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Panasonic 12-32mm vs Olympus 14-42mm EZ

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by hookgrip, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. hookgrip

    hookgrip Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2013
    I couldn't resist picking up a E-PM2 as a second body during the sales recently, and wanted to pair it with a small, sharp zoom for travel use.

    I've been shooting FF these days and have been out of the M4/3 loop for a while, so I was wondering what you guys recommend between the Panny 12-32mm and Oly 14-42mm EZ. At this point I'm leaning towards the Panasonic because it starts at 24mm equiv instead of 28, and with the distortion correction that's applied in-camera, 24mm equiv will end up being more like 26 or so (so I'll take any little extra bit I can get at the wide end!)

    However, if the Olympus is significantly faster in terms of focusing or is sharper, I wouldn't be opposed to it.

    Also, how does the older Panasonic Power Zoom compare to these newer "pancake" zooms?


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  2. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Nobody knows yet how sharp the oly pancake will be. However, I would first make sure you're okay with a power zoom versus manual.
  3. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I'm pretty sure software distortion correction is built into the lens specs, so the 12-32mm is really a 24mm equivalent at its widest, not 26mm. Anyway, I have this lens and absolutely love it. You can read reviews here. It's hard to believe the Oly will be better, and if you like to shoot wide-angle then the 12-32mm is a lot more useful anyway. Add in my loathing for power zooms and my decision to go with the 12-32mm is obvious.
  4. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    Several people are shooting with this lens now. I started a sample thread here, and a group on Flickr.

    That said, it's a kit lens. I don't have them side by side, but it seems similar to the older 14-42 Mark 1. I've seen comparisons between the Mark 2 and the EZ. Overall, it's a decent lens. If you're pixel peeping regularly, get a nice small prime. I bought the EZ for convenience and compact form factor. IQ is generally equal to the other kit lenses I've owned. I can get some good shots, but it's more limited by lighting conditions.
  5. hookgrip

    hookgrip Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2013
    If the Panny 12-32 is in fact 24mm equiv AFTER the software distortion correction, that is even better!

    Ah I didn't notice that the Oly was a power zoom based on my quick search. It looked like it had a zoom ring, but I guess that's just a switch for the power zoom. In that case, I'll probably go with the Panasonic 12-32 then.
  6. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    That's how it has worked with other lenses. For example before distortion correction, the 14mm is closer to 13mm (26mm equivalent) rather than 14mm (28mm equivalent). Lenstip.com initially thought the extreme distortion turned the 14mm in to 15.5mm lens after correction, but they recheck the angle of view using the stars. You can read about it here:

  7. emptysensor

    emptysensor Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    I have an EPM2 and recently tried the 12-32 on it. The results were terrible, with probably more than 1/2 my shots slightly blurry, apparently bad shutter shock. You have to look somewhat close to see it, but it seemed like very few shots were completely in focus. If we ever get the all black GM1 in the U.S. I may try that because the general idea of the tiny 12-32 is great; it just didn't seem to work on my camera. I didn't try it on my EM5 as I only wanted it for a semi-pocket size camera.
  8. hookgrip

    hookgrip Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2013
    Was the shutter shock bad with both IBIS and in-lens IS?
  9. emptysensor

    emptysensor Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    I wasn't able to find a way to turn off the lens IS and turn on the IBIS. All of my shots were with IBIS turned off in the control panel, so I assume the lens IS was always on. I kept thinking maybe I was doing something wrong, but I just couldn't get it to work well. I'm no pro, but I've had probably 5 bodies from both companies, and about 10 native lenses, and none ever looked that bad. I didn't save any of the shots, because they seemed pretty inferior to even my little LF1.
  10. hookgrip

    hookgrip Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2013
    Well this is sad to hear. Hopefully others who have used the Panasonic 12-32 on newer Olympus bodies can chime in.

    How about the older Panasonic 14-42 X Power Zoom? with the 12-32 out, prices on the 14-42 X are quickly dropping, and they can be had for as low as $150-175 used. Does that lens play nice with the PM2?

    The one I'm referring to:
  11. I've started to use the 12-32 on my EM5. No sign of shutter shock so far, but I haven't taken many shots yet. I am using 1/8 second delay.

    It seems like a decent lens. I can't, in all honesty, say that it's streets ahead of the 14-42 II, but it's more compact, goes to 12 mm, and doesn't have that awkward lock button.
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I wasn't particularly impressed. Wide-angle shots were usually decent, but at the long end, they were pretty hit and miss. My suspicion is shutter shock, but I never tested it on a body with an electronic shutter. I eventually gave up and sold it, due to frustration with inconsistent results and the zooming mechanism (you use a lever, like a point-and-shoot, and the adjustments were very coarse).
  13. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    I have the 12-32 and use it on my EM5 (12-40 on EM1). No issues with it whatsoever, great little lens. I would definately recommend it over the 14-42mm simply because I find 12mm more useful than 14mm, and you can crop to make up the difference on the long end.
  14. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I've got both.
    Even if my copy of the 14-42 EZ seems to have issues with autofocus (I've created a thread about this...) I've compared the 2 lenses (using the 14-42 in MF).

    To sum up the comparison on the overlapping range (14-32):
    - at 14 mm, the 12-32 is sharper on the center, softer on the corners
    - from 18 to 32 mm, the 12-32 is sharper on the whole frame.

    The other points worth noting:
    - the 14-42 EZ has an electronic zoom (it's a disadvantage for me). It also takes time at power up.
    - the 12-32 has no manual focus ring
    - the 12-32 has to be manually deployed before beying used.
    - on my E-M10 (not on my GM1), the 12-32 generates some very visible purple fringing
    - on my E-M10 I saw no evidence of any shutter shock with the 12-32
    - both lenses have the same size

    I think the 14-42 EZ is what is supposed to be, a tiny kit lens with correct sharpness & a little soft corners. And an eletronic zoom...
    I was a little disappointed by the 12-32, not because it is worse than the 14-42 EZ, but because it has an excellent reputation, and that I consider it as a correct kit lens, no more.
    When I focus to infinity, the borders of the image are very soft at 12 & 14 mm.
    I even thought my lens was defective so I changed it and my new lens provides exactly the same image quality (even the softer corner (the bottom right one) is the same with both lenses,)

    In conclusion, I think that the 12-32 is little better especially from 18 mm (I prefer the 14-42 at 14 mm), but that maybe your choice has to be made on the other criteria: electronic or manual zoom, need for manual focus ring, 12-14 range or 32-42 range, purple fringing etc... etc...
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  15. hookgrip

    hookgrip Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2013
    Thanks for the detailed analysis. My main reason for getting one of these pancake zooms is portability, as the stock 14-42mm II R is a bit bulky with the PM2. Plus, I absolutely despise that lock switch on the side. I understand that any zoom lens will be a compromise as far as IQ goes, especially one as small as the 12-32 is.
  16. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    THe 12-32 doesn't have the lock switch on the side but the principle is the same (you have to deploy it to use it).
    It's the same for the 14-42 EZ but the process is automatic when you switch on/off the camera.

    These pancake zooms are only pancakes when they're not in use.
  17. True, but in many cases you'll be adjusting the zoom anyway, so it's just one movement to open. The advantage over the 14-42 is that, with the 12-32, it's one movement to close, as well. Or, perhaps more significant, just one hand; the 14-42 II requires you to hold the lock switch and twist the zoom ring.

    Written down, this sounds completely trivial, but it annoys me no end. And it seems I'm not the only one!

    It is true that the 'pancake' feature goes away as soon as you actually use the lens, though.

    (Edit ... just realized the thread is really about the 14-42 EZ, so my comments on the 14-42 II are not directly relevant.)
  18. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    You guys should know that I did a little test with my PM2. I had IBIS on for 10 shots and off for 10. I used a Sigma 30mm lens (hard to find a sharper test lens) and 1/15 shutter speed for all. Hand held. The result is that about half of the shots with IBIS on were useable at web resolution, but I was happy with 0 of them. The shots with IBIS off, maybe only 3 were useable, but of those, 2 were extremely sharp. Conclusion: PM2's IBIS systematically softens photos. Keep it off at all costs! Another conclusion is that when the camera is on a tripod or table, IBIS just shuts itself off automatically. This is not written anywhere it's just what I've seen with my 40-150. That lens is good even at the longer end when sitting on the table. But when IBIS is on and I'm hand-holding it IBIS softens the shot, even at times when I'm confident I'm steady enough, thus I leave it off. I had IBIS on today though. I had to take some shots of the interior of a building for work. They aren't for me so I don't care.

    The 12-32 works well on the PM2. I have the black PM2 and silver lens (I thought the silver looked coolest). If you want to turn off the IBIS you turn it off in the SCP, as usual "IS off" I think it says. If you want lens IS on, make sure you go into the gear/sprocket menu and set "Lens priority stabilization" (or whatever it says) to on. If you want them both off make sure the lens priority is off and IBIS is also off. Mine is very sharp. But I haven't had a chance to take a lot of shots hand held at varying shutter speeds and focal lengths.

    Here's a photo with it sitting on the desk. Click for OOC 16MP jpeg.

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    The rest are handheld (click for bigger size). I don't know how to tell from EXIF if IS was on or off. I don't remember. :( 

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  19. docfl

    docfl New to Mu-43

    Aug 15, 2012
    Daniel Weingrad
    Spectacular with GX7. Very compact rig!
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