replacement for Olympus 14-42mm kit lens

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by menders, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. menders

    menders New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2012
    Hi all,

    I am looking for a replacement of the Olympus 14-42 kit lens that came with my E-P1.
    I was never really satisfied with my E-P1 and kit lens; especially in comparison with my girlfriend's GF1 (and the panasonic 14-45mm kit lens) I found the autofocus quite slow and the pictures not as sharp. I actually thought it would be an camera issue until I just got the Oly 45/1.8 lens.

    Now I am thinking if I should replace my kit lens. But with which one?

    - I don't think it's worth replacing my 14-42mm with the newer MK2
    - the old Panasonic 14-45mm 3.5-5.6 lens?
    - the newer Panasonic 14-42 3.5-5.6 lens?
    - the Olympus EZ 12-50 3.5-6.3 lens?

    I don't really need a collapsable lens. But I am not sure if the other lenses are so much better than my kit lens.
    What would you recommend?

    Thanks Markus
  2. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Real Name:
    While the 45mm might be faster, the e-p1 is known for its quite slow autofocus. If you are looking for a significant upgrade in the AF department you might want to consider an upgrade in your camera body and lens (the newer Oly kit lenses are much faster...but only paired with the newer Oly camera bodies either the e-pm1, e-pl3, e-p3 or e-m5) - you can purchase a refurbished Olympus e-pm1 from (with full 1 year Olympus warranty) for only $259 shipped - should be able to get close to $150 used for your e-p1/14-42mm kit to cover most of the cost. Buying only a new kit lens (of any type/brand) will result in disappointment if you're looking for faster AF with the e-p1.
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    If you're happy with the current range, get the 14-45. It's optically the best of the bunch, by a fair margin. I wouldn't bother with the other 14-42 models unless you're really strapped for cash. They focus faster than the 14-42mk1, but neither is any sharper.

    If you want wider view and a good macro mode, a secondhand 12-50 will give you both, plus fast focusing. That said, it's a significantly larger lens, and it also won't be any sharper than what you already have.

  4. jonh918

    jonh918 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2012
    San francisco,ca
    i ditched my 14-42 for 14-150mm for my e-pl1, the epl1 af is slow comparing to other mu43... the 12-50 macro is another good choice... maybe some primes panny 14mm
  5. menders

    menders New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2012
    Thanks all, I will look out for used 14-45; they still seem to be pretty expensive as a used lens (compared to the 14-42).
    Yes, the panny primes are a good choice; my girlfriend has one with her GF1. If I need one, I would probably borrow it from her.

    At this time I don't really want to replace the body; maybe next year, when more 16 MP-sensor models are available. So far the only model I find attractive is the GX. I have seen the E-PM1 and know I won't be happy with it. I am more happy to stick with a slower auto-focus then. But thanks for pointing this out.

  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Since you now have a 45mm f/1.8, I would replace your kit lens with an m.Zuiko 12mm f/2 or Lumix 14mm f/2.5 (the 12mm would be my first choice, with the 14mm being the "budget choice" since it is so much cheaper). The combination of the 12/14mm lens and your 45mm lens will completely replace your zoom, and will give you a much faster, sharper combination than possible with a zoom.

    Would you rather use your 45mm for everything you can because it's so much faster and sharper, then "settle" with another zoom lens when you can't use the 45mm because it's too long.... or would you rather have your pick of the best appropriate focal length and always have a wonderfully sharp, fast lens to fill it? I'd pick the second choice myself, and for that I would add a wider prime lens to go with your longer prime lens rather than add another slow, soft kit zoom.
  7. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    The 14mm is a great lens for the cost and sharper than any of the kit lenses.
  8. ajohnw

    ajohnw Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 16, 2012
    Birmigham UK
    Real Name:
    For a zoom the oly 14-42mm is a rather good lens. I was a little concerned that the latest one isn't so good but so far I haven't really seen any difference other than it's close focus ability - about 250mm which mean you can fill the frame with a subject about 80mm across. As far as quality goes both the one originally fitted to the e-pl1 and the recent one that has a 37mm filter fitting are capable of producing good 100% resolution shots which leaves plenty of room for cropping. They have made several over the years. Pass on those.

    Here's a couple with the e-pl1 14-42mm

    and a sever crop from a 100% view

    and a close focus shot of an orchid taken with the newer one
    Bear in mind flowers don't always look so good blown up to that size. It is a little out of focus deep into the flower but on the other hand a magnifying glass shows very fine hairs there, also the blotchy colouring.

    I don't think this lens deserves the title kit lens. It's too good. It even fairs well in very technical lens tests even against Panasonic lenses on a Panasonic camera.

    As far as fast accurate focusing goes I'm not sure that it's just the lens that counts unless Olympus upgrade the firmware in the camera as well. Unlikely. At the moment I can use the lens on the e-pl1 or an e-p3. Shouldn't be a lot of difference but there is. Focusing on the e-p3 is a whole different experience most noticeable at lower light levels but generally more accurate as well.

    If you switch to Panasonic another problems shows up - software in the cameras that corrects lens problems. Panasonic tend to do a lot more of that than Olympus do. When ever you see a decent test on Panasonic lenses it's always on a Panasonic camera. Many take no notice but in this case it's best to stick with the Olympus lens. Where Panasonic is best on Pens is in the telephoto area. Not because they are optically better, they aren't but because of the inbuilt image stabilisation which allows easy manual focus correction when needed. The problem on a Pen is that to really check focus the magnified view has to be used - a joke without image stabilisation. At 42mm the zoom is just about manageable. Why is the magnified view needed - down to pixel counts in the electronic view, No where near as many as the sensor so detail is lost and there is no way of knowing if the subject is really in focus without using it. That's why it's there, Use it and large web sized photo's can be cropped to the extent that the 42mm end for instance is at least equal to 160mm plus.

    There is also the longer wide to moderate telephoto zoom lens. Take a tip and do some web searches for comments from users on it's performance. I understand it was initially aimed at video use and that doesn't need the same level of performance as static shots - no where near as good actually. I suspect most of the comments are really down to miss focus. Pass - that lens is of no interest to me.

    There are loads of other shots taken with the 14-42 on my signature link and virtually all of them could be posted full size.