I am mainly a web developer but now have become also a sort of a semi-pro photographer as well - shooting only portraits on my micro 4/3 system with only one lens - a beautiful Leica 25mm.

I have a client who is a landscape designer - pools, decks, fountains, flower beds - and badly needs her portfolio updated and we need to schedule a photo shoot. I am very tempted to buy wide angle lens and do it myself. I think I should buy one and not rent one because I need to learn how to use it, I have a month or so before the shoot.

I do not want to spend a fortune and am wondering if the Olympus ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO would be wide enough for this? I can buy it used for about $800CDN.

Also any other recommendations for a lens for this project considering:

  • my level of experience
  • the fact that it will all be outdoors in good weather with all the time in the world
  • it could be used in other projects or resold easily after

...oh, and one more - I rent out my place on AirBnB and I would love to have better pictures of it. I know that 12mm will not be wide enough for that.

Edit: I did look at landscape photography recommendations, but this is more specific - this is photographing gardens and garden features ONLY, keeping in mind that I also have an amazing 25mm lens. I am ok with getting a wide prime, but one that I can resell easily later.

Edit 2: I do not photograph or plan on photographing real estate interiors anytime soon except for myself and for one property only.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I rent out my place on AirBnB and I would love to have better pictures of it. I know that 12mm will not be wide enough for that. - Is this supposed to be a question? \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Apr 20, 2018 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of What equipment is necessary/preferred for real estate photography? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Apr 20, 2018 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @drewbenn - I want to put in a solid 7-10 days of practice \$\endgroup\$
    – Natalia
    Apr 20, 2018 at 22:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that, if you decide that 12mm is wide enough for your primary use, you can always stitch wider shots that you might occasionally need. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2018 at 1:52

2 Answers 2


Just my opinion, but I think the Olympus m.Zuiko 9-18 f/4-5.6 might be the lens you're looking for, since it will do the FoV 35mm equivalency of 18-36mm, which goes from ultrawide to walkaround widish. It also costs less than the 12-40/2.8 Pro you're looking at, and while the performance may not be up to those standards, it's still quite a good lens. And if you're shooting landscapes in the daytime, you generally don't need f/2.8.

The 7-14 ultrawide zooms don't go as long and cost a great deal more. And, iirc, they don't take screw-on filters while the 9-18 does.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! That was the recommendation I was looking for. Already put the cash out (the double cash!! sigh...) for Panasonic Leica DG 8-18mm. After some playing around I can see that I don't need 7mm for back yard photography and 8mm will be as wide as I will need for that project. \$\endgroup\$
    – Natalia
    May 22, 2018 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Natalia, yeah, forgot about the PL 8-18 as it was introduced only last year. Happy new glass! \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    May 22, 2018 at 6:30

For landscape photography you will likely find a moderate wide-angle lens most useful. Additionally a moderate telephoto will allow you to zoom in and record features from afar. To fully understand what is telephoto, normal, and wide-angle you need to know the dimensions of your 4/3 image sensor.

The 4/3 image sensor and camera was first introduced by the Olympus Group. The sensor measures 13.4mm height by 18mm length (approximate). It has become industry standard to fit cameras with a “normal” lens determined by figuring out the diagonal measure (corner-to-corner) of the image area. In this case a “normal” lens will be one with a focal length of about 20mm.

A “normal” lens roughly yields an image with “human perspective”. In other words, mount a “normal” lens and the resulting image reproduces approximately what you are seeing as to the relationship between the size of objects both in the foreground and background. A longer or shorter focal length will tend to distort size relationships. However, most of the time, these distortions have little significance.

Now the realm of wide-angle begins at about 70% or “normal”. That’s 15mm. Telephoto begins at about 2X “normal” = 40mm. This boils down to selecting a zoom lens that inscopes this range. How about a trying to find a lens with a zoom range approximately 15mm thru 55mm?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think your numbers are off - my 45 mm is about ‘normal’. 20 mm is already far into wide angle. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aganju
    Apr 20, 2018 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @aganju Are you sure you work with a 4/3 sensor as discussed here? \$\endgroup\$
    – remco
    Apr 20, 2018 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Aganju -- What is the basis of your observation? Personal opinion matters however "normal" by industry standards is the diagonal measure of the format. However, art has no rules so you are free to believe what your mind's eye is telling you! \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2018 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Aganju -- A FX (full frame digital) measure 24mm height by 36mm length. The diagonal is 43mm is "normal" for this format. The DX (compact digital) frame is 16mmby 24mm. The diagonal measure is 30mm. Wide-angle starts at about 70% of "normal" and telephoto starts at about 200% of "normal". What is "normal", wide-angle and telephoto differs depending on format size. That is why the industry often uses the FX as bench mark. Thus say a camera's focal length is equivalent. Equivalent meaning this focal length (unidentified) delivers a view equal to what a 45mm delivers if mounted on an FX. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2018 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aganju Nope. Lenses for µ4/3 are always described with their actual focal length. Sometimes a description (usually added by someone other than the lens maker, such as a reseller or reviewer) will include the '35mm equivalent' in parenthesis. But every µ4/3 lens I've ever seen has the actual focal length inscribed on the lens and included in the lens' name. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:31

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