Panasonic G3 - ultra wide lens needed

Started Oct 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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pcb_dpr Contributing Member • Posts: 835
Re: Panasonic G3 - ultra wide lens needed

Unfortunately "cheap alternatives" and "high optical quality" seldom go hand-in-hand, especially in the world of ultrawides. Ultrawide lenses are difficult to design/mfr, and truly cheap ones are not likely to be very good.

Your best bet at less than several hundred $ is probably the Panasonic GWC1. I haven't used one, but from what I've seen/read it's at least not bad. It can't match the quality of a well-designed dedicated ultrawide lens, but it should do fairly well for an add-on wide attachment.

There are other cheaper, generic wideangle add-on attachments, as well as brand-specific alternatives. Someone mentioned an Oly converter, Ricoh also made a nice wide attachment for their GR-series that might fit/work. Unless somebody has done good comparisons here, I'd assume Panny's alternative would be a safer/better bet.

In new native lenses the cheapest alternative would be the Oly 9-18mm. I don't think we've seen cheaper 3rd-party ultrawide zooms in native m4/3 mount yet, or primes. I'd think that would be a good niche for Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, but they're not there yet.

If you're willing to look at used lenses, a used Oly 9-18mm would be cheaper. You could also look for a used 4/3-mount Oly 9-18mm, for which you'd need a 4/3-m4/3 adapter. This lens retails for $200 less than the m4/3 version, and the 4/3 mount has been eclipsed, so the 4/3 version is likely cheaper used than the m4/3 version. AF would work on the G3, but it would be slower than the native m4/3 lens. It's also considerably larger than the m4/3 lens.

You could also look at non-4/3 alternatives, Sigma/Tamron/Tokina ultrawides for non-4/3 lensmounts (PeNiCanSony). These 10-xx zooms often retail new for around $500, sell used for $250-$300+/-. House-branded versions can be even cheaper. You'd need adapters to use these as well, you'd have no AF capability, many/most won't have an aperture ring so you'll need an adapter than can control the aperture, and they'll be very large compared to m4/3 lenses.

Any of these alternatives should give you better IQ than the Panny add-on, but at a higher price, and some have considerable handling compromises.

I have the Samyang fisheye in m4/3, and it's a cracker-jack fisheye at a great price. You can "defish" the image to make it more rectilinear, but the results I've seen here and elsewhere are mostly not truly rectilinear, w/o residual distortion. Some look great, some less so. I don't think a defished fisheye would give you consistently better results than the Panny converter, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Keep in mind the Samyang is still a couple of hundred dollars, and is both MF and semi-manual exposure.

I can't think of any other cheaper alternatives. Any legacy ultrawides designed by camera mfs for their 35mm film cameras were very expensive high-end optics back in the day, and they'll still be very expensive today.

Totally your call whether the add-on IQ is good enough for you, and how much $$ difference makes lower IQ acceptable to you.

Golfhacker27 wrote:

I just purchased a G3...would like to add a lens that goes a bit wider than the stock 14-42mm...don't want to spend several hundred on a lens that is not going to get a lot of use...there is a conversion lens - DMW-GWC1 - that " Extends the focal length of wide-end from 14mm to 11mm...Does anyone have any experience with this 'lens'?...Any suggestions for relatively cheap alternatives...

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