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Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)

Is the Mark II Olympus Pen standard kit zoom an optical improvement?

On the left, the bigger and bulkier Mark 1 lens compared to the new Mark 2 on the right (pictures supplied by our sibling site, Digital Photography Now)

The other day Graham, one of our regulars on the FTU forum, posted a question asking which was better - the original m.Zuiko 14-42mm standard kit zoom, or the new Mark II version that was introduced at the beginning of the year along with the Pen E-PL2. This question is a very good one. Olympus has started from scratch with the m.Zuiko 14-42 II. It's narrower, lighter, has a new faster and much quieter focus motor, and it even has a metal lens mount instead of the original's plastic arrangement. Optically, nothing at all is carried over. The original lens had focus system that rotated the end section of the lens, while the new version focuses internally, enabling an optional petal-type lens hood to be used. The lens design itself is completely different, with none of the ED or high refractive index glass elements that were used in the old lens. Instead new lens relies on several aspherical lens elements.

As the first stage of a two-part comparison of the two lenses, we have compiled a gallery of camera JPEG and RAW image files that you can download and evaluate. The gallery compares the two lenses under the same conditions at different focal lengths and apertures, both mounted on a Pen E-PL1, and in turn the camera was tripod mounted for stability. The camera JPEG images were recorded with the standard noise filter setting. At this stage we won't comment on the optical results, but we welcome your feedback!

Next, we will lab test the two lenses using our DxO Analyzer test suite and publish a technical appraisal in Part 2.

 

To view or download the full size original camera JPEG image, click on its associated thumbnail from the gallery view below. You can also download the associated RAW file by clicking on the appropriate link:



Image 1: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Aperture: f 3.5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 2: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec
Aperture: f 5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 3: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 4: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec
Aperture: f 3.5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 5: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec
Aperture: f 5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 6: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 7: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec
Aperture: f 4.5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 26 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 8: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Aperture: f 6.3
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 26 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 9: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec
Aperture: f 4.4
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 25 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 10: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Aperture: f 6.3
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 25 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 11: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 42 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 12: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 42 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 13: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 42 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 14: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 42 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 15: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 42 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 16: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 40 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 17: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 18: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED (Mk1)
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Aperture: f 3.5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 19: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Aperture: f 3.5
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 20: m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II (Mk2)
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14 mm
Link to RAW file



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Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)

Four Thirds User editorial team Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
Which is the optical winner? We compare the two Olympus Pen Micro Four Thirds standard zooms in an e... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
So which one gets your vote? I can see slight differences in sharpness, vignetting, and fringing. I'... (more)

Ian Re: Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
No opinions based on the samples yet? Ian... (more)

Graham Re: Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
Not having the High Speed Broadband that you now have, it has taken me a couple of days to downlo... (more)

John Perriment Re: Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
Hi Ian, I have been looking and comparing but haven't really reached any firm conclusions yet. Sever... (more)

Graham Re: Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
I have now downloaded 14 of the RAW files and have looked at them in a side by side comparison. T... (more)

sigsegv Re: Comparing the old and new m.Zuiko 14-42 kit lenses (Part 1)
Some quick observations 14mm F3.5 old: better corners - even overall frame new: sharper middle - ... (more)