Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

Started Feb 5, 2013 | Questions
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bcjensen New Member • Posts: 3
Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

I have made up my mind on purchasing the Olympus OM-d vs. the nex 6 however wanted to get some opinions on lenses.  I can't decide which kit lens to get.  I will hopefully be getting the pana 25 1.4 soon but not immediately so I need a kit lens.

The 14-42 is appealing because it is cheaper and smaller which makes this on the top of my list. It is just a kit lens so why not just do the cheaper one.

I am tempted by the 12-50 in order to get the silver body but, due to the cost, I would want the 12-50 to be a significantly better lens than the 14-42.

What do you all think between these two lenses?

Thanks

ANSWER:
howielenny Contributing Member • Posts: 816
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

I got the 12-50mm for 3 reasons. The power zoom is handy for videos and the macro mode is pretty good even though it's not a true macro.  Also, 12mm is a nicer focal length for landscapes than 14mm  Here's a couple of quick examples using the 12-50mm and macro mode, hand held

The lens cap from the 12-50mm

Scew on top of my acoustic amp

This grassy fern was about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size.

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Skeeterbytes Veteran Member • Posts: 9,802
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

I have the 12-50 and the 4/3 edition of the 14-42, which is similar to the µ4/3 version.

Optically I don't find them very different and the µ4/3 14-42 definitely has a size advantage when stowing the camera. Focal length aside, they're in the same ballpark WRT image quality.

Howerver, the 12-50 has huge advantages in utility. It's weatherproof, just like the camera. It has a metal mount flange, not plastic. It's a little longer and a lot wider (those two millimeters make a world of difference). It has a very useful macro mode and it has a slick power zoom, which is very important for video.

I'd get the 12-50.

Cheers,

Rick

Russ Houston
Russ Houston Veteran Member • Posts: 6,372
reasons to get 12-50
2

It's weather sealed.  It's wider (12mm vs 14mm is pretty noticeable).  Faux macro function is nice.  Electronic zoom is very nice for video.  AF on the OM-D is very fast.

Reasons for the 14-42 are it's cheaper, it's smaller, and the small minimum focusing distance can still give you some nice close ups, though I think the 12-50 "macro" mode is a little better.

I have the 14-42 and almost passed on the 12-50.  However, I'm glad I got it after all.

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bcjensen OP New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

Is the power zoom, when used for video, silent?

bcjensen OP New Member • Posts: 3
Re: reasons to get 12-50

I think my main concern is size but it sounds like everyone thinks the performance is worth the size sacrifice. I am switching do m43 from a small nikon d40 which basically lives with a 50 1.4 attached to it. I do want something that feels smaller and it seems like the 12-50 will still fit the bill.

Skeeterbytes Veteran Member • Posts: 9,802
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

It is (so far) and by contrast, when I forget to engage it the in-camera mics clearly pick up the mechanical zoom's noise.

Cheers,

Rick

Alumna Gorp Senior Member • Posts: 1,531
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

Purchased with the OMD the 12-50mm lens is a no brainer, image quality is pretty much up there as well, I have no complaints.

Here`s a few shoots using the 12-50.



The main advantages of the 12-50mm over the 14-42mm is its zoom coverage, weather sealing a macro setting.

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sigala1 Senior Member • Posts: 3,634
Meaning of "better"
1

bcjensen wrote:

I have made up my mind on purchasing the Olympus OM-d vs. the nex 6 however wanted to get some opinions on lenses. I can't decide which kit lens to get. I will hopefully be getting the pana 25 1.4 soon but not immediately so I need a kit lens.

The 14-42 is appealing because it is cheaper and smaller which makes this on the top of my list. It is just a kit lens so why not just do the cheaper one.

I am tempted by the 12-50 in order to get the silver body but, due to the cost, I would want the 12-50 to be a significantly better lens than the 14-42.

What do you all think between these two lenses?

Thanks

The 12-50mm is a “better” lens because it has weather sealing, 12mm wide angle, and macro. It’s not “better” because it offers objectively better image quality at the same focal length and f/stop. In fact, overall I prefer the image quality of the 14-42 II, but there are those who disagree with me.

paultakeda Senior Member • Posts: 1,782
If size, then 14-42.

bcjensen wrote:

I think my main concern is size but it sounds like everyone thinks the performance is worth the size sacrifice. I am switching do m43 from a small nikon d40 which basically lives with a 50 1.4 attached to it. I do want something that feels smaller and it seems like the 12-50 will still fit the bill.

The 14-42 is a gem of a lens that tends to be derided simply because it's not a prime and isn't a fast lens. If size is your priority then you will be happier with the 14-42. The advantages of the 12-50 exist but based on your preference I do not think they outweigh the size advantage of the 14-42.

tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 22,075
Those are.....

Alumna Gorp wrote:

Purchased with the OMD the 12-50mm lens is a no brainer, image quality is pretty much up there as well, I have no complaints.

Here`s a few shoots using the 12-50.



The main advantages of the 12-50mm over the 14-42mm is its zoom coverage, weather sealing a macro setting.

very nice shots.

Paritcularly the middle  one of the girl.

Did you plan the backlighting/streaming ray effect or did you just get lucky?

(I mean with the shot, not the girl!)

Tedolph

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Sergey Borachev Senior Member • Posts: 3,303
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

The 12-50mm and 14-42mm lenses are very close in terms of image quality and AF performance for the focal length range of 14-42mm. YMMV depending on sample variation. The 12-50mm lens is definitely not so good at 12mm or at 50mm, but it is infinitely better than the 14-42mm lens at those focal lengths

Look, others have already commented on reasons for choosing one or the other, but you should also consider this. If you ever want a weatherproof lens later, or if you ever want a really versatile lens later (macro, quiet motorised zoom, all in the same lens), it will cost you much more than the little bit of difference when you can buy the it as a kit at this time. You can buy the 14-42mm lens easily and cheaply later, but not the 12-50mm.

baxters Veteran Member • Posts: 5,022
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

Sergey Borachev wrote:

 You can buy the 14-42mm lens easily and cheaply later, but not the 12-50mm.

In my opinion, whether you buy it now or later, it's the same price. I see that cameta.com sells used/refurbished 12-50's for $279 shipped on ebay. Other sellers are asking similar money.

Gaah, the 14-42 II is going for more than the $99 bundle price on ebay. That's crazy. I'd expect it to be around $75.

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sarlo100 Senior Member • Posts: 1,323
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

The 12-50 is slower than the 14-42 at all focal lengths, somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 a stop, depending. In broad daylight, that will make little difference. In general purpose photography, it might make a difference. Neither lens is much to write home about for low light photography, that's best served by primes.  Sigma is running a deal for a 19 and 30mm f2.8 combo for $200.

Considering you can get the 14-42 and those two primes for right around the same cost as the 12-50, I'd look in that direction if you want a more capable system.

Bias factor - the above is my lens combination. I'm quite happy with it.

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reygon Senior Member • Posts: 2,036
+1 (nt)

Russ Houston wrote:

It's weather sealed. It's wider (12mm vs 14mm is pretty noticeable). Faux macro function is nice. Electronic zoom is very nice for video. AF on the OM-D is very fast.

Reasons for the 14-42 are it's cheaper, it's smaller, and the small minimum focusing distance can still give you some nice close ups, though I think the 12-50 "macro" mode is a little better.

I have the 14-42 and almost passed on the 12-50. However, I'm glad I got it after all.

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reygon
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Aleo Veuliah
Aleo Veuliah MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 14,628
Re: Get the 12-50mm. No text.
2

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Alumna Gorp Senior Member • Posts: 1,531
Re: Those are.....

tedolf wrote:

Alumna Gorp wrote:

Purchased with the OMD the 12-50mm lens is a no brainer, image quality is pretty much up there as well, I have no complaints.

Here`s a few shoots using the 12-50.



The main advantages of the 12-50mm over the 14-42mm is its zoom coverage, weather sealing a macro setting.

very nice shots.

Paritcularly the middle one of the girl.

Did you plan the backlighting/streaming ray effect or did you just get lucky?

(I mean with the shot, not the girl!)

Tedolph

I just got lucky, it was very windy in those hills. would have been ideal conditions for a landscape or two and it was just magical conditions with the lighting, fast moving clouds and wind swept corn fields.

We were up there scattering ashes, but I have remembered this spot for windy days

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LucaBrasi Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

I 've only had the OM-D for a couple of weeks and went with the 12-50. Definitely no complaints. Here is an  untouched JPEG taken at 12mm.

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David247
David247 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

Personally I think they are both good general purpose lenses.   I would lean towards the 12-50 myself though for the weather sealing, power zoom and macro.

If you want to technically compare them though, check out SLRgear.  And if it is important to you, pay attention the CA, vignette and distortion tests as well.   Note that the scores shown initially, are from "user reviews", not the SLR gear reviews.  You can also read the "user reviews" but be aware that there have been 3 versions of this lens, and the user reviews may or may not be about the latest version.   Sometimes people post without paying attention to the details.

Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II M.Zuiko Digital
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1400/cat/15

Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ M.Zuiko Digital ED
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1479/cat/15

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Palaroid Android New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Olympus OM-D 12-50 or 14-42

if you are more into street photo, i would like to urge you to get the 12-50 mm, its quite stealthy especially when you zoom in the subject, as compared to 14-42mm which has a noticeable zooming mechanism. but all in all, as what other have said regarding 12-50mm advantages..they are all right..:-) get the 12-50mm!! hehe

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