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Wide angle Lenses with focal lengths shorter than 14mm.

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  #1  
Old 22nd December 2014
Olybirder Olybirder is offline
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Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

I currently own only two m/43 lenses: the 75-300 II and the 60mm macro. These cover about 95% of the requirements for my photography, which involves wildlife. However, a few times a year I have to take photographs of active young children at family 'get togethers'. On the last few occasions I have used the 60mm, which does a good job, but unfortunately it is not really wide enough and I found myself backing out of the door to 'fit everybody in'.

I am now considering purchasing an extra lens to cope with this situation and also see some use as a medium wide landscape lens. It will not get a lot of use, so I am reluctant to spend too much money on it (which rules out the 14-40 Pro.)

From a bit of research the lens which stands out is the 17mm f1.8. It should be bright enough to work indoors without a flash for much of the time and is small and reasonably priced. It seems to get some good reviews, especially from Robin Wong, but some people say that it is not especially sharp.

Can anybody give me their first hand experiences with it or suggest any alternatives?

Ron
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

It's a very good lens. Remember, it's harder to see if a wide-angle lens is sharp because detail appears further away, and you really have to zoom in to see the pixels. If that makes sense!
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Thanks Stephen. Would 17mm be a good length for my particular requirements?

Ron
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

It's either that or the dearer 25mm. I seldom use a wide-angle lens for landscapes, but 17mm isn't too wide, and it will be good in a room whilst not giving you distortions. Alternatively you could consider the later "kit" 14-42, but it would be a slower lens. No, for what you want, the 17mm is fine.
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Have you considered the MZ 45mm lens Ron?

This is a good lens and currently available for £179.99 at Amazon.

It may be worth hiring or borrowing a lens before buying to check it meets your requirements.

Dave
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

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Originally Posted by DavyG View Post
Have you considered the MZ 45mm lens Ron?

This is a good lens and currently available for 179.99 at Amazon.

It may be worth hiring or borrowing a lens before buying to check it meets your requirements.

Dave
The 45mm is a fantastic lens but probably not wide enough for Ron's needs.
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

I would have thought that the 17mm f1.8 was the way to go. Still trying to decide if I need to get it.
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Thanks for all your thoughts. It sounds as if the 17mm is worth further investigation when Christmas is over. I looked at one in the display case at WEX when I was there the other day and was amazed by how small it is.

Ron
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

I bought the 17/1.8 from somebody here (possibly Simon Bee, apologies if I'm wrong) and am extremely pleased with it. It is small, fast and light and delivers good results. Whether 17mm would suit you is down to personal style and taste, but I find it is a good slightly-wide for general use.

Ciao ... John
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

The 17/1.8 was the first u43 lens I bought and it'll probably be the last I would sell. It's got lovely build quality, is pretty sharp, is small and lightweight and generally a pleasure to own. Wide open it's not the sharpest lens there is, but it's more than enough for most things and strangely, if you add a little extra sharpening in PP, then it responds well. Once down to f4, it's extremely sharp though so it works well for landscapes.

The 35mm equiv focal length is very good for general indoor work, as it is for street photography, environmental portraits and landscapes. It's not an ideal head and shoulders portrait lens though since you need to get a little too close to the subject to keep the perspective correct. However, it'll do a portrait in a pinch!
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Thanks Paul. That is a very helpful assessment of the lens. The 60mm macro copes well with head and shoulders portraits, so that is not a problem.

Ron
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Its a real treasure in my kit bag and the 45 which I use more
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Another thumbs up for the 17 f/1.8, almost a permanent fixture on my gripless E-M5, making a great lightweight high quality 'all rounder' prime package.
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Thanks again for the responses. I didn't realise that it is such a popular lens. All these people quietly getting on and using it without any fuss.

Ron
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Old 22nd December 2014
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Re: Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?

Ron,
Although I have a 9-18mm (brought from Paul on here and very nice it is to) I wouldn't part with my 17mm, taken some really nice pictures with it, and ideal for what you are looking for....the same goes for the 45mm but i think you need something a little wider, and yes it's great for street photography as well, small and light what more do you want.

Cheers

Peter
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