Ultra wide prime or zoom?

ac12

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In thinking about the upcoming (I hope) Olympus 8-25, it clicked on me that my current lenses go down to 12mm. (12-40, 12-60, 12-100)
So rather than a 8-25 zoom, where only 4mm (from 8-11) is new, and from 12-25 it is already covered by my other lenses, so why not an 8mm prime instead?
Yes, I know there is nothing on the Olympus chart wider than the 12/2 (rectiliniar).​
I'm a zoomie from way back, so I am inclined to use a zoom rather than a prime.
In my case, I generally use primes, when I need a large aperture, for low light. However, for the ULTRAwide prime, it would be for angle of view, not speed.

I am curious if anyone else has considered this question, and your thoughts.
 

pdk42

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Why do you have three zooms that all cover the wide/normal range? Just curious!

As to UWA zoom vs prime - I guess it depends, but I think for most people a zoom is best in this range. Astro and maybe interiors might dictate a prime in order to get more light (wider max aperture).
 

3dpan

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In thinking about the upcoming (I hope) Olympus 8-25, it clicked on me that my current lenses go down to 12mm. (12-40, 12-60, 12-100)
So rather than a 8-25 zoom, where only 4mm (from 8-11) is new, and from 12-25 it is already covered by my other lenses, so why not an 8mm prime instead?
Yes, I know there is nothing on the Olympus chart wider than the 12/2 (rectiliniar).​
I'm a zoomie from way back, so I am inclined to use a zoom rather than a prime.
In my case, I generally use primes, when I need a large aperture, for low light. However, for the ULTRAwide prime, it would be for angle of view, not speed.

I am curious if anyone else has considered this question, and your thoughts.

There is the 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro, only a little overlap with your 12mm's.
Or the 8mm f/1.8 Pro fisheye.

Don't know why you didn't mention them, unless it was their cost.
 

RS86

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In thinking about the upcoming (I hope) Olympus 8-25, it clicked on me that my current lenses go down to 12mm. (12-40, 12-60, 12-100)
So rather than a 8-25 zoom, where only 4mm (from 8-11) is new, and from 12-25 it is already covered by my other lenses, so why not an 8mm prime instead?
Yes, I know there is nothing on the Olympus chart wider than the 12/2 (rectiliniar).​
I'm a zoomie from way back, so I am inclined to use a zoom rather than a prime.
In my case, I generally use primes, when I need a large aperture, for low light. However, for the ULTRAwide prime, it would be for angle of view, not speed.

I am curious if anyone else has considered this question, and your thoughts.

I'm wondering the same thing as pdk42, why so many similar zooms? Especially if you don't need the light-gathering ability?

Could you go with 8-25mm, 12-60mm & 12-100? I guess you could want to keep the 12-60mm for times when size & weight matters. So what I'm suggesting is to sell the 12-40mm if you have primes for low-light.

Another option is Venus 7.5mm lens. It's not autofocus, but should be quite easy to manually focus.
 

bargainguy

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Everything else being equal, it doesn't matter if it's a zoom or a prime, as long as it meets your UWA needs.

I have the Panny 7-14/4 and don't need it to be any faster than f/4. Pretty sharp wide open and stopping down doesn't increase sharpness much if any, so I spend most of my time between f/4 and f/5.6.

They are a little trickier to handle simply because they're so wide and encompassing. With the Panny at the 7mm end, feet, hands and tripod legs in my images come up all the time. I have to really monitor every aspect in the EVF to make sure I don't capture something to fix in post later.
 

ac12

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As for why the 3 lenses:
  • The Panasonic 12-60/3.5-5.6 is my light/travel/easy carry lens.
    • I pair this with the 17/1.8 for a light 2-lens travel kit.
  • The Olympus 12-40/2.8 is my gym lens, primarily to shoot basketball and volleyball. Once I stop shooting gym games, I think the 12-40 will be surplus to my needs, maybe.
  • The Olympus 12-100/4 is a good lens that I have used often. But, soon after I got it, I realized that it is not an everyday carry lens, as it is too big/heavy for that. And it SUCKS battery power; only 2-1/2 hours continuous run time, on my older EM1-mk1. Which was another reason to get the EM1-mk2, for longer battery run time.

  • I have a parallel set of cameras and lenses for m4/3; light travel non-pro, and heavier/bigger pro. This lets me pick the camera and lens that is best suited for the shoot. All were used/refurbs, so it did not cost as much as it would new.
As for the 7-14 and 8mm fisheye.
  • The 7-14 has that huge convex front element that effectively prevents the easy use of a polarizing filter.
    Though I think there is a kit to adapt it to use a BIG polarizing filter, more $$$. I just wanted a lens that I could easily use a polarizing filter on.
  • As for the 8mm fisheye. My preference is for a rectiliniar wide lens, rather than a fisheye. Although with de-fish software, that is an option. And the 8mm has the same lack of ability to use a polarizing filter as the 7-14.
I don't shoot WIDE very much, at least not right now, so I am not keen on spending a lot on an ultrawide. I have not figured out my budget, as I am waiting to see what price the 8-25 will sell for.
 
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I also own the 12-40 Pro, but I got the small 9-18 in addition, because I wanted being able to get more into ultra-wide angle territory. While those few mm's don't sound much, at such a low focal length the differences can be quite dramatic. The 9-18 for example is already much wider than my 12-40 at the shortest length, the upcoming 8-25mm should be quite a difference again.

Why a wide angle zoom? I think some people might simply prefer the wider perspective, even though it is, in my opinion, much more difficult to compose. The upcoming 8-25mm also covers the popular equivalent FLs of 35mm and 50mm, which are more or less typical everyday lengths which can be used for almost everything.

Personally I have to say I don't use the 9-18 very often, while that ultra wide perspective can be impressive, it is also difficult to handle. You get so much "information" on the scene that it can be hard deciding what you want to show and what to hide.
 

ac12

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Yes, I am looking at the 9-18 also. But it is even closer to the 12mm end of my other zooms.
I suspect that if the 8-25 is too expensive, the 9-18 is the lens that I will get. If I don't decide to wait for a used 8-25 at a price that I can handle.
Unfortunately I have not been able to play with an ultrawide, to compare to my 12mm zooms. Hence my not knowing how much I might use it. I suspect like an ultratele, it will be a low usage lens.
 
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Why a wide angle zoom? I think some people might simply prefer the wider perspective, even though it is, in my opinion, much more difficult to compose. The upcoming 8-25mm also covers the popular equivalent FLs of 35mm and 50mm, which are more or less typical everyday lengths which can be used for almost everything.

Personally I have to say I don't use the 9-18 very often, while that ultra wide perspective can be impressive, it is also difficult to handle. You get so much "information" on the scene that it can be hard deciding what you want to show and what to hide.

I shoot wide often and used to think that ultrawide would be for me. Used to.
Due to their distortion, ultrawide lenses emphasize the foreground more, compared to what's in the center of the frame.
When you shoot landscapes a lot, this means the rocks, grass, road in front of you get more emphasis than your actual subject (mountains, trees, structures). Once I realized that, my interest quickly waned.

Now 12mm is plenty wide enough for me. 14mm works in a pinch, though it makes you less spontaneous in some situations. 17mm is what I consider the widest focal length where you can still take a "natural" portrait, without too much distortion.
 

ex machina

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FWIW I love my o9-18 and use it an awful lot, but very rarely at anything other than 9mm, and whenever I do zoom in, I'm nearly always disappointed. I'd likely be happier with a prime at or near that focal length, but many of my favorite shots have been taken with the lens.
 

doady

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The road map also includes "Bright Prime Lenses" for 9 or 10mm so I hope there is something soon. I'd prefer a bright prime to complement the 12-100mm F4, but 8-25mm F4 seems cool too.

With wide angle, I tend to move my feet and get closer, and of course that important in the city anyways. The wider the angle, the more control you have with your feet. It is fun, and a lack of zoom would not actually be such a limitation. A prime would be better for interiors too.

But a 8-25mm would be very versatile for all sorts of urban photography, which happens to be my specialty, so it can easily be the one lens I take. Not having to carry both an UWA lens and the 12-100mm at the same time would be nice.

I use ultra-wide as way to critique urban sprawl, to emphasize the space that is wasted. Ultra-wide has a distinct look and the way that it exaggerates distance and adds depth and drama to photos is very fitting for a lot of architecture and cityscapes. As I said, I do those kind of photos a lot so I will need something soon.
 

Nam-in-Sonoma

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As for the 7-14 and 8mm fisheye.
  • The 7-14 has that huge convex front element that effectively prevents the easy use of a polarizing filter.
    Though I think there is a kit to adapt it to use a BIG polarizing filter, more $$$. I just wanted a lens that I could easily use a polarizing filter on.
  • As for the 8mm fisheye. My preference is for a rectiliniar wide lens, rather than a fisheye. Although with de-fish software, that is an option. And the 8mm has the same lack of ability to use a polarizing filter as the 7-14.
I don't shoot WIDE very much, at least not right now, so I am not keen on spending a lot on an ultrawide. I have not figured out my budget, as I am waiting to see what price the 8-25 will sell for.

Using circular polarizer on ultra wide is extremely difficult...even at 12mm the sky is not quite even in some case.

Take a look here

https://www.digitalphotomentor.com/...lar-polarizing-filters-wide-angle-lenses-sun/
 

John M Flores

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I am loving my PL 8-18. It's very nice glass with really nice colors and rendering. I got it just before the 10-25 F1.7 was released. Were I to do it again, I might get the 10-25 despite the size because it would effectively replace my 8-18 and 12-35 F2.8.
 
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Laowa 7.5: bright, small and light (although built like the proverbial brick...), more than good enough IQ.
It is cheaper than all but the O9-18 or a fisheye with all the issues that brings.

What is there not to like? It does everything the OP asks for, except it is fast (added bonus).

On tourist photo walks I use my PL 12-60, In a very small bag are the Laowa 7.5, Oly 25 1.8 and Oly 40-150 5.6.
The 7.5 goes on when 12mm is simply not wide enough or 2.8 too slow. I wouldn't be without it.

They hold their second-hand value pretty well, so you can sell it if you don't get on with it and not lose a lot.
 

RAH

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@ac12 I agree that it would be nice if Olympus had a prime ultra-wide, say 8mm or 9mm. But I think that the Oly 9-18 or PL 8-18 would fit your needs perfectly. As mentioned by others, you would usually use the 9-18 at 9mm, and probably the 8-18 similarly, so the amount of overlap with your existing zooms isn't much of a factor, IMHO.

If you think that there isn't much difference between 9mm and 12mm, take a look at this PDF I made a few years ago with some real-world examples from Zion and Arches NP in Utah. I wasn't planning to do a demo, but it just happened that I took several sets of images using both a 9-18 lens and a 12-35 lens from exactly the same place within seconds of each other. I think it is a good demo:

http://www.rahsoft.net/m43_9-vs-12_comparison1.pdf

If you want small size for travel, go for the 9-18. If you want better IQ, get the 8-18. If you plan on using it for both, get the 9-18, IMHO.

Concerning a circular polarizer, as mentioned in that interesting article linked to above, a polarizer is most-effective at 45 degrees from the sun. An ultra-wide lens takes images that can vary greatly across the field of view, so you can get banding and other artifacts. So you are limited in their use anyway.
 

Petrochemist

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Yes, I am looking at the 9-18 also. But it is even closer to the 12mm end of my other zooms.
I suspect that if the 8-25 is too expensive, the 9-18 is the lens that I will get. If I don't decide to wait for a used 8-25 at a price that I can handle.
Unfortunately I have not been able to play with an ultrawide, to compare to my 12mm zooms. Hence my not knowing how much I might use it. I suspect like an ultratele, it will be a low usage lens.
It may only be 3mm (or 'only' 4mm for 8mm) but at this sort of focal length those few mm make a huge difference.
A 9mm rectilinear lens will give 30% more FOV than a 12mm lens, while the 8mm gives 50% more FOV. It's along the lines of going from a 300mm to a 400mm (~30%) or 200mm to 300mm (for 50%).
If the short focal length is a fisheye the increased FOV will be even more dramatic (but harder to calculate) - My budget 8mm fisheye manages a 180° FOV. Fisheye lenses do drastically alter the perspective bending straight lines that don't go through the centre of the image.
 

RAH

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Also, I meant to mention, @ac12 , why don't you sell your 12-100 if you are strapped for cash? You already pointed out the shortcomings of that lens nicely, I think. Isn't the 12-60 enough for your needs in that type of lens? It is for me. If I want more reach of that type, I'll use the 40-150 on a 2nd body. I DO wish the 12-100 was smaller and lighter, which would make it much better for what I want, but I'd also like to be Bill Gates...
 
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