Lens Recommendation Please

bullmrkt

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I am a project manager for a general contractor that specializes in military construction, and I'm looking for a wide angle lens for my GH2 for architectural shots both inside and out.

So far I've been looking at the Panasonic 7-14mm/4 zoom, 14mm/2.5, and 8mm/3.5 fisheye. The fisheye has its obvious disadvantages, but the super wide angle field of view would be handy to capture large areas, like the enormous anechoic chamber I am working on now as part of a project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Which brings up another point, low light ability indoors. The fastest lens here is the 14mm/2.5, and the other 2 are pretty slow. So overall the 14mm/2.5 seems like a good choice, and its relatively inexpensive.

Any thoughts or other ideas are appreciated. Thanks!

-Ian
 

Danny_Two

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What about the Olympus 9-18? Not quite as wide as the 7-14 but still an ultra wide and considerably cheaper. Not that bright though, f4 at the wide end.

Here's an example of the kind of width you'll get with the Olympus at 9mm.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Narnian

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My first thought is who is paying for it? Buy them all if it is cost plus. ;)

Can you add some artificial light?

The 7-14 gives you flexibility in tight areas you would not have with the 14/2.5.

And would you be able to use the 14/2.5 wide open? Would it give you the depth of field you need? If you have to stop it down then you gain nothing over the 7-14.

What exactly are you trying to achieve with the photograph? How much quality can you give up to get a higher ISO?
 

Hikari

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I would also recommend the 7-14 zoom or 8mm fisheye. The projections are different. Would you be trying to get any quantitative data off these images? In that regard, the fisheye might be better.

BTW, if you have photoshop, you can stitch a bunch of images with photomerge (and the lenses you have). This gives some advantage to collecting more information as well as controlling the projection.
 

bullmrkt

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Good point regarding the DoF... I was hoping to stay away from the 7-14 due to cost, but Danny has a good suggestion with the Oly 9-18. Although I can probably make the case for a business expense. :)

I might be able to add some artificial light, but not usually much, and I can't count on it because these are active construction sites. Usually there will be good lighting indoors, because everything we do is commercial, labs, office space, class rooms, conference rooms etc. The biggest challenge is going to be this anechoic chamber with its navy blue absorber material on all surfaces, and very little light. I might be able to rig some artificial light, we'll see. Its a box about 100x75ft and 75ft tall.

I'm not trying to achieve anything beyond having some well executed photos to have for the company website, and possibly to frame for our main office etc. This is obviously not my responsibility, I just thought it would be nice to have something nicer than your average P&S snapshot garbage we normally end up with, but cheaper than a hiring a pro.
 

Narnian

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I assume the chamber isn't moving so a tripod and long exposures should help as well.

If it is moving, run!
 

bullmrkt

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Hey, I'm a taxpayer!!! That would be out-of-control miltary spending and those lenses are not made in the US!!!!!!

:rofl:
Haha, no worries. I work for a private contractor, and all construction spending is competitively bid lump sum contracts. We do lots of non-gov't institutional work as well, basically anything but residential.
 

walt_tbay

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There are lots of great suggestions in this thread. Just to be a bit different, I'll suggest using the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and a photo-stitching program. The 20mm is a great little lens and low-light performer. It would just take a little practise to get good results with the stitching program. There are a couple of threads here that provide advice on creating panoramas.

If that's not an option that appeals to you, then get the Oly 9-18mm. This lens is much cheaper than the Pany. It has no image stabilization so you should keep a tripod/unipod handy. :smile:
 

bernard

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As a civil engineer, I suggest you Oly 9-18 because it is much smaller, and for the work in dust (which is normal everyday condition) you need UV-filter for lens protection, also with shade (on Pany 7-14 you can't put it). The lens is also very sharp.
I have E-P1 with in-body stabilisation which help me in poor light condition. Maybe to buy some cheap body of E-P1 or E-PL1 ?
(sorry for may bad english)
 

Narnian

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@Walt - the 7-14 does not have IS, but there is a rumor Panny may create a new version with IS. If that can allow you to shoot at slower speeds that could make it more useful in low light situations.

@Bernard - the 7-14 basically has the shade built-in to protect the lens. But you make an excellent point about dust and dirt and the advantage of the Oly 9-18 to take a filter in that case.
 

~tc~

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IS is only going to help to a point. A tripod is the real solution if stitching is not possible - if it is, the 20/1.7 is def the way to go.
 

pjohngren

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So overall the 14mm/2.5 seems like a good choice, and its relatively inexpensive.

Any thoughts or other ideas are appreciated. Thanks!

-Ian

I have the 14 f2.5 and recentlty used it to shoot inside a new art center under natural light. It was perfect for the job. It is fast enough and everything looked natural without the rediculous distortions of a wider lens. I think it is your perfect option.
 

bullmrkt

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Thanks for all of the responses guys, very helpful! I'll post my decision when I make it, and of course the products! Wait until you see the reflector inside our anechoic chamber, its crazy.
 

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