When I switched to micro four-thirds a couple of years ago, first with Panasonic and now Olympus, I knew one of my first lenses would be an ultra-wide. I had two options — a Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 or an Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens. For someone who typically shoots wide just for landscapes and the occasional well-lit room shot, I figured the Panasonic version would serve me just fine.
The lens was super light and had a great field of view. The 7-14mm is similar to a 14-28mm view on a full-frame camera, meaning I was able to see a TON that my other lenses just couldn’t pick up.
Ultimately, I had to put my Panasonic 7-14mm lens to the test, photographing Christmas lights downtown. I was asked to provide a wide view, so my idea was to capture a long exposure that highlighted not only the Christmas lights on the trees but also the tail light trails.
While the photographs were crisp, there was definitely a problem. Major lens flare.
It was not something I had seen much of while photographing during the day. Or even at night, when the light wasn’t directly facing the lens. For 90% of my use case, it worked as expected, and was a great lens.
But as soon as I had light facing the lens, a lot of lens flare appeared. I don’t mind a little lens flare, but having green and blue lens flare on a building, or on the wood pieces below, really jumped out to me as something that shouldn’t be there.
I was able to edit out the lens flares, but it took quite a bit of time and adjustment in Photoshop to get it right.
After the lens flare issue with the Panasonic wide-angle zoom, I tried the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens. This lens was quite a bit larger but it had a slightly wider aperture at f/2.8. It had the same field of view as the Panasonic. It was just heavier and bulkier.
But more importantly, the lens flare issues I had experienced with the Panasonic nearly disappeared. I was able to create a crisp photograph without having to do a ton of flare retouching work like I had to do with the Panasonic lens. While lens flares aren’t completely gone from the Olympus lens, they’re much, much more manageable.
After testing it out, I decided to return the Panasonic lens, which was luckily still within its return grace period. The Olympus lens has certainly served me well, and it’s one of my favorites for landscapes!