Panasonic 14-45 vs. Olympus 12-50mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by maflynn, May 7, 2012.

  1. maflynn

    maflynn Mu-43 Regular

    May 7, 2012
    New member here, and I'm fairly new to the MFT world as well.

    I am a proud owner of the Olympus OMD with the 12-50mm kit lens. I'll be heading for a trip to Disney World next week and I'm struggling to decide what lenses to bring (and/or buy).

    I have the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 which I have on my camera 80 to 90% of the time. I was debating whether to buy the olympus 45mm prime lens for the trip, but I think because of the issues of a crowded park. A standard zoom lens will work the best.

    Long story short, is it worth buying the Panasonic 14-45 or should I stick with the Olympus 12-50mm. I've been using the Oly lens yesterday and while the sun was bright and causing reflections I saw a fair amount of chromatic aberrations and not as sharp as I normally see in the 20mm lens.

    Given the price and complete overlapping focal length, I'm not sure how much better the panasonic will be over the Oly. btw, I'm not terribly concerned about the weather sealing - I generally protect my equipment pretty well, so its not a huge factor.

    Any advice on the Panasonic 14-45mm? To put it another way, is the Olympus 12-50mm pretty close to the sharpness of the Pany, so much so that its not worth spending 300 on a lens that I already have the focal length covered?
  2. Rob917

    Rob917 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2011
    jacksonville, florida usa
    Real Name:
    I have the 14-45mm lens and I'm really impressed by the sharpness of the lens. This is borne out by a number of reviews. I can't speak to the Olympus 12-50mm.
    There is 14-45mm image forum on this site. You might want to check that out.
    On the other hand I wish the 14-45mm was a little wider (like 12mm) for what I like to shoot.
  3. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    I won't get the 14-45 if I had the 12-50... not much gain in there. Having said that, I will bring the 20 + 45 combo for the theme park.
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Not worth it. What you see in your comparison of a prime single focal length optic versus a zoom is typical. Its a trade-off. $300 can go a long ways towards another prime lens. The 12mm f/2 Olympus seems to be a good fit.
  5. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    Why not rent a 9-18 or a 7-14 for your Disney trip and decide later to buy or not.
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've not heard much nice said about the 12-50, outside of the weather sealing.

    Given that you could likely sell the 12-50 and pocket some money in buying the 14-45, the only thing you lose is the wide end by 2mm (based on your statement that weather sealing doesn't mean much to you). You would have to determine if that 2mm is important to you.

    Having said that, I just got back from Disney, and I think I should have brought a 9-18 with me (edit: jim_khoo beat me to it). The 20 was very useful, and I had the 14, but I wanted to go wider still. See my other thoughts on that (and other people's replies) in this forum post:
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The 12-50 gives your 24mm equivalent at the wide end. Some folks prefer the extra WA. I have the 14-45 and it's a terrific kit lens but if I had the 12-50 I wouldn't trade for it as I am not sure you are gaining that much. The 14-45 MIGHT be a bit sharper and it's a bit shorter but I wouldn't think it would be worth the effort.
  8. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    So far I haven't noticed any major and noticeable differences with the 12-50mm versus the 12-45mm nor the 12-42mm (1st version, Kit lens for the E-PL1) for that matter. Given that its the kit lens attached to the much anticipated OMD EM-5, size, and price (as a standalone purchase), I think people's expectations were kinda high. Most of the issue will be at the 12mm end of the range which is fairly common for most kit lenses. My Olympus 9-18mm shows more CA at similar ranges. My biggest complain.... its big compared to all the other micro 4 3 lenses and doesn't collapse down.


    I found it the fastest AF lens on the EM5 I have so far. Its weather proof and fairly sharp.. and in a pinch an ok macro.

    Seriously, if the OPs level expectation is set by a single focal prime; 20mm f/1.7 in this case, no zoom is going to meet that expectation; zooms are a compromise in IQ for versatility
  9. maflynn

    maflynn Mu-43 Regular

    May 7, 2012
    Do you see the 20+45 combo replacing the zoom lens? That's the struggle I was having early on insofar as that I around 80 to 90% in the 20mm and 45mm focal lengths. The issue outside of the weathersealing is stopping to change lenses in a crowded park. I'd rather use two primes, then the zoom but I don't think the circumstances will be such that I can easily use both.

    I generally walk around with the 20mm on the OMD as it stands.

    Thanks for all the other advice, to summarize it seems that 14-45mm is a better lens but since I have the coverage, the 12-50 is not that much worse, in so far that it does not make sense to shell out 300 bucks.

    The 45mm is a different issue, as I keep coming back to usnig two primes instead of the 12-50mm zoom + the 20mm prime.
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Actually most kit lenses are 14 at the wide end (14-42 and 14-45) the 12-50 is unique in that it is 12 at the wide end. It's not a huge difference but to some it is pretty significant. It does look very different.
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    IMO you will want to get wider than 20mm in a theme park.
  12. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    I don't think the difference between any two lenses is worth splitting the hair, so to speak. Any will produce great results as long as you know what you're doing. In the words of Michael Reichmann of, a great subject always trumps ultimate image quality.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I was thinking that, too, and was tempted to post a suggesting to get a 14-42 for like $100 and put the $200+ difference from the 12-50 towards something else, though fasted AF as reported above might be worth something (as is 12 vs 14mm)
  14. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    Personally, I wouldn't mind changing lenses in a theme park, especially when there are long queus, it could be an ideal time to change. For the times you like shoot wide, you might want to keep the kit lens in your bag, other than that i'll be shooting probably 80% on the 20mm, and 20% on the 45mm. And also some of the attractions are in lowlight, the large aperture will be of help vs the kit lens.
  15. maflynn

    maflynn Mu-43 Regular

    May 7, 2012
    ^^^ That's been my thinking all along. I'll have some opportunities to swap lenses while waiting. I think I'll have the kit lens, but also the 20mm. Whether I opt to spend $$ on the 45mm is another matter :tongue:
  16. zak

    zak New to Mu-43

    Jul 15, 2012
    Hope no-one minds, I'm changing the topic slightly to Panasonic 14-45 vs. Panasonic 14-42

    I recently acquired an Olympus E-PL-1 with the kit 14-42 I lens. Being dissatisfied with the lens, I purchased a used Panasonic 14-45mm OIS lens.
    I did not even consider getting the Panasonic 14-42 lens because it does not have an OIS switch. When mounted on an Olympus, the 14-42 lens's auto-OIS function gets disabled.
    The improvement over the original Olympus kit lens was notable in every way. Color rendition, corners-edges, sharpness throughout the range. This is now my best lens including some Sony E-mount glass. With the OIS switch on the barrel to the ON position, it's looking like the optical stabilization system is working not only for still shots (as expected) but while in movie mode, as well! (with the IS system switched OFF inside the camera's menu.) This 14-45 lens has reduced autofocus time to a small fraction. These two improvements result in making movies practicable with an E-PL-1....maybe a first.

    I read somewhere that the reason that Panasonic stopped including the 45-45 lens with their camera kits was because people would catch on, buy the lenses second hand and put them onto Olympus bodies. (As I did.) There would no longer be any need to buy the more-expensive m43 Panasonic bodies.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Well, honestly...:rolleyes:...(1) you might get more replies if you started your own thread...(2) if you searched the old threads you might find tons of information on this comparison already posted here...(3) the OP might mind having his thread hijacked...
  18. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    If you have an unrelated question you should make a new thread.
  19. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I second this idea. If you don't mind swapping around lenses you can free up $200 and put it towards a 45 too.
  20. bongestrella

    bongestrella Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 2, 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Based on what I read lots of times in this forum about how sooo good/sharp the panny 14-45 is (still don't understand it, it's a kitlens after all), and my experience on the 12-50 (which isn't really much better compared to the 14-42 and 14-150) and frankly most people's unwarm opinions about it, I'm a little surprised on the replies here (not worth the switch). I tend to agree though. While for me the 50mm vs 45mm is pretty negligible, the difference between 12mm and 14mm is significant. The 12mm almost convinces me that I don't need anything wider...until I do.

    I'll second other's suggestions, maybe rent the 9-18mm? The Rokinon/Samyang 7.5 fisheye is always fun.