/ Wide angle primes for Olympus MFT?

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Si Withington 29 Jun 2019

Hi all

I have an Olympus Pen-F coupled with the Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6. It's a pretty amazing combo to be fair. The camera is so nice to use and the lens, even though it's a cheap kit lens, is pretty damn good.

However! I want to achieve better subject isolation up close so I'm after a fast wide prime. I used to work 'sort of professionally' as a photographer so I do get all the technical stuff behind what I'm asking and I know that wide angles ain't great for shallow DOF etc etc, but it's still doable to an extent.

The caveat here is that whatever I buy needs to be small. Yep, I know lol. I'm lazy with carrying a decent camera climbing and the Pen-F + 12-32 (which is a pancake when retracted) is about as big as I want to go.

I don't think I'll miss the zoom of the 12-32; most of my shots are at 12mm and I'm happy to crop a wide angle image if the quality is good enough. I'd probably go for a second lens such as a fast 25mm or maybe a 40 but the chance of me carrying and swapping lenses on a route when working or even personal climbing are pretty slim. They'd be good for other types of photography though - in the days when I got paid for stuff I shot pretty much exclusively on a fast 50mm (35mm format) and a fast 24mm.

Anyway

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of the offerings that are out there? So I think it's a shortlist of:

Oly 12mm f2 - might be quite heavy and bulky compared to the 12-32, but it's supposed to be very good

Pany/Leica 15mm f1.7 - supposed to be excellent and I do like Leica blur. It's 3mm off my 12mm though and I wonder if it's wide enough hmm

Oly 17mm f1.8 - too long

Pany 14mm f2.5 pancake - could be awesome. Silly small and quite cheap. Maybe not super sharp in the corners wide open. Dunno. Not really keen for soft images, particularly as I WANT to shoot it wide open.

Any experiences and thoughts would be amazing

Cheers

jethro kiernan 29 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

Si 

I have the Panasonic/lieca 15mm for my Olympus I think it’s a great lens very sharp feels nice in the hands and has a nice all metal lens hood, even with the lens hood on it fits in a jacket pocket on an OMD em 5

all in all a really good walkabout lens, not so wide you can’t take a portrait but wide enough for street and landscape stuff. It will partially isolate a subject stopped down, obviously not like a 85mm 1.4 on full frame but definitely better than the kit lens.

it has the same field of view as an I phone 😏not sure if that’s a plus point

Marmolata 29 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

I can second support for the Panasonic 15mm it's my favorite lens. But not sure if the right one of you're after subject isolation but you know that. 

What about the Panasonic Leica 12mm f1. 4? Pricey but should be what you want. 

Si Withington 29 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Thanks for this Jethro. I want it for climbing stuff (mostly taken from above of my second or if working of a client leading... that sort of thing). 

Si Withington 29 Jun 2019
In reply to Marmolata:

Thanks. The 12 1.4 looks awesome but quite big (relatively) and pricey like you say.

Could do with a hands on of the 12 f2!

streapadair 29 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

Have a look at the Venus Laowa 7.5mm f2. I got one recently but have barely used it so far, so can't pass judgement on it, but the reviews are good.

jethro kiernan 29 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

Moving away from primes the Olympus 9-18mm is a good lens for climbing and mountains, Really surprisingly good lens for the size

Alpenglow 29 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

So I have both the 15/1.7 and the 12/2.
 

Both the 12/2 and 15/1.7 have pretty decent optical quality and are both sharp enough - you won't have an issue with either.

---Olympus 12/2---

- Excellent metal build quality and beautiful design

- Lens is pretty light and compact

- Pulling back the focus ring reveals a pseudo manual focus ring, however it is still focus by wire and it has about 7 distinct focus zones, so the implementation isn't perfect

- Lens is fairly expensive

---Panasonic 15/1.7---

- Pretty good metal build quality, but not quite as good as the 12/2

- Has noticeable longitudinal chromatic aberration on Olympus bodies (shows up as slight purple edges on high contrast edges), probably only noticeable in specific situations

- Lens is also light and compact

- Aperture ring doesn't work on olympus bodies

- You'll get shallower depth of field with 15/1.7 compared with 12/2

Other than than the above, it really comes down to personal preference with focal length. Both have decent optical quality.

I don't own either the 17/1.8 or 14/2.5, although they're both supposedly a step below the 12/2 and 15/1.7 in terms of build quality and optical quality.

Post edited at 22:45
Si Withington 30 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

Hey all, thanks for the mega-useful input.

That Venus Laowa 7.5mm f2 looks very interesting. Too wide though, for now. Would be great to hear how you get on with it if you ever get the chance to share.

I've had the 9-18. Yep, very good lens true. Not what I'm looking for though.

I think the 15 1.7 is my preferred option so far. Just need to decide if that 3mm difference is going to be a big deal or not.

nathan79 30 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

I was going to suggest you look at the Samyang 12mm f2.0 but I suspect that may be too big for your desires.

Blue Straggler 30 Jun 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

> Pany 14mm f2.5 pancake - could be awesome. Silly small and quite cheap. Maybe not super sharp in the corners wide open. Dunno. Not really keen for soft images, particularly as I WANT to shoot it wide open.

You know better than me what you want, and I have no experience with any of this kit, BUT do soft corners matter for what you have in mind? Sharp or soft, at wide angle the corners are inherently distorted anyway, surely? Don't get me wrong, I do compose into the corners. Just pondering out loud really. Others on here are providing more experienced tips anyhow. 

Toerag 01 Jul 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

Don't SLRmagic do something suitable?

Tom V 01 Jul 2019
In reply to Toerag:

I keep reading about that little 8 mm of theirs and am very tempted by it myself but that particular lens seems to be wider than the OP wants, not fast enough and a bit on the flimsy side. 

jethro kiernan 13 Jul 2019
In reply to Si Withington:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkeJWWjPFuk

a marmite review on the 17mm, marmite in as much as wether you like Kai's schtick


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