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quality of 12-50 vs. original 14-42 for OM-D

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by twalker294, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    I had pretty much decided to get the 12-50 with my OM-D but is it really worth the $300? I have an E-PL1 with the 14-42 kit lens that originally came with it. It's a pretty capable lens and I only use it about 15% of the time -- my 20/1.7 stays on my camera most of the time. I know the 12-50 has the power zoom which is handy for shooting video but from a picture quality standpoint, it is that much better than the 14-42 that I already have? $300 better???
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Basically no. It's probably optically a $200 lens with a premium for the weather sealing, macro mode, and internal power zoom. Those can all be useful features. But I don't feel that the actual glass is anything amazing.
  3. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    THats kinda of what I figured. Thanks for the response.
  4. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    I think it will be awhile before it reaches this price on the used market, but agree it is worth about this much - it definitely has more value than the standard kit - along with the power zoom, macro and weather sealing, it is also 12mm (every mm at the wide end makes a significant difference), and a little longer reach as well. If you think you'd value any of these traits I would say it is worth the additional cost, otherwise the updated/current 14-42mm would do just fine (I wouldn't hold onto the original e-pl1 kit lens, as the new version has faster/quieter focus).
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    the 12-50 is a well built lens... feels much more robust than the other kit lenses to me... I would say performance is more than adequate... its a good workhorse lens... but people seem to have a downer on it for some reason..... for get its only 5.6 and actually go and use it and I think most users will find it a useful lens to have in their bag....

    P8080233 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    P8060214 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    P8010035 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    P8060226 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    P8090228 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    just my opinion... obviously your criteria may differ

  6. whatisinthebag

    whatisinthebag Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 23, 2011
    Central California
  7. tanMu4358

    tanMu4358 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2012
    I do not own the 14-42 but am astounding with the 12-50 performance in JPEG processing.
  8. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    I planned on using my 14-42 but I could only find the OM-D in kit so went that way. I'm glad I have the 12-50. There are a bunch of small advantages that all together add up to a nice lens compared to the 14-42.

    + 12mm vs 14mm (2mm is very noticable at the wide end)
    + 50mm vs 42mm (not as significant, but still noticable)
    + weather-sealed (completes the weather-sealed kit)
    + power zoom (great for video)
    + "macro" mode (really just close focusing, but still very handy, though the 14-42 also focuses pretty closely)

    - longer than the 14-42 when the 14-42 is collapsed
    - marginally heavier

    Overall, I'm glad I have the 12-50 and use it quite often.
  9. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    Disagree completely. Is it as good as the 45mm prime optically? No, but it's optically a very good kit lens. The weather sealing, macro mode, and power zoom more than justify it's price. Buying it as the OM-D kit lens is a no brainer unless you already have a large lens collection.
  10. rkelac

    rkelac Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2011
    Here is a nice comparison from LensRentals.com of the zooms but for the 14-42II. I think the original would be even worse.

    "I’ll present the numbers in two tables:
    In the first table, we’ll look at the MTF50 of each lens at the widest aperture it can use at 25mm

    Oly 12-50 f/5 800 665
    Oly 14-42 II R f/4.3 690 580
    Pan 14-45 f/5 830 670
    Oly 14-150 f/4.7 780 640
    Pan 14-140 f/4.7 795 680
    In the second table, we’ll look at the MTF50 with each lens at f/5.6

    Oly 12-50 f/5.6 830 670
    Oly 14-42 II R f/5.6 710 630
    Pan 14-45 f/5.6 825 675
    Oly 14-150 f/5.6 785 660
    Pan 14-140 f/5.6 800 690
    There are few comments to make about the zooms. Using the rule of thumb that a difference of less than 50 lp/ih is probably not noticeable, only the Olympus 14-42 lags a bit behind the others in resolution. The two superzooms, the Oly 14-150 and Panasonic 14-140 were both pleasant surprises. It’s quite a good showing they made, keeping up with the smaller-range zooms. Have to give some props to the Panasonic 14-45, too. It’s a low cost ($275) lens but hangs right there with the others. Finally, the zooms haven’t changed much between their wide end in the previous tests and the middle of their range we tested now."
  11. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    Exactly. No, it's not spectacular PL25 / Oly75 type of glass, and I wouldn't buy one at the full retail $499 boxed price, but it is very capable with very good color & contrast. In the OM-D kit it's worth the price if you need a standard zoom. I'm using mine as my go-to lens when I go hiking, and it will probably stay that way until the rumored Oly 12-60/2.8-4 'pro' lens is available. But to each his own.

    For a technical comparison, LensRentals has some MTF test data for both the 14-42 and 12-50 -> LensRentals.com - Standard-range micro 4/3 Imatest Results - looks like the 12-50 is sharper. (Why did I sell my Pany 14-45 again? Hmmm.)
  12. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    Hmm...opposing viewpoints. More thinking to do.
  13. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    On its own merits, it is worth $300. I have it because weather sealing is important to me. There are no obvious failings to the lens other than the overall slow aperture.

    It is a lens that justifies itself with a lot of little things. But I would have rather paid 1500 for a kit with a much higher spec lens.
  14. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    It is well worth getting it to go with the OM-D. It is the only affordable weather sealed lens available right now and is a very versatile lens.

    Reports are mixed on it, but I think the lens had a lot to live up to because it was expected to be the m43 equivalent of the cherished 4/3 12-60. It isn't, so the lens has to overcome its bad first impression to gain any respect.

    Look at the 12-50 image thread, there are a lot of good examples of what it is capable of, and if nothing else, having a weather sealed lens with a weather sealed camera provides peace of mind if you happen to get caught in some bad weather.
  15. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I guess I'm missing something (and that shouldn't be surprising since I am so brand new to Mu43), but what is the advantage of weather sealing. I would never take my cameras out in the rain, and even if I did, I am sure I would be haunted with humid air getting in my box and condensing when the temperature changes. Even taking my Nikons on a tropical trip forces me to keep thin filters on the lens to prevent condensation on the lens in the humid air after being in an air-conditioned environment.

    Why is weather sealing so valuable to you guys?
  16. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    Weather sealing means something like a light rain is no problem. If you live in a climate the rains a lot then it's valuable. But the weather sealing on the 12-50 is only one feature. For me the focal length covers 95% of what I would shoot plus the macro mode works very well. For most people I think the macro on this lens would eliminate the need for a dedicated macro lens.
  17. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Weather sealing is important for me because I use my equipment in whatever environment I'm in. While I'm in a different field now, I was a photojournalist for 25 years and weather was not an excuse for not getting a shot, in fact it was often the reason I was out. For me, equipment is not to be babied, it is to be used.
  18. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    12-50 vs 14-42 ii 1:1 crop

    12-50 @ 39mm F5.6

    14-42 @ 42mm F5.6
    • Like Like x 2
  19. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    Thanks so much to everyone for their input. I went ahead and ordered the E-M5 with the 14-42 kit lens. I just couldn't justify spending another $200 for a lens that I won't really be using that often, but I also couldn't pass up the 14-42 for only $100 over the body only version. Like I said, my 14-42 rarely gets mounted on my E-PL1 so I think the new 14-42 will be just fine for the little that I will use it.

    Again, thanks for all the input folks!
  20. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    It keeps the inside of the camera cleaner, less to go wrong. It helps with not only rain but wind-blown dust and sand, too. And, storms sometimes provide some of the best light and drama.
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