P 12-32 vs P 14-42 II?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tkbslc, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    My GX7 came with the 14-42 II kit lens. I've found it to be remarkably good for landscapes, video and the like, but I honestly don't use it much. I have 15/25/45mm primes, so those usually come out first. I don't have anything between the Fisheye and the 14/15mm focal length, though, so I'm thinking maybe I'd trade it for the 12-32 instead. Then I'll have something at 24mm equiv, plus it's still an OIS kit lens for video use.

    Reviewer MTF tests seem to indicate the 14-42 II has slightly better corners, but all shots I've seen from the 12-32 look really good. So I don't know if I should care. Has anyone compared both, or switched from one to other and care to comment on whether I'd be trading anything except a little tele for some more wide?

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  2. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I own both; the 12-32mm is still one of my favourite lenses of all times because it combines diminuitive size with (much) better than expected image quality - in fact, it's one of the most useful lenses I own; sadly, it broke, but it's being repaired as I write ... It's not perfect, but it's very sharp, very contrasty and ultimately useful because it goes really wide. It delivers great colours, too - the images are invariably pleasing to great.

    The 14-42mm II is also a surprisingly good lens, too - though I find it a bit off-putting that it comes with a plastic mount. It's a useful walkaround lens because it offers a usable focal length for portraits as well as a decent wide angle. It's very sharp, though not as crisp and contrasty as the 12-32mm - images appear a little flatter, less punchy. Still, it's a good lens to work with, but it doesn't inspire the same level of satisfaction and fascination than the 12-32mm when looking at the images I get.

    So, if you only want to have/keep one lens of that type, I'd recommend the 12-32mm; it was actually good enough for me to travel with it as my only lens! But you could just as well keep both - those 14-42mm kit lenses don't fetch good prices when resold anyway, and they perform well enough to be usable in a pinch (the single one I don't use occasionally is the Olympus 14-42mm IIR - simply because I really don't like the way it handles; but even that lens is decent in terms of optics).

    At the moment, the 14-42mm II is actually the lens I put on the E-PL7 when the 14-150mm is too bulky (i.e. if I can't or don't want to use a bag) and the 17mm isn't versatile enough. This might change when the 12-32mm is back, though ...

  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Thanks for your opinions! They may have been enough to push me over the edge. Now I have to decide if I should just pick up the 12-32 as part of a GM1 kit, since it is only about $200 more to get the camera with the lens! :)

    And I agree it wouldn't sell for much, but I consider them too redundant. I'd rather have the $100 or so to put toward something else.

    Interestingly enough the retail box versions of the 14-42 II have metal mounts but the kit lens versions do not. I have no idea why, but it's true.
  4. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2013
    A. Alabanza
    Do you have to extend either of those lenses first upon turning on the camera?
  5. listers_nz

    listers_nz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2013
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Yes, the 12-32 has to be extended manually before it can be used. The 14-42 II does not (in fact it only changes length by a few millimeters across its entire zoom range)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    Yes, I know - I guess it's to justify the price, but I don't see their point; apart from cost, it might be weight, but why? It'd be so much better if you could get the metal mount regardless ...

    I see your point (re: redundancy) - I'm more like a pack rat anyway, keeping everything that might come in useful eventually, but I fully agree it's not the most sensible strategy :cool:

    • Like Like x 1
  7. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2013
    A. Alabanza
    I think I'll opt for the 14-42 II, personally. I'm too fearful of the possibility of the 12-32 breaking apart some time in the future. The telephoto portion of the 14-42 II also makes it more versatile in my eyes. It's cheaper as well.
  8. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    Just got a 12-32 to replace my (little used) 14-42II - very happy with 12-32 and don't think I'd have a reason to bring the 14-42II instead. The size was the major factor for me, however having an option to use 12mm is very handy (once I get my head framing at 12mm).
  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Yes the 12-32 does come apart. But it's easy enough to fix and mine wasn't just falling off. It would just turn further than it should. Am I "Happy" about it? No. But it's not really that big a deal if you know about it and take it into account when buying.

    I've never used the Pan 14-42 but I did have the Oly 14-42. I greatly prefer the size of the 12-32 and find the 12-14 range much more useful than the 32-42 range was.
  10. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    The 12-32 is remarkably compact, wide angle, and very sharp (at least in the center... the edges are less sharp mostly beacause distorsion correction).
    I wouldn't even consider using the Panasonic 14-42 instead of my 12-32 ;)
  11. Robert

    Robert Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 16, 2012
    Sold my p14/p20 pancake combination. Bought the p12-32 and I like the extra 2 mm. IQ matches the p14.

    Verzonden vanaf mijn iPad met behulp van Mu-43
  12. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2013
    Theo K.
    In fact, my copy of 12-32 corners are sharper than the P14 and PL25 at any aperture. Center doesn't lose out by much. It's welded to my E-PM2.