Today’s Post by Mark Toal
I love wide-angle photography. When I bought my first SLR film camera I quickly realized that the 50mm lens that came with it was just not going to work for me. I moved on to a 35mm then a 28mm, finally settling on 24mm as my wide-angle lens of choice. When digital cameras first came out it felt like we had to start all over again. 35mm seemed to be the widest angle digital SLRs could achieve for far too long as far as I was concerned.
Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four-thirds cameras both had kit lenses that started at 28mm. Both companies also make very nice and expensive wide angle zooms, but I wanted an inexpensive, small fixed wide angle, which the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 (28mm equivalent) pancake lens fit perfectly. Then Olympus came out with a beautiful, sharp 12mm f/2.0 (24mm equivalent) lens that was a little out of my price range at $800, but a stunning small lens.
Then Panasonic announced an inexpensive conversion lens that turns their 14mm into a little less than a 12mm. For about a $135, the size and quality are great. Olympus has a wide angle conversion lens for their kit zoom that is also great optical quality and price.
To take it one step further both companies also have inexpensive, fish-eye conversion lens for select MFT lenses. The Panasonic Fisheye and Olympus Fisheye each cover a 120-degree angle of view that is not a circular fisheye, but more of a slightly distorted 10mm equivalent as you can see in my sample images. Check each companies web site to make sure that these convertors fit your lens.