Ever asked yourself, why does the Olympus 12mm lens have a F2 aperture and not a F4?

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I have been working on an interesting article for a few weeks now and in the article I ask this question. Take for example the 45mm F1.8 and its obvious why it has F1,8. Most probably the 45mm is used for portrait photography and F1.8 will be great for isolating my subject? Will I also isolate a subject with the 12mm?

Are you in the mood to discuss basics? 😳
 

Growltiger

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No you won't get much isolation with the 12mm. You are not likely to be taking portraits with it anyway.
But to answer your question: "Why does the Olympus 12mm lens have a F2 aperture and not a F4": the main reason is to let in more light, so you can take photos in dimmer conditions without excessive ISO. For example a landscape before sunrise or after sunset.
 

amit

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I would have ask - why is it 600usd , more than double than the 25mm f1.8 or the 45mm f1.8 .
 

Growltiger

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I would have ask - why is it 600usd , more than double than the 25mm f1.8 or the 45mm f1.8 .
Probably rarity. I think they stopped making it ages ago. The optical quality of the lens is quite poor from what I remember, so you have to really want the wide aperture to get it. If you can lose one stop and accept f/2.8 you are far better off with the 12-40. Or even the 7-14.
 
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I would have ask - why is it 600usd , more than double than the 25mm f1.8 or the 45mm f1.8 .
Just my thought.... that is really an irrelevant and boring reply, don't you think? Think supply / demand. The 12mm is a little different than the other two? What is its perceived street value?

If you crave for one, try the 2nd hand market.... 🤪
 
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Probably rarity. I think they stopped making it ages ago. The optical quality of the lens is quite poor from what I remember, so you have to really want the wide aperture to get it. If you can lose one stop and accept f/2.8 you are far better off with the 12-40. Or even the 7-14.
I like the direction you thinking...... :cool: Funny I bought one of the first ever 12mm lenses, when only the silver version were available. Do you recall a little later Olympus sold the black version as a special edition at nearly double the price. I did get one of those black 12mm lenses and always loved it and kept it. The 12mm on my Pen F or my EM5 or EP3 at the time, such an awesome combo....

That brings me to something you touch on....what lens to select? In my article I am asking the same question, if you only allowed to select 3 or max 4 lenses, which lenses would that be? Does not matter if you go Pro or Zuiko....would be nice if you qualify your photography style or should one say this question is for the general hobby photographer only? My original question why f2 on the 12mm is still relevant..... :)
 

Alex2

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Regarding photography: this lens gives you options that you do not have with a f/4 lens. I use it for instance to photograph the interior of an ancient church, and use my E-M5 Mark II with this lens set to f/2, on ISO 200, and a lowish shutter speed to be able to capture a lot of light and a lot of detail, or bring out a detail at minimum focus distance. I do not agree with reports that this lens is a dud. Mine is very, very sharp from f/2 and compares favourably to my other lenses that cover this focal length. I also like its rendering and its colouring a lot (something we do not discuss enough on this board).

Regarding the build: what is not to like about a small, super light, zone focussable, all metal, beautifully built gem of a lens, that even has a f/2 aperture? I mean, with f/4 the lens could have been even more compact (and sub 100 grams), but it does not have to be smaller than this to make the point that Olympus tries to make with m4/3. I consider the f/2 aperture as a present in an already super small wide angle lens. Although I will not complain if they create a 12mm f/2.8 or f/3.5 pancake (I will buy it they day they release it, but I will not sell the f/2).

Regarding the price: it sits between the Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 and f/1.4 lenses, and between the Nikon offerings, and between the Canon offerings. I do not know of first party fixed aperture wide angle lenses of other brands that are significantly cheaper. And look at the Panasonic 12mm f/1.4. Not exactly cheap either.

I enjoy this lens tremendously. Maybe one last thing to consider: when I was attending photo classes in the past, not many photographers mentioned a fixed wide angle as their signature lens. It was all 50mm-135mm (35mm equivalent) that dominated the cameras, and sometimes a lost 28mm or 35mm (which were regarded as boring by most (not by me)). It is definitely not an easy focal length, especially if I keep it on my camera for a longer time. This angle makes me work and think hard about interesting angles, and about scenarios that make a trip or an event interesting. Even the difference with a normal wide angle like the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 is for me quite big; it is already far easier for me to tell a story with that lens. That I have the luxury to play with the aperture and use f/2 in certain situations helps me to have more artistic options. For instance when using it at its minimum focus distance, and add some blur to help me focus on the in-focus details (pun intended).

So I see f/2 as an artistic means to make the most of this focal length, and to add depth (uhh, decrease depth actually) to my portfolio.
 
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Regarding photography: this lens gives you options that you do not have with a f/4 lens. I use it for instance to photograph the interior of an ancient church, and use my E-M5 Mark II with this lens set to f/2, on ISO 200, and a lowish shutter speed to be able to capture a lot of light and a lot of detail, or bring out a detail at minimum focus distance. I do not agree with reports that this lens is a dud. Mine is very, very sharp from f/2 and compares favourably to my other lenses that cover this focal length. I also like its rendering and its colouring a lot (something we do not discuss enough on this board).

Regarding the build: what is not to like about a small, super light, zone focussable, all metal, beautifully built gem of a lens, that even has a f/2 aperture? I mean, with f/4 the lens could have been even more compact (and sub 100 grams), but it does not have to be smaller than this to make the point that Olympus tries to make with m4/3. I consider the f/2 aperture as a present in an already super small wide angle lens. Although I will not complain if they create a 12mm f/2.8 or f/3.5 pancake (I will buy it they day they release it, but I will not sell the f/2).

Regarding the price: it sits between the Fujifilm 16mm f/2.8 and f/1.4 lenses, and between the Nikon offerings, and between the Canon offerings. I do not know of first party fixed aperture wide angle lenses of other brands that are significantly cheaper. And look at the Panasonic 12mm f/1.4. Not exactly cheap either.

I enjoy this lens tremendously. Maybe one last thing to consider: when I was attending photo classes in the past, not many photographers mentioned a fixed wide angle as their signature lens. It was all 50mm-135mm (35mm equivalent) that dominated the cameras, and sometimes a lost 28mm or 35mm (which were regarded as boring by most (not by me)). It is definitely not an easy focal length, especially if I keep it on my camera for a longer time. This angle makes me work and think hard about interesting angles, and about scenarios that make a trip or an event interesting. Even the difference with a normal wide angle like the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 is for me quite big; it is already far easier for me to tell a story with that lens. That I have the luxury to play with the aperture and use f/2 in certain situations helps me to have more artistic options. For instance when using it at its minimum focus distance, and add some blur to help me focus on the in-focus details (pun intended).

So I see f/2 as an artistic means to make the most of this focal length, and to add depth (uhh, decrease depth actually) to my portfolio.
Thanks for your feedback.... We should never spend a day together.....also love my 12mm, its sharp, has character and great color tones....a gem :) Another gem is the 9-18mm, I often think this is a completely forgotten lens and such a pleasure on the camera.... For your church photography see this app, interested to hear your feedback....
 

Growltiger

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... Another gem is the 9-18mm, I often think this is a completely forgotten lens and such a pleasure on the camera....
I agree, I love using the 9-18. It is so small and light. Perfect for travel.
But, again, the 9-18 isn't a very sharp lens. I also have the 7-14 Pro and the 12-40 Pro and both those lenses are much sharper. Of course they are also much larger, heavier and more expensive, so it isn't surprising.
Recent improvements in post processing may also change decisions on lenses. For example the latest sharpening tool, Topaz Sharpen AI, does such an amazing job sharpening images without adding artefacts that a lens that is good but not excellent like the 9-18 can produce truly excellent results.
 

Alex2

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Thanks for your feedback.... We should never spend a day together.....also love my 12mm, its sharp, has character and great color tones....a gem :) Another gem is the 9-18mm, I often think this is a completely forgotten lens and such a pleasure on the camera.... For your church photography see this app, interested to hear your feedback....
O.k., let's not do that then 😁.

Yes, I also like the 9-18mm a lot. For me it is again a perfect example about what m4/3 originally tried to achieve. My copy is so sharp that I have never longed for one of the more professional wide angle zooms, except for the Panasonic 7-14mm because of the additional 2mm on he wide side, but I do not need less than 9mm enough to warrant a move, and I like love the compactness and lack of weight of the 9-18mm. Although it is my only Olympus zoom and therefore the focus ring turns in the wrong direction.

I looked into the app. Nice idea, but for me not needed; I have done so much photography that I know the figures by now. This topic is covered by most photography trainings, and I paid attention when I attended mine. And I always review my shots in the camera when I really want to keep them, to see if I have in focus (and sufficiently sharp) what I intended to have in focus. Which is not super hard to achieve with the smaller sensor.
 
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O.k., let's not do that then 😁.

Yes, I also like the 9-18mm a lot. For me it is again a perfect example about what m4/3 originally tried to achieve. My copy is so sharp that I have never longed for one of the more professional wide angle zooms, except for the Panasonic 7-14mm because of the additional 2mm on he wide side, but I do not need less than 9mm enough to warrant a move, and I like love the compactness and lack of weight of the 9-18mm. Although it is my only Olympus zoom and therefore the focus ring turns in the wrong direction.

I looked into the app. Nice idea, but for me not needed; I have done so much photography that I know the figures by now. This topic is covered by most photography trainings, and I paid attention when I attended mine. And I always review my shots in the camera when I really want to keep them, to see if I have in focus (and sufficiently sharp) what I intended to have in focus. Which is not super hard to achieve with the smaller sensor.
Interesting.... I bought a Pro 7-14mm f2.8 second hand last year, tried it...what an awesome lens, huge, heavy and sharp....I sold it again :) I have had the Panny for years and love it.....o so sharp, small and NOT heavy. It's now up for sale....need money😭 Thing is even if the 7-14mm is a great lens I think its like a long zoom, it takes practice and technique to master these lenses. On the other hand the 9-18mm is an easy going lens and its results is amazing.....all things compared.....

I hear what you say (write....really 🙃 ) about the app. Reason I like to talk about the app is I am hoping those with higher energy levels than you and I would take a closer look and maybe discover something really interesting....😎
 

archaeopteryx

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take a closer look
We had already a thread about DoF and optimum focus point placement last year. It is simple maths and largely already supported by focus bracketing and in or out of camera stacking. What's missing is mainly ease of use, which is something ILC manufacturers are well known for not being stellar at. So I'm unsure there's much that's really of interest to discuss.

in the article I ask this question
I suspect your odds of getting an actual answer from Olympus are low. ;)

I think they stopped making it ages ago.
The Olympus 12 f/2 is in current production. So is the Rokinon/Samyang 12 f/2.
 
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We had already a thread about DoF and optimum focus point placement last year. It is simple maths and largely already supported by focus bracketing and in or out of camera stacking. What's missing is mainly ease of use, which is something ILC manufacturers are well known for not being stellar at. So I'm unsure there's much that's really of interest to discuss.
Probably the year before that and the year before that and on and on.... Do I sense an expiry date? :)
I hope I am wrong, I have the feeling the previous generation photographers were more informed in terms of photography basics than what we see today. Where does people find info today, forums? All said, was my question photography basics and mathematics...?

I suspect your odds of getting an actual answer from Olympus are low. ;)
Interesting....did not expect someone would think the Q was for Olympus 😉

The Olympus 12 f/2 is in current production. So is the Rokinon/Samyang 12 f/2.
I agree.... I can only think those wishing Olympus will close shop had a change of plans....its now on a step by step basis..... starting with the 12mm f2......then the Pen F......what's next? :-(
 

Fuzzdog

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Honestly, 90% of the time I use a lens as wide as the 12mm it's for night shots, so if anything I've always wished the 12mm f/2 was faster!
 

Bushboy

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I have this lens. It’s a fun lens.
It is easy to get a disappointing result with it..
Like it was mentioned before, it takes solid technique and practice with it, to master. Compositions are challenging...
Any pro tips would be most welcome!
I have been using it with,
1: ND10 stop filter
2: HDR
3: Focus stacking
The results have been to my liking! Pictures that make people say things like, “Hey! That’s cool” :)
It is fun to use and looks right on the M5 and M10 models.
 
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