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lumix 14-45 vs lumix Leica 14-50 F3.8?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by moccaman, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Ok here is a question for all the experts :smile:

    Is the 14-50 leica version worth the extra few hundred over the 14-45?

    I have read reviews on the 2 versions of the 14-50 and the F3.8 seems to be the better lens. Havent found any reviews comparing it to the 14-45 though.
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Short answer: no.

    Long answer: Panasonic produced 2 14-50s. The first one (14-50/2.8-3.5) is big, sharp, and bright. The second one (14-50/3.8-5.6) is slightly smaller, not nearly as sharp, and a stop darker.

    The second one isn't much of an improvement over the 14-45 optically, while being significantly larger and slower to focus. The first version is an improvement optically, but it's even larger, and focuses even slower (in fact on the G1, GF1 and GH1 it doesn't autofocus at all). It also has a well known mechanical defect (one of the screws can come out, causing the zoom to get stuck and requiring a fairly expensive repair).

    The 14-45 is the more useful lens by a country mile. I certainly wouldn't spend extra for either of the other two. At least on micro 4/3, they just don't make sense.

  3. I'm not so sure about the 14-50 f3.8-5.6 being a better lens than the f2.8-3.5 version. The former would be more suitable for a m4/3 camera since it is more compatible with live-view CDAF, but even then I'd take the native m4/3 14-45 lens over it. Optically the 14-50 f2.8-3.5 is a wonderful lens, but it's operation on a m4/3 camera leaves a lot to be desired, mostly down to the horribly slow AF or total lack of AF on the early Panasonic cameras. I bought a copy of this lens to use on my E-P1 and got frustrated with it despite the excellent IQ. Rather than sell it I found a great deal on an Olympus E-510 and that camera and lens are now something of an "odd couple" favourite of mine. I no longer use that lens on either of my m4/3 cameras.

    The 4/3 14-50mm f3.8-5.6 shouldn't cost much more if any than the m4/3 14-45mm, but the f2.8-3.5 will be a few hundred dearer. Regardless, for use on a m4/3 camera, I'd take the 14-45mm any day. IMO the 14-50mm belongs on a 4/3 camera.
  4. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    ok I just picked up a 12-50 2.8-3.5, is the AF faster on native Four Thirds bodies, or is it just as slow as it is on my GX-1?
  5. The 14-50mm was designed as a PDAF compatible lens for DSLRs, so AF will be much, much quicker when used on a Panasonic or Olympus Four Thirds body.
  6. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    Ahhhh yeah I didn't know that FT bodies were Phase Detection. Makes sense though since MFT is contrast. Ah well, it still says Leica on it and it's reasonably fast so I'll live with it for now.
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    In my experience, if you're looking for a fast zoom, the 12-35/2.8 absolutely destroys the 14-50/2.8-3.5.

    Autofocus of the Leica can only be described as glacial. Impossible to use on any moving subject. The size wasn't tooooo bad after I switched to holding the camera with my left hand by the lens, and then bringing up the right hand to shoot. Image quality was good, but I never got an ooh-wow photo where I was totally blown away by the IQ.

    Even with the price and range disadvantages, I will save up and take the 12-35 any day.
  8. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    Sure, I plan on buying the 12-35 when I can save up the cash for it, but for $200 the 14-50 will suit me just fine for now when I actually use a zoom. Actually thinking about picking up a body for it but that's just more money I could spend on the new Panny toys.
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