OT - *Sharp* MFT WA Lens for Landscapes?

CarlG

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Well, allow me to first start off by saying "hello" to this community. I am new to this forum since last week. I just sold all of my Canon DSLR gear (5D2 and assorted L lenses) in favor of an E-M5 and a couple of starter lenses (25 1.4, 45 1.8 and 12 2.0 - still waiting for the 12 2.0 to arrive). I purchased this setup about a week ago so I'm still learning the in's and out's that go along with any new system. As I'm getting older, the thought (and my back) of carrying around the full DSLR setup in my travels was something I no longer wanted to deal with. The OM-D looked like a dream come true.

My passion is primarily landscapes and like to print large when I can (i.e., 18x24). I am on the prowl for a wide angle lens in the MFT format that has a serious reputation for being sharp, edge-to-edge. The one thing about the Canon 16-35 MK II that killed me was how soft the corners were. Because of that, I'm a stickler for edge sharpness.

So, being the newb here I'll ask the newb question - what do you guys/gals recommend?

Thanks in advance - I think I'm going to like this forum!! :)
 

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CarlG

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Thanks!! I had looked at the 7-14 but I am a firm believer of filters when shooting landscapses, including a C-PL and ND. If I don't have an option to use a filter on a lens such as the 7-14, I don't want to spend that kind of $$ and be limited. Nice image, btw!!
 

newbert

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Thanks!! I had looked at the 7-14 but I am a firm believer of filters when shooting landscapses, including a C-PL and ND. If I don't have an option to use a filter on a lens such as the 7-14, I don't want to spend that kind of $$ and be limited. Nice image, btw!!
Agreed. And besides that, the Panny 7-14 doesn't always play nice with the E-M5. (Purple spots on the image when shooting into the light source/sun). If you want a zoom, your other option right now is the Olympus 9-18. If you prefer a prime, I believe that the widest you can currently go is the Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm fisheye. Of course it's not rectilinear, and its MF only, but you can always "de-fish" in Lightroom.

Hope this helps.
 

dhazeghi

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My passion is primarily landscapes and like to print large when I can (i.e., 18x24). I am on the prowl for a wide angle lens in the MFT format that has a serious reputation for being sharp, edge-to-edge. The one thing about the Canon 16-35 MK II that killed me was how soft the corners were. Because of that, I'm a stickler for edge sharpness.

So, being the newb here I'll ask the newb question - what do you guys/gals recommend?
When you find one, let me know.

Realistically, I think you're unlikely to find anything better than the 16-35/2.8 in terms of corner sharpness among the native m4/3 WA lenses. Distortion-correction just doesn't lend itself to sharp edges. The sharpest lens I've used on m4/3 in the 12-14mm range is the Olympus ZD 12-60/2.8-4.0, which is 4/3 lens (and so large, heavy, needs an adapter and AFs slowly). Even the 12-60 isn't perfect, but it is distinctly crisper than the 12-35/2.8, 12/2, 9-18/4-5.6 not to mention any of the kit zooms. The Panasonic 7-14/4 when I tested was a little behind the 12-60, but closer than the others.

If you absolutely must have sharp edges, your best option is simply to shoot a little wider than necessary and crop.
 

Bokeh Diem

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Thanks!! I had looked at the 7-14 but I am a firm believer of filters when shooting landscapes, including a C-PL and ND. If I don't have an option to use a filter on a lens such as the 7-14, I don't want to spend that kind of $$ and be limited. Nice image, btw!!
I guess I should have read between the lines when you said you wanted edge to edge sharpness. I should have added that you needed your lens to be able to use filters. The 7-14 flares, ghosts and burps purple on Oly's.

I like a lens that is sharp. But, even more than that, I am after data capture. I overexpose, I bracket, I shoot RAW. Everything else is available in PP for my purposes. I am finding I can do what I need in LR5 to transform lightscapes beyond what it would have taken hardware, and skill in capture, hours and big dollars just a few years ago to replicate. I now focus on composition, the moment, the energy, and try and get it down.

Every shot gets run though PP now, something I wouldn't have done even a year ago. It's changed my life, and my happiness in shooting has come back. I have only three lenses, a PL14, a PL20, and a PL14-42 (which is teaching me a lot about how to plumb the depths of LR to get it to sing) and an E-PL2 and a G5.

Miss the 7-14 a lot though:)

Here is a 7-14 quickie, staring straight into the sun around 6:00 A.M., shot 2010 and recently pushed through LR5. Quality much reduced, right down to 817kb...
 

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CarlG

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When you find one, let me know.

If you absolutely must have sharp edges, your best option is simply to shoot a little wider than necessary and crop.
I hear you - thanks!! But my fear with the smaller sensor leaves little room for cropping while looking to print large. Pick your poison, I guess!
 

CarlG

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Or shoot with tighter lens and stitch. Lots of advantages to that approach if the subject matter lends itself to it.
I do that often, thanks. But when you have foliage, water, etc. (all things that show motion in the slighest of breezes) then it makes even the most complex of stitching algorithms stop to catch its breath. Even that does not guarantee sharp transitions. But under ideal conditions, that's the way I typically go.
 

CarlG

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Agreed. And besides that, the Panny 7-14 doesn't always play nice with the E-M5. (Purple spots on the image when shooting into the light source/sun). If you want a zoom, your other option right now is the Olympus 9-18. If you prefer a prime, I believe that the widest you can currently go is the Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm fisheye. Of course it's not rectilinear, and its MF only, but you can always "de-fish" in Lightroom.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, Bert!!
 

dhazeghi

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I hear you - thanks!! But my fear with the smaller sensor leaves little room for cropping while looking to print large. Pick your poison, I guess!
I don't see how a smaller sensor makes a difference for cropping. Resolution (and lens quality) determine that. 16MP on full-frame, with comparable lenses, has no particular advantage when it comes to cropping.

Depending on the aspect ratio of your prints, you may even have an advantage with m4/3. An 18x24 print from m4/3 can use the camera's full resolution. On 3:2 full-frame, you're throwing away 11% of your pixels right off the bat.
 

Just Jim

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Thanks!! I had looked at the 7-14 but I am a firm believer of filters when shooting landscapses, including a C-PL and ND. If I don't have an option to use a filter on a lens such as the 7-14, I don't want to spend that kind of $$ and be limited. Nice image, btw!!
The wonderpana fits the 7-14. A CPL on the 7-14 won't work from 7-11, it's too wide, you'll get a streak on most landscapes. Working that wide requires ND's. You can also modify a lens cap or other DIY solutions if you don't want to buy the wonderpana holder that is specifically made for the 7-14.

The 7-14 is the best this system offers.

WonderPana 66 Ultra Kit - System Holder, Lens Cap, 6"x8" .6SE/.6HE/.9SE/.9HE Filters and 145mm UV/CPL/ND4/ND8/ND16/ND32 Filters (for the Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm Micro 4/3 (MFT) Lens)

Here's the ultra kit, not bad for what you get... But you can also get a basic kit, and a couple in between. Or call them, they seem nice to work with. I've had to call them on an order once, very pleasent to deal with. Otherwise, you're buying schneider 6" system filters, or singh-rays, which will make them for you.
 

CarlG

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I guess what I meant to say is the OM-D, with the pixels being smaller and of greater density, it makes it more difficult to crop and maintain sufficient dynamic range, low levels of noise, etc., as opposed to the same image captured on a larger (full frame) sensor of the same native resolution. Any issues with noise and lack of dynamic range are magnified when trying to extrapolate more info from a smaller, cropped sensor.
 

christofp

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I guess what I meant to say is the OM-D, with the pixels being smaller and of greater density, it makes it more difficult to crop and maintain sufficient dynamic range, low levels of noise, etc., as opposed to the same image captured on a larger (full frame) sensor of the same native resolution. Any issues with noise and lack of dynamic range are magnified when trying to extrapolate more info from a smaller, cropped sensor.
I think dhazeghi said it: with a good lens you will be happy.

The difference between the sensors is smaller than you think. While there are limitations caused by downsizing, most of the parameters are given by the lens, not the sensor:

Resolution: resolution is given by sensor mpixels and by effevtive lens diameter. If you take a comparable lens (a sharp 25/1.4 and a sharp 50/2.8 on FF have the same diameter) on a sensor with comparable mpixels: you get comparable quality.

Noise: A smaller sensors give shorter focal lengths, the light density on the sensor is higher as well as the noise. At the end the effective lens diameter determines noise.

If you take a very expensive FF with a superb lens, it will always beat the mFT camera. The lens alone will have twice the diameter, twice the diameter and gather four times the light.
But if you take a good mFT camera and a good prime lens with reasonable diameter/max aperture, it will beat older APS-C and even FF cameras.

Regarding your initial question:
I have the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye and the panasonic 12-35 zoom. Both are very sharp lenses (the panasonic after correcting CA in lightroom). I have prints 80x60cm which is about the size you asked for.
I have to confess: most of the prints are from my former 14-150 zoom lens and even these pictures look good. And some are from the 9-18, but this lens had corner issues from time to time.

I think most mFT lenses are quite good, you will have a hard time to find a really bad mFT lens (Ok, besides the 3D and the body cap lens ...)
 

cmpatti

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I haven't tested all the options, but it does seem that the 7-14 is the sharpest of the mFT WAs. It's sharper at 14mm in the corners than the PL 14mm or the Oly kit lens that I have available to compare. I don't see the filter problem as a big issue, nowadays since almost any filter effect can be duplicated in PP. For example, I'm finding combining exposures to be a great, often superior, alternative to grad ND filters. Exceptions are polarizers and NDs (to slow shutter speed), but polarizers don't work well on WAs anyway, and the rear filter holder solution can take NDs (as well as solve the "purple blob" issue) at a fraction of the price of fancy front filter systems.
 

CarlG

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I haven't tested all the options, but it does seem that the 7-14 is the sharpest of the mFT WAs. It's sharper at 14mm in the corners than the PL 14mm or the Oly kit lens that I have available to compare. I don't see the filter problem as a big issue, nowadays since almost any filter effect can be duplicated in PP. For example, I'm finding combining exposures to be a great, often superior, alternative to grad ND filters. Exceptions are polarizers and NDs (to slow shutter speed), but polarizers don't work well on WAs anyway, and the rear filter holder solution can take NDs (as well as solve the "purple blob" issue) at a fraction of the price of fancy front filter systems.
Thanks. Yes, I was mainly concerned with ND filters (to slow shutter speed). I like shooting waterfalls and also like to portray motion in clouds, etc.
 

MAubrey

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Exceptions are polarizers and NDs (to slow shutter speed), but polarizers don't work well on WAs anyway, and the rear filter holder solution can take NDs (as well as solve the "purple blob" issue) at a fraction of the price of fancy front filter systems.
Thanks. Yes, I was mainly concerned with ND filters (to slow shutter speed). I like shooting waterfalls and also like to portray motion in clouds, etc.
Then this would be the key portion of cmpatti's post for you
 

CarlG

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Then this would be the key portion of cmpatti's post for you
My apologies - I skipped right over that part!! Did not even know rear filters could be used with this lens, nor did I know an adapter existed. My bad for not catching it.

I'll have to look into that option - thanks both!!
 

CarlG

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My apologies - I skipped right over that part!! Did not even know rear filters could be used with this lens, nor did I know an adapter existed. My bad for not catching it.

I'll have to look into that option - thanks both!!
If one exists, can someone please link me to it? My Google searches are telling me it cannot be done with the 7-14. Thanks.
 
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