.

    And contrary to what others have my usage, BOTH are quite fabulous.

    Let me be a little more specific. The Olympus I have is the II (2nd Gen) version, which according to some was slightly better in many aspects than the original. Not having used the original, I can't compare it - but as a fine zoom in and of its own right, it has exceptional sharpness, resolving power, just about everything I could want in a lens. Btw it came as the standard lens on my E-PL2 - but the lens was so good that I've also used it on my newer E-PL5 - and it's given great results on both of my Pen bodies.

    So much so that when I recently purchased a slightly used GX7 with the Panasonic 14-42, I was initially prepared to sell the Panny as the Olympus was (and has been) such a steller lens. But I decided to try it out first before making up my mind as to a similar question - i.e. which of the two 14-42's should I sell (as I don't need both)....

    Well.....guess what? The Panasonic 14-42 is every bit as good as the Olympus. In terms of IQ, sharpness, color rendition, every aspect of the pictures it takes are right up on a par with those the Oly produces (which for me is a very high standard to judge them by anyway).

    For me both lenses are equally good. And both lenses are, in a word, fabulously great lenses for kit zooms.

    So which one did I keep and which one did I sell? I made my decision on an aesthetic basis - because my new GX7 has a silver body - and also a silver bodied 14-42 kit zoom - which looks quite pretty on it - I decided to keep it. Aesthetics, pure and smiple.

    One last point. As the Olympus lens is a retractable semi-pancake design which flattens down to a very narrow width (so much so that it must be 'unlocked' when turning the camera on, in order to function - for some, depending on the size of the body/ies you would be using it with, it's possible that having a retractable borderline tiny pancake zoom design might be advantageous because it would take up a little less space. In that sense, the Oympus lens has a tiny advantage over its Panny cousin.'s a hard one. Both are great lenses IMHO.
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