Is the Panasonic 14-45 the best "kit" zoom?

Started Apr 17, 2014 | Questions thread
photofan1986 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,055
Re: Is the Panasonic 14-45 the best "kit" zoom?

I used Oly's 14-42II kit lens, and was not happy with the meh performance at some focal lengths. So I bought the Panasonic 14-42II, and while it's very nice (nice build quality, good feel to it and very small), IQ was somewhat disappointing also, but not for the same reasons. I think my copy of the lens is a dud, i.e. it's decentered. Also, I got some focusing issues at the tele end with my E-M5. So I finally bought a second hand 14-45, and man I have to say that's what I was looking for in a kit lens. Sharpness is excellent throughout the range AND the image field, and while it's quite bigger than the 14-42II, and it extends further, I don't really mind as it still remains a small lens on the E-M5.

I recently acquired the GM1 with kit lens, and I made some comparisons...
Well, the tiny lens is incredibly sharp in the center, maybe less so in the corners at wide angle. Obviously, you don't get the longer end (33 to 45mm), but that's up to you wether it matters.

However, none of the kit lenses I tried (and I tried quite some) had the CONSISTENCY of the 14-45, which is optically good in all circumstances. It's somewhat bizarre, but the 12-32 is excellent when doing test shots against a wall, but sometimes in the field, sharpness in the corners becomes dodgy. Maybe it's focusing issues, I don't know. The 14-45 behaves always as expected. As a prime lens I'd say. I don't know if what I mean is clear though. 

If you're on a budget and want excellent IQ in a "standard package", get the 14-45 (for a good price).
If you want the 12 mm end, and want to go really tiny, get the 12-32. It's so small, yet very good.

And finally, if budget and bulk are no issue, get the (almost perfect?) 12-40 2.8. It's a hell of a lens, from what I've read.


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Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Sony RX100 III Olympus E-M1 Sony Alpha a7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 +10 more
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