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Which kit lens is the best, optically?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dissembled, May 29, 2015.

  1. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I'm undecided between the P12-32 & P14-42 II at the moment. I'm leaning more towards the P14-42 II as I've heard of the possibility of the 12-32 coming apart in some occasions. Are these two the cream of the crop or are there better kit lenses currently available? How do the Olympus kit lenses compare for example? I prefer sharpness over everything else.

    The camera I'll couple with the lens is the E-M10. I only have the Olympus 25/1.8 right now so I'm hankering for a lens that's more versatile. My photography consists of street work, spontaneous portraiture and some macro photography as well.
     
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    I've never owned the P14-42, but I own the 12-32 and have owned the O14-42 RII. Personally I find the 12-14 range more useful than 32-42. My 12-32 does have the issue of coming apart. I little bit of double sided tape it's fine. But if sharpness is key compared to the primes then you're talking about the f2.8 zooms, the P12-35 or O12-40.

    But they aren't exactly kit lenses or cheap......
     
  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    P 14-42 II has amazing resolution and great rendering. I have a whole bunch of primes and the shots from it are just as good. It also doesn't extend much at all when zooming (1/2 inch?) and doesn't require unlocking to use it. It's very compact and well built.

    Only downside is the aperture drops really fast. It's in the 5's already by 25mm. 12-32 is the same though.

    If you are into macro, the 12-50 is an interesting choice. But it is probably the least sharp standard zoom for the system.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  4. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I wonder how prevalent the 12-32 build issue is. I would purchase it in a heartbeat if it wasn't for that. The 14-42 II is tempting though I wonder how it compares with the Olympus kit lenses.

    Thanks for the replies so far!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't use it much but my 14-42 II gives better results than the original 14-42 Mk 1 and 12-50 kit lenses that I had and sold. Although the 12-50 has the advantage of going wider and being waterproof.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    As I said mine has the issue and I'd still buy it again. From what I've seen the top part does not come off, it can be taken off. Meaning i doesn't just fall off. But you can turn the top section past 32mm and past the stop when closed.
     
  7. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    842
    Feb 20, 2013
    I can't see how anything could really be sharper than the 12-32. I mean, my Sigma 30 is, but that's not a kit zoom. It's small. It's sharp. It's cheap. It does well indoors with IS (I prefer its output indoors vs outdoors, actually. Outdoors it seems too sharp). It's wide. Mine hasn't come apart. If it does I'll glue it back together. The 14-42II I saw has fewer benefits. Sharp and cheap but not as wide or small. I'd also take a close look at the 12-50 as well. If size isn't a big deal, this lens is one of the most feature-packed in the m4/3s system.

    I think if you got the 12-32, your 25, and eventually a 42/1.7 or 45, you'd be set. I need to take that advice and be more minimalistic!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    If you accept the limits of lab tests:

    http://www.photozone.de/m43/873_pana1232f3556?start=1
    http://www.photozone.de/m43/846-olympus1442f3556iir?start=1

    I think there is no real difference: both are very good. The main difference is the focal length: do you need 12mm or 42mm?
    You need a "pro" zoom to see any significant difference: 12-35 or 12-40. They are big and expensive but a used one can be quite cheap when compared to a kit zoom and a couple of primes. But again are big when compared to other m43 lenses.
     
  9. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    Thanks for the links. Sadly though, I can't find the P14-42 II from their list. I really want to compare it to the 12-32.
     
  10. T. Rithmester

    T. Rithmester New to Mu-43

    3
    Feb 15, 2013
    Struer, Denmark
    Thomas
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    You can find both here too, but do not expect big differences: they are similar lenses, with similar price, both well regarded.

    http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1661/
    http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1588/

    You can find some differences at specific focal lengths but smaller differences can be well within the limits of sample variation. All lens samples are slightly different from one another as do camera mounts and sensor alignment and all these things together determine the exact result that you get with your specific combo.
    You can see that on the long end the result from slrgear and photozone already disagree.

    Anyway slrgear charts are good to see how lens performances varies (you have to click on the chart on the left for the interactive chart).
     
  12. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Here you can see the 14-45 too that some consider the best kit:

    http://www.ephotozine.com/article/panasonic-lumix-g-vario-14-42mm-f-3-5-5-6-ii-lens-review-21563
    http://www.ephotozine.com/article/panasonic-lumix-g-vario-14-45mm-f-3-5-5-6-zoom-lens-review-17762
    http://www.ephotozine.com/article/panasonic-lumix-g-vario-12-32mm-f-3-5-5-6-asph--lens-review-24162

    EDIT: generally when you design a lens you have to find a balance between center and border sharpness, trading one for another. According to these reviews look like they choose to favor the center with the 14-42 and to get a more balanced performance with the 12-32. Which one is better?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. leendertv

    leendertv Mu-43 Regular

    167
    Nov 22, 2011
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Leendert
    The Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 is my favorite kitlens!
    Very versatile!
    And with a Raynox DCR150 or DCR250 very good for macro too!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    I agree, love my 14-140 II. But I don't always want to carry something so big and heavy (comparatively speaking). I'm very happy with the performance of the Panny 14-42 II, and I have the 14 f/2.5 along with its wide converter. Still, I find myself wanting the tiny 12-32. I haven't been able to find it cheap anywhere, and, I don't want to spend ~$350 for a lens I'm likely to have to tape together. Actually, I don't want to spend $350 for it period. :) It seems the best way to get it is with a camera, but I already have two E-M10s and can't justify another body. Further, I don't do well with tiny bodies with few exterior controls and no viewfinder. So I continue poring over the marketplace looking for a reasonably priced 12-32 ... so far to no avail.
     
  15. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I think I've decided on the P14-42 II. A question though. Does the minimum focusing distance apply with every focal length of the lens, or is it restricted to specific ranges?
     
  16. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    940
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    The 12-32. Sometimes you can't step back 2' at 14mm
     
  17. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Depends on the lens (and I'm not familiar with the P14-42)...
    The 12-50 has strongest macro magnification at a very specific FL, but with the 12-40 Pro, FL supposedly doesn't matter.

    Barry
     
  18. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    562
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    When I was considering this exact question I went to this review. I compared the Panasonic 14-45 to other lenses including the highly ranked Panasonic 20 mm and found that it equaled or exceeded all of them in some cases by quite a bit. You can add different lenses to the comparison by clicking on the compare feature. Since there is no 20mm for the 14-45 you compare either the 18mm or the 25 mm to the Panny 20 mm lens. Make sure each has the same aperture setting. Only one lens comparison at a time. For my use I went with the Panasonic 14-45.

    http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/widget/Fullscreen.ashx?reviews=61,62&fullscreen=true&av=3.667,3.667&fl=14,20&vis=VisualiserSharpnessMTF,VisualiserSharpnessMTF&stack=horizontal&&config=/lensreviews/widget/LensReviewConfiguration.xml?4
     
  19. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You will like it!

    It does actually have closer MFD at wider angle as specified on the m43 site:

    • Closest focusing distance = 0.2m / 7.87in. (at focal length 14-20mm), 0.3m / 11.81in. (at focal length 21-42mm)
    Your highest magnification is still at full zoom, though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    Thanks! Just bought it used last night via Amazon. :)