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Faster m4/3s Lenses or Full Frame?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by tjdean01, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    CURRENT OPTIONS - If you see my gear in my signature, you'll notice my best option for creamy bokeh is the PM2 with 135/2.8, but it's too long for most purposes and the 50/1.7 really shouldn't be shot wide open. Plus my max tolerance is ISO6400

    APS/MEDIUM FORMAT - Medium format is too big and expensive for me. Those Sony NEX cameras are small and nice and if I had to do it all over I might, but that APS sensor doesn't give that much more blur to warrant an "upgrade" (I prefer m4/3s in every other instance).

    NEW M4/3S LENSES - I could buy a 75/1.8, but it's a bit long for many instances so I'd need a shorter companion with as much bokeh: the 42/0.95. But the problem is that shooting it wide open compromises image quality as would the ND filter I would often be using in sunlight. These two lenses are nice, but their "downfalls" make me question spending $1600 for more background blur.

    FULL FRAME - Next is full frame. I loaded up my old 35mm film camera and shot it with the 50/1.7 and 135/3.2. I liked the results so I'm considering Sony full frame mirrorless. Although more boxy with a dumb orange ring around the lens, it's smaller than an EM-1!. I could get a body for around $1600 and with some cheap adapters I could use the same lenses. The A7s I can shoot ISO6400 all day long so doesn't need IBIS.

    FULL FRAME LENSES - I already have a smallish "kit" - Vivitar 28/2, Pentax 50/1.7, Konica 135/3.2. If I bought a lens it would be an 85/1.8 or so for $300 and that would probably be on the Sony most of the time. I'm planning to buy a Vivitar 70-210mm 2.8/4 anyway and that would probably be a good match here too. Plus, based on how good these lenses are on m4/3s and how crappy they are on my Pentax Q, except for the corners, which I'm planning to have blurry anyway, I'm assuming these would all be even better on full-frame.

    WHAT TO DO WITH M4/3S GEAR? - I'd keep the PM2 because it's just so good and versatile. Look at the fisheye. Or the size of a PM2 with the 14, 20, or 12-32. I really wouldn't need to buy any other lenses as the adapted ones would work on both cameras. And I could probably sell off a few things I really don't need anyway.

    I wish Sony wasn't the only one making FF mirrorless. I wish it didn't have the viewfinder hump so it would be smaller. I wish the Sony RX1 either had interchangeable lenses or an 85mm f2.

    Either way, what do you guys think about buying a FF camera instead of better m4/3s lenses?
  2. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    What focal length do you like to shoot at ? What is your favourite shooting style ? What is your budget ?

    Have you tried the Pana 20 f1.7 or Oly 25 1.8 ?
    The fast prime market is really filling out in m43-land - lots of choice - cheap & cheerful + premium options.

    Ultimately, get what suits you. Whenever I see these threads I can't help but recommending the non-Micro Four Thirds options - use it, if you like it, keep it; if you don't, sell it and move on. At least it will be based upon your personal experience and shooting style - which is all that really matters.
  3. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I think Sony a7 will be perfect for you.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  4. zap

    zap Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2012
    go sony and tell us all about it...
  5. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    If you are content with both manual focus (which it sounds like, based on the amount of legacy glass you have) and the m4/3 setup, you may want to look into somewhat faster legacy glass. I would look into either a 50 or 58 1.4 (which both can be had for about $50-75, or a 1.2 (which can be 300-500). There are also several 85's which can be found for under the $300 mark. I too find that even my 58mm gives me a longer distance than I would ideally have. That is one reason I looked into the Fuji, as the 58 I have turns into roughly an 85 equivalent, and I love my 45mm on my G3.

    I guess what I am saying is that you may want to look into faster legacy glass since that may both satisfy your "amount of blur needed" and still offer an option if you do decide to go with a APS or 35mm sensor. That way you can test something out without having to change systems entirely. If Konica or Pentax don't offer lenses in that speed (or price, I am basing the above of MD pricing), maybe look into a different mount?
  6. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Every camera and format is a compromise.

    I love my Canon 5D Mk.II and L lenses. I don't enjoy carrying them around, especially on a daily basis.

    I love m43 for it's small size and weight. Great image quality but high ISO and DoF is compromised versus full frame.

    I don't believe there is one system that is perfect for every need an occasion.

    As for the Sony A7, it's promise of a small and lightweight full frame system is spoiled by it's limited lens choice and more importantly the camera's ergonomics and slow auto focus.

    I think the one to watch in the future is Fuji if they decide to go full frame.

    Sent from my SHV-E300S using Tapatalk
  7. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
  8. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    If you are ok with manual focusing, why not take a look at the native primes from Voigtlander.
    Those are some lovely lenses too.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Why not the 42/1.2? From all accounts its IQ wide open is superb.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Which kind of pictures do you need this blur for? I recently did a (lazy) comparison of the blur with a FF and a m43 with different lenses and I found out that the difference is not so great as I expected in many situation.
    You can get a quick summary with this tool:


    where different sensors and lenses are used to take a picture with the same exact framing, changing the position of the photographer.
    Of course what matters most is the distance from the subject that in this case directly relates to the size of the subject (above the chart, half hidden, there are options to select the size of the subject you want to fill the frame with). And the distance of the background.

    With this I mean that you can get super-extra-blur only in a few specific cases (portraits, macro, etc.) so if that is what you are after I think the sensor is not the main factor. Of course an 85/1.4 on FF is going to blur A LOT more but do you plan to shoot with nothing but that lens wide open?

    In other words I think that when you have the ideal conditions for blur (close distance, far background) the sensor is not that relevant, and again when you do not have those then the sensor size cannot do much. Yes, there is difference, and there are borderline situations where you can notice it, but maybe not enough to be the main buying criteria, unless you do a very specific kind of pictures.
  11. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I'm laughing at the reduction of quality shooting wide open or using ND filters in the same post with the idea to use antique glass.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Reesebass

    Reesebass Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    Faster legacy glass (85mm 1.4, 135mm F2 etc) + speedbooster/focal reducer or Sony A7. These are all tele even with the speedbooster, for something wider i can recommend Canon FD 24mm 1.4L + speedbooster, that would make a 17mm F1.
  13. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    I shoot with the Nocticron - my favourite lens on any system right now - one of the reasons for this is that it is optically superb wide open. Full of contrast, very sharp across the frame, close focus capability etc... and for your needs it would allow you to blur the crap out of the background :) 
    There is a lot to like.

    Having said that I would give the Sony a good consideration if only for the Sony Zeiss 55 which is a FANTASTIC lens. I'm not convinced on the 35mm (but open to convincing ;)  ) or the 24-70 F4 zoom. The only problem is that if you are into your zooms, you may not actually be gaining a whole lot right now with the available native zoom for the Sony in terms of shallow DOF. In fact the close focus ability , sharper optics of the 12-40 Oly may actually give you better results.

    To be honest; in my findings as somebody who shoots both formats I only really notice the additional DOF when shooting wide e.g. 12mm, 17mm, however voigtlander is your friend here if you want shallow DOF and shoot wide here. If I want shallow DOF on m43 I just modify my technique relative to how I would shoot small format and just get on with it! If in doubt, I'd prefer to have slightly more DOF as it is easier to blur the crap out of stuff in post than it is to put depth back into a shot that has had the background green screened ;) 

    Along those lines, you can pick up Bokeh 2 and get great results with that too and just do your blurring the crap stuff in post if that is your bag :) 

    For MY needs right now, I feel that m43 as a system offers the best balance in terms of size, weight, optical choice, optical quality, useful DOF at given exposure, focus speed, weather sealing, IBIS etc... of most systems. I'd consider the A7 as a secondary system to my EM1 and for sure it is a great camera.

    If you are considering getting out of m43 completely and jumping to FF, then perhaps I would steer you more towards a more traditional DSLR or DSLT system such as the A99 instead of the A7/A7s/A7r; yes it is much bigger, but you would have a wealth of native lenses that all benefit from Sonys sensor stabilization technology, EVF, flippy-out-rear-lcd, as well as much quicker focus and quieter shutter sound etc...

    Unfortunately nothing is black and white 'better' than the other in the camera world. It is all about trade-offs and when you consider all the different trade-offs you may end up coming back to m43 again...
    Just some food for thought.

    • Like Like x 2
  14. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Hi. I appreciate the logical suggestions. The problem is that I haven't found a single legacy lens except the 28/2 that I like wide open. The Pentax Takumar 50/1.4 and Konica Hexanon 57/1.4 really needed to be stopped down; so much so that I sold both of them and kept their smaller, cheaper 50/1.7 brethren. I thought about that Minolta 58/1.2 or the Canon FD 55/1.2 but looking at samples wide open I ruled them out and I wouldn't shoot them any wider than f1.7. Plus, for the price of those I could put money towards the 42/0.95 or a Sony A7.

    Since you've compared the two, instead of laughing at someone who hasn't been fortunate to try this great f0.95 lens, why don't you help out and tell us what you think about the Voitlander wide-open with ND filter vs an antique 85mm f1.8 shot at around f2.2? It would a nice thing to do and be appreciated.

    Realistically, for blur, if I had a FF, I'd probably buy a $300 85/1.8, and shoot it at f2. This would equal the $900 Voigtlander 42/0.95 wide open. Then, I'd shoot the 50/1.7 at f2.8 on FF. I'd need to buy the Panny $400 25/1.4 to come close to this. And on the FF I'd shoot the 135mm lenses at around f4, which would be outperformed by the $800 75/1.8.

    So, I have three options:

    1) Sony a7 ($1200 used) + adapters ($30), 85/1.8 ($300), 50/1.7 ($0), 28/2 ($0) = $1500 (but the hassle of having 2 cameras)
    2) PM2 ($0) + 42/0.95 ($800) + 25/1.4 ($400) + 75/1.8 ($800) = $2000
    3) Speedbooster ($400) + 85/1.8 ($300) + 50/1.7 ($0) + 28/2 ($0) = $700 (but the huge hassle involved trading my lenses to Nikon, OM, or MD mount)

    Ugh, I don't know why I want a blurry background so much but I just love the look! Ask me two years ago I would have said that a smaller sensor is better because everything is in focus. Now I want the opposite. Ugh! :redface:
  15. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    Sorry to say this, but comparing auto focus m4/3 to manual focus won't cut the mustard. Legacy glass is great when you already own them, but I wouldn't invest so much in that. Shooting legacy is really fun but really a hassle on the field with slow manual focusing, switching lenses, manual aperture etc...

    No 50mm f1.4 is going to be super sharp, apart from the leica M summilux asph... some like the japanese rollei planar 5cm f1.4 but it's not modern in any way.

    The summilux mu43 on the contrary is super sharp!

    Get the summilux, the nocticron and be done with it!
  16. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Comparing the these lenses with this tool:


    I can see not much difference, except for the shortest ones. To have super-blur (not just normal blur) you need a long lens. Not because this actually blurs more, but because the blurring is magnified as well as the subject.
    And also note the scale on the axis: for the best lens, at 50 meters, you have a 4.5% while the 135 stops at 3.5%: not a huge difference. I think the samples in this article correspond to the values in the chart:

  17. RRRoger

    RRRoger Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2014
    Monterey Bay
    Have you tried the MetaBones SpeedBooster for a more FullFrame look.
    It lets in more light for better low light work as well.
  18. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    Panaleica 25mm F1.4, Oly 45mm F1.8 for starters. If you can't get decent results with those....well.....I don't know what to tell you then.
  19. MiguelATF

    MiguelATF Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 9, 2012
    Somewhere in Southern Oregon
    Miguel Tejada-Flores
    Admittedly this is a late answer, but if price were not an issue, I would go for the Noctiron lens - which is quite fabulous. Yeah, it costs 3 times as much as the slightly slower and lighter Olympus 45mm - but it's such a great lens, it would be worth it.

    And, at the risk of further muddying the waters, though the PM2 is a wonderful and occasionally great camera - the Noctiron almost begs to be paired with the Lumix GX7, a camera it seems to have been made for. So if I were in your shoes, I would get that as well.

    Hope this helps.....though ultimately a choice of camera or lens is a very personal one that no one can make for you as well as you can for yourself.


  20. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Yeah, the 45/1.8 seems like the thing to try on the E-PM2. Unless you are in a blurriest background contest against the really fast and expensive options it does a pretty nice job.
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