12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45

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Conor OBrien
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12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
7 months ago

Hi,

I am trying to decide on which zoom lens to buy for my Panasonic Lumix G5. I currently have the old 14-42mm (i) which I am planning to sell to help fund one of the zooms in question.

I recently bought the 20mm 1.7 prime lens and will eventually purchase the 45m 1.8 prime.

Obviously, if money wasn't an issue, I would purchase the 12-35mm 2.8 zoom over the three zooms as I understand it is clearly superior, but I don't think I would be able to afford its £500-600 price tag any time soon.

So my kit will eventually look like this:

1. 20mm 1.7

2. 45mm 1.8

3. 12-32 or 14-42 (ii) or 14-45mm

I can purchase the 14-42 (ii) for around £100, the 14-45 for around £120, and the 12-32 for around £200. I want this zoom to be a general walk around lens during the day with the 20mm and 45mm being used for more specific occasions and low light shots. So, which zoom is best and which would you go for?

Thanks.

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brentbrent
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

Here's a post I made a month ago comparing the 14-42 v.2 to the 14-45, in response to a request from someone . . .

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53098885

I think the reported image quality, small size, and 12mm wide end of the 12-32 make that lens an appealing option, if you can forego some reach on the long end.

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Brent

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mimritty
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

I have the 14-42IIR, the 12-32mm and the 14-45mm.  The 12-32 is nice and compact, but optically I don't find it any better than the 14-42.  Not bad, not great.  Between those two, the question would be your preference of a little wider or a little more reach.

My copy of the 14-45 gives me better pictures than either of the other two and is the one I'm going to hold on to until I can swing upgrading to the 12-40.

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mimritty

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Conor OBrien
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to brentbrent, 7 months ago

brentbrent wrote:

Here's a post I made a month ago comparing the 14-42 v.2 to the 14-45, in response to a request from someone . . .

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53098885

I think the reported image quality, small size, and 12mm wide end of the 12-32 make that lens an appealing option, if you can forego some reach on the long end.

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Brent

Yes I was originally choosing between those two lenses for my standard zoom, but I only recently noticed the 12-32mm. The slightly wider angle is appealing as it would probably be wide enough for me not to buy a proper wide-angle lens. I do not need the extra reach on the long end, as I will eventually have the 45mm 1.8 to cover that focal length.

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Conor OBrien
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to mimritty, 7 months ago

mimritty wrote:

I have the 14-42IIR, the 12-32mm and the 14-45mm. The 12-32 is nice and compact, but optically I don't find it any better than the 14-42. Not bad, not great. Between those two, the question would be your preference of a little wider or a little more reach.

My copy of the 14-45 gives me better pictures than either of the other two and is the one I'm going to hold on to until I can swing upgrading to the 12-40.

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Regards,
mimritty

So, the 14-45mm has better IQ? Or at least your copy does?

Also, what camera do you use? The 12-32mm does not have a manual focus ring with the manual focusing done through the touch screen on the GM1. I have a G5, and I have no idea when, or even if, there will be a new firmware update to use the manual focusing feature for this lens.

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ttan98
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to mimritty, 7 months ago

mimritty wrote:

I have the 14-42IIR, the 12-32mm and the 14-45mm. The 12-32 is nice and compact, but optically I don't find it any better than the 14-42. Not bad, not great. Between those two, the question would be your preference of a little wider or a little more reach.

My copy of the 14-45 gives me better pictures than either of the other two and is the one I'm going to hold on to until I can swing upgrading to the 12-40.

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Regards,
mimritty

I agree with you I own both the 12-32mm and 14-45mm, the latter is superior to the former in terms of image quality output. I am keeping both, really the 12-32mm on my old GF1 gives this camera a new lease of life because of its compactness and I was able to take handheld images at 1/15 consistently.

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ijm5012
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

Unless you really need the extra 2mm on the wide end (which really can be useful in certain situations), I would suggest you go with the 14-42 II. It is just a fantastic kit lens. Very tiny and light, it basically doesn't extend at all during use (shortest at 25mm, and extends about 1cm each way at the ends of the zoom range), and pretty sharp.

That 2mm can be quite useful. I would say that ask yourself while using your current lens if you every wish the lens went a little wider or not. If so, the 12-32 is a good option. However it is more difficult to use (manual focussing is a pain), and you do lose 10mm on the long end, which is useful when you have the lens mounted on your camera.

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jeffharris
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to mimritty, 7 months ago

mimritty wrote:

I have the 14-42IIR

I think the OP means the Panasonic 14-42mm II. The 14-42mm IIR is an the Olympus lens.

, the 12-32mm and the 14-45mm. The 12-32 is nice and compact, but optically I don't find it any better than the 14-42. Not bad, not great. Between those two, the question would be your preference of a little wider or a little more reach.

My copy of the 14-45 gives me better pictures than either of the other two …

From what I've read, the Panasonic 14-42mm II is supposedly on par, if not slightly better, than the 14-45mm. Its supposedly the best standard kit lens at this point. It's certainly much smaller, lighter and supposedly focuses faster than the 14-45mm.

I have a 14-42mm II and it's pretty good. I've tried the 12-32mm briefly and liked the results. The 12mm end makes it very compelling, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra cost.

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jalywol
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

Conor OBrien wrote:

mimritty wrote:

I have the 14-42IIR, the 12-32mm and the 14-45mm. The 12-32 is nice and compact, but optically I don't find it any better than the 14-42. Not bad, not great. Between those two, the question would be your preference of a little wider or a little more reach.

My copy of the 14-45 gives me better pictures than either of the other two and is the one I'm going to hold on to until I can swing upgrading to the 12-40.

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Regards,
mimritty

So, the 14-45mm has better IQ? Or at least your copy does?

Also, what camera do you use? The 12-32mm does not have a manual focus ring with the manual focusing done through the touch screen on the GM1. I have a G5, and I have no idea when, or even if, there will be a new firmware update to use the manual focusing feature for this lens.

I had the 14-45mm, and while sharp, it had an extremely cool color signature, which I did not find appealing at all. I used it for a short while, then sold it.

I've never tried the Panasonic 14-42mm II, but I did have the Oly 14-42mm II.  If it's the Oly you are talking about, it is an ok lens, and you can get nice results from it, but I found that I preferred the images from my 14mm prime...they had nicer contrast and I liked what they looked like better.

I now have the 12-32mm, and I like it a great deal. Its color rendition is far more neutral than that of the 14-45mm, and it has very good contrast.  It's also nice and sharp, and having the 12mm option is really nice for a walk around lens.

If you can live with this being strictly an AF lens, it's the one I would choose of all three.

-J

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Conor OBrien
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to jeffharris, 7 months ago

jeffharris wrote:

mimritty wrote:

I have the 14-42IIR

I think the OP means the Panasonic 14-42mm II. The 14-42mm IIR is an the Olympus lens.

Yes, just to clarify, I am talking about the Panasonic 14-42mm II.

Conor O'Brien
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berni29
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

Hi

I have the 14-45 amd 12-32 . For me the 12mm start makes it the compelling choice. It seems as sharp as the 14-45 and actually I perfer its output subjectively.

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socal4142
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

FWIW I absolutely love the size of my 12-32. You can feel like you're just carrying around a point and shoot. And the 12mm width is really helpful on a walkaround lens. For me, ultimate image quality isn't as important as those two factors. You'll be using primes for the shots when pixel peeping really matters.

Tim

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nevada5
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

I used the 14-45 with three G series cameras and I really enjoyed it.  When I had a G5 I bought the 14-42 II.  No question in my mind it's a better lens.  Small and light has value and the fact that it only extends about 1/4" when zooming makes it a joy to use.

But IQ is what counts.  The II lens is every bit as sharp as the 14-45, probably a tad sharper.  But there is a definite difference in out-of-focus areas.  The 14-45 produces a very nervous bokeh - IMO it can be very unattractive.  That doesn't exist with the 14-42 II.

I use the II lens on my GX7 all the time.  I won't get my 20mm1.7 out of the bag unless the light drops significantly.

I'm presently contemplating buying the 12-32.  My big fear is that it won't live up to the IQ of the II lens and then I won't want to use it.

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Alan Lai
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

Among these 3 kit lenses, 14-45 is still optically the best.

I would suggest you, as some other posters mentioned, hang on to 14-45 and save up enough for either 12-40 or 12-35.

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Conor OBrien
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to socal4142, 7 months ago

socal4142 wrote:

FWIW I absolutely love the size of my 12-32. You can feel like you're just carrying around a point and shoot. And the 12mm width is really helpful on a walkaround lens. For me, ultimate image quality isn't as important as those two factors. You'll be using primes for the shots when pixel peeping really matters.

Tim

Good point, Tim!

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Marty4650
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I'd get the 12-32mm - for one simple reason
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

And that reason is "12mm."

The difference between a zoom lens that starts at 12mm and one that starts at 14mm is HUGE.

Especially for a walk around lens, you will find the wide end very useful. The other two lenses will take you out further to 42 or 45mm, but will you really need it when you already have a 45mm f/1.8 lens?

This looks like a no brainer for me, because the price difference is so small for you to select the 12-32mm lens over the slightly less expensive 14-42mm.

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Chas2
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Re: I'd get the 12-32mm - for one simple reason
In reply to Marty4650, 7 months ago

i agree with the 12 mm statement.

When I want a small package, I will often take my LX5 instead of the GX1 with a few lenses.  The 12 mm equivalent of the LX5 is much more useful than the 14-45 and 9-18 unless I know I need the extra width.  The f/2 aperture with IS does not hurt either, especially when doing something like fireworks.

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Tom Axford
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12-32 is an outstanding lens
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

I am very surprised that so many people find the 14-45 best. I had both 12-32 and 14-45 for a while, but have not kept the 14-45, because I found it was totally superseded by the 12-32, except of course for the lesser focal length at the tele end.

When I got the 14-45 as a kit lens with the GF1 about 4 years ago, I was extremely impressed by its image quality. However, in my experience since getting the 12-32 three months ago, it gives even better image quality than the 14-45. When its diminutive size is taken into account as well, it is a really outstanding lens, one of the real stars of the MFT line up in my opinion.

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Conor OBrien
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Re: 12-32 is an outstanding lens
In reply to Tom Axford, 7 months ago

I am very surprised that so many people find the 14-45 best. I had both 12-32 and 14-45 for a while, but have not kept the 14-45, because I found it was totally superseded by the 12-32, except of course for the lesser focal length at the tele end.

When I got the 14-45 as a kit lens with the GF1 about 4 years ago, I was extremely impressed by its image quality. However, in my experience since getting the 12-32 three months ago, it gives even better image quality than the 14-45. When its diminutive size is taken into account as well, it is a really outstanding lens, one of the real stars of the MFT line up in my opinion.

I struggled to find many comparison reviews on these lens. Before the 12-32 came in to the equation, I was still undecided on whether to get the 14-45 or the 14-42 II lens.

I think if the 12-32 had a manual focus ring I would definitely get it, without question. Even though I would only use the manual focus less than 10% of the time, I believe it is still vital all the available features. The manual focus is adjusted through the LCD screen on the GM1 as the lens was made for it (I think). I'm assuming (hoping) there will be a firmware update for newish cameras to have the same feature, I wonder when this will happen, and if the G5 is one of the cameras to get updated.
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Fredrik Glckner
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Re: 12-32 vs 14-42 (ii) vs 14-45
In reply to Conor OBrien, 7 months ago

I have the 12-32mm lens, and find it to be very decent. A comparison with the 12-35mm lens here:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2014/03/comparison-12mm.html

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