Review Kodak Pixpro 12-45 review

Bruce McL

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Jan 12, 2016
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The Kodak Pixpro 12-45 F3.5-6.3 is a low cost (around $100.00) walk-around lens that starts at a relatively wide 12mm. The size of the lens is much like other Micro 4/3 lenses with a similar zoom range. There is a PDF on the Kodak Pixpro website that has detailed information about size and construction. A link to the PDF is on this page:

Kodak Digital Cameras | S-1 Compact System

This is not a power zoom lens, and it does not have image stabilization. The lens is fully compatible with my Panasonic GM5 camera. Focusing, aperture control, EXIF, and distortion correction info all move between the lens and the camera as they should. In A mode, the aperture will stay at ƒ4 up to 15mm, at ƒ5.6 up to 29mm.

I don't normally use manual focus, but the focusing ring seems to work OK. I do use the zoom ring, and it is balky sometimes, especially when making small adjustments in the middle of the range. For the price, I can put up with it.

Image quality is not as good as my Panasonic 12-32 lens. The 12-32 is a bit sharper. On the other hand, I don't notice any vignetting, and I don't see any serious distortion. The highlights seem a bit brighter and the contrast seems a bit stronger than I like, but these things are fixable in Lightroom. I’ve owned this lens for less than a week, which is not long enough for me to get a clear understanding of what kind of images it produces. So far, I am satisfied.

Working on RAW files in Lightroom 6 I see that distortion correction is applied automatically when the focal length is 17mm or less. After 19mm, Lightroom says no correction is applied. I got curious and looked at the RAW files with exiftool. I found the fields for lens correction information are present in all RAW files, but there are zeros or ones in the fields on the higher focal length files, letting Lightroom know that nothing needs to be done. This is a little thing, but it tells me somebody put some thought into the lens firmware, which is reassuring.

There is an image showcase page for the lens here:

Showcase - Kodak 12-45/F3.5-6.3 AF PIXPRO SZ

I bought this lens as an experiment. I wanted a zoom range longer than 12-40mm, I didn't want to give up the ability to put my GM5 in a jacket pocket, and I didn't want to turn the GM5 into an around the neck camera like my Canon G1X. The Kodak 12-45 satisfies all of my physical requirements, but just barely. As time passes, it will be interesting to see how much I use this lens in place of the much smaller 12-32. If I use it a lot, maybe someday I will replace it with the slightly bigger and heavier Panasonic 12-60 ƒ3.5-5.6.

All in all, I’m glad I bought this lens. The quoted price was $90.00, the total cost was around $103.00, including California state tax and shipping. Kodak Pixpro is located in Southern California, which is where my lens shipped from.

To buy this in the US, call the customer support phone number on the website. If you make the call, be patient and expect to take some time completing the transaction. It seems that selling a lens without a camera is an unusual event there. If they ask, tell them you want “the small lens,” not the big 42.5-150.

Kodak Digital Devices | Support and Service
 
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Bruce McL

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Jan 12, 2016
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Here are my impressions of this lens after 1 week. I shoot RAW, and process with Lightroom.


Color - There is a slight blue tint to the Kodak 12-45.

Tonality - This lens has a lot of contrast. It took me a while to find good settings to deal with the high contrast.

Chromatic Aberration - There is mild CA, which is not corrected automatically. Checking the appropriate box in Lightroom gets rid of the CA.

Distortion - This is corrected automatically, and corrected well. Occasionally at 12 or 14mm I add manual correction of +1 or -1.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Sarky Git

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Oct 6, 2016
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As an alternative you could buy the YI 12-40mm. It appears to be exactly the same but the top of the zoom is disabled, probably to encourage sales of the 42.5mm F1.8.

See this thread for details: Lenses separated at birth?

All three (four?) Kodak / YI lenses show considerable similarities, they use the same filter thread and hood bayonet for a start. I'm convinced they're made by the same company, possibly Asia Optical who make the Pixpro S-1. Whoever made them, I wish they'd make a lens hood!
 

Bruce McL

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Jan 12, 2016
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All three (four?) Kodak / YI lenses show considerable similarities, they use the same filter thread and hood bayonet for a start. I'm convinced they're made by the same company, possibly Asia Optical who make the Pixpro S-1. Whoever made them, I wish they'd make a lens hood!
If you have the Kodak or the YI, do post some photos - those taken without a lens hood are acceptable! :)

I added my photos to the existing showcase for the Kodak 12-45.

Showcase - Kodak 12-45/F3.5-6.3 AF PIXPRO SZ

... and nobody has started one for the YI lens yet. That would be a welcome addition.
 
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Bruce McL

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Jan 12, 2016
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I've been using this lens for 1 month now. Here are my impressions:

Resolution, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and fringing are pretty good throughout the range, as I mentioned in my first post.

Color and tonality are turning out to be difficult. I have used several lenses on my GM5. The color and tonality of images from the Kodak 12-45 are unique, and not in a good way. Today I got out my Gretag-Macbeth color chart and started up Adobe DNG Profile Editor. I am beginning the process of making a new Camera Profile for use with this lens. I have tried using tone curves and color presets in Lightroom, but I didn't get the results I want.

I can not recommend this lens to anyone who wants to use it with their camera settings and workflow as is. It will take time for you to get good results. I suspect that paying more for the Panasonic 12-60 ƒ3.5-5.6 would save a lot of time and trouble in processing.
 

Bruce McL

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Jan 12, 2016
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I updated my Lightroom workflow for this lens. It’s about 90-95 percent of what I would like it to be. I’m not going to chase the last 5-10 percent at this point. I have refreshed all of my 12-45 photos on this site to reflect the changes.

My opinion of this lens has not changed since the last post. The color and tonality of this lens take a lot of special processing. In a more complete review I would put up some unprocessed RAW photos using Adobe Standard with no changes from default settings. I might even put up some unprocessed JPEGs! :)

Maybe someday I will. For now, though, I am satisfied with my own 12-45 photos. After a month of heavy use, I’m getting tired of paying attention to this lens. I think a walk with my 8mm fisheye is up next for me.
 

Pixpro S-1

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This lens uses 2 ED elements and 4 aspherical, so 6 corrective elements out of 9 total elements, and 2 of them being to correct CA directly, is why it produces the results!
Cheap plastic build quility, to save cost, allowed for a better optical make up, especially vs. any of the budget options from Panasonic or Olympus! Most of their standard kit options don't even contain 1 ED element, let alone 2, you'd have to pay $500 plus for one of those.
 

phigmov

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This lens uses 2 ED elements and 4 aspherical, so 6 corrective elements out of 9 total elements, and 2 of them being to correct CA directly, is why it produces the results!
Cheap plastic build quility, to save cost, allowed for a better optical make up, especially vs. any of the budget options from Panasonic or Olympus! Most of their standard kit options don't even contain 1 ED element, let alone 2, you'd have to pay $500 plus for one of those.
The original Panasonic 14-45 was a pretty great kit lens; ditto the the later 12-32mm Pancake.
 

Alex2

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Sep 21, 2015
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The original Panasonic 14-45 was a pretty great kit lens; ditto the the later 12-32mm Pancake.
Do not forget the very, very good Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens (the second version). Very small, very light, very flare resistant, and super sharp. And I love the color tones it gives. I prefer it over the 12-32mm actually. I was astonished when I replaced my Olympus 14-42mm IIR with it (I have had two copies of both, and both times the same difference).
 
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I'd forgotten they made a m43 camera - no new models since the S1
https://kodakpixpro.com/cameras/mirrorless

By the look of the other cameras they offer it'll be a factory somewhere which has licensed the rights to use the name/branding. The more the merrier I guess.
Indeed! From that webpage:
© 2019 JK Imaging Ltd. The Kodak trademark, logo and trade dress are used under license from Eastman Kodak Company.
An LA based imaging company, probably manufacturing in China? I think it is a little sad to see Kodak living this life now.
 
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