View Full Version : Comparison for you: 14-54 F2.8 vs kit 14-45 F3.5

30th November 2012, 02:31 AM
Believe it or not- there is VERY little difference in image quality.

At F2.8 the 14-54 is not HUGELY sharp. It's sharp enough, but very few lenses are sharp wide open. The 50mm F2 is one of those lenses.

At the same aperture, the 14-45mm kit lens is just as good.

The 14-54mm tends to distort a little more toward the wide end, nothing too bad unless you shoot interiors. The 14-45 is quite distortion neutral.

The 14-45 is a cheap lens, but well made and solid. The 14-54 is a truly excellent lens, super build and w/proof but it's triple the price.

Remember that the 14-54 2.8-3.5 keeps the viewfinder MUCH brighter, which is ESSENTIAL on a E3xx E4xx E5xx and E6xx, however, not such a massive concern on E1, E3, and E5 with their big-ass pro spec finders.

Focusing is faster, quieter and more useful on the 14-54, as the aperture is wider at any given focal length, and it has a focusing gauge.

However, for those not needing a bright/fast lens, or something that can withstand a nuclear war, it's a good option and represents far better value.

The 14-42 kit lens is almost useless in comparison to the 14-45, showing heavy distortion, edge softness, and truly shocking build quality.

Hope you found this informative!

30th November 2012, 08:41 AM
Interesting. I moved from the 14-42 to the 14-54 as I needed more from it, never got anywhere near a 14-45 as it wasn't really on the radar. I don't have any regrets abotut he 14-54 though

30th November 2012, 09:11 AM
The 14-42 kit lens is almost useless in comparison to the 14-45, showing heavy distortion, edge softness, and truly shocking build quality.

Hope you found this informative!

Interesting comparison, I never had a 14-45 but in general most respected review sites seem to favour the 14-42's optical quality over the older 14-45.
My experience with two copies of the 14-42 has been very positive from an image quality perspective, build is obviously not in the HG class but is not too bad IMHO, considering it's a kit lens.

A couple of examples:-

SLR Gear 14-45 (http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/32)

SLR Gear 14-42 (http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1087/cat/15)

A few more reviews of the 14-42 at Photozone (http://www.photozone.de/olympus--four-thirds-lens-tests/451-oly_1442_3556) and dpreview (http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_14-42_3p5-5p6_o20/)

30th November 2012, 10:07 AM
Hi there Huw,

My experience may be down to "copy variation" however, if this is the case, it's that I have an exceptionally good 14-45mm. The 14-42's I had (both) seemed below average performance. However yes, for a kit lens, you cannot get better nowadays. In the Sony Alpha/Minolta system, there are a lot of VERY high performance kit lenses from the 80's and 90's, and this reminds me a lot of them (good "bang" for your buck)

However the 14-45 is also a LOT better made. I seem to get on really well with mine.

David M
30th November 2012, 12:04 PM
My sample of the 14-42 is so bad the fourth shot I took with it was used as a double page spread.

30th November 2012, 12:32 PM
I used to have both 14-45 and 14-42 for a while and to be honest, didn't notice any particular diffrences in optical qualities (unlike the 2 versions of the 40-150 lens where the Mk1 was significantly better).

The 14-45 was however much more pleasant to use due to its sturdier build (albeit with slower AF speed).

But the 14-54 is a completely different story.
Even sturdier build and much more consistent optical performance.
The smaller (brighter) aperture allows you to take pictures that none of the 14-42/45 lens are able and the crisp sharpness of the 14-54 is only beaten by much more expensive PRO lenses (like 12-60 and 50 macro).

So I think that even if the Zuiko 14-45 is probably the best basic kit lens of the digital era, it can harldy compete with the Zuiko 14-54 in all aspects.

6th December 2012, 03:03 AM
Actually, in no way am I saying that the 14-45 is BETTER, but it comes pretty damn close. However, focusing speed, build quality, weather resistance, depth of field control, and the brightness seen through the finder make it the better lens, rather than winning out on image quality which (in my copies) is remarkably close.


6th December 2012, 03:04 AM
Maybe I just had a cracking 14-45? Why did I sell it :O

6th December 2012, 03:08 AM
David M, that's very interesting... I couldn't seem to get any decent shots, even on my E-3 (r.i.p mediterrenean ocean). Does this raise the question of Olympus copy variation quality?

Perhaps manufacturing inconsistencies?

Ulfric M Douglas
6th December 2012, 09:17 AM
The 14-42 kit lens is almost useless in comparison to the 14-45, showing heavy distortion, edge softness, and truly shocking build quality.
Prove it.

6th December 2012, 09:26 AM
I'd be interested in this too. The 14-42 certainly isn't a 14-54 in terms of what it produces but o always found it an excellent lens for a kit and considering its size

6th December 2012, 03:00 PM
If I had one I would prove it :D

Stewart G
6th December 2012, 08:24 PM
I'm a big fan of the 14-42, too. Not meaning to sound contrarian, but I've no complaints about it, am always surprised at how good it is (along with the 40-150). I only have the 12-60 to compare it to, but the latter, at five times the price, certainly isn't five times as good.
If I only had the kit lenses to work with, that would be okay (plus the ex-25).