Milky Way Landscape Astrophoto - Oly E-M5 MK2 - best lens?

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by mlopes, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    just bought an Oly E-M5 MK2 + 12-40 f2.8 Pro and have my eyes on some other lenses, primes most of them.

    my problem: i can't make up my mind about THE best lens or lens+adaptor(speedbooster or similar option) to do some great milky way landscape astrophotography... :( 

    i don't like like to buy and sell, and buy and sell....i'd rather buy only once even if i have to wait a while to save enough to buy good stuff.

    can anybody help? please... :) 

    p.s.: don't like fisheye
  2. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    Have you done Milky Way landscape astrophotography before? What do you not like about the current lens?

    I have personally taken quite a few pictures with the E-M1 and 12-40 pro that I'm happy with and you can see plenty of other examples if you look for it.

    If you have no experience with this kind of photography, I would recommend trying it out first. See if it's for you - are you willing to stay up late? Or wake up really early? If you do, do you like the quality of your pictures? If not, what specifically do you not like?
  3. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    The 12-40mm f2.8 should be fine with the right techniques but the 7-14 f2.8 will be better. The other option I can think of is the O12mm f2.0 prime which will give you an extra stop over the zoom if that focal length is good for you.
  4. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    i've done more than a bit but with a Nikon DSLR + Samyang 24mm f1.4 or Samyang 16mm f2.0 (but they are not mine) not with the Oly. just got it last week ;) 

    the 12-40 f2.8 is just a bit too slow. i bought it as an all-round lens to take with me in light to ultralight long distance trekking.

    i thought about the Samyang 12 f2, Oly 12mm f2, the Samyang 24 f1.4+speedbooster, the Samyang 16 f2.0+speedbooster or the Hyperprime 12mm/1.6.

    am i missing something? any thoughts or other options?
  5. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    It wasn't clear to me that you had prior experience. :) 

    If you're going UL trekking, my suggestion is to stay within the system. Otherwise, you'll be getting at a minimum a lens designed for an APS-C sensor + speedbooster. Adds to the overall weight (and volume). I had the Samyang 14mm f2.8 + speedbooster and it was a pretty hefty combination. At that point, I decided that I'd stick with the native lenses even if they were on the bigger side (for m43).

    The Olympus 12mm has good reviews. I like the Panasonic 15mm f1.7 as well.
  6. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    :)  sorry about not being clear. and sorry about my english also...

    for the UL trekking i'll stay with the 12-40 and only with the 12-40. not light at all but couldn't find a better M4/3 all-round lens and with some weather sealing.

    15mm f1.7 seems interesting.

    what do you think about 16mm f2+speedbooster? it get's me below (35mm equivalent) 24mm (wider than any native 12mm) and f1.8.....

    but then i think why get something more complicated if i can get a 12mm f2 or 12mm f1.7(?) grrrrr :)  but then, no reviews about the Hyperprime and why stick to f2 if i can get f1.8(?) ggrrrrr....and can't make up my mind...
  7. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    Your English is perfectly fine. :) 

    I tried only the one combination like I mentioned in my previous post and quickly returned the whole set up. It was too big for me for what I thought I was gaining in performance.

    One thing though - be very careful about going with a cine lens. They are not known to be sharp corner to corner. And coma performance can be a huge damper in your efforts. No personal experience, but had to rely on the rare reviews.

    Check out @PeHa@PeHa's thread here:

    You might get some info from that discussion.
  8. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    thank you very much! it's a very good point to consider :)  i'll read it carefully
  9. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    If you want very wide, there's also:
    Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton
    Kowa 8.5mm (Cine) f2.8
    Oly 8mm FishEye f1.8
    Oly 7-14mm f2.8

    Make sure you read the reviews specifically about coma and corner sharpness before deciding.

  10. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    thank you for all your replies.

    it thought abou the Voigtlander 10.5mm f0.95...f0.95 is a dream! :)  but the reviews i read all say we must stop it down to f2 to get sharp images an CA is almost always a problem, so i excluded it. i have many f2 options without the Voigtlander problems.

    i think any native m4/3 f2.8 lens is a bit too slow for Milky Way shots so i excluded all of them.

    cinema lenses are becoming less and less appealing, so i'm about to exclude them...

    the Samyang 16 f2.0+speedbooster is becoming more and more my favorite option. a 22mm (35mm equivalent) f1.8 lens is not bad...

    any thoughts or personal experience regarding the Samyang/Bower 16mm f2?
  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Samyang (a.k.a. Rokinon) 12mm f2 is quite good for astro.

    Unfortunately not quite as wide on m4/3 as it is on Sony NEX, but should still be very good. The smaller m4/3 sensor will eliminate the vignetting problem shown in the above linked review, too.
  12. brianc1959

    brianc1959 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2013
    Brian Caldwell
    The 16/2 + S.B. route is actually 2/3 stop better than you are thinking. The 16mm f/2.0 plus a 0.71x Speed Booster will give you an 11.4mm f/1.4 lens, not f/1.8. The new 0.71x Speed Booster ULTRA M43 has extremely high performance at f/1.4 all the way to the extreme corner ( : DISCLAIMER - I'm the lens designer ), so if the 16/2.0 is decent then the 11.4/1.4 combination should be really good. Note that a 0.64x Speed Booster XL would give you a 10.2mm f/1.2, but I don't know if the 16/2.0 has enough coverage to avoid vignetting.
  13. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    oh shoot! your course your right!!! f1.4 :) 
    but i don't designed the stuff...i don't know if you know what your talking about ;)  ;)  lol
    it's getting better an better! 11.4/1.4 it's almost impossible to beat! even the Oly 8mm fisheye is f1.8 and the Pana 15mm is 1.7 and not so wide.
    i need to search only one alternative: i need to see if there's a Samyang 12mm f2 version that i can stick a speedbooster on, then compare the reviews... a 8.5mm f1.4 would be awesome :) 
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  14. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013

    I have the Bower 14mm f/2.8 and Mitakon combination and it's pretty hefty size to get 10mm f/2, but this lens is suitable for astrophotography. I tested it and compared to the Oly's 12mm f/2 and concluded that the Bower is still better.

    I always pondered if I can get wider and faster with the Speedbooster, but you know what? With used prices of the Sony A7 coming down to reasonable levels, owning a Sony A7 full frame body with a cheap Nikon to NEX adapter would be cheaper than trying to get a 16mm f/2 + Speedbooster XL which is more or less the same price as a new Sony A7. To me, it just doesn't make sense. And I don't use 7mm or 14mm FOV unless I'm doing big sky stuff anyhow.

    With a Sony A7 full frame, the astro photos coming out of that camera is so much better than my E-P5. Right now, I'm not there yet in terms of seriousness but if I am more serious, I would just get the Sony A7 and a Nikon adapter -- in fact I'm saving for it right now. My Bower 14mm f/2.8 will become a true 14mm f/2.8 and the size of the A7 is the same as an E-M1. The Sony A7 series is the best and easiest way to get true full frame wide angle view.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. pmon

    pmon Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2013
    I am not an expert on this for sure but I tried once shooting Milky Way owning both Pana 12-35 and Oly 17. I found to like better the 12mm fov of the Pana but the Oly 17 at 2.0 provided better images to post process. In my opinion 12mm f2 is best and you should have native m43 lens options with both the Oly and the Samyang.
    Another important thing is manual focus, better the focus ring of the lens is smooth and precise.

    This is what I was able to capture with the Oly at 2.0
    • Like Like x 2
  16. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    thank you for all for your replies.
    bikerhiker, i might agree with you about buying an A7 but (there's always a but...) i really don't want to buy different systems. A7 would probably be the smartest choice but i'm lazy.
    i've chosen m4/3 and i intend to stick with it. my wife loved the camera and we will buy another for her with the HLD-8G alone.
    i already bought the 60mm macro (she loves macro) and the 25mm f1.8. we will buy the 75mm 1.8 and the new 300mm f4 when it comes out. i also bought the Holga 25mm to play with :) 
    pmon, nice shot!
    couldn't find a way to stick a speedbooster on the 12mm f2 Samyang so i will probably go with the 16mm f2 Samyang option.
    bryanc1959 can you investigate if the 16mm f2 can be used with the 0.64x? thanks!
  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I would highly, highly doubt the 16mm f2.0 would work on a .64x booster. Honestly, the regular .71x speedbooster is already stretching beyond the regular APS-C imaging circle. This is made slightly worse because m4/3 uses a taller aspect ratio than APS-C (4:3 vs 3:2) You'll often got odd vignetting and corner issues when using an APS-C lens with those. A .64 is almost guaranteed to have issues. Both speedboosters were really designed to adapt FF dslr lenses.

    While the 16mm f2.0 on a speedbooster might technically be better, the 12mm f2.0 is a lot more convenient, cheaper and still an outstanding solution. I would not doubt if you have some weak edges to crop out with the speedbooster solution for reasons mentioned above. 16mm is an APS-C lens.

    8mm f1.8 fisheye is an interesting solution as well, along with some software to defish if warranted.
  18. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Shouldn't the 4:3 aspect ratio help rather than hinder, since it is a more efficient use of the image circle? That is, in order to cover a 3:2 sensor, a lens needs to be designed "oversized."

    The 16mm/f2 is handy in this respect especially since it doesn't have a built in lens hood which necessitates trimming.

    I agree that 0.64x is probably overly aggressive for most APS-C lenses, though, given that the sensor is not that much larger than M4/3. Also depends on how much extra room there is on the Samyang image circle, which is common practice in order to improve its corner performance. The Olympus 45mm/1.8, for instance, easily covers an APS-C sensor (tested when used with an M4/3 to E-mount adapter).
  19. mlopes

    mlopes Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2015
    i tend to agree with Turbofrog on this. if we compare the 4/3 to the 3/2 aspect ratio we find that 3/2 is wider (4/3=8/6 and 3/2=9/6) so shouldn't this help with an APS-C lens?
    not that i'm implying that the 0,64 is a good choice. probably it isn''s radical but until further investigation it's still an option
  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    The A7 (and A7 II) are okay, but aren't really as good in terms of low-light performance as one might hope from a full-frame camera. I don't know whether it's the lossy compression or an outdated sensor, but it is less than 1.5 stops better than an E-M5. In other words, there's a good chance you'll actually get better results out of a 16mm f2 + Speed Booster on a M4/3 camera compared to a f2.8 lens on an A7, which is a full 2 stops slower.

    Obviously pixel vignetting does start to reduce transmission / quantum efficiency / whatever at that point, but I still wouldn't bank on the A7 being a seriously superior option if you haven't already invested in the lenses.

    Honestly, I think the 8mm/1.8 fisheye is still the best bet. A fisheye is just so much wider than a conventional rectilinear lens it's not even funny. The "mm" value doesn't really correlate at all. Obviously it depends on your photographic goal, though!
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