Has the black Olympus 12mm lens gone for good?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell
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Re: The old prime vs zoom arguments
In reply to Olydude, 5 months ago

Olydude wrote:

It's probably a bad habit to get out of the use of using a flash and one of these days it will probably come back to bite me, but I much prefer to use natural light and low ISO, particularly since transitioning to µ4/3 where ISO noise is noticeable even from 400.

That is another reason here why I use my 12 F/2 a lot with µ4/3, to get the best possible range of lighting conditions and shot opportunities. I have both the 14-42 R, and 40-150 R, the 40-150 R is ridiculously sharp for a cheap lens, but I have my 12 F/2 on pretty liberally purely for the fact as you said, it's actually fairly unusual to have a fast ultra wide lens and it makes for opportunities you wouldn't get other ways.

It is interesting the way people use their gear, and also what gear is actually bought and used with good satisfaction.

I was the usual confirmed zoom man years ago when zooms were not as good, and were generally big, heavy and slow. A high quality zoom generally remains larger than any prime within its focal range but makes up for this in versatility.  I moved more to prime lenses once I had my first really fast one - the Canon EF 85mm f1.2.  All sort of party tricks in near dark conditions.  But I matured ...  I even consider the Canon EF 17-35mm fixed f2.8 just about perfection as it is both zoom, fast and covers most of the wide-angle spectrum without distortion and is a good GP tool on the Canon 5D and even more so on a NEX6 with a focal reducer adapter pushing it up to a quite useful 18-37mm f2.0 combined equivalent and fill flash only - if truly needed.  That and the brilliant EF 70-200 f2.8 IS were late lapses from my prime lens purchases - neither have been lamented in any way.

But now I am coming back to the idea of zooms once stocked up to the eyeballs with primes.

Significantly via the Samsung NX10, Ricoh GXR mount module, Sony NEX6 and Panasonic GM1 I have managed to put together a nice bunch of legacy prime lenses that are camera-body independent - I am not locked into one mount system.  My regard for fast primes and legacy lenses has extended to slower lenses of excellent quality and I am not nearly so convinced that fast lenses are always necessary.  My general understanding was that fast lenses were harder to build and more expensive but because they were inherently more expensive to build they had to be better built at all apertures to justify it.  This sometimes holds true.  But in bygone days many of these slower lenses were also good ones and in later days as well nominally fast sells better but have to be stopped down to work well.  The real knowledge of what is which comes from buying experience.

It is also interesting to note that: I only have one (kit) lens for the Samsung (the excellent 20mm lens that came with the camera); by definition the Ricoh mount module has no oem lenses (but I bought the nice legacy 28mm f2.8 in LTM mount so that my Ricoh camera might sport at least one Ricoh lens); my NEX6 I bought body-only and I have no Sony oem lenses; and yet I have indulged my GM1 with a number of native M4/3 lenses as well as adapters that will mount most of my legacy lens stocks.

So I thrive on variety and am only locked in to the M4/3 mount.  Coming to the prices of modern AF lenses after a good few years off in the wilderness of buying legacy MF lenses has come as a shock to me at what those on this forum happily talk of reasonable pricing.  When many quite useful lenses bought in recent years have cost me no more than $200 and had to be very exceptional to break the $400 bracket.

However M4/3 seems to have become my "compact gear" solution.  My NEX6 has become my camera to extend my old Canon EF lenses into mirrorless body use. The Ricoh GXR remains the enthusiast camera of choice, and the NX10 seems to be the pinnacle of Samsung innovation as they seem to have gone off on a tangent since.  The NX10 was and is a nuggety small slr style very simple no-nonsense look and very basic intent of use camera bowdlerised now into the NX30 which is superficially sophisticated but just as bog-standard basic-simple underneath. That moving evf tube has almost phallic overtones especially as the little video of its action on dpreview is watched

As far as the discussion for the need of an ultra-fast wide prime is concerned I think it needs a thread of its own and I will start one.

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Tom Caldwell

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