Super-Wide Lens Choices for Micro Four-Thirds

M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO

What is a super-wide angle lens? To me that is a lens that has a field of view of 90 degrees or more, which means a lens of 10.5mm or wider on M4/3 (21mm or wider on full-frame). Despite the fact that there are several lens manufacturers making M4/3 lenses and we have over 120 different lenses to choose from, I feel like there are no truly satisfactory super-wide choices. Yes, we do have no less than 6 fisheye lenses to choose from, but I’m talking about rectilinear super-wide here.

Note (24/9/2016): Venus Optics just announced the Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0 for M4/3. The lens is very small and should be good value. I will post more info as soon as some reviews come out or I get my hands on one.

M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro
M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro

We do have 3 super-wide zooms:

  • The Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO is a superb lens by any measure, but it is big, heavy, doesn’t accept filters and costs $1200. Not much in-line with my small and affordable M4/3 philosophy.
  • The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f/4.0 is also a very good lens and it is a bit smaller and more affordable than the Olympus, but it is pretty slow at f/4.0 and it also doesn’t accept filters.

    Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH
    Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH
  • The older Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 is small and affordable, but even slower than the Lumix.
M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/3.5-5.6
M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6

So those three zooms are pretty much out for me. This leaves us with only two rectilinear super-wide primes:

  • The Rokinon 10mm f/2.8 ED which is reasonably priced at $399. The fact that it is manual focus is not really a problem for a super-wide although the lack of any electronic communication with the camera is a bit of a pain. Also, at f/2.8 it is a bit slower than I’d like, I’d like at least f/2.0. Worst of all, it is really heavy at 620 grams, nearly 5 times the weight of the M.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0.

    Rokinon 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS
    Rokinon 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS
  • The Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95 is a superb lens, built like a tank, super-fast, but like the Rokinon it is also manual focus with no electronic connection to the camera and nearly as heavy at 586 grams. Worst of all though, it is very pricey at $1200, especially for a manual lens.
Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95
Voigtlander Nokton 10.5mm f/0.95

Neither of the above choices are fully satisfactory. I think it would be more practical to stick with the really nice and very small Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12mm f/2.0, even though it isn’t quite super-wide with it’s 84 degree field-of-view.

M.Zuiko ED 12mm f/2.0
M.Zuiko ED 12mm f/2.0

When Panasonic announced the Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH I was a bit disappointed as we already had a couple of excellent 12mm choices. This lens is superb but it is twice the price, twice the size and 2.5 times the weight of the M.Zuiko ED 12mm f/1.8 and yet only 2/3 of a stop faster. I would have much preferred something like a 9 or 10 mm f/2.0 at a more reasonable price.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH

So we must do with many excellent choices in terms of fisheyes, 12mm  primes and super-wide zooms, but nothing truly satisfactory to me in terms of super-wide rectilinear primes. That is pretty much the only thing we are missing in terms of M4/3 lenses. I may just have to give up some portability and go for the M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8.