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

Started Apr 17, 2014 | Questions thread
aliasfox Senior Member • Posts: 1,276
Re: Is the Panasonic 14-45 the best "kit" zoom?

aliasfox wrote:

gandalfII wrote:

Yes, that's the consensus and though it's the only m43 kit I've used it does very, very well. Consider also the bigger, faster and IMHO sharper oly 43 14-54, about the same $ not counting adapter.

FWIW my 14-54mI AFs fine in live view, supposedly the only difference from the more expensive mII.

If the goal of the lens is "cheaper than the Oly 12-40 and Panny 12-35," then I wholeheartedly recommend the 4/3 Oly 14-54 mk 2. The first generation is optically identical (so I've read), but the 2nd generation is optimized for CDAF. I have one, and the AF speed is more than adequate - if I have to wait 0.1 sec for my 45/1.8 to lock on, then the 14-54 takes maybe 0.5 sec - longer? Sure. Long enough to be annoying? Never. This lens is beautiful and is currently the crown jewel in my collection, and I was able to get mine on ebay for ~$250. Once you add in an adapter, you're still ~$300 for a great lens. Did I mention that it starts at f/2.8? Even at telephoto, you're looking at f/3.5, so depending on where you are in the zoom range, you're anywhere from 2/3 to 1 1/3 stop faster than any other kit zoom. Downsides? It's big - 67mm filter, 1 lbs weight, and ~5" tall with adapter. I love shooting with it, but bringing it out for a whole day makes me wish I had the lens in the next paragraph.

Now, if you're looking purely for small size, the 14-42 II is hard to beat. It's the same size as the Oly 14-42 II R, but barely extends and lacks the (annoying, IMO) lock switch. The barrel and zoom ring are finished in metal, so it zooms smoothly and feels like a high quality product. I got one for my GF, and from a usage standpoint it's significantly better than the original Panny 14-42. From the shots I've seen, I have no complaints about sharpness, which is a lot better than the original Panny 14-42, which was bad enough that my Oly XZ-1 compact was able to outshoot it. Downsides are that you're going to have a bit more trouble blurring the background as the lens stops down pretty quickly. But if that's not an issue, this lens is a great option for grab and go.

I'm looking to eventually pick up a Panny 12-32 for myself (I like the 12mm FoV), but haven't really had a chance to play with it. I've heard good things though.

Forgot that I had a shot from my 14-54 mk2 on this computer. Again, very happy with this lens if you're looking for the best at a reasonable price.

 aliasfox's gear list:aliasfox's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 +16 more
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