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3-5x standard range zoom lenses for Micro Four Thirds


comparison table

lens focal length in 35mm terms OIS C-AF HD video filter length weight price in US
Pan. 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 compact 24-64mm Mega Yes HD 37mm 24mm g $229
Pan. 12-35mm f/2.8 X HD (2012) 24-70mm Power Yes HD 58mm 74mm 305g $849
Oly. 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro weatherproof (2013) 24-80mm N Yes MSC 62mm 84mm 382g $999
Oly. 12-45mm f/4 Pro weatherproof (2020) 24-90mm N Yes MSC 58mm 70mm 254g $650
Oly. 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ MSC weatherproof 24-100mm + macro No Yes MSC 52mm 83mm 211g $399
Pan. 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph 24-120mm Power Yes HD 58mm mm 210g $499
Pan. 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Leica 24-120mm Power Yes HD 62mm 86mm 320g $999
Pan. 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 X PZ Asph 28-84mm Power Yes HD 37mm 27mm 95g $399
Pan. 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 budget H-FS014042 28-84mm Mega No No 52mm 64mm 165g $145
Oly. 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 28-84mm N No No 40.5mm
Oly. 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II collapsible 28-84mm N Yes MSC 37mm 57mm 112g $299
Oly. 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR collapsible 28-84mm N Yes MSC 37mm 57mm 113g
Oly. 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ power zoom 28-84mm N Yes MSC 37mm 23mm 91g $349
Pan. 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 H-FS014045 28-90mm Mega Yes No 52mm 60mm 195g $280

premium wide aperture weathersealed

weatherproof budget lens

Panasonic 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS lens

  • announced Feb 2016
  • 5x zoom
  • Dual I.S. (Image Stabilization) compatibility
  • smooth, silent stepper AF with 240fps sensor drive
  • 7 rounded blades, metal mount, multicoated
  • 0.54x macro
  • 11 elements in 9 groups incl. 3 ASPH, 1 ED
  • 210g
  • $US499

Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ MSC macro


  • the price for its versatility is the slow aperture, and slightly softer images wide open but you do get:
    • world's fastest autofocus for slowish moving subjects when used on the E-M5
    • weatherproofing to match the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera
    • 4x zoom with field of view range equivalent to 24mm ultra wide angle to 100mm short telephoto on a 35mm full frame camera
    • macro to 0.36x activated via a macro button on the lens (0.72x in full frame terms when you consider the smallest field of view)
    • power zoom lever for smoother zooming during video recording
    • near silent AF for video recording
    • versatile, user customisable lens Fn button
    • 10 elements in 9 groups
    • closest focus 35cm in normal mode and 20cm in macro mode
    • 5 rounded blades
    • 52mm filter thread
    • 57x83mm
    • 211g

super compact

Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MegaOIS

  • announced Oct 2013 as a super compact, high quality lens to match the mini Panasonic GM-1 camera
  • 37mm filter thread
  • 3 aspherical elements and one ED lens; 8 elements in 7 groups
  • OIS allows 1/8th sec hand held at 32mm with care
  • 7-blade diaphragm
  • close focus 20cm for 12-20mm and 30cm for > 20mm focal length
  • 24mm long, retractable
  • 70g
  • no hood
  • no focus ring - camera has a virtual MF function
    • sharpest at f/4 at 12mm and at f/5.6 at other focal lengths
    • moderate CA at 12mm wide open, but well controlled at other focal lengths or stopped down to f/5.6
    • 1.5EV vignetting wide open, becomes negligible on stopping down
    • highly recommended - an impressive lens that is sharp, lightweight, compact and nice to use
    • some distortion at 12mm but negligible at other focal lengths
    • as sharp as the 14mm and 25mm primes?
    • a pleasure to shoot with, showing surprising quality for a kit zoom

Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 X PZ Asph

  • Panasonic have created a unique extremely compact 3x kit zoom lens which is well worth a look although you do pay a bit more for the smaller size
  • best image quality is at 25mm at f/5.6-f/8
  • sharper than the earlier Panasonic 3x zoom lenses
  • very fast and quiet AF
  • Olympus users may need post-processing to reduce CA
  • minimal distortion
  • Nano surface coating
  • 9 elements in 8 groups (4 aspherical lenses , 2 ED lens)
  • POWER OIS optical image stabilisation (better than Mega OIS) but no OIS switch
  • 7 circular blades
  • close focus 0.2m = 0.17x macro
  • 37mm filter (does not rotate on focusing)
  • 61mm x 26.8mm
  • 95g/3.4oz
  • electric zoom lever
  • manual focus lever
  • $399

Olympus mZD 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ power zoom

  • announced Jan 2014 as kit lens for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera
  • ultracompact retracting design - when you power it on, the lens will extend out, to a length more than doubling it's original length
  • 5 circular blades
  • 8 elements in 7 groups including 3 Aspherical elements, 1 ED glass element, 1 S-HR glass element
  • close focus 0.25m (0.23x magnification)
  • stepper AF motor
  • power zoom
  • MF and zoom rings
  • internal focus
  • 61mm diam x 23mm long - world’s slimmest standard zoom kit lens
  • 91g
  • 37mm filter thread
  • matched LC-37C is billed as a “stylish automatic lens cap for fast shooting and protecting lenses from dust and scratches” but an expensive optional extra ~$50
  • no hood
  • ~$349


Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH. Mega OIS

  • announced Jan 2013
  • 7 circular blades
  • adds a 2nd aspherical lens to make it more compact
  • 9 elements in 8 groups
  • fast stepping AF motor suitable for video
  • internal focus
  • minimum focus distance of 0.2 m (14-20 mm) / 0.3 m (21-42 mm) = 0.17x macro (35 mm camera equivalent: 0.34x)
  • 56mm x 49mm long
  • 110g
  • 46mm filter

compact collapsible

Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR

  • new “optimised” design announced Jan 2011 - it is not clear what the enhancements are
  • MSC AF
  • 8 elements / 7 groups incl. 3 Aspherical elements
  • 7 rounded blades
  • close focus 25cm
  • max. magnification 0.19x
  • 37mm filter non-rotating
  • 112g
  • 56.5mm diam x 50mm long
  • $299

Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II

  • announced Nov 2010 along with the PEN E-PL1s camera
  • adds internal focus for faster, quieter autofocusing
  • MSC designation
  • 8 elements / 7 groups incl. 3 Aspherical elements
  • 7 rounded blades
  • close focus 25cm
  • max. magnification 0.19x
  • 37mm filter
  • 112g
  • 56.5mm diam x 50mm long
  • $299
  • adds compatibility with the concurrently announced lens converters (via bayonet attachment):
    • Fish-eye Lens Converter (FCON-37)
    • Wide-angle Lens Converter (WCON-37)
    • Macro Lens Converter (MCON-58)
    • very sharp in the centre but less sharp in edges compared with older version I model
    • very well controlled CA (0.5px)
    • 1.3EV vignetting corrected further in-camera
    • 7.7% barrel distortion at 14mm is corrected in camera

Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6

  • no longer available, originally introduced with the PEN E-P1
  • world 1st retractable mechanism design for an interchangeable lens camera
  • slower, noisier AF, NOT designed for HD video
  • 9 elements in 8 groups inc. 2x aspherical, 1x HR and 1x ED elements
  • 7 rounded blades
  • close focus 25cm
  • 150g
  • 40.5mm rotating filter
    • 4.6% barrel distortion at 14mm but this is corrected in-camera to about 1.7%
    • almost no vignetting (0.4EV)!
    • very sharp
    • well controlled CA (0.8px)

other zoom lenses

Kodak 12-45mm f/3.5-6.3 ASPH ED

  • budget kit lens introduced Jan 2014
  • 49mm filter

Panasonic 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS

  • cheaper than the original 14-45mm lens, but with plastic mount, less focal length range, closer focusing, longer lens body but lighter
  • 12 elements in 9 groups (1 Aspherical lens)
  • Mega OIS optical image stabilisation (2-3EV)
  • 7 rounded blades
  • 52mm non-rotating filter thread
  • close focus 30cm
  • 63.6mm x 60.6mm
  • 165g
  • H-FS014042
    • “AF works basically silent, it's surprisingly fast and highly accurate”
    • 5% barrel distortion at 14mm but in-camera correction reduced this to 0.7%
    • 1.5EV vignetting but in-camera correction reduced this to 1.2EV wide open
    • very sharp in centre
    • CA well controlled (1px max.)
    • “a pretty impressive lens despite its low price tag”

Panasonic 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS

  • the 1st lens for Micro Four Thirds system mount, introduced with the Panasonic G1 camera in 2008?
  • Mega OIS optical image stabilisation (2-3EV)
  • 52mm filter (non-rotating)
  • good build quality
  • internal focusing
  • 12 elements in 9 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
  • 7 rounded blades
  • close focus 50cm
  • 60mm x 60mm
  • 195g
  • H-FS014045
    • 5.5% barrel distortion at 14mm but in-camera correction reduced this to 1.3%
    • 2.3EV vignetting at 14mm but in-camera correction reduced this to ~1.1EV wide open
    • reasonably sharp
    • moderate CA (1-2px) but in-camera correction reduced this to minimal levels
photo/mft14-42mm.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/13 07:36 by gary1

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