Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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Are any ultra-wide angle digital point and shoot cameras made? By ulta-wide angle I mean anything under 24mm equivalent, although ideally I'd be after something around 12mm.

I'd prefer something small and light (hence not a DSLR), so a fixed lens would be ideal.

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Depends on quality requred, but many major camera makers make wide angle add on auxillary lenses. Results vary. –  Russell McMahon Sep 26 '12 at 8:18
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5 Answers

From a quick search on dpreview it turns out that, while the majority of fixed lens cameras have a maximum equivalent focal lenght of 24mm, there are some which are wider (e.g., without trying to be exhaustive, Pentax X5, Nikon Coolpix L810).

No camera appears to be equivalent to a 12mm, which may be related to the crop factor. You would need a 2-3mm lens (since these kind of cameras have a crop factor of about 5-6) to achieve an equivalent field of view of a 12mm on a FF sensor.

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Ultra-wide rectilinear lenses are hard and expensive to build (especially hard for the tiny sensors usually used in compacts) and quite hard to use well even by professionals, so compact cameras either provide safer (tighter) angles or fisheye lenses.

Action cameras usually use ultra-wide fisheye lenses. For example, GoPro HD Hero sports 170 degree angle of view; Veho Muvi HD10 160 degrees.

As for film point -and-shoots, there's Lomography Fisheye.

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An "action camera" might well suit me best, thanks. –  fmark Oct 10 '12 at 23:02
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Ultra-compact fixed-lens cameras top out at 21mm, with the majority being 24mm wide. It's a very nice wide-angle but with not so much distortion as to make it hard to use.

For much more ultra-wide in a smaller package I recommend a small Micro Four-Thirds SLD (links to the lightest ones) like the Olympus E-PM1 (aka PEN Mini) and either the Zuiko 9-18mm which is very light or the Panasonic 7-14mm which is even wider but somewhat heavier.

Notice that except for the Tryx, all cameras with a wider-than-24mm lens are heavier than the Olympus E-PM1 plus 9-18mm lens which comes in at just over 400g. This combination is very compact and as a bonus gives much superior image quality than the typical fixed-lens camera.

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The GoPro Hero 2 has a wide angle lens with 170 degrees and 10 megapixels. The latest edition black model has other bits and pieces to make it more versatile. Priced around $400 up.

Another possibility would be to get a Pentax K-01 with the 10-17mm fisheye to 28mm equivalent zoom (love this lens.) This would be smaller than a full on DSLR but still much heavier than a point and shoot and not pocketable.

I too would love to have a compact fisheye to wide angle zoom compact. Hey makers - there is a niche market out there. That way, just the 2 cameras do almost everything a normal photographer would wish to do.

I have not seen reviews for the GoPro in terms of IQ, but I could not imagine it is anywhere near a DSLR.

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The Samsung WB210 is a point & shoot with a normal focal length of 24mm (equivalent) & an ultra-wide mode at 21mm (equivalent). I shoot a lot in both focal lengths & I am very happy with mine, after I learned its' limitations.

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