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Focal Length Confusion

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tkao2025, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. tkao2025

    tkao2025 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Oct 26, 2014
    I currently own the 17 1.8, 45 1.8, and the 25mm 0.95 lens from Voigtlander. Out of all these focal lengths, I seem to use the 17 most. I generally take pictures of family and vacations or events. I'm so confused on what lens to purchase next. I'd like to get rid of the 45mm, since I rarely use it (it's too long). The 25mm I love for the Aperture, but feel like it's a little long sometimes. I was thinking of either a 12-40mm Pro or the 17.5mm Voigtlander. The 12-40 would be very dynamic focal length wise, but I love the 0.95 aperture of the voigtlander. Anyone have experience photographing with the 12-40 in low light? I think probably that's what's getting me hung up the most.
     
  2. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    389
    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    The 12-40 is a cracking lens and I shoot theatre with it ..... you can safely use it wide open .... I'm processing some photos now so I'll flick you a link shortly to a few .
     
  3. tkao2025

    tkao2025 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Oct 26, 2014
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You mention that you already have a 17mm f1.8. You prefer the f0.95 aperture on the 25mm, and you don't need 45mm f1.8. So what are you hoping the zoom will accomplish? The 12-40 is f2.8 that is a lot less light than your primes let in. You already said you don't use the 40mm range, and barely even like 25mm. So you are switching to a zoom that is MUCH slower aperture and has a zoom range you won't make use of? Why are you even thinking about the zoom?

    If you are cool with the manual focus of the 25mm and prefer the f0.95 aperture, but are more fond of 17mm focal length. Well I think you know which lens fits that description.
     
  5. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    The 12-40 in low light works like a 2.8 lens. It is three stops slower then the Nokton and one and a half compared to the 17/1.8.

    How you are going to compensate for these stops it is up to you: if you are shoot moving targets you probably will want to rise the ISO, but one or two stops could be enough to reach a reasonable shutter speed.
    You could check the ISO of the pictures you took in the darkest conditions to see if it would be reasonable to add two or three stops to that number.

    Obviously the depth of field will be a lot different when both are used wide open.
     
  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    everybody's idea of 'low light' is a little different... for example a concert may have a performer lit by a spotlight , surrounded by black. If you use normal metering, the camera will try and bring the darkness up and give you a longer exposure or higher iso, whereas if you use spot metering and meter on the subject as opposed to the scene you will get a very differnt exposure.

    A skill to develop is learning to meter from where the light is on the subject, use spot metering, or take a meter reading from the back of your hand, and work in manual. If there is no or very low light then no matter what lens you throw at the problem wont help, but if there is light on a subject, sometimes there is more than you think

    This was shot at f/2.2 and actually not with spot metering

    18049191705_be23dbd81a_b.jpg P5230182 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    this was at 2.8, using spot metering

    14408417738_72e1366b93_b.jpg P5190319 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    I would suggest you maybe try setting your lenses to 2.8 and try some more careful metering

    cheers

    K
     
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  7. tkao2025

    tkao2025 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Oct 26, 2014
    My thoughts on 12-40 is because with this lens, it would essentially cover most if not all of the focal lengths I shoot. My only concern is low light conditions. Usually these conditions are at parties or shooting kids and family at night time inside the house. The 25mm is great for low light, but sometimes manual focus could be a pain. Would love to see an auto lens that has a 0.95 aperture, but am sure that would cost a lot of money....
     
  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    The PanaLeica 42.5 is almost there with 1.2 aperture but the focal lenght is a lot different from what you are looking for. The price is similar to Noktons. Then there is the Pana 25/1.4, just one stop slower then the 0.95.

    The 12-40 in low light works fine, AF is fast and does not hunt. For shooting inside a normally lit house 2.8 is fine. Do you plan to sell the other lenses? What about a 12-40 and a 17/0.95?

    There are a few rumors that Oly could release a few 1.0 primes, these should have AF, but IF this is true it should take a couple of years to get one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I understand that clinical metrics aren't the whole story. I have the 12-40 Pro and the few times I used it indoors was disappointed in low-light performance. Wasn't terrible, but I was expecting better.

    I checked the t-stop number at dxomark and the o12-40 pro scored 3.2. That seemed like poorer transmission than expected from quality glass. The O12mm f2, for instance, had t-stop of 2.2. That's much more efficient - a 10% loss vs almost 20% for the 12-40. There are primes that lose even more...the P42.5 Noctilux is f1.2, but rates t-stop 1.6. That's surprising too.

    Anyway, I love the 12-40, but I did decide to buy a couple of faster primes for indoor events and streets at night. P24,1.4 is on its way. Will see if there is a noticeable difference in use, but I'll be surprised if not.

    Fwiw, the p12-35 rates f3 t-stop. That's a big difference from the Oly...fwiw
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  10. tkao2025

    tkao2025 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Oct 26, 2014
    Yes this would be the dream combo, but to buy both lenses, even used would cost probably around $1,400. I would probably sell my 45mm and possibly the 17 1.8, but this was a kit lens.
     
  11. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Jan 7, 2014
    I shoot professionally with the 12-40 but I find that I need to boost the ISO too high in low light which creates noisier images. The Voigtlanders 17.5/0.95 is excellent in low light as you would expect but it is manual focus only and is about as heavy or heavier than the 12-40. If you're finding yourself shooting in low light most of the time, you need F/1.8 or faster and that's my bottom line. If you don't mind noisier images, the 12-40 does just fine. The versatility of the 12-40 is excellent but you will sacrifice more than 1 stop of light compared to 1.8 lenses. It's really a preferential call since noisy to some people is clean to others. I really like the 45/1.8 for portrait work but I haven't used it much lately since I have the 75/1.8 and the 42.5/1.2 in my bag.
     
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I agree with whtrbt7 about the noisy low light performance of the 12-40. I reach for my primes in low light situations. I limit my use for the 12-40 for travel or hiking in daylight situations. How do you like using the O17 f/1.8?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  13. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Jan 7, 2014
    The O17/1.8 is actually pretty good overall. When comparing it to the Canon 35/1.4, it's about the same. Not the sharpest lens but that's not what the lens is about. It's about a balance of things for general shooting even in low light. The subject separation is also better than on the P15/1.7. It's a good small lens. The Voigtlander however is like shooting a lower quality Leica Summicron. It is better than the O17/1.8 for low light but that's already expected. The Voigtlander is also sharper. It's tough to beat the O17/1.8 for size and weight though.
     
  14. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I have both the O17 and V17.5. I was interested if the OP could comment on whether low light, AF, or the zoom range is the priority.
     
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    It would be very useful of the OP could actually post a pic, especially a failed pic, of what they regarded as a low light situation that they are trying to capture.

    At this point we have no idea what the actual problem is... is it flat dull light...or next to no light.. is it bad technique, or is it unrealistic expectations.

    so all the bull about t-stops and noisy lenses isn't getting to the root of the problem as presented by the OP

    c'mon guys... we are better than this !!!

    help solve the problem of a noobie

    K
     
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  16. tkao2025

    tkao2025 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Oct 26, 2014
    Based on choice, I wanted to know if there was 1 lens that I could purchase that would be good for street, family, and low light photography. I have the 17 1.8 and it's fantastic general all around lens that I use most often. What got me thinking of a zoom lens like the 12-40 was recently at my daughter's recital, knowing it was going to be a dark room, I brought the 17 and the 45. One was too short and the other too long so this was my dilemma. The 25 might have been good, but that's bringing 3 lenses. That's why I wanted to see if there was a lens that has a flexible focal length, and yet still good in darker situations. My obsession with the 17.5 is because the 25 I have is so good (except for the length for me).

    Sorry for the noobie question, maybe there's no 1 right answer and there's no perfect solution to this, but I do appreciate all the comments and all of you sharing your experience, which may help me make a decision.
     
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  17. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I would take the O17 and O25 for your purposes and add the V17.5 at some point. I love the Voigtlanders but they are as big as the 12-40 and slightly heavier. AF and size matter most for general use. I love the O45 but as you said, it is a little long, at least for me.

    FWIW - I love my mix of Olympus and Voigtlander primes, both have their strengths.

    I respect Kevin Paris' opinion and his posts are trying to help you. I suggest that you post a couple of pictures as Kevin suggested. The reality is that the very fine lenses that you do own should serve you well. I can't see what the 12-40 would add except for flexibility.
     
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  18. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
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  19. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    There is one lens that sits happily between the 17 and the 25 and is the Panasonic 20/1.7 a very good small lens(*). Something that you can keep in the shirt pocket. Usually does not make too much sense to have and bring around a 17 a 20 and a 25: they are too similar. I'm just putting all the relevant options on the table also because you talked about "space limit".

    If a lens is too wide and you can not get closer the solution is to crop the picture. With 16MP you can crop a lot with no big problems. It's not an ugly trick, there are situations where there are just no alternatives.
    You can also use the digital tele-converter of the camera that immediately digitally "doubles" the focal length: yes, the image quality will suffer but not that much, try and see if it is good enough for you. For web-sharing there are no problems.
    If the lens is too long you just have to invent a different picture: only one or two persons instead of a group shot or again crop, to get even more close, to get some kind of portrait.

    Can you post the exposure information of a couple of the theatre pictures (aperture, shutter speed and ISO)? If you are not too comfortable with the "exposure triangle" or the idea of "stop" make a quick search on youtube or google for a refresh. This should allow you to make an "ideal" comparison of your lens with a 2.8 lens.

    BTW which camera body are you using? Does not make much difference in this discussion, just to have the complete picture.

    (*) On Oly bodies can have a few AF problems in low light...