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Wide angle Lenses with focal lengths shorter than 14mm.

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  #1  
Old 17th May 2012
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Olympus 12mm

I'm about to invest in a 12mm f2 for landscape - I believe primes have the edge on zooms....but is the 12mm ultimately the best in terms of IQ or should I be considering something else.
Is the 9-18 zoom as good as the 12mm?
I'd welcome your opinion.
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Old 17th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Brian, in theory the 12mm beats the 9-18mm in terms of image quality but whether you would notice in practice, particularly when stopped down to around f6.3, I'm not sure. The zoom, of course, gives you more flexibility and a much wider angle of view at the 9mm end. The 12mm is superbly built, handles so smoothly, absolutely oozes quality and is a joy to use. It is also at least 2 stops faster than the zoom at 12mm and you can get true defocussed backgrounds wide open. You have a difficult decision to make!

If it helps I see that Ffordes have a mint minus used 12mm for 459 http://www.ffordes.com/category/Lens...4/3rds_Fitting
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Old 17th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Thanks Zuiko...for your valued opinion and you may have just saved me some serious money!
cheers.
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Old 18th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Both excellent lenses, the 9-18 is surprisingly good given it's minuscule dimensions but the 12mm edges it from what I have seen in a few test images. The 12mm needs stopping down to give it's best however.
As John says the 12mm is an absolute joy to use, it just oozes quality.

Here an example (Southampton water) taken at 11mm f/8 with my 9-18.

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Old 18th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Huw, thanks for this, I have just checked 'slr gear' lens tests and the 12mm seems to score better with only two blur units in the worst case of fully open and at the edges, which is better than the zoom which has upto 6 in the very extremes - buyt otherwise appears just as good. As I have the funds from my dSLR sale I'm going to invest in the prime while I can - although the law of diminishing returns comes into play.
thanks
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Old 18th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Nice beach shot by the way...thats just what I'm after - front to back sharpness and a great wide angle.
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Old 18th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

I have a 9-18 and borrowed a 12mm from Ian (on a London walkabout) when they first came out. I did some comparisons and while the 9-18 is very good, the 12mm is just that bit better. Of course, it really comes into its own in low light (church interiors, etc.) and the snap manual focus is quite handy.

But, and for me it really is a big point, the extra 3mm is very often the difference between a good interior and an excellent one.
I also have the 7-14 and that's just a whole different game...

I often print up to A3+ and the 9-18 is perfectly good at that size. When viewing full size images on a 1920x1080 TV/Monitor (at proper viewing distance) the image quality is indistinguishable between the two lenses.

Sorry to throw still more "considerations" for you to ponder.
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

You've got the OM-D which has the 5-axis IBIS that is hugely effective at these shorter focal lengths, and also has the IQ of the best APS-C bodies at higher ISO, so why not give yourself the extra 3mm (a lot at the wide end), plus the versatility of a zoom and save a bit of cash into the bargain?

I could never justify 600 for a 24mm (equivalent) prime lens..... I'm still on the fence regarding a 9-18mm or 7-14mm myself. Not an easy choice!
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greytop View Post
Both excellent lenses, the 9-18 is surprisingly good given it's minuscule dimensions but the 12mm edges it from what I have seen in a few test images. The 12mm needs stopping down to give it's best however.
As John says the 12mm is an absolute joy to use, it just oozes quality.

Here an example (Southampton water) taken at 11mm f/8 with my 9-18.
Hi huw,
Just a quick question on the pic you took there. You've obviously got the hyperfocal point working quite well in this pic. I was just wonder what your settings were for this shot? I know it's 11mm at f/8 (do you find f/8 to be the lenses optimum stop for DoF?) but what is the focal distance?
And would this hyperfocal distance translate directly to the 9-18 4/3 (not micro) or would it be different?
Hope you can help. Cheers.
Pete
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

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Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
I
I also have the 7-14 and that's just a whole different game...

Sorry to throw still more "considerations" for you to ponder.
...do you mean the 7-14 is better?
is it in a different league?
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

And Brian,
I am shooting with 4/3 and just went through the hard task of deciding between the 9-18, 11-22 and the 7-14.
After doing a lot of reading and getting a lot of first hand experience I have gone for the 9-18 for a number of reasons.
I won't bore with those reasons but I will let you know the tips I got while I was researching that might be relevant to you.
I discovered a lot of people asking the same question as you and;
1/ A guy who had both said the 12mm while having superior IQ you didn't really notice unless you printed out to a large size and even then you really had to look hard to find the differences.
2/ The 9-18 is cheaper.
3/ the zoom on the 9-18 he found really versatile for composing his shots the way he wanted
4/ The extra 3 mm gave a fair bit more field of view.

In saying all that he said the 12mm was an amazing lens and he's happy he has them both. It's jsut a question of whether you want the versatility and extra width of the 9-18 or the slightly better optics of the 12mm.

Hope this hasn't made your decision harder rather than easier.
I'm waiting on my 9-18. It should arrive Monday. Can't wait.

Pete
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Thanks Pete.....that sounds very realistic......having just read the 7-14 review it does sound great, but the figures don't appear fantastically better than the 12mm...looks like theres not a lot between any of them. Except the zoom range of course - but how much does that matter - you can always get down lower or step further back usually.

I'm particularly fussy about this purchase because when I had an SLR I bought a Tamron 10-24 - which had to be used very carefully - stopped down to f8 and it compared to Canon and Sigma...but anything other than that and it was noticeable softer except at the centre where it was often better. So I want to get it right.

I guess I'm going for the prime at present because I don't want to repeat that experience....I want to go out there with confidence and not have my arms tied around my back. Though from what you say that shouldn't be the case with the 9-18...which would look better on an E-M5.
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Re: Olympus 12mm

The 7-14mm is 729 at simply Electronics....tempting!
(so about 80 more than the 12mm with hood)
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

7-14 does not accept filters!

thats out then....down to 12mm or 9-18mm
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Old 19th May 2012
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Re: Olympus 12mm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_Murrell View Post
Hi huw,
Just a quick question on the pic you took there. You've obviously got the hyperfocal point working quite well in this pic. I was just wonder what your settings were for this shot? I know it's 11mm at f/8 (do you find f/8 to be the lenses optimum stop for DoF?) but what is the focal distance?
And would this hyperfocal distance translate directly to the 9-18 4/3 (not micro) or would it be different?
Hope you can help. Cheers.
Pete
Hi Pete,
It's a while since I took that shot but as a rule I would tend to aim the focal point about 1/3 into the shot.
That seems to work quite nicely as a general rule and I don't see why it wouldn't translate to the 4/3rds version, in fact I used the same method with my 7-14 f/4 SHG lens until I sold it recently
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