Lenses for Those Who DO Want Shallow DOF

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tjdean01, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I'm not here to say you should or shouldn't want shallow DOF. But for those of us who do, and who aren't going to buy a FF camera, let's look at our lens options. I can name them, but as I don't have many of them, I can't really say whether or not the subject will be sharp wide open. Feel free to add your own even if they're adapted lenses because for me, there really is no perfect option, at least not yet :frown:

    Olympus 1.8s - The 17 ($450) and especially 45 and 75 ($800) are terrific wide open (the longer ones usually show shallower DOF because they're usually closer to the subject). These two will also beat many, many "nifty fifties" from the past wide open, even, IMHO, the old f1.4s because those are poor wide open. My Konica 57/1.4 is a great lens, but not good enough IMO to use wide open. If you're just starting, I recommend going for the 45 because a) it's longer and cheaper than 20/1.7.

    Panasonic 25/1.4 and 42/1.2 - The 25/1.4 ($500) is a half stop better than the numerous f1.8s, the 42/1.2 ($900?) is a half stop better than 1.4, and the f0.95s are another half stop better than the f1.2. Where do we stop? Do we get a 20/1.7 (or new 15/1.7) for $350, a 25/1.4 for $500, the 42/1.2 for appx $800, or the Voitlander for $1000?

    Voigtlander 17, 25, 42mm, all f0.95 (appx 500g, and US$1000) - these are good manual focus lenses. I assume they're better in terms of sharpness and non-ghosting at 0.95 than many adapted lenses are at f1.4. (Note: Mitakon and SLR Magic make 25 and 35mm f0.95s. $800 and not mentioned much).

    Adapted lenses - There are some good ones wide open, I'm sure. I don't really have a list with prices, however. Not many of us would be willing to pay much more than $1000 for a used, adapted lens.

    Speed Booster/Lens Turbo ($400/$150) - Adds one stop to an adapted lens. VERY good strategy! We find the best lenses that are sharp at f1.8 and make them into 1.2s. It's saddening they haven't made an OM, Konica, or Pentax K version yet. The Lens Turbo is cheaper so if they make one for any of these mounts I'll probably buy it.

    Sakar Kodak 25/0.95 and 50/1.1 - These are what I'm praying come out for around $500. Manual but that's okay.

    Anyway, those are our options as far as I know. My friend has a D700 and of jealous of the shallow DOF of his 85/1.4 @ f1.4. I'd need an f0.7 lens for that, but f0.95 will be close enough :)
  2. STR

    STR Mu-43 Veteran

    May 16, 2013
    35-100 f/2.8. Not a particularly wide aperture, but given the focal length you can get better separation than all but a few of the native lenses. Also, it's a stupidly sharp lens, including wide open. It's the sharpest of the zooms, and sharper than most of the primes.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    SLR Magic 12mm T1.6 (f/1.4). If the focus distance is short DOF can be very shallow. Like the f/0.95 Voigtlanders focusing close is an option.
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    there are many ways to get shallow DOF... some involve expensive fast lenses... some just involve some thought

    all of these were shot on 4/3 sensors... most are native lenses, some are legacy from Nikon and Leica


    Across a crowded room by kevinparis, on Flickr

    PA020036 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Oliver Runs by kevinparis, on Flickr

    the roadie by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Eat on the Go by kevinparis, on Flickr


    P7050075 by kevinparis, on Flickr


    PC060096 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    50mm macro/f2.0

    PC010082 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    [email protected]/f 2.8

    PC030066 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    work with what you have...

    • Like Like x 2
  5. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Thanks for sharing those Kevin, wish I could do that!

    From a curmudgeonly Scotsman :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    If the Pana 42/1.2 is only $800, I will buy 2! Or maybe another body for it to live on full time...

    In practice I find the PDAF systems of DSLRs too inaccurate to nail focus consistently with lenses like 85/1.4, so even though I own an A900 with a Sigma 85/1.4, I usually shoot it at 2-2.8 to make sure I actually get the shot in focus. This probably varies a bit depending on camera though, I haven't used the D700 or the Nikkor 85/1.4. I do shoot it a bit at F1.4-2 just for fun, and then the DOF difference between the two formats is really clear.
  7. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I actually don't take very many shots at f/1.4, but I did find a few examples.

    E-PL1 with Zuiko OM 50mm at f/1.4, 1/2000 sec, ISO 100

    E-PL1 with Zuiko OM 50mm at f/1.4, 1/320 sec, ISO 200

    E-PL1 with Zuiko OM 50mm at f/1.4, 1/125 sec, ISO 200
    • Like Like x 2
  8. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    Nice to see a shot with a Leica M f/1.4, a lens I used to own but let go when I sold half my Leica M kit several years ago, I kept the 90mm f/2 instead. Lately I've been wondering if keeping the 75 f/1.4 would have been better, it's such a different lens, but the 90 does offer more reach.

    Nice work as always.

    • Like Like x 1
  9. CPWarner

    CPWarner Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2010
    Well, the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 was priced at $1699. So is it just one? I think I would be looking at the Voigtlander for that focal length if I wanted one. No autofocus, but I use that less and less these days.
  10. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    I'm curious to hear how the speedboosted lenses are wide open. It was my understanding that native m43 lenses tend to be sharper wider open that almost all other lenses? Yeah, Nocticron is off the table for me..
  11. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    This was with the Oly 40-150mm that I paid $100 for and its shot 132mm at f5.6. What many people fail to understand is that DOF control is affected by more than just aperture. Focal length, distance from camera to subject and distance from subject to background play a much greater role than people realize.

    P7201208 by ericarthur, on Flickr

    Same lens shot at 62mm and f7.1

    P4271110 by ericarthur, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 2
  12. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    Right. It doesn't take expensive gear or fast primes to have nice separation. Faster lenses just make it easier in a wider range of circumstances.

    Btw, VERY nice processing on those two photos.
  13. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Yep, the 35-100 can do a decent job of separation with the right circumstances since it's fairly fast and fairly long:

    35-100mm at 100mm and f/2.8:

    Jesus Loves Jersey by jloden, on Flickr

    Also true, I have a few portraits with the 14-140mm and even the 100-300mm, with enough distance from subject to background the long focal length will do the job:

    14-140mm at 95mm and f/5.8:

    Riverside Portrait by jloden, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 1
  15. ornithology

    ornithology Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I personally find that the 20mm 1.7 is enough for me. For now....until...noo..no more lens. No money.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.