Wide lens of choice?

Started Feb 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,468
Re: Wide lens of choice?

Dylthedog wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Dylthedog wrote:

I've got an E-PL5 with a Panny 20mm, Oly 45mm and the kit lens (plus some longer Oly and Panny options) but I'd quite like higher quality wide option. The Panny 20mm is pretty much welded to the camera and right now I use the kit if I want wider, but clearly that's not going to deliver the best quality.

I looked on Photozone and while the Oly 12mm review is good the actual samples left me quite underwhelmed; they didn't seem that much better than the Oly 9-18mm. I've ruled out the Panny 14mm as it's small (which is good) but no better than the kit lens as far as I can see. Compact is important to me so that is a shame TBH. The Panny 7-14mm is a bit more than I want to pay right now, though I hear it's very good.

So my question to DPR people is how have you found the 12mm f2? Are the Photozone samples representative or not? Anyone got the and the 9-18mm - if so, what's your view?


Your starting point appears to be that you expect the 12/2 to be significantly better optically than the UWA zooms when shot at the same aperture. I wouldn't expect that to be the case.

Both the 12/2 and the 14/2.5 are lenses you should buy for their greater speed and small size. Both might also have some advantages over the UWA zooms when it comes to flare.

On the WA side, I have the 7-14/4, the 14-45/3.5-5.6, the 12/2, the 14/2.5 (though it's about to be sold since it's too close to the 12/2 for me to carry both), and the Samyang 7.5/3.5 FE. The 14-45, the 7-14, and the 7.5 FE are likely to be in my bag most of the time. The 12/2 is likely to be there only if I foresee a need for best low-light capability, in which case it will do a good job.

Not really, my starting point is that I thought the results from the Oly 12mm would be better than what was posted on the Photozone site. I figured that using old school logic that primes *can* offer better quality than kit zooms.

As far as I can see, we were both talking about UWA zooms (9-18, 7-14), which are not kit zooms. My point is that you shouldn't expect the the 12/2 to be a whole lot better than the UWA zooms, especially the 7-14 which is very sharp, when compared at f-stops they can all handle.

As to kit zooms, it depends on what kit lens you compare with. If you compare with a really good kit zoom, like the 14-45, the 12 is not going to be a whole lot better than the zoom at 14 mm with the two compared at apertures that both can handle, especially if the 14-45 is stopped down just a little bit. With other kit zooms, the difference may be a bit more pronounced.

I don't want really want/need anything wider than 12mm for my MFT system and really don't want to spend £1000 on the 7-14mm but I am willing to spend £500 on a lens that is small and delivers better quality than the kit lens; a higher F number is a bonus.

The bottom line is that if the photozone images for the 12mm are where it's at then the 12mm isn't for me.

The samples you can see at Photozone are not the best for judging the quality of the lens. All but two are at f/6.3 or f/7.1 when the lens is already past peak performance. The two at f/2.0 are hardly ideal for judging sharpness across the frame. As an alternative, have a look at the samples provided by Lenstip here. Be aware that these are shot with an E-PL1 with sharpening kept to a minimum. With the E-PL5 and a bit sharpening, they'd look sharper.

You don't say which kit lens you have, but if it's the 12-50, I think you can expect a bit better performance from the 12/2 than you can get with 12-50 at 12 mm with both stopped down to the level that the 12-50 can handle. If you have a 14-42, the 12/2 will allow you to go a bit wider and probably give you a bit better quality than you get with the 14-42 at 14 as well. However, the main reason for me to get the 12 is its speed along with its small size.

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +28 more
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