Ask Will: What are the Best Wide Angle Lenses for Micro 4/3?

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MC Contributor and Hybrid Photography Pioneer Will Crockett tackles another reader question from Dave on, who requests advice about which wide angle lenses are best for micro 4/3 cameras.

Here’s the Question as submitted by reader Dave…

I’m shooting interiors for real estate listings. I’ve been using a DX with a 12-24 and since the fall an FX with a 24 and hopefully soon a 16-35, but I’m looking forward to getting a 4/3 camera – most likely a Lumix G,GH…. mainly for video at this point. In my searching I don’t seem to see much choice in the wide primes (or zooms) I need to be in the range of +/- 20mm (fx equivilent). I use a stabilizer to do walk thru’s so ideally a prime would be easier to balance. Even turning the camera on or off seems to throw them out of whack! Can you point me in the right direction? Finding useful lens is about all that’s holding me back.

Watch the video above for Will’s answer.

My Reply…

There are a lot of great micro 4/3 camera from Panasonic and Olympus that you could use, ranging from about $500 to $1,400 USD.  Personally, I like Panasonic cameras for video (a Lumix G5, Lumix GH2 or Lumix GH3), and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is excellent too.  These all shoot great video and all can use the lenses that I mention below.

You’re already using a stabilizer so you’re on the right track.  You also might want to check out a the Glide Gear DNA 1000.  It’s a great hand held stabilizer that’ll only set you back about $150 USD – great value for a great piece of equipment!

For wide angle lenses, I would first recommend the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens.  It’s excellent and I feel that it’s one of the best wide angle lenses that you can get, but it is on the pricey side at about $799 USD.

The Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens is another excellent choice, but may not be wide enough to fit this situation.  Yet it does work great for interior shots, it’ll give you great image quality and it’s pretty affordable (about $350 USD).

The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm wide angle zoom lens that Will mentions in the video is another phenomenal lens, but at f/4.0 it’s probably not ideal for all indoor shooting environments unless you’re going to use some lighting.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm wide angle zoom lens for micro 4/3 (not to be confused with the Olympus SLR lens of the same dimensions) comes in at $699 USD.  It’s an excellent lens, although IMO it’s not quite on the level of the Panasonic 7-14 – but it ain’t that far off either.

The Panasonic Lumix 14mm 2.5 lens comes in at about $300 USD, and in my opinion it’s actually a pretty good lens, although Will disagrees with me on that.  I would recommend borrowing one (actually, any lens) to see what you think before purchasing one for yourself.

Personally, I would steer clear of the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm 2.8 Kit Lens (which is a good, but not great, lens).  While it does give you great image quality in the center, the edges can get pretty soft, even stopped down.  This is fairly surprising for an M.Zuiko lens as they are generally among the best lenses for any camera.  The Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm 1.8 lens on the other hand (yes – they have two 17mm lenses) is much better.


Mariano Srur says:

Great advice, but there is a mistake: the Panasonic 7-14mm (which I own and love) is f/4 all across the range.

Oh… Good Catch Mariano. You are absolutely right.

Thanks for pointing out my goof!

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