7 out of 10 points and recommendedSmall, light, inexpensive, stellar IR performerMicrocontrast a bit lacking
I agree with the previous reviews to a great extent, although I see larger differences when compared with the extaordinary Olympus 12-40 at any aperture, the Panasonic showing significantly less "bite" from lack of microcontrast. It's not a big deal but I thought I'd mention it.reviewed August 28th, 2015 (purchased for $80)
I bought the 14-42 to use as a lazy choice for my GM5 when I can't be bothered to carry multiple primes, and it's a decent enough performer. But I was pleasntly surprised when I tried it on my IR converted E-PL5, where it outperforms *all* my other lenses - even the Panasonic 14/2.5 which has a very solid IR performance.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedVery light, inexpensive, (mainly) sharp, useful zoom rangePlastic mount a little loose, my copy is soft on right edge of image
This came with a X-M1 for a total price of £270, so it's a bit unfair to be over-critical, but for those who may want to buy this lens separately it's best to be brutally honest.reviewed March 17th, 2015
Firstly the build is generally ok but mine is a bit loose in the mount, allowing movement when zooming (the zoom action is a bit stiff).
Secondly mine appears to be decentered, with a soft right side mostly towards the top right corner which is a bit disappointing.
I bought the X-M1 kit as a lightweight travel camera and despite my criticisms the lens is up to the job, out-performing almost all kit lenses I've used even with the decentring so another copy would probably be even better. But it really doesn't deserve "top marks" in any category other than "value for monyey".
Bottom line: not stellar by any measure but a solid performer at a bargain price when bought with a kit - bud I would be unhappy had I paid the $400 asking price for the retail version.
4 out of 10 points and not recommendedSize, build qualityAlmost everything else
I bought to make a "pocketable" camera (along with a E-PM2 body) to do much the same job as something like a XZ-2, say.reviewed September 6th, 2014 (purchased for $300)
Boy was I disappointed; I expected performance similar to other Olympus kit lenses but this one comes nowhere near. It lacks "bite" (low microcontrast) at any focal length and aperture, producing rather dull, tonally flat images.
Just to add insult it sometimes misbehaved on startup/shutdown and occasionally failed to focus, although this was rare. I tried hard to "get to like it" but failed and sold it for a loss, replacing it with the (excellent) Panasonic 12-32. The little Panasonic lens is in a different league optically, challenging my Olympus 12-40/2.8 in the centre of the frame even wide open.
I usually like Olympus lenses, often getting attractive results from lenses that are brushed aside by the "sharpness is everything" fanatics (the 17/2.8 springs to mind) but the 14-42 EZ has no redeeming optical characteristics to mitigate its lack of resolution.
Definitely not recommended.