Which ultrawide?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Rasmus, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Having the M.ZD 9-18 and the Panasonic 12-35 creates a slight problem: Since there is some overlap in the focal lengths it's hard not to notice that the 12-35 is a lot sharper than the 9-18. I'd like an ultrawide that's on par with the 12-35.

    AFAIK, these are my options:

    Olympus ZD 7-14
    + A DSLR lens, so it is optically corrected for distortion. This should give better sharpness in the corners.
    + Seems very sharp
    + Weather sealed and built like a tank.
    - Heavy
    - Some reviews suggests that it performs better on 4/3 than on m/43
    - Also, some reviews says corner sharpness isn't that great at all, especially not on M4/3.

    Panasonic 7-14
    + Sharp, but according to most reviews the difference in sharpness between 9-18 and 7-14 is rather small
    + Smaller than Olympus 7-14
    - Blue blobs that need fixing with rear filter
    - not weather sealed

    Sigma 10-20/3.5 with speed booster
    + Cheap
    + Will give me 7-14/2.8
    + Takes filters
    + I already own a speed booster.
    - No AF, but who needs that on a UWA lens?
    - Probably not so sharp in the corners.

    Nikon 14-24
    + Probably the optically best UWA that money can buy.
    + Weather sealed and built like a tank.
    - Heavy
    - I'll need to buy at least a Nikon D600 to use it, so this will be a very expensive option.

    Any thoughts? I'm especially interested in whether anyone has used the Olympus 7-14 on the E-M1 and how the results were.

    And yes, there is a m4/3 7-14/2.8 coming, but I'll have to wait at least a year for it and I'm more interested in lenses that are available now.
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I have both the 9-18 and 12-35 and TBH, don't notice that big of a difference between them in sharpness.

    If the 9-18 isn't to your taste however, I think the options are fairly limited. The 7-14 is nice (I used to own one), and it is optically a little better than the 9-18. However, it's notably bigger than the 9-18, doesn't take filters and suffers from the purple flare problem in some situations. I could have lived with all these, but I decided the 9-18 was good enough given that I also have a Samyang 7.5mm FE. This is a very nice lens and de-fishes nicely. If you keep the FOV down to something in the 7-8mm equiv region, then the defishing doesn't lose too much resolution either.

    Your other options all sound big and clunky for my taste (I'm getting terribly minimalist these days!).
  3. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I tend to stop the 12-35 down to f/4 or 5.6 for extra sharpness and I do find the difference rather noticeable. And when it comes to clunkiness, none of the lenses come near the 6.6 lbs tele I'm lugging around.
  4. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Real Name:
    The difference between 7mm and 9mm is big if you need ultra wide angle! This alone makes the 9-18mm a non choice for some. If f/4.0 capability and the 2mm difference is not important, then the 9-18mm is the viable cost effective choice.

    The Olympus 4/3s Zuiko 7-14mm will get you near to on par with the 12-35mm, at a cost of money, size, weight and the adapter for this lens. It will probably be very hard to recoup the cost of selling this lens when the new Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 is released.

    I found the Panasonic 7-14mm a very good compliment to the Olympus 12-40mm, provides the ultra wide angle I want, and very nice image quality even when making large prints. The Panasonic 7-14mm is good enough for most of my work, so much so that I sold my Nikon 14-24mm. If and when I need that extra image quality I'll rent the lens for my FF Nikon.

    I see the Nikon 14-24mm as a non sequitur in a m4/3s comparison. The cost of a large format Nikon and 14-24mm lens can buy a lot of m4/3s gear without the additional burden of another system, more weight and size. If the ultra wide angle and image quality were that much of a concern to me, the lens will be on a D800 and not a D600.

    BTW - the purple blobs and other lens flares - are likely to show up at some time or another with any ultra wide angle lens. I've shot over 3,000 photos with Panasonic 7-14mm and had issues with the purple blobs on two of those.
  5. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    7-14mm is damn sharp!
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    How bad the 7-14 flares seems to depend a little on the individual camera - my E-M1 flares worse than my E-M5 did, with shots with bright light spots (church interiors with stained glass windows) and shots with the sun in frame being the worst offenders. Still a great lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I'd go for the Panasonic 7-14/4. Yes, the build quality of the Olympus ZD 7-14/4 is great - it's probably the best feeling lens I've ever owned (albeit on 4/3) - but optically, I don't think the difference with the Panasonic is meaningful, and the difference in size, weight and even AF is. Ultrawide is where mirrorless has the biggest advantage, and the Panasonic 7-14's design I think shows that.

    The SpeedBooster and 10-20/3.5 is an interesting idea, and if you absolutely need filters it does make sense, but it's also quite large and while the lens is inexpensive, the SpeedBooster is less so. The Nikon 14-24/2.8 is a great lens - if you need everything it has to offer (f/2.8, full frame) - but I don't see the point of carrying 2x the weight and paying 3x the cost (including body) for 22% more linear resolution and the ability to do shallow DoF at very wide angles.
  8. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I have shot a lot of pictures with the 7-14 and have never had the purple blob problem on either my EM-5 or G5 (or the G5's predecessor, a GX1). So, at a minimum, it's not like every picture you take with the 7-14 is going to have big purple blobs. It's a very sharp lens, and the difference between 9mm and 7mm is noticeable, in my opinion.
  9. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Real Name:
    The Samyang 7.5mm is a wonderful lens and small enough to stay in my bag most of the time - reportedly very sharp and you just don't need to focus it, DoF is huge.

    If you don't like the fisheye effect it's 3 clicks in lightroom to defish, might cost a little sharpness but I often find I prefer not removing all the fisheye effect and just reduce it a little with amount slider in the lens profile tab.

    Taken in the French alps:
  10. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Real Name:
    All I know is that the ZD 7-14 is sharp and weather sealed, and works like a charm on my EM1 (focus can be a little quirky at times), but with landscapes I can be a bit more patient...If you are interested in a used, but very good copy of one...I'll be selling mine, as I'll be waiting for the 2.8 m4/3 version to be released so that I can use it on my epm2.
  11. Jaynometry

    Jaynometry Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 13, 2011
    Toronto, Ontario
    The ultimate trump card that's very hard to ignore is that the 9-18 takes filters. ND and Circ Pol filters are the ace up my sleeve whenever I'm doing anything with landscape. The small form factor and how light it is is also a nice bonus. So if you shoot with filters, you really can't replace the 9-18's capability of this. If not, then the 7-14 it is. Either way, you won't go wrong with your decision (native mount speaking).