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Olympus 12-50mm EZ or Panasonic 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by seventysixersfan, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. seventysixersfan

    seventysixersfan Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 24, 2016
    Alexandria, VA
    Brian
    Hello! I'm new to this forum, having been a long-time Pentax DSLR user (and still am). I recently purchased both a Panasonic GM1 and Olympus E-P5 and am enjoying the benefits of mirrorless cameras, particularly the small size of the lenses and the fast autofocus.

    In a flurry of GAS-induced buying, I have purchased the following M4/3 lenses over the summer: Olympus 9-18mm, Panny 12-32mm, PannyLeica 15mm, Olympus 25mm, Panny 42.5mm f/1.7, and Panny 35-100mm f/4-5.6. I've been happy with all these lenses and it's been fun being able to build a collection from scratch, unlike my Pentax lens collection that has a fair amount of duplication and overlap as the lenses were acquired over the course of many years.

    So I think I'd like to add another "walkaround" zoom lens to my collection, for instances where the 12-32 is not long enough. I'm thinking of buying a used Olympus 12-50mm EZ because it's a very low cost to get quasi-macro capability and a power zoom for video use. (I've also considered the Olympus 14-42mm EZ, which seems like a great match for my E-P5, though I'm not sure it offers any real benefits over my Panny 12-32 beyond the power zoom)

    But I have read some great reviews of the image quality (and handy telephoto range) of the Panasonic 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6, but it's a bit out of my price range at the moment. Should I should save my pennies and wait until next year to get the 14-140? Or, in yet another GAS-attack, should I plan to get both eventually? I'm not sure if the additional zoom range from 33mm-50mm is noticeable if I were to get the 12-50; that is, it might seem redundant to have both the Panny 12-32 and Olympus 12-50. Plus the 12-50 is not stabilized, which means I'd use it only on my E-P5 and not my GM1.

    Any thoughts you all might have would be greatly appreciated!
    -Brian
     
  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I have never used the 14-140mm lens, but Oly 12-50, in my opinion, is probably the worst lens in the system in terms of optical quality. I'd like to stress that it's just my personal opinion, there are people on this forum who swear by this lens, and it's really an attractive package because it offers an extremely useful focal range, great close-up capability, and is also weather-sealed.
     
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  3. seventysixersfan

    seventysixersfan Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 24, 2016
    Alexandria, VA
    Brian
    Thank you, those are helpful insights. I know that the optical quality has been the primary complaint with the 12-50, although perhaps that was also taking into consideration its original MSRP of $500. For under $200 (used or de-kitted), I could probably live with the IQ results. But given that all my other lenses are very sharp and contrasty, I realize that the 12-50 may be a step-down from what I've been used to.

    Also, weather-resistance is not a top priority because I don't have a weather sealed camera body. So that's one strength of the 12-50 that is wasted on me.

    I should also say that I'm an amateur/enthusiast, not a pro, so I probably will never be getting the 12-35 or 12-40 f/2.8 zooms. I don't have any interest in spending more than $600 on a M43 lens.
     
  4. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2014
    Ron
    I have the 12-50 and it is not my favorite. I get some great shots with it, but a lot of shots I am not crazy for.

    I do not have any experience with the Pana 14-140 - but I do have the Oly 14-150 and it is fantastic and spends tons of time on my camera. The main reason I keep the 12-50 is that 12mm end. It really comes in handy at times - but I suspect that if I ever pick a 12mm prime - it might just lose it's appeal (although the electric zoom is kind of nice when mounted on my Air A01).
     
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  5. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    847
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Unless you really want the 12mm in your walk-around lens, you might also want to consider the Oly 14-150II. It is only a touch heavier than the 12-50 and while it does not have macro abilities, it is a very good walk around lens. You can pick up the Oly refurb for $320+tax when Oly has one of its periodic sales and new ones are selling for $399 right now. IQ is supposedly a little worse than the Panny 14-140, though I have no complaints about my copy.

    One thing I'll point out is that the O14-140II is heavier than your 12-32+35-100 together. With the small GM1 you already own, you may consider a 2-body walk around solution with the 12-32 on the GM1 and the 35-100 on the E-P5.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
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  6. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    The 14-140 vII is a fine lens with a great range. It's my current walk around lens an I enjoy using it. It'll probably be more comfortable using it on the E-P5 than the GM1 unless you have the grip for the GM1. But since it has OIS it's usable on either. It you think you'll just use it on the E-P5 than I would consider the Oly 14-150, weather sealing can be a big deal. It's easy to stick the body in a plastic bag with the lens sticking out.

    The 12-50 is an OK lens with a good range, the 12mm vs 14mm is more noticeable than it might seem. Weather sealing again. I always found it felt a bit long. It's not really longer than the 14-140/14-150, it just feels that way to me probably because of the small diameter. It doesn't have OIS so while the diameter means it may feel fine on the GM1 the lack of OIS may be an issue. But the macro mode is handy and power zoom is nice for video.

    But I'll second the thought, GM1 + 12-32 and E-P5 + 35-100 isn't really a bad option.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. seventysixersfan

    seventysixersfan Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 24, 2016
    Alexandria, VA
    Brian
    Haven't thought to do that before, thanks! cheap way to make the body weather-resistant!

    Thanks for the suggestion!! I am so used to big DSLRs that it hasn't occurred to me to carry two camera bodies with me, with different lenses attached to each. I'll have to try this walkaround solution you suggested!

    OK, I will have to think about the decision to get 14-140/150 next year, both sound like solid options! I'm not convinced that I will be all that happy with the 12-50, given my current stable of lenses already. But I am intrigued by the quasi-macro mode, and the GAS-part of my brain is trying to convince myself to think of the 12-50 as a cheap macro lens (at 43mm), with the added bonus that it has a zoom range of 12-50mm on top of it. Maybe I should try to buy the lens somewhere that has a good return policy...
     
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Two bodies with m4/3 is great. 12-32 + 35-100 or your 9-18 / 15mm / 25mm on the E-P5 with IBIS and the 42.7 on the GM5 thanks to OIS.
     
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  9. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I used to own a 12-50mm. IQ is okay - basic kit lens level, but the small aperture sucks really bad, and it feels too long and heavy on a GM. I really only used it as a weather sealed outdoors lens with my weather sealed OM-Ds. The 12-50mm is not a true 1x macro either - it gives 0.36x magnification at 43mm and a widest aperture of f/6.0, whereas your Panasonic 42.5mm already gives a decent 0.2x magnification with no aperture restrictions. You can buy some cheap AF extension tubes or a quality close up adapter to get basically the same result with the 42.5mm.
     
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  10. seventysixersfan

    seventysixersfan Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 24, 2016
    Alexandria, VA
    Brian
    Thanks for all of your comments and advice. Sounds like I should skip the 12-50 and concentrate my budget on getting a superzoom like 14-140 or 14-150, which will better complement my lens lineup.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    I use my 14-140 II a lot. I briefly owned a 12-50, and it was badly decentered. Horrible lens IME. Love the 14-140 II though.
     
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  12. ripgriffith

    ripgriffith Mu-43 Regular

    34
    May 28, 2015
    My go-to setup is a GX7 and a 14/140. It's not too heavy and the image quality is superb. While not having true macro capability, the resolution is sufficient to allow moderate cropping and that, combined with adequate close-focusing ability can bring you fairly close to macro, not to mention extending the telephoto end of the range.
     
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  13. seventysixersfan

    seventysixersfan Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 24, 2016
    Alexandria, VA
    Brian
    I think it may be telling that no one has spoken up in defense of the Olympus 12-50mm. Either that, or Panasonic 14-140 owners are particularly happy. Further complicating my decision making is the new Panasonic 12-60mm zoom, which I see has gotten some mixed reviews so far, but it's still a bit early with not many "professional" reviews yet, nor that many user reviews either. Once the cost comes down in the used market for the 12-60mm (say, below $300 USD), it may well be worth getting-- as it is lighter than the 14-140, offers wider angle, and weather-resistant.
     
  14. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Regular

    117
    Aug 19, 2015

    The key is the price. At $150 bucks, it's worth buying, but not at $500, hence the plethora of cheap used ones on ebay. The macro function is very useful, as is the power zoom for video purposes. But I can attest that the optics are far from great.
     
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