Best Wide Angle Zoom?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by nstelemark, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    While I can say with confidence I don't need any other lenses :dash2: I really have a hankering to pick up a wide angle zoom.

    My short list of requirements:

    Has to be wider than 12mm

    No fisheye - I have the 8mm 1.8 pro and it is a great but there are limits to the perspective.

    I've had the 9-18 f4-5.6 and I might consider another one. It is light and compact.

    I really like the 8-18 Panasonic but I am little worried about the quality. The 7-14f2.8 is a great lens but the lack of easy filters mounting and the relatively short long end limits the versatility.
     
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Despite u43 now having four UWA zooms and now a UWA prime, I still hanker for something better!

    - Olympus 9-18. Nice enough but not that sharp in the corners and it's only 9mm at wide end.
    - Panasonic 7-14/4. Very nice, but purple UV "blob flare" (internal reflections) is troublesome. No filter thread.
    - Olympus 7-14/2.8. Also very nice, but very big & heavy. Also no filter thread.
    - Panasonic 8-18. Seems an ideal choice, but QA issues have spooked me and it's very expensive.
    - Laowa 7/2. No AF or EXIF (the latter I really 'need'). Also has QA concerns.

    I guess the Panasonic 8-18 is probably the best option today, but the decentred copies that many have suffered from is a real worry.
     
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  3. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    Exactly. I don't know how many I want to try to find a good one. Given modern manufactring I am at a loss to understand how this is possible.
     
  4. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Feb 25, 2017
    Seems to me an effect of the ILC market contracting is new kit goes to market before it's really done. Personally, I prefer to wait a while after introduction and the 8-18 is no exception. The collision between expectations of expensive lenses and the reality of copy to copy variation in zooms is also somewhat messy. In some ways it's easiest to let it be by just not buying expensive zooms.

    Given m43's well known UWA weakness Canikon, Fuji, or Sony may offer better tradeoffs depending on what one's seeking to accomplish. My m43 choice for the time being is the 9-18. Since none of the in system options are particularly outstanding it's hard to justify putting a lot into one unless you're in the unusual habit of regularly making large prints.
     
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  5. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    I think that for every one "bad copy" there are probably ten fold people who see what they want to see, or not see, in a given "test" image. Little bit of paranoia over an expensive purchase, touch of buyers remorse, add a dash of poor technique in the testing, and you get the recipe to account for why some people seem to have to buy 3 or 4 copies of each and every focal length they own.

    Not to say that there aren't some less than stellar copies out there, but when someone gets "unlucky" time and time again you need to start looking at what issues could be at play besides just poor QC
     
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  6. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    Paul
    A year and a half ago I went from the 9-18 to the Oly Pro 7-14 and was really happy with the improvement in image quality. I loved the 7-14, but as you noted, it's a little short on the long end. The ability to add filters is a nice bonus, so I bought one and sold my Oly before it could depreciate too much more. The first copy was shockingly bad, and I don't consider myself to be especially finicky about lenses. The second copy was much better, and I'm really happy with the change. Those 4mm really make a difference, and I haven't used my 12-40 for dry land shooting since (there isn't an underwater zoom gear for the 8-18 yet). Long story short- I recommend making the switch if you're willing to go through the hassle of returning the lens if it doesn't test out well.
     
  7. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Who the hell looks at the corners of a photo. Maybe more compelling composition would get peoples eyes out of the corners.

    I've taken thousands of great photos with this lens, the purple flair has only shown up in a handful of the photos - only ruined two.

    At just over 3"x4" and 1.175lbs, I need new definitions of very big and heavy. That would also leave out Canon and Nikon glass!

    A couple of preproduction issues constitute reasons for concern? You stand a better chance of suffering a Vitamin D deficiency than you do of getting a faulty lens.

    Not a zoom!

    With any UWA lens you will some flair at some time or another, the astute photgpher will just change position and use the flair for their benefit or eliminate it.

    No filter threads - there are more than enough solutions out there from very inexpensive to very expensive.

    This just a snarky counterpoint. :) Had too many Cheerios today.
     
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  8. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    UK
    I have the Oly 9-18 and the Oly 7-14 Pro.

    The 9-18 works well at f/5.6, not so well when stopped down more, I no longer use it at f/11.
    Nice and portable for trips but 9mm isn't that wide.

    The Oly 7-14 is excellent, although it has been expensive since I hit the front against concrete, needing a replacement front element.

    For those thinking of the 8-18, I remind you that 8 is not 7, there is a big difference.

    I would like an Oly 6.5mm f/4 rectilinear prime.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  9. I'm happy with my 7-14/2.8... incredible images compared to most of the Nikon glass I started out with and on a par with the Sigma 105/2.8 macro I have...
    • weight is not an issue with this lens unless you're comparing it to kit lens. If I think it's getting heavy then all I need to do is take out some of my old Nikon gear and then I realize how light it actually is!
    • As per filters... well I just bought the Haida 100mm system here on mu-43 and have another 5 filters on their way from our Canadian Haida rep (based in Ottawa).
    I can't see I'm lacking in any way with this lens. I mean it's not like I'm going to be wanting to tack a CP on this lens and leave it there! Maybe on some of the other walkabout lens (12-100/4) but not with the 7-14.
     
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  10. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    A company with Leica on the barrel sent multiple flawed copies to multiple reviewers. This is at the least really stupid and at the worst a hint of a systemic quality problem with the lens design or production. There is no way with modern production testing this should have happened. This is one of the easiest things you could test for. So yes I think this is a legitimate concern, esp since some early adopters have reported the same thing.

    It is a shame because the PL8-18 really ticks the boxes otherwise - good usable range, sharp, faster aperture than the 9-18, slightly wider, weather sealed and light.
     
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  11. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Plus, there are several people who have received multiple lemons. If it's only a 1 in 10 chance of one being bad then actually receiving two (and there's cases of three consecutive bad lenses) then the chances become very much smaller. It seems to me that there are QA issues out of the norm with this lens.
     
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  12. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    P7-14f4
    Good to know.
     
  13. wimg

    wimg Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Dec 10, 2016
    Netherlands
    Best (U)WA zoom for MFT currently on the market from an IQ and QA POV simply is the Oly 7-14 Pro. For an UWA zoom it is as good as it gets, it is that simple. A very good second best is the excellent Panny 7-14 F/4.

    With these types of lenses, they do get big, and bigger even when the aperture gets bigger, simply because of physical (and design) limitations, and a small decrease at the low end of the range generally means a big increase in size and/or weight. Also, considering IQ, there is really no way around the limitation of an approximate 2x zoom range either.

    Having owned and used quite a few ultrawide zooms and primes over the past 35+ years, I reckon my top 2 MFT lenses are easily in the same league as the top tier FF and APS-C lenses, and from that POV IMO you cannot go wrong with either of these.

    The only way to get better lenses is to go the prime route, but even then the difference is really quite minimal if there is any difference at all, at equivalent apertures. Do note that contrary to, e.g., FF lenses, high quality MFT lenses generally do not require any or only very little stopping down vs 2-3 stops on FF for lenses with the same max aperture to reach optimal IQ.

    BTW, the only lenses I currently consider to be better than the 2 mentioned above, is the Canon TS-E 17 F/4 L and possibly the Laowa 7.5 mm F/2. The Nikkor 14-24 F/2.8 is about as good as the two mentioned. Both FF lenses require stopping down to F/5.6 or slightly above for max IQ, while the 2 MFT lenses are very good wide open already. I own(ed) both FF lenses, BTW.

    I have no experience with the Laowa 7.5 F/2, but based on my analyses of images on the internet, for me it does not add anything, especially weighing the loss of Exif data and automatic options, and considering I would personally feel I'd only benefit over the IQ of the excellent MFT zooms by having a 5.5 to 6 mm prime. 7.5 mm just doesn't cut it for me :).

    In short, any of the two MFT lenses mentioned are excellent, and in the end it boils down to budget and/or weight, and one just needs to live with their individual idiosyncracies :). I am lucky enough to own both, so I have a choice, specifically, for me anyway, to limit absolute weight if I have to.

    Anyway , just my 2c on the subject.

    Kind regards, Wim
     
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  14. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Feb 25, 2017
    I was musing along similar lines after posting earlier and realized every equivalent of 7 and wider I'm aware of lacks filter threads. Probably there are some exceptions but some checking suggests 7.5 the widest commonly available with threads across systems.

    In practice I find I don't require 7 and could get by without 8 if I needed to, but my UWA use is mostly landscape rather than interiors. The Laowa's interesting but the 9-18 is more versatile, similarly priced, and only a little heavier. There's a business case for Panasonic to produce a non-Leica UWA like they did with the 12-60s but no telling if that'll happen.
    My guess is a bad run of lenses. Where Panasonic might be regarding addressing the underlying production issue and closing the QA gap which let it through isn't the sort of question companies are prone to answering. Hard to tell if it's still a problem unless one's in a position to track return rates.
    Given the difficulty of building zooms which are really aces (and keeping them in that condition) I suspect much of it is simply how carefully one looks; test enough of the frame at enough focal lengths on enough lenses and a weak area will turn up, if only relatively. Nothing wrong with purchasing and testing lenses as a hobby, though it often seems to me the analyses could be more carefully considered. But there's something to be said for using lenses for other purposes as well. :p
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  15. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    full.
     
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  16. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Feb 25, 2017
    Yeah. Given a landscape composition at 7 variations of it at 8 and 9 are usually also interesting, particularly if you can move a little bit when recomposing.
     
  17. Mike Wingate

    Mike Wingate Mu-43 Top Veteran

    557
    Feb 21, 2017
    Altrincham
    Mike Wingate
    I am happy with my P7-14mm. I have handheld ND filters in front of the lens.
     
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  18. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Feb 25, 2017
    What size and how many stops could you get before trouble with light leaks? I've considered the approach but don't entirely trust myself not to inadvertently contact the front element with the filter or to entirely avoid scratching filter coatings via lens "hood" contact (I'm frequently in areas with pretty abrasive dust, so producing a small scratch doesn't take much).
     
  19. Mike Wingate

    Mike Wingate Mu-43 Top Veteran

    557
    Feb 21, 2017
    Altrincham
    Mike Wingate
    Build up a neoprene stretch ring to go over the lens hood and protrude slightly, 2mm. Gently press the square filter up to it.
     
  20. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Feb 25, 2017
    That yields mechanical vignetting up to, what, 9ish? My NDs are screw in so not as well suited for the technique, unfortunately, but I like the idea and it wouldn't be hard to drill a step down ring and sew on the neoprene. Personally I'd rather put a step up on the 7.5 or 9-18 but it's an interesting intermediate option between the 7-14 and 8-18. It also occurs to me the 7.5 ultralight and 9-18 M.Zuiko combined weigh less than the 8-18 and can likely be had at lower cost for some time. The option seems unlikely to be popular but I've occasionally carried similar arrangements in the past and they can work well.

    For 100mm filters this is one of the more elegant options I know (and equivalents are available for the Olympus 7-14s). Particularly compared to this approach!