I always do lens tests wrong - yet here I go again. The contestants:
Lumix 12-32mm, Lumix 14-42mm II and the Olympus EZ 14-42mm,
Images - indoor
I shot indoors with three subjects about 10 inches apart front-back. I shot at widest and longest FLs only. I didn't race through the shots, yet by feel the II was the faster to focus with the other two close behind. Shot centered on closest object then kept focus the same and shot it at the edge of frame. Next shot was focused on furthest object. Final shot focused on intermediate object. Four shots for each lens at 14(12)mm and four at 42(32)mm.
Images - torture test (extreme)
Shot into the setting sun with no hoods.. oops the 14-42 was hooded! See why I hate doing this?
Once fully zoomed in, one intermediate, one wide.
For 14-42EZ I couldn't tell where 'intermediate' was - so I shot two of them (since then I've learned where the focal length is shown on the viewfinder).
Images - x closeup
Shot of car keys with the other two lenses in the background for reference
Specs - my personal evaluation
- I prefer the overall feel of the II best; it also feels like the fastest of the three to focus but all are quick.
- I dislike the stickiness of the 12-32 zoom ring, poor zoom for smooth video. No focus ring = points off in my book.
- The Zuiko has no real spec flaws and has the closest focus, which is nice. Also easiest zooming with video.
No clear winner. Each did a fine job and all similarly sharp with nice bokeh. This test did not seek decentering or other errors, just what was sharp and how things weren't.
Torture images - my evaluation
As shown here, also no clear winner: every image was awful! Clearly this test was too tortuous. The hood on the II did not affect the results so re-shooting with that lens was unnecessary.
Points to ponder:
- Can an Olympus body focus the 12-32 manually? Apparently not, and in fact neither can my wife's GF2. I can of course AF with touchscreen on other bodies so MF isn't really vital.. but I prefer to have control over it.
- Close focus is nice for a kit zoom, but I have an extension tube which will cover that nicely when closeups are needed.
- Also nice is having all zoom lenses zoom the same direction. I have a nice 45-150 Lumix that I plan to keep so the rotation is preferred. As I'm used to the Pentax system the Lumix direction is far more intuitive than the Canon/Oly's.
Next Up: A less-challenging outdoor scene to better evaluate focus across the frame + any fringing issues. I expect the camera autocorrects a lot of fringing though. We'll see about that!
Note - the mZuiko EZ works fine on my GX1, but no stabilization is available with that pair.