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Suggest a lens ?

Downunder

Well-Known Member
I’m looking for a purely manual wide-angle lens under 20mm, maybe down to 12mm to have a go at making a video of the night sky.

ideally one with M4/3 Mount but it could be APS-C of some sort.

Ideally sharp (stars look awful otherwise) and fast (f/2), and suitable to shot wide open - not stopping down to f/4 or whatever.

Suggestions ?

I’m looking at a Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS but alternatives welcome. Without quantitative side by side lens tests like DPR did, all the online reviews just seem to be untrustworthy.
 
I've not yet shot the night sky with it but that's the reason that I just purchased the M.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 for my OM-1. The OM-1 has a STARRY-SKY AUTO-FOCUS that says it works with M.Zuiko lenses. I have used the lens on my converted gx85.
 
I had a Rokinon 12 f2 for a while. I was using it for astrophotography only. I wound up selling it because I needed to collect some funds for a pro zoom (12-45 f4)

It's an ok lens, but you have to stop down to 2.8 to get acceptable performance and f4 is you need critical sharpness across the field. As it turns out, my 12-45 f4 pro is far sharper at f4 than the Rokinon was.

If you decide to get the Rokinon (or Samyang), beware of poor-quality control. My first copy had horrible flare, CA, and excessive softness. The second one was acceptable. The lens didn't have a very precise fit into the lens mount. The slot for the lens mount's pin was pretty sloppy and I had to rotate the lens slightly, so the camera knew there was something mounted.
 
I've not yet shot the night sky with it but that's the reason that I just purchased the M.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 for my OM-1. The OM-1 has a STARRY-SKY AUTO-FOCUS that says it works with M.Zuiko lenses. I have used the lens on my converted gx85.
As a sidenote: a statement in the manual of my OM-5 made me believe that Starry Sky mode would only work with Olympus/OM lenses. However, I have tried it with a Panasonic lens and surprise: it works with that one as well. Either the statement in the manual is just confusing, or if this limitation did exist, it has been lifted in this firmware.
Unfortunately taking decent shots of starry skies is a real challenge in the part of Belgium where I live, the amount of light pollution is prohibitive.
 
I’ve already tried the starry night mode on my OM5. Yes it focuses but the resulting images disappointing for other reasons - in sort the OM5 doesn’t seem a good choice.

However I also have a cooled camera which does also have an M4/3 Mount - a ZWO-ASI533 and the lens is intended for this, not so much the OM5. The ASI533 however has no electronic interface to operate AF or aperture so the lens has to be manual.

I already have a 7Artisans 55mm f/1.4, which is ok for a constellation or two, but not nearly wide enough to capture an Aurora, for example, where an ultra wide is really needed. It’s cheap, sharpness isn’t great.

Online reviews of all the manual M4/3 lenses I’ve seen also indicate - without exception - that they’re not sharp.
 
I don't do night skies but there is a whole lot of reasonably priced Chinese made MF lenses made in M4/3 mount which are often aps-c capable lenses remounted.

Thinking a bit out in the left field the 7Artisans 4mm f2.8 lens might excite. It is certainly wide enough as it is a full circular fish-eye (just) even in its M4/3 version. You can possibly fit a full-heavens into one frame. Being circular fish-eye there is not going to be precise rendition but maybe the heavens are circular anyway? In any case circular fish-eyes are usually love it or hate it looks for many.

I don't mind their imaging and should try it next clear set of night skies. Recently the weather has been pretending that winter has arrived with overcast skies, rain squalls and patches of nice forgiving sun.

Normally we get very clear night skies here as pollution by city lights and the other smokey stuff is not really an issue.

If you don't do fish-eyes then there are some reasonably priced MF rectilinear lenses available as well.

I have the Laowa 7.5/2.0 which is quite compact and I believe that there is a 6mm from Laowa as well - but their lenses tend to be more expensive.
 
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