8-18, wait for Oly 8-25, or Laowa 10

Generationfourth

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I had the 9-18 a long time ago and eventually settled on 12-35, 35-100 f/2.8's for my standard zooms. And some other primes and 100-400 as well. After getting a new iPhone I've been intrigued by the UWA lens and how dynamic the images are compared to the focal lengths I've been shooting for the past 5 years. The 8-18 makes the most sense but I'm also intrigued by the other options:
  • 8-25 f/4, the extended range might be useful here. For example going mountain biking with friends the G9 is pretty heavy and I'm limiting myself to one lens. Or even going on trips I don't like taking ALL my lenses so this could be an alternative to the 12-35. On the downside if I only use the 8-12 range I wonder how much I will be letdown by f/4. As far as cost I have a seller lined up for the 8-18, but what are the chances of the 8-25 being somewhat cheaper than the 8-18? Other downside is who knows when this will come out.
  • Laowa 10 + 12-35. This was the other option I entertained because it's the cheapest but obvious downsides is having to switch lenses, no weather sealing, and not having AF which maybe a dealbreaker for some close up action that I want to take.
  • Pany 7-14, I guess there is this one to
 

Mike Wingate

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There are going to be occasions when f4 is not going to be fast enough. My Panasonic 7-14mm f4 takes great photos, but in darker places, interiors, churches, it needs support, and a tripod is not always available. For myself the Laowa 7.5 mm f2 would work, I have shot landscape and inside a dark pub with it. Drawbacks for myself are the price, manual focussing and the fact that I have the P7-14mm. And an iPhone.
 

pake

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If Sony doesn't revolutionize the 4/3 sensors or Oly won't bring HHHR to E-M5IV, I think my ultrawide photos will be taken with a phone in the future. My guess is that in 2-3 years the IQ of phones will be good enough for such photos (in some cases it already is I think) and my real cameras will be used for everything else.

That being said... I'm still interested in the 8-25mm f/4 and I'm not selling my Laowa 7,5mm f/2 either.
 

Generationfourth

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If Sony doesn't revolutionize the 4/3 sensors or Oly won't bring HHHR to E-M5IV, I think my ultrawide photos will be taken with a phone in the future. My guess is that in 2-3 years the IQ of phones will be good enough for such photos (in some cases it already is I think) and my real cameras will be used for everything else.

That being said... I'm still interested in the 8-25mm f/4 and I'm not selling my Laowa 7,5mm f/2 either.
That was my hopeful thinking when I got my new iPhone but overall I've been letdown by it. The sensor for the main camera is definitely improved but the UWA uses a smaller sensor which is fine in good lighting but struggles if the light is bad. Results can be hardly comparable to any 'real' ILC. I've heard similar complaints even on the Pro iPhone- in low light if you use the telephoto it'll actually use the regular lens because it can achieve a better result cropping with that sensor. I also am not happy with the AI/computational processing that goes on with the HEIC files. I was excited about ProRaw giving some flexibility but just found out that is only for the Pro iPhone.

Lastly, there are ergonomic and other qualitative aspects of shooting with a camera that I enjoy a lot more than a phone. But that is highly personal.

Anyway, I bought the 8-18.
 

whereSs

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I can relate.

I would like a wide angle to standard zoom, because I feel like when I'm using the Laowa 7.5mm, I sometimes don't want such an extreme angle of view, so I've been swapping lenses, generally with the Panasonic 12-32mm for a nice lightweight, pocketable combo.

But, if I'm not careful, I'm always screwing up the zone focusing of the Laowa when I put it on/take it off, plus the aperture stops are definitely inaccurate as others have remarked, plus I find that the lens cap can rotate and pop off when I have the hood on it. It's compact and it takes great pictures, but I don't love it.

I'm always stopping the Laowa down, and the Panasonic is very quickly at f5.6, so the aperture of even the 8-25mm f4 Olympus would be a noticeable improvement for me. If they hit size & weight well, I'd love it...

But /they need to announce the thing/, as the 8-18mm has a faster aperture at the wide end that does make for nifty photos, and it is already a reasonable lens to carry around.

So, I think I may give them a few weeks but I may quit waiting.
 
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I too am waiting for the 8-25 f4. I have the mZD 9-18, and I love its small size and UWA perspective. I've seen the PL 8-18 and think it's a very good lens, but it's also a little big and expensive, along the lines of the Oly Pro lenses. I'd like weather-sealing, especially for travel. I'm hoping the 8-25 f4 Pro hits the sweet spot, and is also affordable. The good thing is that we have choices!
 
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John King

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I have the FTs 7-14, 11-22 and 14-54 MkII.

The 8-25 would be far more flexible than this set.

The 11-22 is only just wide enough and long enough. IMO the 8-18 is wide enough, but not long enough.

The 8-25 should be ideal for UWA to normal use.
 

doady

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I'm kinda in similar situation as OP was, deciding between getting 7-14mm f2.8 or waiting for 8-25mm f4. Zoom from ultra-wide to normal-wide like 7-14mm and 8-18mm are kinda useless, imo. Might as well have been primes, smaller and/or brighter, a better complement to a standard zoom. 8mm vs. 25mm would be more meaningful.

I shoot cityscapes and architecture mostly and a 8-25mm would not only fulfill my need for UWA, but maybe also even replace 12-100mm as my main lens. If it is able to take filters, that would be another advantage over 7-14mm. F2.8 still better for interiors though, so maybe more zoom range not necessarily more versatile...

Like 12-45mm, the 8-25mm will probably be hundreds of dollars cheaper and designed to match with smaller bodies. I have E-M1 II though so smaller lens not important, but hundreds of dollars could be. Maybe I will get 7-14mm if I see a really good price for it, but considering it is out of stock everywhere in Canada due to the Olympus/OM situation, most likely I will wait for 8-25mm.
 

Hypilein

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I don't think the 8-25 is going to be any smaller than the 8-18. The increased range will just offset the larger aperture. If you're not desperate waiting is definitely a good option, but the 8-18 is a fantastic lens. I don't think you can go wrong with either, really.

Maybe I'm wrong though,...
 

Generationfourth

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But /they need to announce the thing/, as the 8-18mm has a faster aperture at the wide end that does make for nifty photos, and it is already a reasonable lens to carry around.

So, I think I may give them a few weeks but I may quit waiting.
I've been super happy with the 8-18. It is surprisingly light and pretty darn compact. Overall I'm really happy with the decision because I've been squeezing as much 2.8-4 aperture out of it.
 

Generationfourth

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I don't think the 8-25 is going to be any smaller than the 8-18. The increased range will just offset the larger aperture. If you're not desperate waiting is definitely a good option, but the 8-18 is a fantastic lens. I don't think you can go wrong with either, really.

Maybe I'm wrong though,...
This was my thought process as well, Oly doesn't make the smallest of lenses for m43 and judging by the size of the 12-45 f/4 and the other f/4's I figure the difference would be marginal.

I do find the 8-18 slightly awkward to pack in my OPTech pouches but other than that it's been working out pretty well. I plan on taking it backpacking in a couple months along with the 35-100 2.8
 

Hypilein

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That's exactly the setup I'm using. Perfect two lens setup for landscape trips in my opinion.
 

speedy

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I have the 8-18 which I very much like. It's a beautiful lens. Lovely and sharp, great colors, useful focal range. Although, I mostly use it below 12mm. I bought the Laowa 10mm to compliment it, as a smaller, lighter option, when out doing more physical activities. Mountain biking, hiking etc. Since then, I've picked up the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8II, and that plus the Laowa make a brilliant little set. More capable in low light, more focal length at the long end, without sacrificing any image quality that I can see. So my advice, buy them all.
 
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I went through exactly the same process of thinking: either waiting for the 8-25/4 or going for one of the existing UWA zooms (7-14/2.8, 7-14/4 or 8-18/2.8-4).
I chose not to wait for a product which was not even announced yet (also considering the long waiting time "announced" for the already launched 150-400/4.5 zoom - it might happen with the 8-25 as well). So I ended up with the PL lens. Happy with my decision so far.....
 

AaronE

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I am going to guess the Olympus 8-25mm will be north of $900 when it comes out.
 
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PL = Panasonic-Leica 8-18mm. The lens I would also recommend to anyone looking for a mu43 wideangle lens.
That's correct, the PL meaning PanaLeica, the other two lenses I mentioned being Oly 7-14/2.8 and Pana 7-14/4.
Since I also have the Laowa 7.5/2 and the Oly 12-100/4 I was a bit reluctant to buy an UWA zoom, but then I realized an UWA zoom would make much more sense since, at this focal lenghts, each milimeter counts.
 

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