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Byte Me

Options to replace Oly 14-42 1st version - or do I keep?

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Hello,

 

Just got back from a trip and completed Lightroom post for all my pictures. I primarily shot the 14-42 Oly kit lens (version 1) and was happy with the results but found some of the shots softer than I'd like. Are there other lenses out there in this focal range that do a better job optically? The version II? The Panasonic 14-42? Oly 12-50? Something else? Or do I keep this?

 

Kit is EM5 in a Nauticam housing, port and zoom ring. Dual Z-240s, etc.

 

Appreciate your thoughts! :)

Brian

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I had the 14-42 (version 2) and replaced it with the Oly 9-18mm and Zen mini dome port (Oly housing). I thought the 9-18 was very nice. I've recently upgraded to the 7-14mm f2.8 PRO, so the 9-18 & Zen port are in need of a new owner...

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The Olympus 12-50 is definitely a better lens all round (I've had both). It's not perfect but if you want a single lens setup it is the best there is at being a jack of all trades. At 12mm behind a flat port it is not really a true wide angle, though does capture decent scenic shots and the corners are acceptable. You can get true macro with the the Nauticam port and gear (it is admittedly pretty expensive) or you can use a diopter at 50mm. It is possible to switch between 12/50 using housing buttons, but you cannot access macro at 43mm without the right port and gear.

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The Olympus 12-50 is definitely a better lens all round (I've had both). It's not perfect but if you want a single lens setup it is the best there is at being a jack of all trades. At 12mm behind a flat port it is not really a true wide angle, though does capture decent scenic shots and the corners are acceptable. You can get true macro with the the Nauticam port and gear (it is admittedly pretty expensive) or you can use a diopter at 50mm. It is possible to switch between 12/50 using housing buttons, but you cannot access macro at 43mm without the right port and gear.

 

Been thinking about this for an upgrade but the price of the port is keeping me from doing it. I've got the Oly 60mm macro and Panny 8mm fisheye and love them both. Really want something that's in the medium focal range that's of the same quality. Does the 12-50 approach them in that regard? May have to start scouring the for sale board to see if I can pick that combo up used!

 

Thanks! Brian.

Edited by Byte Me

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The 12-50 lens is close to the quality of the 60 when used as a macro lens, but not quite there of course. I use the 60 now almost exclusively and am really glad I took the plunge to go with a dedicated macro lens.

 

I have not used the 8 FE but the photos I have seen show it to be far superior behind a dome. The 12-50 is acceptable but does have definitely softer corners than a real WA lens.

 

After a couple of years trying to shoot all manner of shots with the 12-50, I discovered that having a zoom in that range was counterproductive as I was getting OK shots at all focal lengths but nothing outstanding at any one focal length. Now that I set up with fixed focal lengths I am much more productive.

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If you already have the 60mm and its flat port then you only need the 12-50mm lens, not a new port. The flat port is not ideal at 12mm but not terrible either and you already have the true wide angle covered by your 8mm lens. The question is whether the improvement is big enough compared to the 12-42 to make it worth it. Best if you could borrow a 12-50mm for a few dives to see for yourself.

 

Bart

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If you do not need the macro, I consistently hear that the panasonic 12-32 is better optically than the 12-50, especially at the wide end. Also, if you do not need the macro, the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42 II model is supposed to be the "best" of the 14-42 zooms by Oly and Panasonic. Panasonic has also recently introduced a 12-60 that might work. Jury is out still on how it compares optically.

 

That said, I am not always sure that minor differences in sharpness can easily be detected when you consider that underwater photography usually means we are moving while taking pictures of moving subjects through water that is not really as clear as we often describe it. Comparing underwater to above water photography, it would be like putting a clear filter of uncertain optical qualities in front of our lens (the port) and then taking a picture through a window (sea water) that may not be really clean.

 

If you need the macro and the wide end in one lens, then the 12-50 is about the best you can do.

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