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12mm, Olympus or Noktor?
  • Going to be shooting a short film with the GH2 next month and I want this short to have a cinematic look about it (don't we all?). Unfortunately, I can't afford anamorphic lenses :( But I believe I have a good selection of manual lenses: voigtlander 25mm, Canon 50mm 1.8 and the samyany 85mm 1.4. The only lens i believe i'm missing is a good wide to match these. Now i shoot weddings also, so i have the Olympus 12mm for steadicam work (auto focus is great) and I shoot real estate videos (my day job) with the beautiful panny 7-14mm. I love these lenses, especially the 7-14mm but i'm worried that they with not match with the lenses mention above, the Olympus is sharp as hell, maybe too sharp and the 7-17mm is a little slow at times. So technically, I'm covered on the wide end... right? But every time i watch Noktor 12mm footage it screams movie magic to me. I think it would be crazy to have 3 wide lenses but i can't help falling in love with the Noktor 12mm. Should the Olympus and the 7-14mm be enough? Does anyone own both or all three? Will anyone really notice the difference?

  • 29 Replies sorted by
  • Instead of Olympus 12mm 2.0, you could buy a pair of Noktor 12mm 1.6 and Lumix 14mm 2.5. The latter option might be cheaper. eBay sells the Lumix lens around $160.

  • @stonebat thankyou. That's an interesting prospect.

  • Second the Noktor and Lumix combo but you already have the Olympus. Ever think about the always reliable Tokina 11-16? By the way, I do own the SLR, Lumix and the Tokina. The Lumix and SLR do not look anything alike. Is that Canon an old SSC lens? Just to see what matches up, I took the SLR, a Rokinon 24mm Cine, a Nikon 50 1.8 AI-s and an older Tokina 28-70 2.6-2.8 and filmed the same scene and they all looked pretty good next to one another. The SLR does always stand on it's own a bit and it might look pretty darn good with your Voightlander 25mm. It was hard to get a good one but the QC might have changed in the past 6 months.

  • Think about what you want to use wide angle for! Close up portrait? half body shots? Medium shots? Wide shots? Interior? Exterior? Artificial / Natural light?

  • @RRRR I guess I would like to shoot it Terrence Malick style ie Tree of life. Exterior with natural light. The film follows two characters going through a break up, so lots of close ups and mid shots. I'll be using a steadicam and rig. We are trying to use imagery to tell the story, there's no dialogue. Plus there will be nights shots in the city.

  • @azza_act

    Maybe you won´t need to go as wide as 12? 17.5 might work just as well? (on the gh2, it´s not very different to a 22 on s35).. 12 would be more like an 18mm lens on s35. (you can easily create scenes that enhance the barrel distortion slightly, giving a similar kind of look as Tree of life) + you will be able to make it sharp (even if not stopped down much) and work with the other lenses you were planning on using.

    Personally, I´ve owned the slr magic 12 and on the gh2 it´s on the softer side, in the corners. Good for creating "talking heads" with separated (blurred) backgrounds (if the subjects are CLOSE to the lens) but not so good for faint sharpness discrepancies between foreground / background (after 2 metres you basically have infinity) and needs to be stopped down a lot for decent all-round sharpness. Obviously you can also create pretty extreme distortions if you have the subject really close to the lens.

    the 17.5 is most likely the most interesting / sexy lens I´ve ever had.. but it´s expensive. (it´s sharper wide open than the 25mm voigt).

    edit: personally I would couple the slr magic with fd´s, rather than voigts/nikons.. (color/contrast rendition seems somewhat similar).

  • @RRRR Yes, I would love to own that lens but as you mentioned; it's expensive. With the Slr magic, is that the reason you sold it; Sharpness issues? How does it perform at 2.8 and above? Is there a 17mm lens out there that could match the nokton? Cheers

  • Well, I felt at the time that I didn´t need it.. Personally I think it´s a bit too wide on the gh2. (for my tastes). Also, I didn´t like how it rendered wide scenes at infinity (not quite sharp enough and a bit heavy on the field curvature - I wouldn´t use it for wide shots as such, only for closeups / mid shots). It has a very nice sweet spot but it´s not useful all of the time.

    I got the 12-35mm zoom for times when I could use a clinical, tack sharp look and the 17.5..

    I´m sure I´ll get another one when the bmd cam gets shipped (+ if I keep the gh3)..

    As far as I know there´s a couple of new 17mm lenses coming out soon. Don´t know if they are available yet?

    What you could do, is buy the 17.5mm, use it for the film and sell it afterwards.

  • @RRRR - has good advice here. The 17.5 Nokton will make you wake up earlier and go to bed later on your shoot days...with a smile on your face! ANd the faces of your actors wont have thevhuge noses and tiny ears that you get when shooting with wide angle lenses. This 17.5 has a magic of it's own. It's the nicest lens I've ever owned. Good luck with your shoot, @azza_act

  • It's the nicest lens I've ever owned.

    Second that.

  • @RRRR Yes that did cross my mind, buying the lens for the film then selling it but I fall in love too easy :) I have a feeling it would stay in my camera bag. Thanks for you help mate. I have to watch some more 17.5mm clips.

  • @azza_act Might not be such a loss in the end.. (if you keep it) :) No worries, hope it turns out great!

  • @bheath @RRRR

    Do you guys have any examples I could see? If you don't mind. The nokton 25mm is my favourite lens at the moment, I love what those guys at nokton do but I'm starting to get excellent about the 17.5mm. Love to see some narrative looking stuff shot with it.

  • It's a matter of taste.

    A set of slrmagic 12mm, nokton 25mm, nifty-fifty is nice.

    A set of nokton 17.5mm, 35mm, 85mm is nice, too.

  • I have Slrmagic 12, Nokton 25, and Canon FL 55. They match up with no problems, plus they all have aperture ring on the front.

  • Does anyone know if the LA7200 works on the SLR magic 12mm? EOSHD says it does on the Olympus 12, and I've seen a video, but for the life of me I cannot find confirmation on the SLR Magic. That would affect my decision in a similar debate!

  • @azza_act I have not used the SLR but own the 12mm Oly and the 17.5 Nokton as well as the 25 Nokton, and some old classic lenses (35, 58 and 80mm) I mainly use the 12mm for tight indoor spaces and for architecture, both usually on a tripod without panning. Anything wider than 17.5mm draws a lot of attention by stretched and warped backgrounds when panning the lens. This is not geometrical distortion (which the Oly 12mm has very little of) but proportional distortion that lies in the nature of wide angle lenses. So if you film a lot of outdoor scenes you will very likely not need 12mm. Since you already have the 12mm Oly I would get the 17.5, it should be wide enough. Most of the times you will probably be fine with a 25 or 35. A 50/58/85 will be fine for closer shots, but anything longer than 50mm requires a good rig or a stable hand.

  • I don't own either of them, but the Olympus to me looks leaps and bounds better than the SLR Magic. I'll probably pick up the Olympus, and the SLR Magic 35mm f/0.95 (which does look fantastic), soon.

  • Finally I just received a good copy of SLRMagic 12mm after returning 3 bad copies. This one has almost no play.

  • @stonebat - Sounds like fun. Where was the play in your previous models?

    In terms of the thread, I too was bitten by the wide bug. Settled for an anamorphic projector lens. We'll see. For my wides right now, I use the 14-140 from Panasonic. Gorgeous glass.

  • The ones I returned had some play on the mount side. The tight focus ring made the play worse. Now I'm happy.

  • @azza_act nothing up that I can share right now.. I´ll see if I have a little time on tuesday to put something up!

    @everyone re the slr magic 12mm... It´s going to look like a much better lens on a slightly smaller sensor than the gh2 has. (bmd cam, gh3) as the crop will use a much more controlled part of the field curvature.

  • @RRRR I've been looking into the 17.5mm, I have to say: I'm impressed. Look forward to any examples you can show. Thanks

  • @kellar42 The SLR Magic 12/1.6 does not work with the LA7200. There is vertical vignetting on the 10% extreme edges.

  • Thank you for telling me @slrmagic , I've been looking for that answer for some time.