'Does Lens Quality Really Matter As Much As We Think?'

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by RT_Panther, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. DDBazooka

    DDBazooka Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    No...no it doesn't...

    ...or at least that's what I tell myself because I can't afford expensive glass.
    • Like Like x 5
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    the lens has never mattered.... its all about the picture

    if the picture is compelling most people will ignore any defects in the lens

    • Like Like x 1
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    Yes it does. Always has and always will. No matter how good removing those aberrations gets, you'll get better image quality if they're not there in the first place. Everyone here with a 20, 25, 45 or 75mm prime already knows this.

    And many, many photographers choose specific lenses based on the particular "faults" those lenses have. The lens you use always has an impact on the look of an image.

    • Like Like x 2
  4. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Real Name:
    Kelly Gibbons
    It helps, but timing and composition is what matters most IMO

    typed on my phone, sorry.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Sure it does.

    If I can see an image looks like mush at 33%, I know it's 80%+ printed version will look terrible.
  6. stingx

    stingx Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 10, 2012
    Weird, NJ
    Real Name:
    Hugh Douche
    It's all about the glass, baby. Always.
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    in a digital world 33% is an odd magnification to look at an image....yur computer will have been doing some strange maths to show that on your screen

  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    Real Name:
    I don't know why you'd say that. 33.3% is the default reduction when opening a converted RAW image from my GX1 in Photoshop on my calibrated 2560 x 1440 Apple 27" LED Cinema Display. Nothing odd about it at all, IMO.

    • Like Like x 2
  9. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    Real Name:
    I would really appreciate if someone tells me that it does not, because I have my 45-200 arrived this morning and haven't yet tested it, and honestly I believe optically it's not quite satisfying, but I keep seeing stunning photos made using the lens so I just pulled the trigger
  10. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill (really)
    Good glass is a good thing.

    But even if you only have a so-so, kit zoom, if you know where its sweet spot is, you can still do amazing things.

    After a while you get a feeling for the kind of photos that attract you. And, often, you can recognise that you do much of you shooting with a lens of a certain length. If that's the case, then that's where a little investment will go a long way. (Professionals don't have that "luxury.")
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hahahah ..No as u have an option to shoot without lens .:wink::wink::wink:

    Lens quality does matter and will always will. After sensor lens is the next big thing . Take a mediocre sensor and attach high quality optics - U will get decent results . Now take a high quality sensor and attach a crap lens - u are gone
  12. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2011
    Real Name:
    interesting read and true that a lot of correction can be applied after the picture was taken, also true that picture content CAN sometimes be more important than actual picture quality, but all this is rather simplistic in it's approach.
    Photographers have always wanted better lenses and always will.
    Look at the Olympus range of lenses from standard grade (SG) to HG to SHG.
    I won't even mention Leica glass.
    Lens quality has always and will always matter for most photographic purposes, even though it is easier these days to correct lens issues post processing.
    There is just no way you could transform a standard grade lens to a Super High Grade lens through post processing software or in camera correction, it is just not possible.

    How high a quality lens you use will always depend on what your images are going to be used for and how deep your pockets are.
  13. parka

    parka Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Lens quality?

    Depends on who your audience is.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Sanpaku

    Sanpaku Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    The article correctly notes that you can easily remove uniform barrel/pincushion distortion, vignetting, lateral chromatic aberration, and add contrast in post (especially if you shoot RAW).

    In fact, digital correction is a guiding principle behind the micro 4/3 format, as it allows the lens designers to concentrate their efforts on reducing aberrations that can't easily be fixed in post, like longitudinal chromatic aberration, astigmatism, field curvature, and coma, permiting much smaller, lighter lenses. Most micro 4/3 lenses would make fairly poor film lenses, without the layer of geometric correction the cameras provide.

    Post processing (either in camera or in our digital darkrooms) can't easily fix lens flaws that aren't readily fixed with a geometric transform (barrel/pincushion distortion or lateral chromatic aberation) or luminosity gradient (like vignetting). Most importantly, post processing can't add fine detail if it wasn't recorded by your sensor in the first place.
    • Like Like x 4
  15. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Wait, you bought it, but you haven't used it, and you believe it's "optically not quite satisfying"? :confused:
    • Like Like x 2
  16. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    Would it be safe to say that glass doesn't matter up to a certain point? That point being dependent on the size and use of the picture.

    Is there a point and media, such as print, where you could not tell the difference between a picture produced using an Oly 14-42 on an EPL1 and a picture produced on the OMD using the Pan 12-35?
  17. PENpal

    PENpal Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    I just wish I had a good lens. I had the timing:smile:P1016442.JPG
    • Like Like x 1
  18. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    For me, it's the least important element in an exposure but also the most costly. That said.. there really is no subsitute for quality high end glass :smile:

    It's Just one piece of the puzzle. And of all the pieces, probably the least important but that isn't to say it isn't important.

    Great glass won't make you a better photographer understanding composition, lighting, the ISO/Speed/Aperature triangle.

    Great glass won't help you creatively get superb images.

    However, when you do nail a perfect picture... great glass can make sure you resolve as much as possible and get as clean an image as possible. Post-processing can only do so much. For a truly nice image.. you need as clean an image to start with. I think his article really exaggerated what PP can do and took to simple a view of what software can do to correct for lower end glass. We are very fortunate that in m43s, there really isn't any "bad" lens per say. Mainly all of them are good with a lot of really expectional glass having come along as of late.

    Fast, glass can also help you prevent blur in some images by keeping your shutter as fast as possible.

    That said, I've seen amazing images from an iPhone tweeny weeny sensor. I've seen amazing images small sensor P&S with really average, slow, subpar glass.

    For me.. 1st and foremost is understanding:

    1. Shooting with as low an ISO as possible; even compromising a bit on aperature or shutter speed to get an exposure as low an ISO as possible.

    2. Really understanding the Sunny16 rule since most cameras Auto mode is just ok and sometimes to biases to increasing ISO vs. changing aperature or shutter speed.

    3. Quality of the Sensor in the camera. You can recover a bad, low DR, noisy sensor image.

    4. Speed of the single AF. No point in having a great sensor (Sigm DP1/2 - not the Merrill variants) if you're always missing what your trying to capture.

    5. Post-processing Skills.

    6. Then the quality of the glass in front of the sensor.
  19. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    As for a print.. obviously no. However.. you're ability to even get an exposure where you would want to print it.. Yes due to the faster aperature of the 12-35 could result in:

    Using a faster shutter speed thereby getting an in-focus image where as with the kit it could have been OOF if poor lighting etc.


    Using a lower ISO so lower Noise and more color Dynamic range