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Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6
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Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/19/2012 05:57:09 MDT Print View

I recently converted to micro 4/3 and now I am looking to purchase a wide-angle lens for landscape photography but need help making up my mind. For those of you who have a wide angle prime, have you missed the extra coverage that the zoom can provide or do you believe the superior image quality is well worth going with the prime? Since there is only a $100 difference in the retail price, cost is not much of a factor for me. I prefer the Oly options over the Pana for the smaller size and weight even though the Pana zoom is supposed to be great as well. Any thoughts that could help me towards making up my mind would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Edited by trevor83 on 03/19/2012 05:57:46 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/19/2012 18:10:59 MDT Print View

Hi Trevor

I used to have the 9-18mm. It is a good lens, nothing wrong with it really apart from a little bit of vignetting with some filters at 9 and 10mm and maybe a little distortion at that end too. If you are shooting landscapes that don't have straight lines you won't notice the distortion, if you are shooting buildings you can depending on how you orientate your shot. But really its nothing outrageous for a very wide lens.

The ability to zoom up to 36mm equiv made it quite a versatile lens. I could leave it on for days and get a shot with people in it at 36mm ok (though not ideal). At the wide end people shots look terrible-you'll squash them, at 18mm its ok.

At 12mm, you have so much depth of field that there isn't much advantage in terms of bokeh for f/2.0 vs f/4.x, so if that influences your decision I wouldn't let it. Also, I found f/4.0 fine in lowish light shooting with this lens. The depth of field advantage makes focusing much easier (was an issue in low light with other lenses with my E-p1).

Its plenty sharp enough. This shot I took with it on my E-P1 is sharp enough to blow up to cover your wall without issue. Its tack sharp:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/pic/?o=1&pic_id=859274&size=large&v=6

I got rid of it only for simplicities sake. Also I needed the money. I found after a while that I could just use my pany 20mm and get shots of whatever I wanted.

Hope this helps,

Adam

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/19/2012 19:34:11 MDT Print View

Hi Trevor,

9mm vs. 12mm is a huge difference, compositionally, and two stops is huge in terms of flexibility. Weights and size are close, while the build quality and controls favor the 12.

If your desire is sweeping landscapes and the forced perspective you can get with an ultrawide, then you'll have a blast with the zoom. 12 (24 eq) was once considered very wide, now it's easily reached by "standard" zooms so we're more accustomed to seeing shots in its perspective.

I don't own either and am just now considering jumping into µ4/3, but would probably save my nickels and get the Lumix 7-14. I have a 4/3 7-14 and it's a fantastic tool, a dazzling lens unmatched by anything else. That said, I could easily foresee the 12/2.0 as a "standard" lens. I once shot an SLR with 25/2.8 and loved the combo. That translates to 12.5mm in 4/3. The 45/1.8 is probably my only "must have" µ4/3 lens.

Probably just muddying the waters.

Cheers,

Rick

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/19/2012 19:59:37 MDT Print View

Wow, Adam, that is one powerful and sublime image. Truly beautiful. The suggestion of Kilimanjaro in the background somehow accentuates it's sense of height and majesty and mystery. I really love this image.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/20/2012 13:09:18 MDT Print View

Thanks guys!

Adam, awesome photo with Kili in the background.

Rick, definitely trying to muddy the waters throwing the Pana back in the mix but I appreciate your perspective. Everything I have read says it is a great lens.

Based on the considerations you both laid out, I am leaning towards the Oly zoom. I think you are right that extra couple of f stops isn't as big a deal at the wide angle and I definitely appreciate the very wide shots I can currently get with my current wide angle zoom lens for my DSLR (still have to sell that setup). The primary time I take the wide angle lens is during trips to the mountains so weight and size are factors and with Oly being about half the weight, smaller and $200 less than the Pana to boot I still lean that way.

Thanks again. I really appreciate the additional insight.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/22/2012 06:58:47 MDT Print View

I've got the Panny 14/2.5, which is an under-appreciated lens IMO. It's amazingly light, and image quality is excellent. However, it's not wide enough or flexible enough for general landscape work for me, so my next purchase will be the 7-14 zoom.

The 12/2 is more of a specialized photojournalism lens. Paired up with the Leica 25/1.4 or the Panny 20/1.7 and the Olympus 45/1.8, it makes a great 3-lens, low-light kit.

As far as the Oly 9-18 vs the Panny 7-14, everything I've read suggests that the Panny is overall a better lens. Not sure it's 2x the price better, of course.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 03/22/2012 15:04:43 MDT Print View

Thanks, Ken. Everything I've read says the same. Who knows...maybe I'll change my mind and drop the extra change on the Panny.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Wide angle m43 lens: Oly 12mm f/2.0 vs Oly 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 on 04/02/2012 00:43:26 MDT Print View

I'm glad people like my picture, that really makes my day :-)

Whichever lens you pick, you aren't going to go very wrong. Pick what suits your budget and what you think, and then don't worry about it after that. They are all very good, and the most important thing is to get out there and take pictures.

Kai Larson
(KaiLarson) - F
Zoom on 04/15/2012 21:45:29 MDT Print View

I own both the 12mm and the 9-18.

They are both good lenses. The 12 is slightly sharper, particularly around the frame edges. The 12 also is faster, and it is sharp even wide open, so you can actually use the larger apertures.

However, the differences in sharpness between the 12 and the 9-18 are only apparent if you are looking really hard to see them. In real life, at enlargement sizes of less than 20x30, I doubt you could tell which was which.

If I only owned one, I'd keep the 9-18. Particularly for lightweight trips, the 9-18 can be your only lens. I don't think that the 12mm makes a very good "only" lens. When I carry the 12, it's almost always in conjunction with something else (usually the Pany 20 and/or the Oly 45.)

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Zoom on 04/15/2012 23:42:57 MDT Print View

Kai, thanks for your feedback. That's great to hear from someone with both lenses! It sounds like the 9-18 is a pretty sharp lens.