How important is owning an ultrawide angle lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by aphasiac, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. aphasiac

    aphasiac Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 18, 2015
    A good deal came up on the Olympus 9-18mm in my city. Never though about owning an ultra wide angle before, having got used to 12mm on my 12-50, and occasionally the 9mm fisheye bodycap for interesting perspective shots.

    Should I get an ultra wide angle? Anyone get one and find it difficult to use, and sold it on again? Will I love it instantly or is it a matter of "if you're not sure, then you probably don't need it"

    I know this thread will be full of "i love mine, couldn't live without it", but wondering if it's like that for all owners.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  2. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    Should you get one and will you love it instantly?
    I'm not sure exactly how anyone else than you can answer that? :hmmm:

    Can you afford one? Do you want one? If you answered yes on those questions the answer is quite simple really...
    Maybe if you are not sure (and can afford it) you should get one :) 

    And yes, you are right; I love my ultrawide (but I can live without it). I started with the 9mm BCL and loved it too. But I love the 7.5mm fishy much more.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I've gotten along for years without going wider than a 24mm field of view. You may require more or less. personal choice at this point.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    Have you ever feel a need for something wider? If so, then how often?
  5. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2015
    I bought mine for 2 purposes: I was going to NYC and felt I needed a UWA and secondly it can be used in my UW housing when shooting underwater.

    I havent really used it a lot since coming back from NYC a year ago. Now I have the 12-40 pro which takes away even further from the usability. Dontget me wrong it was great for New York and it is a very versatile lens with the 9-18mm spectrum, but in honesty 12mm covers a lot for me and my pana 20mm is much nicer for a "normal" view than the 18mm.

    I havent used it underwater yet as I have only been diving in Denmark/Sweden since I got it and here the UWA rarely an option due to low visibility.
    It is a great lense but I can live without it.

    In all fairness mine has had an error not allowing me to shoot in from 15-18mm which has probably impacted how much I have used it the last year. I am getting it fixed now and will see whether it finds its way back to my camera or whether I need to sell it again. I will bring to INdonesia and test it for landscapes and UW there. If I get home from that trip and find I havent used it then I will be selling it.
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Depends what you like to shoot. Personally, it's an essential piece of kit. I'd drop my telephotos before I dropped the UWAs.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. A lot of people get the UWA bug after getting one and end up using it all the time, but generally it's a temporary obsession. IMO, if you're not sure, you probably don't know what they are for and don't know how to use one to good effect.

    They are not for getting wide vistas - panoramas are generally better. What are they good for? Getting close to the subject while maintaining a wide scene context, exaggerating perspective, creating leading lines, fitting in architecture from up close while maintaining straight lines. A fisheye like your 9mm BCL can actually do everything except the last one pretty well.
    • Like Like x 2
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  8. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    I agree with everyone:
    • how can we know
    • you might get the bug and then it could prove temporary
    but if its a good deal, then just get it! Play with it and then you will know if its "your bag baby" or not

    call it "educational price" you pay the money and you learn.


    (I thought I should add LoL or Smile-Smiley or something even though my avatar is a smiley thumb)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2015
    BTW you do know that this thread is just part of the "I-have-thought-long-and-hard-and-after-careful-analysis-I-find-I-need-this-lens" ritual, because you will end up buying it no matter what advise you get here, because there is only one way to truly find out :) 
    • Like Like x 5
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  10. NCV

    NCV Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2016
    If you shoot architecture or landscape then this lens opens up interesting opportunities.

    Only you can decide if you need it or not. It is a fine lens BTW.
  11. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    12mm is usually wide enough for my needs, but on a whim I tried a 7-14 F4 (old Oly version) that was too cheap to turn away. It was a high quality lens, but big and bulky on M43. Not ridiculously so, but still. I didn't really gel with it. I found the wide end to have too much distortion and I don't live where I might use it more often (like at a seaside or around sky scrapers). So I sold it. It was great for interior architecture though. Also couldn't take filters (easily/cheaply) and would require a big tripod vs. my small hiking tripod when out and about.

    Then I found a good deal on a 9-18 and it's amazingly small and light. I found I use it more and it's a nice range for me. I don't feel the need to go wider than 9mm and personally can't stand fisheye and would never use one. I use it primarily for long exposures and don't regret getting it. I think it's a useful lens and it takes up very little space and shares filters for the 12-50mm. It's an easy resale if you get a good deal and find you don't use it. I generally prefer getting in close, but find I'm really enjoying the 9-18mm more than expected. It's pretty versatile I'd say.
  12. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I don't know if 11mm counts as ultrawide (I would say it does), but the old 11-22mm has become one of my favourite lenses. It's huge, and its autofocus is incredibly bad (verging on useless) on CDAF bodies, but it's sharp, it's contrasty, it's vibrant, and it's dramatic.

    The extra 11mm on the wide end makes a difference compared to a 12mm, as silly as it sounds. I imagine that the 9-18mm is even more significant.

    That said, I do find that rectilinear wide angles like the 7mm look...sort of weird to me. They look even less natural than my 7.5mm fisheye to me, because everything is super stretched. Rectilinear projections keep the lines straight, but they definitely don't look like something a human could ever see. I might change my tune if I spent a significant amount of time with such a lens, but I think 9 or 10mm is probably the widest I would feel comfortable with using regularly.
  13. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2016
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Rob Campbell
    I love mine. Couldn't live without it. >.>

    edit: seriously. Sometimes 12mm isn't enough. I'm considering trading my Panasonic 7-14 for the Olympus Pro 7-14. This is the level of enthusiasm I have for these lenses.
  14. manypix

    manypix Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2013
    Portland, OR, USA
    Hi folks,

    I agree completely with Turbofrog regarding the 11-22. It's great! Unless you care about fast AF, in which case it's useless except on the E-M1.

    I, too, have the Rokinon/Bower/Samyang 7.5mm fisheye. It's amazingly good, particularly given its low price. Sometimes I use Hugin to de-fish the imaged I take from the 7.5mm.

    I also have the old 4/3 9-18mm lens. It focuses well enough that I consider the AF usable on m43. I like this lens for (MF) video, but find it's not crisp enough for my tastes for stills.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    You make very good points about using an ultra-wide. It’s more often about getting closer, and when you think you’re close, getting even closer, and emphasizing the relationship between foreground, midground, and background elements. The 9-18 is a nice lens, and 9 is quite a bit wider than 12. But, as others have already said, it really depends on whether you’ve felt the need to go wider than 12 and if you feel that limits you. I have the 9-18 and since I got the 12-40 I find I rarely use the 9-18. I need to use it more because I do like it. The reason is that unless I know I want to shoot real wide the 12-40 is just way more versatile for my uses.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    I used 9-18 on E-420 almost excusively for last 3 or 4 years and according to EXIF data mostly as 10mm prime. And I loved both of them. Now as my needs changed, I'm switching to 17/1.8 on OM-D (with kit 14-42 as backup). As was said many times, everything is up to personal preferences, feelings and needs. So get it, and you'l see.
  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Since you have a 12mm and a 9mm fisheye, you probably know how much you love UWA. If you aren't always running into limitations at 12mm and aren't using your 9mm a lot, then you probably don't.

    I keep my Samyang 7.5mm around just so that I have something if I need it, but I don't use it that often. It wasn't that expensive and keeps me from "needing" an expensive UWA zoom.
  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    To me, 24mm (35 equivalent) is the beginning focal length for communicating a sense of space in an interior photograph. In film days my two most-used lenses were my 24 and (for portraits) my 105. I didn't even own an "normal" lens

    I shoot mostly travel stuff. For a one-lens kit, the 14-140mm is a no-brainer. Add a second lens: 9-18mm. Add a third lens: 100-300mm. Kit complete.

    You are thinking of the 9-18mm as an UWA. That's fine but it is much more than that. The focal length range is unique in M43, providing not only the UWA but also taking you to a mild wide angle that verges on "normal." It's a great walking around lens. With the advances in ISO in recent sensors and with a good monopod, I don't find its aperture to be a significant issue. In fact, for a while I carried a 12/f2 for low light situations but I found that I never used it. So its been sold.

    As others have said, though, YMMV.
  19. AG_Alex2097

    AG_Alex2097 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2015
    Alex S.
    I love my UWAs, both the 12mm and 7.5mm Samyang Fisheye, the 12mm mostly for indoor, people and close ups with OOF backgrounds, the fisheye however... oh baby, i'm addicted to this lens, i love it and it's fantastic for its price! Yes you get some distortion (quite a lot actually, ti's a fisheye after all), but it gives interesting new perspectives, it changes the everyday looks of things and in my opinion is just fun to use, the only thing about UWA is that you usually need a foreground element to make a picture work (which means getting real close), not so much for the 12mm, but i'm presuming the wider you go, the more important it is, just busy pictures with everything in the background don't tend to work (what an UWA does without careful framing) unless you have some really nice lighting or shapes/ leading lines going on ;) 
    I see a lot of people using UWAs for mostly landscapes, but you can do many more creative things with them ^^

    9-18 sounds great though, because you can always go back to 18 if you're not feeling the UWA that much, check if you have many pictures at 12mm and try to remember if you wished you could go wider, if it's a yes, go for it! :) 
  20. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    It's not easy to find compositions for a UW unless you're forcing it, and the perspective distortion makes a lot of scenes look weird. Sometimes 12 just isn't wide enough to get it all in though. I wouldn't bother with it just for the extreme perspective.

    I usually carry my P7-14 but it has by far the lowest photos-taken-to-weight ratio of the kit staples.
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