Yesterday was my birthday and I got myself a nice gift … ok it wasn’t really my birthday but still got the lense.
I’ve been using Micro 4/3 for couple of years now and still hasn’t got a UWA lense when my 10-22 ef-s was my favorite on canon aps-c and the sigma 10-20mm was my favorite on my full frame canon kit.
Until now I’ve been using the panasonic 12-32mm kit lense as a wide angle but … it’s not really one at 24mm equivalent. It’s an amazing kit lense, the first kit lense that didn’t end up in the original box sitting in a closet but it’s not a wide angle lense when the crop factor is 2. Yet 24-64mm equivalent is close to the perfect general use range. The lense is sharp, super light and fast, dual stabilized and corrected in the body. Even if really good I wanted something wide, really wide but not fish eye wide.
I was considering the panasonic 7-14mm F4, the olympus 7-14mm F2.8 and the new panasonic leica 8-18mm.
Since I was going after the widest possible and fastest possible lense the olympus looked like the perfect choice. The panasonic didn’t impress me, for the price I would had expect better build and IQ and why not make it OIS for dual stabilisation. The leica is almost the price of the olympus and from the pictures I’ve seen the IQ is still below the olympus while not a constant F2.8 and the feeling in hand is not as good. The biggest advantage of the leica is the removable hood and thread for filter. I won’t do much video so it won’t be as important for me but I understand that for video the leica will be a better choice even if not constant aperture.
I’ve been able to play with the 7-14mm F2.8 in a store and it didn’t take much to convince me that this is the UWA to get for the Micro 4/3 still shooting. The build is incredible, the clutch manual focus ring is a joy to use and the IQ is really high even wide open and from 7 to 14mm.
I’ve use the lense only for two days but I’m already convinced I made the right choice. It bring back memory of my 10-22mm ef-s lense but it’s wider, brighter and better IQ. Of course it’s bigger and heavier but combined with my panasonic GX85 it’s still easy to manage. With the lcd system in the GX85 you can pivot the lcd so it’s visible from the top and take those dramatic shoot close to the ground. It’s a really nice combo.
When shooting FF I always kept a 28mm lense in my bag and the 7-14mm give me that perfect balance of 14mm to 28mm equivalent with a nice constant F2.8. The leica would had given me better range on the long side but I would had lost a precious mm in the wide range. When getting a UWA, that 1mm is of importance considering it’s 2mm FF and make a big difference when trying to include as much as possible in the frame. Honestly if the leica had been 200-300$ less I would had consider it but it was only 100 canadian pesos less and not close to the feeling of handling the olympus.
I’m sure I will greatly enjoy that lense, it’s always fun to play with those extreme lenses. My 10-22mm was the most used of all my lense, I suspect this lense will be more often than not on my camera. The Micro 4/3 system is filled with those interesting gems of lenses and the price is generally quite reasonable. Sure this lense is expensive but in comparison with other system it’s still a bargain.
Today I had an very interesting discussion with another amateur photographer that was quite curious about the lens and camera combo I was using. We were discussing about how peoples are so focused on big sensor and shallow depth of field these days. He did exactly like me and switched his huge and heavy bad of nikon gear for a small fuji setup and seems really happy with the move.
I’ve had the most fun in this hobby with this simple setup. I’ve been fortunate to own or use amazing lenses (135mm f2.0, 85mm f1.2, 50mm f1.0 etc) and body in the past but this didn’t translate in the fun I have now. Smaller, lighter, more versatile, better user interface, good jpg results, uploading directly from my phone and camera to google photos, compatibility to old manual lenses … I can pack 5-6 lenses, 3 batteries, the camera in a small bag and no back pain at the end of the day. I don’t sit at the computer for longer time than what it took me to snap the shoots anymore, I simply transfer the file and automatic backup handle the rest. I’ve been bringing my camera everywhere I go for a month now, I would never do that with my previous kits.
BTW the GX85 do post focusing directly in the body. It’s really nice if you want to get a subject and background all in focus.
Here are some picture taken while I’m getting use to the lense and still learning a lot about my Panasonic GX85. This small camera is filled with features and so nice to handle.
You can always use it for portrait if you are after goofy faces !
I should provide this picture for my passport renewal.
For my next post I want to talk about a real bargain that I keep in my bag and that give me the best bang for the bucks I’ve seen in photography. Yes my olympus 40-150mm lense that can be purchased for around 150 canadian pesos. I don’t know if I won the lense lottery but I get really good results with it. As long as the sun is there since it’s not a fast lense but IQ wise it’s surprisingly good.
In near future I have plan to convert my olympus e-pl1 in full spectrum or IR. I want also a second body, was thinking of the pen F but the LCD pivot system is of no use for me. It’s really deceiving since I really liked the rest of the camera. Maybe a OM10 II or older OM1.
I played with extensions tubes also, it’s nice and I’m getting used to it but eventually I’m thinking of a macro lense, something like the 60mm F2.8 from olympus. The 30mm macro F2.8 from panasonic seems rather short for macro but I would like to have a nice 30mm prime lense in my bag … will have to try one.