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Thread: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

  1. #1
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Boo, Panasonic. Up to now, you'd done just about everything right. For the users, grab a 14-45mm (Japanese) while you still can!!

    Dpreview: (G2 review)

    Finally, it's worth mentioning that the new cheaper kit lens is a step backwards compared to its predecessor. Stopped down it's as least as good as any kit lens on the market, but wide open it just isn't very impressive at all. At normal print sizes you're unlikely to be troubled by the change - and of course there are plenty of excellent MFT lenses available (not least the lovely 20mm pancake) - but its a real disappointment to see corner cutting like this having a negative impact on image quality.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Actually I found mine not all that bad performance-wise, being about equal to the predecessor 14-45. The new lens also focuses dead silent with no noise. However it does feel "cheaper," being mostly plastic and lighter weight relative to the older version.
    Jack
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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Could it be sample variation? I know Sony send dpreview their rejects

    Cheers

    Brian

  4. #4
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Actually I found mine not all that bad performance-wise, being about equal to the predecessor 14-45. The new lens also focuses dead silent with no noise. However it does feel "cheaper," being mostly plastic and lighter weight relative to the older version.
    They shifted production from Japan to China of the camera and the lens, they cheaped-out on lens construction and optics. There is no higher ground available, like getting a 14-54mm II or 12-60mm like Olympus has for it's DSLRs. Where has the consumer not gotten screwed here? Saved a couple grams in weight? What are we, 100 years old? Video added? I could care less. If I want video, I'll use a dedicated camera like the GH1 or a real video camera. Meanwhile, they reduced the value and quality of the camera overall. Not that migrators from P&S's will ever notice. It's just depressing that cameras are made mostly for an increasing impoverished American audience who demand price and or cost-cutting at every turn.

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Hi Rich, I would like to disagree with your initial post.

    The 14-42 is a fitting tribute for the G2. Match made in Pana heavens (wherever they are located).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Well, we can always migrate to Leica... that'll teach 'em for cheaping out on us!

    Seriously, I love the look and feel of the Pen (still haven't seen a GF1 in a real shop) - hopefully we'll see the high spec m4/3rds body next from Olympus.

    Cheers

    Brian

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    Super Duper
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Competition drives costs down, they have to get the costs out of it somewhere. These cameras are only in use for a short time until new ones come out, no one is going to be using a 70 year old G2 like I use my 70 year old Leica IIIc. So why bother adding to the cost with higher build quality at this segment of the market?

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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    I think you're right monza - but there's nothing to stop them making high quality disposable cams too.

    I'm sure the next big thing for m4/3rds bodies will be to lose the focal plane shutter and go to an all electronic global shutter. That will drive costs down.

    Cheers

    Brian

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    Senior Member aleksanderpolo's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Side by side comparison of the 14-45 to 14-42 on dpreview shows the new lens is pretty bad, especially near wide open. Now it's the time for Panny to announce the lens sent to dpreview as "pre-production" model...

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Come on folks, can't you see that the touch screen and the silent zoom are an order of magnitude improvement over the previous things?

  11. #11
    Super Duper
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    I can't really hear the zoom on my 14-45 Maybe it's time for a hearing test...

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    Competition drives costs down, they have to get the costs out of it somewhere. These cameras are only in use for a short time until new ones come out, no one is going to be using a 70 year old G2 like I use my 70 year old Leica IIIc. So why bother adding to the cost with higher build quality at this segment of the market?

    Robert, The self destruct button has not kicked in on any of my G1s yet. May be you are right, it would in 6 months and I will be forced to buy a G2?

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    Super Duper
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Isn't planned obsolescence part of the feature set?

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    I don't use any of the kit lenses. They're simply too slow for my uses. And I never really like using "normal zooms" anyway, even the excellent ones.

  15. #15
    bcostin
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Isn't every kit lens an excercise in cynical cost cutting? These aren't price-is-no-object L-series glass. The goal is to make an adequate lens at an acceptable price. Discriminating buyers have the option to buy a body and lens separately.

  16. #16
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Mosley View Post
    Well, we can always migrate to Leica... that'll teach 'em for cheaping out on us!

    Seriously, I love the look and feel of the Pen (still haven't seen a GF1 in a real shop) - hopefully we'll see the high spec m4/3rds body next from Olympus.

    Cheers

    Brian
    Hopefully, because we know where people migrate when things get worse with the second-tier cameras, they go to Nikon and Canon. They already have enough market share.

  17. #17
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by bcostin View Post
    Isn't every kit lens an excercise in cynical cost cutting? These aren't price-is-no-object L-series glass. The goal is to make an adequate lens at an acceptable price. Discriminating buyers have the option to buy a body and lens separately.
    Not in terms of progression. Canon's original 18-55mm was lousy, it's gotten better. So has Nikon's 18-55mm. The Olympus 14-45mm became the 14-42mm (DSLR lens)which was more cheaply made, but that made sense because the weight reduction was substantial and the optics improved. Sony sensibly canned the terrible 18-70mm and replaced it with a more conservative 18-55mm with much better optics. So, going backwards in optical quality really is a stupid thing to do.

  18. #18
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    Competition drives costs down, they have to get the costs out of it somewhere. These cameras are only in use for a short time until new ones come out, no one is going to be using a 70 year old G2 like I use my 70 year old Leica IIIc. So why bother adding to the cost with higher build quality at this segment of the market?
    They cut their labour costs 5-10x by going to China and didn't pass any savings on to the customers. Isn't that enough of a savings, they have to cheapen the equipment too?

  19. #19
    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    It seems to me that a lot of posters in this forum are serious snappers. The fact that we are using m4/3rds at all is counter intuitive. I've never owned a kit lens and even if I do ever buy a G2, I would attempt to do so without the kit lens. With the 7-14, 40/1.4 and 45/2.8, I would argue that serious use of the m4/3rd format is covered.

    Now flame me!

    LouisB

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    Super Duper
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by RichA View Post
    They cut their labour costs 5-10x by going to China and didn't pass any savings on to the customers. Isn't that enough of a savings, they have to cheapen the equipment too?
    Capitalism. They will either succeed with the G2 at the price point they have it, or they will have to lower the price.

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    It seems to me that a lot of posters in this forum are serious snappers. The fact that we are using m4/3rds at all is counter intuitive. I've never owned a kit lens and even if I do ever buy a G2, I would attempt to do so without the kit lens. With the 7-14, 40/1.4 and 45/2.8, I would argue that serious use of the m4/3rd format is covered.

    Now flame me!

    LouisB

    Pretty big gap between 14mm and 40mm.

    The 14-45 kit is a great lens, I don't use it at the long end because it is slow, but it's nice for a 28mm wide angle.

  22. #22
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    [QUOTE]Yeah, it is a sharp lens. Not so much wrong with this kitlens (for the price) and the sound of it never got in my way.

    Michiel

  23. #23
    PeterLeyssens
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Like BigLouis, I never owned a kit zoom. I've made the mistake once to buy a 35-70 for my Olympus OM SLR: I hardly ever used it and gave it away or something. I don't even remember. I find zooms practical only for focal lengths that I hardly use, like very wide angles (the 7-14 and 9-18) or very long range (e.g. 40-150). Even then, the disadvantages may make it impossible to use it: I had the 40-150 for my E-420, but the aperture was so slow that I had a hard time using it in a useful way.

    Peter.

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    Capitalism. They will either succeed with the G2 at the price point they have it, or they will have to lower the price.
    Given G1's track record (at least as sampled here in the Netherlands), there will be a whole bunch of them floating around (perhaps a whole lot more than the G1) despite price reductions, cash back offers, etc (one forum is actively pushing G1 being sold by their "partners" Amazon, etc on their front page).

    One aspect of capitalism would show a lot of cash flow in the books. At the end of the day, things may not add up positively.

  25. #25
    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    It seems to me that a lot of posters in this forum are serious snappers. The fact that we are using m4/3rds at all is counter intuitive. I've never owned a kit lens and even if I do ever buy a G2, I would attempt to do so without the kit lens. With the 7-14, 40/1.4 and 45/2.8, I would argue that serious use of the m4/3rd format is covered.

    Now flame me!

    LouisB
    Except for: Fast short zooms, long lenses, long macros, fast normal primes, etc, etc.

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    Pretty big gap between 14mm and 40mm.

    The 14-45 kit is a great lens, I don't use it at the long end because it is slow, but it's nice for a 28mm wide angle.
    I find it a quite usable lens for some purposes--too slow for me for many things, but when I want stopped down, I find it quite good. I tend to carry the 20, 45 and Oly 9-18 with adapter and usually one of my FD lenses, but at times I just stick in the 14-45 and maybe the 20.

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    Re: New Panasonic kit lens a cynical experiment in cost-cutting

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    It seems to me that a lot of posters in this forum are serious snappers. The fact that we are using m4/3rds at all is counter intuitive. I've never owned a kit lens and even if I do ever buy a G2, I would attempt to do so without the kit lens. With the 7-14, 40/1.4 and 45/2.8, I would argue that serious use of the m4/3rd format is covered.

    Now flame me!

    LouisB
    What is your 40/1.4?
    Francois B.

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