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Old Jul 29, 2009, 4:33 AM   #1
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Default Lightweight, wide angle, good glass

Wanted; Lightweight, wide angle, good glass without spending 6K on a Leica M8

don't want much, do I?

Ok, the history;

I used to have an EOS50 film body (called Elan in the US iirc) and a 20mm F2.8 EOS lens. I loved this camera but like many others have been swept into the digital revolution. Plus the lens got stolen in a burglery . By the time I came to replace the lens, my camera body had changed to a EOS D10. This raised 2 problems for me. The D10 is bloody hefty and when matched with a 600+ gramme lens it makes a package that I just end up leaving in the bag (unlike the EOS50 being film weighed nothing) plus the 1.6x on the subformat sensor effectively neuters the glory of the 20mm lens.

Thus I gave it up with WA photography for a while.

Then I gave it up with the D10 completely (just too heavy) and passed it to my dad who decided the same thing and gifted it to my brother..... now I'm working with a Lumix F18 and a canon G9 while I work out how / whether to get back into the dSLR market again.

What I've been waiting for is a D1000 (Rebel) weight body with a full sized sensor and D10 level controls (although I'd compromise on the controls) but it just doesn't seem to be comnig to market, plus serious WA lenses don't seem apparant in the mainstream (sub sized sensor) dSLR ranges. So far what we have in the full frame market is the D5, which is the same weight as the D10 I had before.

any advice / pointers? I would happily go with a fixed lens compact so long as the optics are top notch and it has full manual control. I don't mind paying the price within reason (I would go for the D5 if it were 500gr and rebel sized instead of 800 and brick sized) but I really need 20mm equivalent in the glass

As my Canon kit has either been pinched or hand-me-upped I am not stuck on one brand (anymore), I just want a good light wide angle camera
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Old Jul 29, 2009, 4:54 AM   #2
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Have you thought of the Panasonic LX3? It has a superb F2 lens, wide angle and takes superb shots. It has full manual control as well as Intelligent auto. IS is also a bonus, although with only 2.5 telephoto this is not quite such a necessity.

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Old Jul 29, 2009, 5:37 AM   #3
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I like the look of that LX3 ... a LOT
  • cute as hell
  • pocket sized
  • big sensor (do I read that right; 1/1.63 would make it 49mm diagonal...? )
  • optical viewfinder
  • Full manual control
  • 18mm equivalent with bolt on WA attachment and still cmopact as my FZ18 with the WA on
Looks like it's been out since last year aswell .... When will Steve's post a full review on it do you think?
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Old Jul 29, 2009, 5:57 AM   #4
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There are options that are less than full frame.

I'll speak to the line I am familiar with. Oly has the E620 at 515g with battery which can be mated to the 9-18 at 280g. It would set you back around $1200 for the pair. That's 18mm EFL.

Panasonic has the micro 4/3 cameras paired with its 7-14 will be about 700g ready to shoot and will cost a bit more if you feel like stepping away from the SLR type camera and spending a bit more. That's 14mm EFL.

Others will chime in with other options too, I'm sure. The intro crop bodies and lenses like the 10-20 Sigma may be the ticket also.


Last edited by fldspringer; Jul 29, 2009 at 5:59 AM.
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Old Jul 29, 2009, 8:06 AM   #5
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hmm you're right, there are several WA zooms about which would give 20mm equivalent. As a general rule, how good are these would you say?

Before I got my Canon 20mm F2.8 I had a (iirc) Sigma 19-35mm WA zoom on my old film camera. It was a fun (and cheap ... about 200 GBP new iirc) toy and was enough to convince me to invest in the 20mm Prime lens (as I always kept the thing on the widest zoom) but the image quality (barrel distortion, sharpness etc etc) was no comparison with the Prime.

This was 10 years ago though and I suppose that the design and quality of the zooms has moved on, would you now say that it's caught up? (assuming always that we're comparing like for like not supermarket zoom with L series Primes)
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Old Jul 29, 2009, 10:08 AM   #6
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Morning, Well there are 2 items I would like to toss out for your consideration. I too have the LX3 and it is everything that is said about it. However it is in short supply, and the price has risen quite a bit (and there are some rumors that a new model may show up soon, but Panasonic has said not till mid 2010). The alternative is the Leica DLux4 - same camera but it comes with a red dot, a wrist strap and a 3 year warranty - OK the menus are ever so slightly different, and maybe the lens coating maybe a bit different.


Just a side note - I doubt that Steve will come out with a LX3 review at this late date, in that its been out a year already. Also, the Panasonic forum here at Steve's is very quite on the LX3 - you really have to go to other boards to get a lot of LX3 activity. Why - I do not know one bit - its a real mystery to me....

The second idea is, given that you are open to a different camera make - in terms of quality of glass, Pentax has their limited lens set, that is the equal of any set of primes anywhere.


Also, they have the DA 12-24/f4 lens, which is the equivalent of their DA 15mm Limited. For wide angle work it is excellent. Now for a bit of explanation - Pentax and Tokina co-designed the lens, the differences being in the body look and the lens coating (Pentax using their SMC coating). Hoya owns both Pentax and Tokina.


Within the DA 15 Limited review ....
Unfortunately it doesn't come out so well against the excellent Tokina AT-X PRO SD 12-24mm F4 (IF) DX, which we'd expect to perform near-identically to Pentax's own SMC DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL (IF) - in this case the zoom is sharper, and has lower falloff and equally low distortion, although it does show more chromatic aberration.
The DA Limited lens line is optimized for the APS-C sensor. Pentax also has a FA limited line of lens (full frame) that are legendary. One hallmark of the limited series is their small size and light weight.


Body wise, Pentax has just come out with the new K7 - full metal body, fully sealed, semi professional, in body image stabilization, overall it is quite nice, and light weight (~$1,300 body only). Currently the entire line is APS-C (crop factor of 1.5) and I really doubt that they will be coming out with a full frame body any time soon.


Another potential opportunity is that the K7 is replacing the K20D as the top of the line body, and its price is now about $650 (down from ~$1,200 last year). It's a slightly larger camera, and may be worth your investigation too.

hope that helps....

Last edited by interested_observer; Jul 29, 2009 at 10:11 AM.
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Old Jul 29, 2009, 10:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bomberesque View Post
  • big sensor (do I read that right; 1/1.63 would make it 49mm diagonal...? )
No. That's a fraction (1 divided by 1.63"). It's the type designation for the sensor.

The type designations for sensors are using an outdated measurement system originally designed to represent video tube diameters.

1/1.63" ~= .613" (or approximately 15.6mm).

But, the actual sensor size is usually around 2/3 the size of the type designation. So, the actual diagonal of the sensor used in the LX3 is probably around 10.3mm (although I haven't seen it's exact measurements anywhere).
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Old Jul 30, 2009, 7:24 AM   #8
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ta, lots to think about there

Pentax, now there's a name I haven't thought about in a while....

I'm quite liking the look of the Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3rds cameras aswell, although the Oly E-P1 seems relatively high in price next to the Lumix G1 and Pana have a 7-14mm/F4.0 ASPH which if it's any good (and it should be at about a thousand pounds) would suit me down to the ground. Otherwise Oly seem to have some suitable non-micro 4/3 super WA stuff on offer. I suppose that with the adapter and an OM lens on one of the 4/3 or Micro 4/3 bodies, some sort of crop factor woulod again come to bear?

for pure convenience, the Lumix LX3 (or indeed Leica D-LUX4) looks lovely, has a lower buy in price and 10bar make a scuba housing for it, only the stratospheric accessories costs and inability to really expand it are putting me off (the optical ViewFinder is half the price of the camera ) plus I already have 2 digi compacts.....

I'll have to see what the boss will allow me as a budget, but I'm liking the G1

any idea if there's more of a difference between the G1 and GH1 than HD movies? The price gap is quite large....

/edit, oh and JimC ta for the correction. Having looked through some othjer camera specs I figured it would be something like that....

Last edited by bomberesque; Jul 30, 2009 at 7:27 AM.
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Old Jul 31, 2009, 12:38 AM   #9
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I'd go for the G1. In fact, I'm contemplating one myself. Although I've seen very good images from the GH1, I think it's over priced. Since I already have the FZ28 (which records movies in HD format), I definitely don't need to spend the extra $$$ on the GH1. You might want to consider buying one of those P&S with good movie capabilities as well as the G1 for the same price you'll pay for the GH1.

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Old Jul 31, 2009, 4:10 AM   #10
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Yeah, I'm leaning towards the G1 aswell. Agree 100% about G1/GH1 I wouldn't pay the extra

1. I don't need movies
2. If I wanted them it would be for goofing about and I can use one of my existing compacts for that
3. I *love* the look of the Oly Pen but no viewfinder is a bit of a killer
4. This would be my 3rd Lumix, The Boss likes them and so would be looser with the budget
5. Dispite low ambient shortcomings of EVFs, I love having a full heads up inside the Viewfinder.

all that said, now my snobbery about zooms is being (somewhat) overturned by some very good test results (esp on the pana 7-14 MFT) I'm thinking about putting in some more research on APS-C Super wide Zooms and "non micro" 4/3rds stuff

G1 ahead of the pack atm and a decent price aswell.
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