Tuesday, August 4, 2009

E-P1: Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm vs. Olympus Digital Zuiko 8mm fisheye

A hobby of mine is spherical panorama photography.

The ultra wide angle Olympus 4/3rds Zuiko Digital 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens mounted on my Olympus E-P1 allows 360° in all directions to be captured in just 7 (or 8) shots.

Shown here attached using a 4/3rds to micro-4/3rds adaptor.

As is standard, I shoot one row around using 6 shots (every 60°) in portrait format for maximum vertical coverage, plus 1 zenith and optionally one nadir. This provides decent image overlap for stitching.

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 is a rectilinear zoom lens that is quite compact and light by comparison. It's actually nearly half the weight: 300g vs. 568g = 485g + 83g for the Olympus MMF-1 adaptor. However, the maximum diagonal angle of view is spec'd at 114° vs. a claimed 180° (computed 170.2°).

See http://slash72.club.fr/gurl/Olympus/Copy%20of%20fisheye.htm for the Olympus 8mm fisheye technical details.

Let's compare the true coverage of the Lumix rectilinear lens at 7mm against the Olympus fisheye (8mm).

Pictures below were taken at Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku.

Landscape format

Lumix (@ 7mm): Olympus (fisheye): Olympus Studo (fisheye correction):

Compare the coverage in the above image to the Lumix 7mm image shown earlier. The fisheye is definitely wider. And actually, the fisheye image extends beyond the rectangular portion at the corners. See below.

Olympus (defished): The defished shot above was created using Turk's free defish program with the following parameters:

Seems like the aspect ratio is a bit off. One of my parameters must be a bit wrong. Oh well. But you get the idea about the extra coverage.

In spherical panorama photography, the shots are taken with the camera rotated into portrait position.

Portrait format

Lumix (@ 7mm): Olympus (fisheye): Olympus Studo (fisheye correction): Olympus (defished):


  1. Are you using the Nodal Ninja? How much overlap are you using for the Panoramas? And what is the minimal amount of shots you can do with the 8mm lens?


  2. I use a Nodal Ninja III Mk 2. I now have the offset plate to take account of the E-P1 tripod socket being not inline with the center of the lens, so the attachment point looks a little different from the photo.

    As described above, I use 6 shots around, tilted -15°. I think you could get away with 5, but 6 has good overlap. You also need a zenith shot.

  3. I am debating on getting either the Olympus 8mm Fisheye or the Panasonic 7-14mm for spherical panoramic photography. How many shots did it took to create a spherical panoramic using the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0? Could you do in a single row?

  4. You need two rows with the Panasonic at 7mm. It's not practical for spherical panos. I'm waiting for the Panasonic FE to come out in a month or two. That will be less bulky than the Olympus 4/3rds FE with adaptor.

  5. Dear Sandiway Fong,

    I would like to begin with spherical panorama photography and use GLA (Gap Light Analyzer) for calculating canopy openess etc... (in the research field of botany).

    GLA can be used to analyze any circular fisheye image that has been captured using a
    short focal length (8 mm or less) hemispherical lens with a full 180° field of view (FOV) and a known projection distortion.

    It is said that fisheye lenses that have longer focal lengths (e.g., 16 mm) and a full 180° FOV create non-circular images that are cropped in either one or both dimensions of the
    image. These images cannot be analyzed using GLA.

    I have got a Panasonic Lumix FZ 18 and need to adapt a Fisheye with 8mm lenght on it. But I don´t find any fisheye that fits with my Panasonic camera. Do you have any idea or do you know if there exists a method to get any 8mm fisheye on the Panasonic Lumix FZ 18?

    Many thanks for any advises, Anja

  6. The Panasonic is a superzoom camera,; it's lens can't be removed. However, it's possible to add converter lenses that screw onto the front of the lens. (I use something like that on my HD camcorder to get wider angles of view.)

    For your Panasonic, it seems you're in luck, there are fisheye options available. See:


    Hope this helps...

  7. Thank you Sandiway - it might help!

  8. I love this digital camera, it is handsomenly!!! i think is a dependable camera