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12, 17 and 45 or 12, 25 and 45 - help me to decide.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Dramaturg, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Currently I have 12-50 zoom (using it primarily as 12mm), 17mm 1.8 and 45mm 1.8. The first lens I bought with my OM-D was 17mm 1.8. I had some experience with 35mm lens on my friend's Nikon D800 and really enjoyed it over 50mm. However my first dissapointment with 17mm 1.8 was very wide DOF. The images of people mostly looked flat compared to FF version even wide open and you could get only some subject isolation if you shot half body portrait. Since I mostly shoot portraits and landscapes it is sad that I cannot use 17mm for portraiture. Now as 25mm 1.8 has been announced I started thinking about selling my 17mm 1.8 in order to fund 25mm 1.8. It seems that 12-50 zoom can do anything 17mm does past f4 (landscape speaking). However I am not sure whether there will be much difference between the 17 and 25 in terms of mu-43 sensor size. What would you recommend? Perhaps there is someone who has experience using 17mm and 25mm (Panaleica). I don't expect Oly 25 to be the same as 50mm on FF body, but I am looking for a good amount of bokeh (preferably some subject isolation full body). And am I right that 12-50 zoom can actually substitute 17mm 1.8 for landscapes and the stree? Thank you.
     
  2. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
    I used to have the 25/1.4, and I had it simultaneously with the 17/1.8 for a good 3 months.

    Although the DOF on the 25/1.4 is shallower than 17/1.8, it is not as good as 45/1.8. You may also dislike the perspective differences as you change the shooting distance between you and your subject. But, it is a one lens solution that does everything well. 25/1.8 will sort of fall similarly to this comparison, but its DOF will be less shallow than the 25/1.4.

    I think the bigger difference will be FOV and aperture. I actually miss having f/1.4, though not as much as I make it out to be, there are some situations where I would like a lower ISO. I guess carrying a tripod would have been a solution but I always forget the tripod. If you like the 35 mm-e FOV, buying the 25/1.4 won't help you.

    The 12-50, while a good utility lens in a very useful zoom range, I don't think its f/4 compares with 17/1.8 @ 17 mm f/4. A bit sharpening in post would get you to the same results.
     
  3. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Thanks for mentioning 25/1.4. Actually I started thinking about buying it used recently, but when Oly 25 was announced decided to stick with it. Also thank you for bringing the FOV issue. As I said, on FF I really enjoyed 35mm FOV. It was so vercitable that you could shoot documentary, street, landscapes and nice inveronmental portraits. Now you can do the same types of photography with 17mm but those images simply don't look the same. The portraits just don't pop (Actually this is another thing - I really wish Oly would make their primes between 1.2 and 1.4; I think this is required by the physics of the smaller sensor; look at what Fuji is doing with their primes on a larger sensor!). Hence I think I can live with a bit narrower FOV if it makes better portraits. I think my another question is whether I should be looking at 25/1.4 instead or simply don't bother as the difference in the way people appear will be minimal?

    PS Oly 17mm 1.8 has maximum resolution of 66 lpmm at f4 while 12-50 has maximum resolution of 59 lpmm at the same aperture. The difference is actually not that great and not visible (unless you pixel peep).

    PPS Or is there any good in leaving 17mm 1.8 and adding 25mm?
     
  4. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    I have used 25 1.4 for awhile before I replaced it with 45 1.8 sorely on DOF alone. I too loved the FOV of the 17 but like op mentioned, you simply couldn't do any subject isolation with it unless your subject is the size of a tea cup. I might give the 25 1.8 a try if it is tack sharp wide open and with lightening quick AF, but I wouldn't count on shallow DOF with it since the 1.4 wasn't all that shallow unless you shoot right in the face style portrait. If you want shallow DOF, take a look at the ultra fast 0.95 MF alternatives like Voigtlander and SLR magic.

    I second the 1.2 suggestion, panaleica proofed that it can be made, with a price. I would pay equal amount for a 17 1.2 given trac tack sharp wide open like the 42.5. Bokeh is easy in most format, but shallow wide ain't common unless you go FF
     
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  5. Edmunds

    Edmunds Mu-43 Regular

    158
    Oct 16, 2012
    I think the only lens that would make a substantial difference for you is the 25mm f/1.4 or one of the manual focus Voigtlanders.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    You already have the 45mm, which does great subject isolation, so not sure why you'd want to use the 17 for portraits.
     
  7. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Because 35mm lens supposed to make awesome environmental portraits. Something that 90mm equivalent lens will never do.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Edmunds

    Edmunds Mu-43 Regular

    158
    Oct 16, 2012
    If you want shallow depth of field at 35mm, then this is really not what m4/3 is good at.

    The best you can do with m4/3 is equal a 35mm f/1.9 with a Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95
     
  9. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 2, 2012
    What you need is a Canon 5D mk II or III and a 35mm F2 . You could get the Leica 25MM f1.4 if the 45 you have doesn't satisfy you.
     
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The only way to get anything close to identical results to FF with a fast 35mm on m4/3 is with a manual focus lens - probably the Voigtlander 17.5/0.95. The 25/1.4 will decrease your DoF, but it's also going to change your framing. If you back up enough to get similar framing, the DoF difference with your 17/1.8 won't be significant. You can play around with a DoF calculator, but for instance, if your focus point is at 7ft. with the 17mm, you need to be about 10ft. with the 25mm. The difference then between f/1.8 at 17mm and f/1.4 at 25mm is about 25%.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Shallow DOF with short lenses is not M43's forte. I do think M43 works best when you want to shoot wide open while maintaining more DOF (for example street and candid) and also being able to shoot longer distances with shorter FL lenses reducing physical size. I do think at longer FLs with relative fast lenses like the 75 1.8, you can near match certain lenses in FF. The 75 to me is pretty darn great and reminds me quite a bit of the 200 f2 in full frame but way smaller and cheaper in comparison!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Thank you for your inputs, guys. Just wanted to note that I didn't intend to start any DOF war here. Now I know a lot about limitations of mu43 sensors in this regard and try to live with it. My question was whether Oly 25mm 1.8 can substitute Oly 17mm 1.8 in a sens of (1) rendering better portraits and (2) being normal lens, which can also be good for environmental and street photography. I do realize that I could get very close to FF look with VG lenses. But I was just thinking that 25mm 1.8 lens DOF will be very simililar to that of 35mm 1.8 on FF (not framing, but DOF). I also was wandering about any experience anyone might have had with these two lenses (17mm and 25mm PL) in order to say something about the way they render environmental portraits. I think I'd still need to wait and see various samples from 25mm 1.8 in order to make any judgment about how it is going to look on mu43.
     
  13. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    214
    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Matt
    Your depth of field will be greater than 35mm/1.8. The 25mm f/1.8 will render a depth of field of a 25mm lens at f/1.8 with a field of view similar to a 50mm lens. The 25mm/1.4 might get close.
     
  14. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Agree, I constantly confuse DOF with bokeh. The DOF of 1.8 is the DOF of 1.8 regardless of the format. The focal length, the distance to the subject - that is what will matter in the end. So I was talking more about subjective perception of the way the lenses render bokeh (forget about DOF). The trouble is I looked through 17mm and PL 25mm lenses Flickr pools looking for half body portraits and couldn't really see much difference. Yes, 25mm will have better background blur due to the longer focal length, but with 17mm you'd need to come closer to your subject in order to get the same framing, thus the OOF picture will be similar, though with more details in it ... but how similar, that is the question. Or it won't?

    Another question - perhaps it's not worth it and I should start saving for 75 mm instead of switching between 17 an 25?
     
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I have the 14, 17, 20, 25 45 and 75 and find myself over the last year shooting almost exclusively with the 17 and the 75 - it just seems to suit my particular photographic style at the moment. I usually carry the 25 with me as well, but the others have become rather neglected.

    I was looking at the 12-40 this morning, and while it seems a very fine lens, and if it had been available when the e-m5 came out I would probably have bought it.... now I am not so sure.

    The 75 is a very nice lens indeed, and the 17 has surprised me by becoming my go to lens when out and about.

    for reference to where I am coming from photographically I have flickr set for the 17 and the 75 here

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinparis2007/sets/72157632975120141/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinparis2007/sets/72157632812231252/

    cheers

    K
     
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  16. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Just skimed through my bulk ablum on the harddrive and here is what I found.

    This is a random shot my wife took of me and my daughter this summer using 17mm 1.8. I don't like the picture but I am realy surpized with the way we pop out of the background.

    OMD02809-1.

    I guess that has to do with correct background selection.
     
  17. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    518
    Sep 25, 2012
    Lighting, composition. More important than lens characteristics. (Good photo)

    And to add my two cents to the conversation: I really feel like shallow DoF is seriously overrated in environmental portraiture. Shouldn't the environment exist as an element of the photo? I don't want to be argumentative, or to question anybody's artistic tastes, though.
     
  18. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
    Even when DOF is the same between 25 mm f/1.8 on 4/3 and 35 mm f/1.8 on full frame, the perspective will be different.

    Photo from post 7 will be different, even if you framed her similarly.
     
  19. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    For everyone interested in the same question. Just found this guy on Flickr and he uses only two (!) lenses for his work - 17mm and 45mm. He shoots portraits and little bit of everything. But, most of his portraits are environmental style with 17mm 1.8. At first I even didn't believe they were shot with this lens, but it only proves that in right hands this lens can deliver. Here is his Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/locsmandisz.
     
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  20. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    602
    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Yang
    This answers my need. Thank you.