Is the ZD 7-14 the best wide-angle lens on the planet?

Started Oct 17, 2012 | Questions thread
Timskis6 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,562
7-14mm f/4 vs. 14-24mm f/2.8

Probably the most hotly debated lense comparison for 4/3 outside of the 35-100/2 vs. 70-200/2.8.

The 7-14/4 was a game changer when Olympus released it. CaNikon had no comparable zoom, and many switched to Olympus for this lense alone.  I used the 7-14/4 for a number of years, it was my go-to travel wide angle for landscapes and it generated a number of highly regarded images that sold well for me.

My 7-14 was repaired by Olympus Japan after suffering softness at 14mm, but it was fixed.  The 7-14 never did focus well, it was highly inaccurate when focusing into the sun on the E-3 using the outermost focus points, which was bothersome for landscapes.  Center sharpness was excellent, corner sharpness was good (not excellent) on my 7-14 wide open.  Fortunately the DOF was so great at 7mm that misfocusing was often masked at f/11, though I rarely had to use anything smaller than f/5.6.

I switched to Nikon earlier this year and swapped the 7-14 for the 14-24.  I'm extremely happy with the swap and really can't find any negatives about the 14-24 that makes the 7-14 shine, other than the possibility of IS at wide focal lengths.

The 14-24 is excellent in the center and good in the corners, just like the 7-14, at a stop faster (but no IS).  There is much more vignetting on the 14-24, which for me is moot because Lightroom fixes this without any end-user input.  For me, it's irrelevant.  I actually like the plastic cap better than the aluminum one, its lighter and fits better.  The 7-14mm was smaller, which is also a plus.

I certainly wouldnt say the 7-14mm is the best wide angle (anymore), though at one time it was. Using the 7-14 restricts you to 4/3, just as the 14-24 limits you to Nikon FX. As you can imagine, there are many benefits with Nikon FX, which makes the 14-24 that much more valuable.

I strongly believe that copy-to-copy variance affects sharpness for these lenses, it's possible you've got a great copy.


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