Wide Converter Lens options

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by agnieszka, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. agnieszka

    agnieszka Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    May 1, 2015
    Central Coast, NSW Australia

    So i'm looking to get wider without forking out >AUD$1000 for the undoubtedly beautiful fisheye O8/1.8. I don't think i'd use it enough to justify that outlay. What i was thinking is a wide lens converter for my O17/1.8 but the only 'official' converter seems to be the WCON-P01 (please correct me if i'm wrong!) but that is only compatible with the 14-42 lenses (which i don't have, only the 14-42 EZ), has a very small conversion factor of 0.79x, and seems not to have a downloadable manual.

    So i was wondering what my options are. I've heard of 'speedboosters' but no idea what they are/do but sound more to do with aperture than FOV. I can see hundreds of 'converters' both cheap (~AUD40) and expensive (~AUD200) that can a factor as much as 0.47x (which would make my 17/1.8 equiv to about 8/1.8 (or does the aperture get affected?)) but i worry about quality of these eBay cheapos.

    My main aim, but not the only application i'd use it for, is that i want to be able to take milky-way/nightscape shots without/minimising having to panorama stitch.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations? Thx
  2. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    I have the considerably less expensive Olympus 9mm ƒ8 Body Cap lens. It's fun, but the image quality isn't great, and ƒ8 at night would demand some very long exposures.

    The next step up in price and quality would be the 7.5mm ƒ3.5 lens sold by Rokinon/Samyang/Bower. I have seen some nice images from this lens, and I have read many enthusiastic comments by owners. In the US it costs 3x less than the Olympus. Unlike the Olympus, the 7.5mm has no autofocus. From my experience using zone focus on the Olympus BCL I think manual focus would be easy to work with on such a wide angle lens. The 7.5mm lens is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Olympus 8mm, but bigger than the ridiculously small 9mm BCL.

    The Panasonic 8mm ƒ3.5 is between the Rokinon and the Olympus in price. It has autofocus. I don't know much about it.
  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    My understanding of the speed booster adapters is that they are intended to allow other format lenses, usually FF lenses, to operate with the same field of view and effective maximum aperture as they do on their native format bodies. What that means is that they won't work with native lenses because you don't need an adapter to mount a native lens, using an adapter on a native lens is going to be a bit like using an extension tube which improves close focus but means you lose infinity focus which is what you need for milky way shots, and in any event no one makes a speed booster to adapt a native m43 lens to m43 because an adapter isn't needed and you can't boost the aperture of any lens when used on it's native format bodies.

    There are wide angle converters for native lenses but you need to find one which is compatible with the lens you intend to use it on. Part of the compatibility relates to the mount for the converter because it mounts in the filter mount of the lens you use it with, and part of it relates to the need for the optical element to work correctly with the optical functioning of the lens you use it with. There may be a lot of adapters out there but not all of them will work with whatever lens you're using and you may need to buy separate adapters if you want to use different lenses simply because there may be no single adapter which is compatible with all of the lenses you want to use.

    Bruce McL has a good suggestion with the Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye and you can de-fish it using the profile for a Sigma 8mm fisheye if you use Lightroom/Adobe Camera RAW for your RAW conversion. De-fishing gives you the equivalent of a normal rectilinear wide angle with a focal length of about 4 to 5 mm. You can probably use the same profile with the 8mm body cap lens. I haven't tried that but the profile does work quite well with the 8mm f/1.8 PRO fisheye. The Rokinon has quite a following and seems to produce great results for the price based on the images in the showcase thread for the lens here. I haven't seen much in the way of comment on the Panasonic.

    The Olympus 8mm f/1.8 PRO fisheye is a very nice lens and if you want a normal rectilinear perspective, de-fishing it gives you a result that's wider even than the 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO zoom, it's a bit over a stop faster, and it's smaller and lighter. The de-fished results are quite sharp. In addition, if you shoot in JPEG or use OV# for your processing there's a fisheye distortion correction in OV3 which works on images after conversion, it's not part of the RAW processing controls. That may work also with the body cap lens fisheye but I haven't tried it. If you're prepared to wait for a cash back offer from Olympus or keep your eye out for specials, you just might be able to pick the 8mm PRO fisheye up for under $1000 Au but you aren't likely to find one at anything approaching the price of the Rokinon or a converter. Faced with a choice between the Rokinon and a wide angle converter, I'd opt for the Rokinon because you can de-fish the images from it and that will give you something like the equivalent of a 4 to 5 mm wide angle. I don't think a wide angle converter will give you that kind of field of view from your 17 mm.
  4. listers_nz

    listers_nz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2013
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    The old saying you get what you pay for...most of those ultra wide converters on ebay are junk - well they are probably OK if the soft focus look is what you are going for.

    Probably the three best cheap ultra wide options are:
    The Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye (same lens, sold under all three brand names). This is a micro 4/3 mount lens but is manual focus/aperture. But to be honest this isn't a big deal with something so wide.
    Olympus 9mm f8 body cap lens. Is f8 only, again is fully manual focus, but only has three positions. It is pretty good for what it is, particularly considering the price.
    The Panasonic 14mm F2.5 lens with the DMW-GWC1 wide converter, which gives 11mm equivalent and pretty good results since the converter is matched to this lens

    Really, for ultrawide on a budget, provided fisheye is OK, it is hard to beat the Samyang.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    9-18 ??
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Main purpose is Milky Way? Slow lenses like the 9-18mm are no good (especially when the 9-18 has bad corners until f/5.6, I know because I own one). The best cheap compromises IMO are either the 14mm f/2.5 with GWC-1 (11mm?) or the Samyang fisheye. You might be tempted by trying the converter on say the PL15 f/1.7 but it sucks, I've tried.

    The fisheye is wide enough and sharp wide open so you can shoot wide open and use a longer shutter speed without star trails. It is my go to Milky Way lens. You can see some examples here: Tekapo - Image Heavy

    Speed boosting something like the FF fast Samyang UWA or fisheye is an option but it won't actually be cheap or compact anymore. You'd be better off gaining the FF sensor advantage with a used FF body to go with.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. agnieszka

    agnieszka Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    May 1, 2015
    Central Coast, NSW Australia
    Thanks for all the responses everyone. It reassures me when so many of you also have reservations about converters etc. I appreciate and value your experienced opinions.

    hmmm... yes i know of the Samyang 7.5mm but was worried about the f3.5 (similar with other lenses like this). Then again it might be fine when someone's able to take this sort of shot with it:

    Startrails Over Belgian Marshland

    So I may have to expand my search to the native wide but larger f-stop lenses, i was really hoping i could DIY fit something to get f1.8, but it sounds like i'd be compromising image quality too much and it'd be hit-n-miss if adapters are supposed to be fitted to lenses (funny that many eBay lenses make no mention of such requirements - are they ads for suckers/gullible?).

    Back to the thinking board!
  8. agnieszka

    agnieszka Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    May 1, 2015
    Central Coast, NSW Australia
    Wow. Yep, if i can capture images like that i'd be happy. Looks like Samyang is on the cards. Top photos wjiang. :)
  9. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    David A is right that speed boosters (& other focal reducers) only work on lenses that are designed for other formats. The lenses used with them must cover significantly more and the also MUST have a greater rear flange distance.

    Over the years I've had quite a few wide angle adapters (mainly brought in film days but I have brought one at a car boot more recently for £2). The olympus 0.8x one is very good but much bigger than most so usually gets left behind even though it could be a benefit to me optically.
    The fish eye/ semi fish eye adapters have more distortion than dedicated fish eye lenses but are still usable being sufficent for posting to the web & playing with fish-eye distortion. Most were designed for use on 50mm FF lenses, so can give severe vignetting on lenses with a wider FOV. Used on a 28mm FF lens most give a circular image.
    The cheapest ones are designed for video cameras, often fitting on 37mm threads. I doubt they're worth getting for stills.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Just want to mention that the WCON-P01 takes the focal length of the lens from 14 down to 10.5. That is 28mm down to 21mm in equivalent terms. This is not a "small" conversion factor in terms of focal lengths at this width. Even 1mm at this ultra-wide focal length is pretty significant.

    I don't know about the manual, but you attach it to the front of the lens; that's about it. Only wrinkle is that it DOES lock in place, even though some folks are afraid to twist it hard enough to lock it in place (myself included when I first got it). I get around this by extending the lens barrel first and then holding it firmly while twisting the converter onto it. You get used to it and can do it quickly.

    There is a good review of it here:

    Olympus PEN Converter Lenses Tested

    Like this review, I find the converter to be VERY useful, especially when travelling. I guess if you don't have the 14-42 R lens, it isn't worth getting it - although it is supposed to be sharper than the EZ model, so perhaps it would be.

    Concerning star photography, I agree it would be good to be as wide as possible, but the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens is a pretty inexpensive way to get a fast lens. It is very useful for other things too.
  11. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Star trails don't require fast lenses, I often use my 12-40 f2.8 stopped down for that depending on the FoV I want. When you talk about getting pin sharp stars then you need fast and wide lenses.

    I do have the rokinon and would have to say it's one of the better options for sharp stars.
  12. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Yup, I was referring to sharp stars, not star trails. I agree that the Rokinon is one the best for it.
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