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Olympus 12mm v's the 9-18.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Danny_Two, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    182
    Oct 30, 2010
    London
    Yeah, I know the 12mm has been done to death, but bear with me...

    I have a 45-200 that I never use and the 9-18 that I've never really been entirely satisfied with, there's to much distortion fully open and I don't like having to unlock it all the time.
    I love my primes to, and the quality of the 12mm is impressive.

    So, Im thinking sell the 200 and the 9-18 and get the 12mm instead, and just have the one quality lens.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Well, just one point - there's no distortion on the 12mm at 9mm because it doesn't go to 9mm... As good as the Zuiko may be, it's not an ultra-wide.

    If your main issue is wanting a prime, then by all means the 12mm seems excellent (although IMO I don't think it's $500 more excellent than the also excellent Lumix 14/f2.5 - each to their own).

    But, if your main complaint with the 9-18mm is distortion and the collapsible barrel, but you still use it as an ultra-wide, then the 12mm isn't going to scratch that itch. I'd have a serious look at the Lumix 7-14 (which is only $100 more than the Zuiko 12mm)...
     
  3. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    182
    Oct 30, 2010
    London
    In the UK the 7-14 sells at around £300 ($480) more than the 12mm, Im not sure I really need an ultra wide, I prefer bigger apertures to width.
     
  4. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Ah, fair enough. I was going off B&H prices...
     
  5. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    483
    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Yeah the 7-14 is very expensive in the UK! I'm interested to see what people think, new the 9-18 is £480ish although I've seen the 12mm for £590 which is a really good price too.
     
  6. Caroline

    Caroline Mu-43 Regular

    87
    Mar 4, 2010
    London
    Hi Chris - can you tell me where you saw this price in the UK? I rented this lens a few weeks ago and loved it but dismissed buying it because of the price - however that price is pretty good!

    Thanks,
    Caroline
     
  7. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    483
    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Caroline,

    My mistake its £595! But I've seen this at Ffordes Photographic, excellent independent shop I've used them a lot.
     
  8. harry_s

    harry_s Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Jul 19, 2011
    Wiltshire, UK
    I'm struggling to make the same decision, the Panasonic 7-14 would be ideal but the price here in the UK is insane. I think if I bought the 9-18 I would always be wanting the 12mm or 7-14mm.

    My first major use will be in New York at Christmas, so I guess I could wait and buy the 7-14 there if the price is that much better.
     
  9. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Highly recommend a visit to B&H's brick and mortar store in Manhattan - amazing even if you don't buy anything :smile:
     
  10. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I use the 9-18 and am very impressed with it, I think it's a great little lens and don't mind the fact it can be collapsed to make it even more portable. The IQ seems fine and I've not really been bothered by any wide angle distortion yet. Considering it sells in the UK for around £450 and the 7-14 sells for around £850 for me it was a no brainer.

    Paul
     
  11. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    The 12 presents a pickle, right?! Now I worry that the 7-14 won't be bright enough or the 12 won't be wide enough! A pickle.
     
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Aperture fully open? Or are you talking about setting the focal length to 9mm? I haven't done any detailed testing of my 9-18 but I haven't been bothered by any lens defects. If you are talking about the normal perspective distortion that becomes apparent at wide angles, then just don't shoot it so wide. Perspective distortion has nothing to do with the lens. It's just geometry.

    At the risk of simply demonstrating a firm grasp of the obvious, I'll ask: Why do you lock it then?
     
  13. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    182
    Oct 30, 2010
    London
    Focal wide open, although I generally use big apertures al the time to.

    That's the thing, I don't know what normal looks like, but I don't see it on other photos.

    I don't want to leave it extended when it's rattling around the bottom of a bag.
     
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Well, here is an example of deliberate perspective distortion, really an ultrawide lens cliche.
    P1020165.JPG
    The lens was maybe 20 cm. from the front corner of the car, while the rear of the car was maybe 3 meters away. So the foreground is very large and the far-away (relatively speaking) background is much smaller. It's not much of a photo, with the cluttered background and all, but those solar cells just screamed "cliche" and demanded the shot. :)

    Do this: Take four portraits of a person, each with the person's face filling the frame and exactly the same size. Use 9, 18, 45, and 200 mm. You will see that the person's nose is grotesquely large at 9mm and better at 14mm. I think you will like the portrait best at 45mm and will find that the portrait looks very "flat" at 200. 45mm (90mm 35m equivalent) is generally considered to be a portrait lens, as is anything in the 85-105mm range. This focal length gives some depth to the face by slightly emphasizing the foreground features but it avoids the increasingly extreme distortion of shorter focal lengths and the flattening effect of longer focal lengths.

    All of this is just the geometry of the shot. It has nothing to do with the lens.

    Now here is a shot that is really the reason I bought the lens, an interior.
    Library.
    Here, the columns are "larger than life" due to perspective distortion but we are not aware of that because we really don't have a reference. The camera is tilted up slightly, so we see the converging verticals at the corners of the room -- this is also a form of perspective distortion and, with an ultrawide, you must be careful to not tilt very much unless you are deliberately seeking the distortion. Here's an example where it is deliberate.
    https://www.mu-43.com/attachments/f38/4719d1309536119-few-shots-9-18mm-p6110266.jpg

    A shot with verticals is where you would see actual lens distortion. The vertical lines might be curved inwards (pincushion distortion) or outwards (barrel distortion).

    If you browse this thread: https://www.mu-43.com/f38/olympus-mzd-9-18mm-f4-5-6-experience-diary-3685/ you can see a variety of shots, some exploiting perspective distortion very well (look for the cat!) and some where the photographer is completely oblivious.

    Now, should you buy the 12mm and ditch these two lenses? It depends entirely on what you like to shoot, and you haven't told us that. Personally, I would not be happy if I were limited to a single prime lens -- particularly one that is that wide.