Fast wide for m4/3 (and introduction)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by azoele, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. azoele

    azoele New to Mu-43

    Apr 25, 2014
    Dear all,

    first of all, an introduction to the forum I have been following for some time (with great pleasure and usefulness).
    I am the relatively new owner of a m4/3 kit (E-M1), after a stint with a E-M5 last year which I didn't like too much.
    Despite owning a full fledged pro FF kit, I am finding that the E-M1 is possibly the most ergonomic camera I've ever used... and that is no small feat! :)
    For the moment, I love the camera, and find the image quality acceptable up to iso 1600, which was unexpected. Lenses are impressive, and single focus is surprising: I dare say, even faster and more precise than my D4. Incredible little camera.
    So, thank you again for this forum, that has offered in time plenty of information, and that has been of help in chasing down and evaluating the E-M1 before purchase (and the purchase, yesterday, and after much agonizing, of a 35-100 :) ).

    Now my question: I love wide/ultra wide (not for panoramas though), but can't quite find a suitable lens in the m4/3 camp. On Nikon I use the 17-35 2.8.
    Yesterday I tried the 7-14, and while loved the weight, build and autofocus... was bitten immediately (already in the first 2 shots) by the dreaded purple ghosting. As much as I want an ultrawide, I couldn't force myself to purchase a lens with such an issue for that amount of money...
    So the question is: is there anything of good quality below 12mm?
    I have not had the chance to try the m9-18 (although being so slow would make it really an emergency solution...).
    My dream, while waiting for the 7-14 from Oly, would be a 8, 9 or 10 2.8... does something like that exist at all?
    Or, how do you savvy forumers placate your ultra wide appetites with Olympus bodies? :)

    Thanks all again for the past information, and my bests,

    I even thought of purchasing a 4/3s 7-14 with an mmf-3... but that would fully negate the benefits of the small form factor despite the apparently splendid image quality(same reason why I went with the 35-100 instead of "waiting" for the 40-150 2.8... the latter errs on the "too big" side for what I consider a portable system).
  2. Timmy

    Timmy Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2013
    Wiltshire - UK
    Hi & welcome to the forum! No shortage of threads here on this topic, have a search through and you'll find plenty of info / experiences.
    It looks like you've considered most of the options.

    While you wait for the new Oly lens you could consider de-fishing the samyang/ronikon fisheye - it's an excellent lens and de-fishing can work very well. Check out the image thread and you'll see some great results. It's not much money & might satisfy your urge for ultra wide.

    Plenty of happy 9-18mm users here so don't discount that option on account of it's speed.

    Samyang have some interesting lenses <12mm around in various APC mounts.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    This might be unsuitable for you, I don't know, but the Olympus 11-22mm for 4/3rds might fit the bill, with adapter of course.
    It got a great reputation for sharpness at nice bright apertures and the 11mm turned out to be nearer 10mm field of view, which is nice.
    You would absolutely need to try one before deciding, but they are now less than £200 used.

    (I don't own one, I make use of the slow cheap 4/3rds 9-18 myself)
  4. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    Hi Timmy,

    Welcome from me too. You'll find that this forum is full of useful and helpful information. Furthermore, it runs on good manners, which in this day and age is refreshing.

    Interesting to learn that you enjoy wides. I moved to micro-four-thirds, with a Panasonic G1 (the camera that started it all) five years ago and still love it. I live in a part of the planet where we can't afford to change cameras too often and as such make the most of what we have. But, I have to admit, I shall be looking at a G6 body when next in the U.K. (June/July this year). Prior to my G1 I had a Nikon Coolpix 8400 (Magnesium body and beautifully built) which had an extremely useful little zoom covering a range equivalent to 24 to 85mm (in 35mm terms). It died late last year after eight years of faithful service.

    In the early days I used Pentax SLR's (film - obviously) and had a SMC Pentax-A 24mm/f2.8 lens clipped onto them most of the time. I found this focal length perfect for most of my applications. Probably as a result of having to live with so-called "nifty-fifties" in the early years (1965 to about 1976). I found them too "tight" to be useful.

    However (to answer your questions), I don't do zooms. I know that they are versatile but find them fiddley and rather bulky on my G1 (I refer to the kit lens that came with the camera) so I invested in a Panny 20mm/f1.7 several years ago. It's compact, fast, sharp and a joy to use. A lot of folk complain about it's rather sleepy auto-focus, but coming from decades of manual-focus Pentax lenses, I don't sweat about it. Much, of course depends on what sort of photographic preferences one has - I do lanscapes (which don't move !) so am at easy with the 20/1.7.

    Olympus make a 12mm/f2.0 (which I quite sure you know), but it is pricey and I have read a number of reports (comments by users) that this lens isn't what it's cracked up to be. I am waiting to hear about the new Panasonic/Leica 30mm/f1.7, which, for me, would be just perfect.

    Conside primes, they are easier to use and compact.

  5. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    is speed really that big of an issue at such short focal length? you might find iso 3200 and even 6400 is workable with some denoising
  6. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    My approach is that I want fewer higher quality zooms for landscapes and wildlife. I am not changing lenses in upper Antelope Canyon or downwind of animals stirring up dust. If I were in a clean studio...the choices may be different

    Plan for the 7-14 f2.8 Pro Olympus will release next year. For now my 12-40 f2.8 Pro is wide enough for most landscapes. Good lens for photographing in the woods, streams, and waterfalls....especially since it is weather sealed. So much depends on what and where you shoot.

    I used to shoot a 17-40 L or 24-105 L lens on my Canon 5D3 for landscapes. All the Canon equipment was sold off to go M43. The wife's Canon kit is being sold this week.
  7. mjgraaf

    mjgraaf Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2014
    Real Name:
    Hi Lory, with these uw's, i typically stop down, so it is not an issue that it is a tad slower. I've been using it for some time now and i like it a lot. Try one and see for yourself. Enjoy!

    Sent from my C6503 using Tapatalk
  8. azoele

    azoele New to Mu-43

    Apr 25, 2014
    Dear all,

    first of all, thanks for the warm welcome, and for all the suggestions :)

    Seems wide-angle is still a "sore point" of the system then... too bad, the rest of it is truly impressive (I never, ever seen a zoom as sharp as the 12-40... I have seen better in the zeiss 135/2 apo and 200/2, but this only testifies of how incredible the little zoom is...).
    I will definitely try to put my hands on a m9-18 to try it: it may turn to be good enough not to make me miss too much the larger kit. Also, recently this site hosted the work of a very talented russian wedding photographer, and even those taken with the 9-18 were very, very beautiful (although... we all know talent is the true lion's share :) )

    As to the 11-22... it's a good suggestion. But it's admittedly on the large side... maybe too much for me, so that I'm wary of pursuing this strategy.
    Before settling on the Pana 35-100, I was very, very near to purchasing a used SHG 35-100/2. Despite the SHG lens being legendary, I realized m4/3 is all about portability to me. Good or excellent lens quality, excellent autofocus (single focus) and never bothering anymore with weight and packing. The only lens that might make me change my mind is a 150/2! :)

    As to why I need speed in a wideangle: I don't do panoramas. I tend to shoot people and environmental portraits, and travel, especially at night. The E-M1 is a life saver, allowing me to keep iso low (400) and shooting down to 1/4s easily... so 2.8 is acceptable. f4 is really, but really pushing it. I find m4/3 to be very much iso challenged already at iso800, with a useable 1600 in a pinch, and everything over 3200 too noisy (and colour shifted) to be really useful unless shot under anything other than bright sunlight... so every bit of speed on this system counts a lot to me (and for this very reason I really agonized over buying the 35-100 or the 75 1.8, the latter being almost a stop and a half faster...).
    To put things in perspective, on FF my preferred lens is a 24 1.4, which has a lush way of isolating the subject whilel conveying much information about context and environment: a truly unique rendition.

    Thanks again to all,
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    If you want fast and wide, you're not going to get small (well, not very small).

    The purple flaring can be to a large degree fixed with the 7-14/4. Wider than 12mm, the only options faster than f/4 are the adapted 11-22/2.8-3.5 (silly, IMO, since you lose quality compared to the 12-40/2.8, while gaining only 1mm) or a SpeedBoosted APS-C/FF wide-angle zoom. Try e.g. the Nikon 10-24/3.5-4.5 with the SpeedBooster and you're left with 7-17/2.5-3.1. Of course that's even larger, but there you are.

    But especially with wide angles, good in-camera stabilization in the Olympus OM-Ds means I can't see needing high ISOs unless you're shooting indoors or after sunset.
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Oly has an excellent 7-14mm F4.0 in 4/3 mount, weather sealed. It is fairly large and heavy, however. $700-1200 used.

    I also recommend trying an 7.5mm or 8mm FishEye.

  11. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Whenever anyone mentions the Olympus/7-14 purple flare problem, I feel compelled to mention that there is a cheap, simple modification involving installation of an OEM rear filter holder and Wratten 2A filter that com
    • Like Like x 1
  12. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Pletely solves the problem.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. azoele

    azoele New to Mu-43

    Apr 25, 2014
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I read about it, but in all honesty... it feels weird to be forced to "correct" the behaviour of a 1000+$ lens. The 7-14 had its chance with me... now the money is gone... for a Nocticron :)

  14. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    If you favourite FX lens is a 24mm f/1.4, then the nearest to this on m43 is going to be 12mm f/2, either the Olympus or the Samyang.

    Be aware that the Oly 12mm has a lot of barrel distortion natively and is relying on the in camera correction in the m43 standard to straighten things up. Software distortion correction tends to affect the corners, so if you are used to the corner rendering of your 12-40 at 12mm you might want to try before you buy.

    The downsides of the Samyang are that it's manual focus only, and there seems to be too much sample variation at the moment.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. azoele

    azoele New to Mu-43

    Apr 25, 2014
    Thanks Andy for your suggestion.
    I thought long about the 12/2, but did not decide to buy it, the reason being very simple: it is just too slow.
    The difference of only 1 stop is almost always negligible in IQ and bokeh (even though light gathering ability might be even more, as transmissivity in zooms often deviates much from f-stop).
    Even the 17 1.8 is often "too slow" for my uses... Thus I rely on the two zooms (12-40 & 35-100) for flexibility and acceptable light, and have just purchased a Nocticron, which at f1.2 allows almost 3 stops light more than the zooms for the ugly light situations. And await a true fast and wid-ish lens, something aking to a 1.2 12-to-17. That single lens would round up my kit, while awaiting for a ultra wide angle lens...


    although, maybe Sigma will do everyone a surprise: they have a history of extreme ultrawide (down to 12mm on full frame), they may well come up with something like a 6-12 lens for m4/3 (after all, the do make a 8-16 for APS-C. One can hope :) (especially seeing their latest lenses: their 35 1.4 was one my most used lenses, and trounces Nikon's own 35 1.4G...).

  16. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    Sorry to burst you bubble Lory, but the boss of Sigma has already stated that their mirrorless lens strategy is to develop single lens designs that can then be modified to m43 AND the APS-C mirrorless systems (so far just E-Mount, but I would not be surprised if they also do a Fuji X-Mount version next time).

    The upshot of this is the widest focal length they will go to is one that makes sense for APS-C, which would probably be 10mm. And such a lens would also probably be f/2.8 like the rest of their mirrorless lenses.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  17. azoele

    azoele New to Mu-43

    Apr 25, 2014
    Ah well... then it's a definitely a "no go".
    I am happy to buy "large" lenses if they are outstanding or very very fast... but not because they are overdesigned to cover a large area...
    Then Zuiko it will be for ultrawide, and maybe Panasonic will come up with something more bold than the 15 1.7 :)
    Thanks for the bit of news I was not aware of, Andy.


  18. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    Lory, this is where the boss of Sigma made his statement:

    The M.Zuiko Pro 7-14mm f/2.8 is probably the lens you are looking for.

    In the meantime, a lot of fun can be had with the Samyang fisheye, which you can pick up for not much money. It might not seem all that fast, but with it's massive field of view and the IS on your camera, I think 1 second handheld shots are not unfeasible.
  19. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Real Name:
    Special-purpose ultra-ultra wide angle lens - the 7-14mm Panasonic is the lens, very comparable with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, just a different set of lens flare issues. The techniques with minimizing lens flare or producing the flare when wanted with ultra-ultra wide angles apply to both lenses. BTW - the flare issues are still there with the 4/3s 7-14mm lens.

    For the more every day type of shooting the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens comparison might be the Olympus m4/3s 9-18mm - the IQ will not be quite the same. If you're not making prints larger than 16 x 20 or just using photos on monitors then the 9-18mm should be just fine.

    When I added m4/3s to my gear, I had experience with both Olympus 4/3s and the Nikon pro lenses. I opted for the Panasonic 7-14mm, eventually sold the Nikon 14-24mm but kept the 17-35mm f/2.8 lens. I do not regret getting the Panasonic 7-14mm one iota.

    The Olympus 7-14mm will be released later in the 2015 year which might not make it feasible to get until 2016.
  20. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The Oly 7-14 is going to be a big lens, relative to m4/3 lenses. I absolutely love my Panasonic 7-14, but many people seem to complain that it's too big. :rolleyes: It will be interesting to see what sort of reaction the Oly 7-14 gets when it finally arrives.