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Panasonic 14-45mm - versions?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Ranger Rick, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    Rick
    Hello, new to the forum since I'm thinking of "lightening up" and going to m4/3. Lots of good info here!

    Probably getting Olympus OM-D, but have reservations about image quality of the 12-50mm, given what I've read (granted it's early). Panasonic 14-45 has been recommended to me by two people I respect, and I'm wondering if there have been versions of it since introduced, or are they all the same as what is currently being offered in that lens? If I bought a used model, for example, do I need to know specifics?

    Thank you!

    Rick
     
  2. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Sep 15, 2010
    as far as i know there's only one version of 14-45mm. it's discontinued now, the new model that replaced it is 14-42mm.
     
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    As long as you're getting the 14-45mm then there should only be one version. However, there are many versions of the 14-42mm lenses from both Panasonic and Olympus. The 14-45mm specifically is probably the one recommended to you though, as it is regarded as the sharpest.

    The m.Zuiko (Olympus) 14-42mm lenses however, are quite a lot more compact. I don't think you need it to be that compact though on the OM-D. ;) However, many of the 14-42mm lenses are very good.

    The one I would stay away from is the Lumix X 14-42mm power-zoom "pancake". Even disregarding the reported quality issues, it has no focus or zoom rings but instead uses a slow, tedious power-switch system which makes zooming as enjoyable as waiting on a point-and-shoot, and makes manual focus next to impossible. It doesn't even do that well at being compact, since it manages to stay short but is fat and bulky instead. The retractable m.Zuiko lenses have a more lightweight feel to them.

    Of the m.Zuiko retractable lenses, there are 4 different versions but only two distinctions that really matter - the ED and MSC versions. There are two of the original ED versions, one with metal mount and one with plastic, but they function very well the same. Optics are sound, but the front barrel is wobbly. The MSC versions are nicer with solid, smooth internal focus action. There are two MSC versions, the first MSC (m.Zuiko 14-42mm II) and a newer one which was just updated cosmetically (m.Zuiko 14-42mm II R).

    Then there is a Lumix 14-42mm... not as compact as the m.Zuiko retractable lenses, and not as sharp as the Lumix 14-45mm. There's nothing wrong with this lens, but I would pick the Lumix 14-45mm or the m.Zuiko 14-42mm MSC over it, for the reasons I described.

    The m.Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 however has a wider angle and semi-macro capabilities, as well as weather-sealing to match your OM-D body. I wouldn't discount it too easily.
    However, a better option than this lens, which shouldn't cost you much more either, is the Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II with the MMF-3 Four-Thirds mount adapter. This entire setup is fully weather-sealed, but the optical quality as well as the faster aperture blows away all your native zoom options, including the m.Zuiko 12-50mm, m.Zuiko 14-42mm, or Lumix 14-45mm. This lens is just slower to Autofocus, but it is CDAF compatible and not as slow as other Four-Thirds zoom lenses.
     
  4. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Panasonic did make 2 versions of the 14-45, the original version that I got with my GF1 came with a metal lens mount, the next version had the plastic mount this was then superseded by the 14-42 .
    I am still using my original 14-45 on my GX1 - it came with the 14-42X lens that is in my opinion not worth bothering with and my original lens outperforms it so it is going!
     
  5. joesilver

    joesilver Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Mar 21, 2012
    There is nothing on this page about a second version of the 14-45 with a plastic mount:

    Four Thirds | Micro Four Thirds | Products(Lenses)

    If one clicks through to view information about the 14-45, the description reads, "Featuring a highly reliable metal mount..."
     
  6. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    If it's discontinued, it's still on Panasonic's website for some reason...

    I don't understand why any maker would put a plastic mount on a lens...regardless of price. So strange.
     
  7. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    As well as the second version of the 14-45 with plastic mount that I believe was released with the GF2, the first version of the 14-42 that was on the GF3 was also a plastic mount.
    These were designed to keep the cost/weight down and were available in the UK.
    The latest 14-42X lens is the first in this focal length to have a metal mount.
     
  8. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    827
    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I was/am almost certain that the GF2 was released with the 14-42mm, not the 14-45mm. This is confirmed by the DPReview article on it. I have never seen a 14-45mm with plastic mount. The plastic mount and lack of OIS switch were two of the cost-saving steps taken on the 14-42mm.
     
  9. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Sep 15, 2010
    Good point. I suppose it's not discontinued, but they just don't offer it as part of a kit anymore.
     
  10. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    Agreed. Hopefully they don't phase it out...from the reviews, it is superior to the 14-42 from both Pana and Olympus.
     
  11. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    Absolutely right. There has never been a 14-45mm with a plastic mount. There has only ever been one version and it has a metal mount.

    The 14-45mm has not been made for many months now. It is not listed as "discontinued" because there are still plenty of unsold lenses in every major market. But it won't be around for ever, so it you want to buy a new one, don't delay too long!

    For a reasonably priced kit zoom, it is an exceptional performer.
     
  12. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    Rick
    Thank you all for clarifying the situation. Now to decide on the 14-45 vs 12-50 as far as image quality. Weather sealing and macro have not been significant concerns/interests for me so far, whereas image quality is. And I may add some video, so one of these zooms should fit the bill.
     
  13. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Going by the lens reviews, the 14-45 is sharper at all FL compared to the 12-50 at equal FL.
     
  14. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    Yep, but it'll die in a downpour, and doesn't have as much of a range (2mm on the wide end is a significant amount). While the 14-45mm is better than most, it is still, like even the new 12-50mm, a kit lens. I would pick the 12-50mm to pair with the E-m5 any day given the weather sealing and extended range. 1/2 a stop is not the end of the world, f5.6 or f6.3, at that point it doesn't really matter.
     
  15. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    If you know you'll be using video, the 14-45mm is not designed around that feature. The 12-50mm is, having silent focus capabilities. You'll hear the camera focusing in the video playback with the 14-45mm.
     
  16. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Not correct. The 14-45 also has silent AF. I have this lens and the 14-140 (which is "optimized" for video) and notice no difference in AF noise at all.
     
  17. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Many manufacturers have been putting plastic mounts on their low-end consumer lenses for a decade or more. For the typical amateur, who isn't changing lenses constantly, it works fine. I don't think I've ever heard of a plastic mount wearing out or breaking in normal use. I do recall an example of a Canon EF lens breaking at the mount, after it was dropped down a ravine or some such. In that case, probably better the lens mount than the camera mount.
     
  18. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I had the Panny 14-45 as part of my G1 kit that I later gave to my niece. It had a metal mount. I later purchased the 14-45 alone from B&H more than a year later and it still had a metal mount. Just an FYI.

    Meanwhile... a couple of links:

    First, a very recent review of the Panny 14-45 by a professional photographer who is now using this lens for the very first time. Never mind the charts in many reviews. These are his real-world impressions.

    The Visual Science Lab / Kirk Tuck: A quick review of a lens for Micro Four Thirds. The Panasonic 14-45mm.

    The second... some shots taken with the Oly 12-50. I fail to see any problem with image quality in this lens. It may be on the slow side, especially at 50mm, but IQ seems fine to me.

    Ah....hem....a few 12-50 M. Zuiko images - Steve's Digicams Forums

    It looks to me like you win no matter which lens you go for.
     
  19. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    I just don't get why...I doubt metal is much more expensive than plastic these days...they're not using platinum! For the same cost, it gives the consumer a better appreciation for the money they spent. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
     
  20. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    I suspect plastic mounts are a fair bit cheaper. Metal mounts probably require machining, and plating. Plastic mounts are molded, and any final finishing will require much less expensive tooling.