Over the past two to three years, the Micro Four Thirds (M43) system has morphed from an uncertain new category into a serious alternative to consumer DSLRs. As this segment grows, manufactures, mainly Olympus and Panasonic, have started to provide users with more lens options, but more importantly, they are producing higher quality lenses. Because of the relatively small sensors size, M43 systems have to deal with a 2x crop factor. Because of this, Olympus and Panasonic have to produce very wide lenses to provide users with a field of view that is similar to what their used to using with SLRs (e.g. 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, etc.). In this review, we are going to compare two M43 wide angle primes, the Olympus 12mm f/2 and the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5.
If you’ve read any of the previous posts in this review of the Leica X1, you know that I’ve compared the X1 to my Panasonic GF-1 quite a few times. I did this because they are similar in many ways. They both have roughly 35mm equivalent lenses and larger than normal sensors, and they’re geared towards the avid photographer that wants an advanced camera in a compact body. There is, however, one VERY big difference between the two, price. So is the X1 worth the premium? Let’s find out.