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View Full Version : What wide-angle prime?


SteelD
28th June 2012, 07:49 AM
OK, I've got the Panasonic 20mm/f1.7 and the Olympus 45mm/f1.8. I like these lenses because they are compact, feel good to use and deliver the goods. I also have the 12-50 kit lens but I am not so convinced by it mostly because the zooming doesn't feel that smooth. I'll use it for now for wide-angle shots.

I want to add a couple more primes at the wide-angle and telephoto end to give me more flexibility. My first priority is the wide-angle end. Apart from fish-eyes, I think that there are no prime M43 lenses below 12mm. Maybe 12mm might keep me happy but I have been used to 14mm on my full-frame DSLR.

I guess that the Zuiko 12mm/f2 would be the logical first choice. Is there anything else I should consider?

zuiko-holic
28th June 2012, 08:19 AM
Not a prime but m.zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6 is very (very) compact and its IQ is very good.

m.zuiko 12mm is of course a great lens but it is quite expensive and while its f/2 aperture and 24mm FOV are useful for some applications, it just cannot beat the m.zuiko 9-18mm for landscapes or dramatic cityscapes.

There is always the option of Lumix 7-14mm (the widest lens of the m4/3 system) but is still not a prime and not as compact as the 9-18mm.

StephenL
28th June 2012, 08:49 AM
Depends how wide you want to go. You are right, there are no primes wider than 12mm, unless you count fish-eye. But if a 28mm - equivalent is wide enough, take a look at the excellent little Panasonic 14mm. Otherwise, as Zuiko-holic rightly states, you're left with the 9-18 or 7-14.

SteelD
28th June 2012, 09:54 AM
Mmmm... The Panasonic 7-14mm is a lot of money. The 12mm/f2 and 9-18mm are in a similar ball-park moneywise. I probably don't need a wide aperture as many of my wide-angle shots are likely to be in good light so it becomes a question of compromise like everything else. Either I go for the 12mm/f2 with superior image quality but middling in terms of angle of view or go for the more flexible zoom and suffer a bit from not being as crisp as the prime.

Has anybody made such a decision and were you happy with the choice you made?

StephenL
28th June 2012, 10:12 AM
Well, I have the 7-14, and 12mm. And I did have the 9-18.

The 7-14 is great, but it's a bit lumpy and specialised at the wide end. I don't use it as much as I should because of its comparative size.

The 12mm is superb quality and build, but of course is fixed at 12mm. I like the wide aperture of the 12mm for creative use of (shallow) depth of field.

The 9-18 was good IQ but personally I can't get on with lenses which have to be extended before you can use them. Just a personal thing.

I think this shows that there's no such thing as a "perfect" lens for all occasions.

SteelD
28th June 2012, 10:54 AM
The 9-18 was good IQ but personally I can't get on with lenses which have to be extended before you can use them. Just a personal thing.
Thanks Stephen. Just so I can get a feel for this - when extended, how big does the lens become? Double the length for example? How difficult is it to extend? In other words, is it a quick one-handed operation or is it fiddly and requires two hands?

snaarman
28th June 2012, 11:00 AM
I know this is wandering off your original target, but I use the original 4/3 9-18 with an adapter on the E-M5. The IQ is good. It is a reasonable size for the camera (but much larger than the 45mm for example). The AF is slowish but for interiors and landscapes that's not so bad. if you are after superwide skate park shots then it would be too slow...

Pete

Graham_of_Rainham
28th June 2012, 11:09 AM
My 9-18 is the default lens on the PEN. The 7-14 is brilliant, but so much heavier and not as generally usefull as the 9-18

Ian let me have a play with the 12mm f/2, and yes it is excellent, however the single FoV is for me just that bit restrictive for my needs.

*chr

SteelD
28th June 2012, 11:31 AM
Ian let me have a play with the 12mm f/2, and yes it is excellent, however the single FoV is for me just that bit restrictive for my needs.
I find the idea of using a small number of fixed focal lengths quite exciting. I grew up with primes but have been spoiled by high quality zoom lenses (Canon L lenses) over the past few years. I think I am happy to trade off focal length convenience for portability convenience. Having hauled a 5D with three L zoom lenses around India, Cuba and the US, I am looking forward to creating a 'mean and lean' travel setup. I have to accept compromises but the issue is one of deciding in what areas I make those compromises.

StephenL
28th June 2012, 11:35 AM
Thanks Stephen. Just so I can get a feel for this - when extended, how big does the lens become? Double the length for example? How difficult is it to extend? In other words, is it a quick one-handed operation or is it fiddly and requires two hands?

The lens extends from 1.9" collapsed to 3" when extended. It extends just by turning, but to retract you have to press a button and turn. To me, that extension gives the potential for weakness and also dirt ingress, but I'm not suggesting for one minute that the lens is flimsy.

StephenL
28th June 2012, 11:40 AM
For now, my ideal setup which I have achieved is the 12mm, the 25mm Leica, and the 45mm. For extra length I have the 40-150. For macro-ish I can either use the kit 12-50 or a tamron SP90, and of course I've got the 7-14 for ultra-wide. But my normal carry-round bag contains just the three primes.

Loup Garou
28th June 2012, 05:17 PM
OK, I've got the Panasonic 20mm/f1.7 and the Olympus 45mm/f1.8.

I preferred the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 as a 'base' lens that always remains with the camera. Since I tend to use the 35mm equivalent mostly indoors for things like parties, similar gatherings, weddings etc to include a small groups of people, this works fine for me.

Incidentally, I have the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 too, but I thought that it was a small telephoto lens. Since the OP was about prime wide-angle lenses......:D

SteelD
4th July 2012, 05:58 PM
I've bought the Zuiko 12mm/f2.0 lens now. I hope I have made a wise choice.

StephenL
4th July 2012, 06:15 PM
Be interested to hear what you think of it. I like mine, both for its image quality and for its build/operation.

Loup Garou
4th July 2012, 06:26 PM
I've bought the Zuiko 12mm/f2.0 lens now. I hope I have made a wise choice.

If the lens is as good as the rest of the Zuiko prime range, I think it is an excellent choice, particularly if you take a lot of wide-angle vista pictures. Personally, I only do that occasionally and so decided that the 12mm facility in the kit lens was more than adequate. But as mentioned previously, I have always owned a 35mm 'mini-wide' lens which I like to use indoors during parties, weddings etc and also other social occasions with many people around. That is why I opted for the 17mm Zuiko Pancake lens and feel that it is very handy. I can see myself using it a lot in the next fortnight for my father-in-law's 90th birthday and my niece's 18th.