Best cheap & fast lens?

JLGF1

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but as I've also already said, the 25 suffers from focus shift. It can be really sharp, but you have to put the camera in stopped down mode, and then correct the focus in MF.
M.
As pointed out in this recent comparison video, most people won't bother to "correct" for that.

 

timinsingapore

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Here is a link to a test between the cheap 25mm f1.7 and the sharp but slower to focus and more expensive 20mm f1.7.
Maybe I'm being stupid, but in this comparison, the sharper image is consistently the one where the car is larger in the frame. Surely this must be the 25mm lens rather than the 20mm - but he identifies it throughout as the 20mm. Am I wrong, or has he made a mistake?
 

Paul C

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Unicorns ahoy!

Sadly we all want an affordable wide angle prime M4/3 lens - oh yes, also fast aperture, no visible distortion or vignetting and less than 1 pixel of chromatic aberation would be useful.....and rapid & accurate AF would be helpful too......

Here is the design of Nikon's 14mm F2.8
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...and here's today's price: $1,891.95.

Now you get the problem - achieving the objectives of fast aperture wideangles, with no distortion and less than 1 pixel of chromatic aberation takes a lot of engineering and glass chemistry. Even the 14mm F2.5 lumix needs 50% of its lens elements to be special glass.

So what is amazing is how well the Lumix and Zuiko M4/3 kit zoom lenses perform over the 14-25mm range. To better that takes lots of engineering, chemistry and so costs.

So what are the affordable alternatives?
[1] panorama stitching
[2] get a Micro 4/3 fisheye - which is optically simpler and often needs only 1 fancy-chemistry lens element (as in the Samyang F2.8) and so comes in at the £100/ $125 price point (the 7-artisans F2.8 fisheye for Micro 4/3 was costing this on "Black friday")last week - and then do the optical corrections on your computer rather than try to fix them in-camera.

Now unicorns are popular beasts - so if you do spot one that matches the brief - please be sure to post it on the forum as despite all the logic above......I would love to have one for myself!

Best wishes - Paul C
 

Stanga

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Now unicorns are popular beasts - so if you do spot one that matches the brief - please be sure to post it on the forum as despite all the logic above......I would love to have one for myself!
The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. Have you considered taking a holiday there with you camera gear? Great photo shooting opportunities, and no doubt the locals will be able to point you in the direction of the nearest spot where unicorns are frequently sighted.
 

ac12

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Hi!

I'm looking for a cheap and possibly used lens with a fairly wide aperture, I have a Olympus E-M 10 II

I've found a 11-22mm on ebay for 50$, but it's not optimised for CDAF, so I'm not sure about its AF abilities. I want to use a lens to shoot mostly on trips and that includes (mostly) people and landscapes, so fast AF would be very nice. I've got a 18-180mm and its AF is slow as hell. What lenses would you all recommend to me?

Thanks for any suggestions!
If you want a FAST lens, forget all but the PRO zooms (at f/2.8). And even they are slower than prime lenses (at f/1.8 and faster).

A standard 2 prime lens kit from the film era is the 35 + 85 or 105. The m4/3 equivalent is a 17 + 40 or 50 (from Olympus or Panasonic).
Buy used or refurbished to get the price down.

I don't see a need for fast AF for people and landscape. If you were shooting sports/action, then fast AF makes sense.
 

Paul C

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Lumix 14mm f/2.5. Photos really have a 3D "pop" in good light.
I am trying to see the point of the 14mm F2.5.
The main gain is its tiny size and 55g weight - making it great for "street photography" on a small M4/3 camera such as a Lumix GF or an Olympus Pen. Against that there is no contest. But then my smartphone has a 28mm lens equivalent 16MP camera - and is even more pocketable than a GF or Pen......
A WIN TO THE PRIME

But then - what real advantages remain?


OK you gain 1.0 stops of light gathering over the 14-42 "amateur" kit lens at F3.5 at its widest.
But with no image stabilisation you don't get the ability to handhold in darker environments. With an EVF viewfinder on an MFT camera the 1 stop difference doesn't matter as it would in a DSLR with its impact on viewfinder brightness. DRAW

Distortion:
both the prime and zoom have barrel distortion - corrected in-camera with JPEGS or by DXO on RAW conversion. DRAW

Resolution

Imatest cannot find a single aperture setting that gets edge resolution with the Prime F2.5 at "excellent" - the best is "good" between F2.5-F11. Its the same for the "Amateur" kit lens LUMIX G VARIO 14-42 mm / F3.5-5.6 II - but that just misses "excellent" at F8 by a whisker.
DRAW

What about Depth of Field?
14mm lens on a 2x crop factor focused at 2m
----
@ F2.5 DoF = 1.78 m
@ F3.5 DoF = 3.03 m
----
14mm lens on a 2x crop factor focused at 1m
@ F2.5 DoF = 39cm
@ F3.5 DoF = 57cm
----
so even at 1 metre its an 18cm advantage to the F2.5
Win to the prime - but does 18cm really impact in real life?

Chromatic Aberration?
CA is somewhat high for the 14mm F2.5 lens and there's no aperture setting which will noticeably mitigate the results. So its back to the in-camera JPEG correction of post-processing at home.
DRAW

Cost
Well this thread was labelled "best cheap fast lens" - so this has to be WIN for the Kit Zoom.

My conclusion

The standout gain for MFT was the Electronic Viewfinder. Suddenly small format cameras could have large viewfinders - the advantage to professional cameras with huge pentaprisms and wide aperture lenses disappeared.

The need for fast aperture lenses to give sufficient light for composition and focus was blown away by the ability to "brighten" the view electronically. This meant smaller lighter and cheaper lenses which deliver the real gain for Micro 4/3 - the ability to both afford to buy and carry 1 camera and 3-4 lenses in one small lightweight camera bag and not think of the weight. Suddenly the creativity of a wide range of lenses was truely portable.

The only penalty to Micro 4/3 is the noise that goes with the high pixel density of small format sensors - but when did you last need more than 8MP for your prints I ask?
To print 8x10 inches at 300 dpi resolution
(8 inches x 300 dpi) x (10 inches x 300 dpi)
= 2400 x 3000 pixels goal;
Needs 7.2 megapixels, Aspect ratio 5:4 (1.25:1)

And that is the dilemma for Micro 4/3 lens makers - how do they deliver a quantum leap in image quality or capability over and above the kit zoom lenses: say a combination of the Panasonic or Olympus 14-42mm and 45-150mm "kit zooms".

The only obvious quantum leaps delivered by extra lenses are:
[1] the DoF control gained from using a legacy 50mm F1.4-F1.8 lens
as a 100mm equivalent full frame portrait lens. Here the advantage of AF is limited - since pinpoint focus with such narrow DoF needs manual control anyway. At a 1 metre focus point, a 50mm F1.7 lens on a Micro 4/3 body gives a DoF of only 2cm....beat that!
[2] true Macro lenses
[3] Small size affordable 7-8mm Fisheyes
giving a 16mm "ultrawide" equivalent view on distortion correction for a Micro 4/3 where the compositional benefit of an ultrawide overrides the drop in corner sharpness that any ultrawide will create (all ultrawides, whether rectilinear or fisheye or hybrids need to stretch the corners of the image - its the laws of physicis)
[4] the 400mm reach of a Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm for true wildlife or sports photographers
[5] weather and dust-proofing for working in harsh environments

Finally the three "intangible" reasons for more lenses:
Firstly some old legacy lenses, or indeed modern Chinese "No Name" lenses create quirky distorions or colours that just can't be replicated in Photoshop.
Secondly: sentimentality - we have a bag of old lenses left over from our previous camera systems - and just cannot bear to part with them.
Thirdly: all of us are looking to pick up the wonderful "Next Gear" item that will stimulate our creativity and send us out into the sunshine with the camera bag over our shoulder in search of the next "great image".........go on, admit it, isn't that your main reason to be on the forum today, to find the inspiration for the next great image?

So - Have I missed any dealbreakers here? Compared with the inherent problems for all DSLRs where bigger pentaprisms, faster lenses, brighter image is the mantra - the democracy of the Micro 4/3 system is the hard to beat practical benefits of just 2 kit zoom lenses in your lightweight camera bag.

Best wishes to you all - Paul C
 
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mauve

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I am trying to see the point of the 14mm F2.5.
[...]
But then - what real advantages remain?
'nuff said.
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pigiron

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Oregon
I am trying to see the point of the 14mm F2.5.
The salient point is the quality of the actual photos as opposed to test numbers. This Model A snapshot was taken in "P" mode (it chose f/4.0 @1/320 for both cars) with a bit of minor post process edge cropping just to keep out extraneous subject matter and I couldn't be more pleased with the result as it definitely has fine resolution at depth and the 3D pop I was talking about. Smartphones take flatter pictures and IMHO have a lower quality DOF look as it is nowadays artificially produced. I'm not seeing this terrible chromatic aberration which should be readily evident on the chrome edges either.

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PakkyT

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I bought the Panny 14mm f2.5 specifically for my infrared converted Olympus E-P2 because it was reported to be lens that isn't as prone to the IR "hotspot" you sometimes get with IR shooting. Plus it is tiny so a good one to almost act as a body cap lens for that camera. When I travel and carry the IR E-P2 along with my normal E-M1, the 14mm/2.5 lens allows me to have a lens on the E-P2 without adding much bulk to my travel kit and the field of view is about spot on for a lot of general IR type shooting. And it cost me barely over $100 US second hand from another mu-43 user here in our Buy & Sell forum. So far I have been very pleased with its performance/size/weight/cost for this specific purpose...

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2018.04.29-11.15.39 by Patrick, on Flickr
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2018.04.28-15.31.31 by Patrick, on Flickr
 
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Paul C

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Oct 29, 2017
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Love the book market browsers - they absolutely make the point - it's the lens size and smart AF for streeet photos that sells it !!!!

But for those worried about the low IQ of phone cameras for street photography - do take a few minutes to have a look at the website and smartphone photography videos of the the Cooperative of Photography - COOPH (3/4 of a million subscribers). Those made me rethink !

Now add one of the new Wireless Bluetooth Camera Shutter Remote Controls for Smartphones that are selling for Less than £6 / $8 on Amazon today (some brands work with both anrdoid and Mac IOS, the bestselling brand on Amazon UK sells at £5-79p) and you have yet another wonderful creative tool for the street that's always in your pocket. Hold the phone unobtrusively in one hand at your side and frame the shot, press the remote shutter trigger in the other hand, and - "click"! Another creative tool for the price of a Big-Mac meal.

best wishes
 
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