Manual wide prime for shooting from bus or train

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by zzffnn, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. zzffnn

    zzffnn Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Nov 19, 2017
    Texas
    Please kindly advise me:

    I will be shooting landscape photos, from a moving bus or train. If I use a manual wide prime lens of around 12mm at around F/2.0, would I have most of the sceneries in focus and relatively sharp?

    Here is what I have tried:
    I went to Skagway/Alaska this summer and shoot landscape photos with an Olympus kit auto zoom 14-42mm at its widest F/3.5, from bus and train. In A mode, most photos were at iso 200 and got enough shutter speed to freeze movement. Almost all sceneries in sight were in focus. (Only some images came out nice, but) Image qualify is good enough for my casual enjoyment, though I did not pixel peep (like what I do with my macro/micro images).

    So I wonder, when I upgrade to a wide angle prime, do I need auto focus? If 12mm F/2.0 on m4/3 can record most sceneries in focus like 14mm F/3.5 did, that means that focal length+F/stop combo has enough imaging depth, such that auto focus is not critical, correct?

    If so, I may just save money by getting a manual wide prime, instead of buying the Olympus 12mm F/2.0 (which is around $500 new).

    Or does different sceneries have different depth requirements? This future lens will be used primarily on moving vehicles for sure, if that matters. When not moving, I can use in-camera focus bracketing of Oly E-M10 II, so imaging depth does not matter.

    If manual wide prime is good enough for my landscape application, please kindly recommend some of fast prime lenses wider than 14mm. Just no fish eye lens please.

    I currently only have Canon FD to m4/3 adapter, but don't mind getting other adapters. Budget is less than $200, preferably, unless nothing decent is available at that budget. Some minor CA and field curvature can be tolerated, though nothing too heavy please. As a reference, I can easily see CA in images produced by my Canon FD 200mm F/2.8 on m4/3 at high contrast edges, which is about the amount I can tolerate.

    Please kindly comment or correct me. Thank you very much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  2. fader

    fader Mu-43 Top Veteran

    530
    Aug 20, 2016
    Brest, France
    Isaac
    I do this a lot at 45mm 1.8

    The problem going wide is that half the image will be motion blurred. I tend to shoot iso 800 and keep the shutter at 1/1000 or faster. A medium telephoto is a better choice to get some reach. Ymmv

    If you don't mind a bigger lens and MF, seek out an Olympus 14-54mm f2.8 zoom in the older 4/3 mount. You'll need an m43 adapter, and an add-on grip to your E-M10 wouldn't hurt. AF still works, just more slowly than native m43 glass. This lens is regarded to be about the same IQ as the much more expensive 12-40 at f4 and higher, and is still pretty sharp at 2.8.

    There are tons of wonderful legacy 50-55mm manual lenses. the Minolta, Pentax, and Canon are good and can be had for anything from $5 - $75. Finding legacy film lenses less than 24 mm is tough, as the ultra-wide angle craze is a relatively modern development. 24-28mm is about as wide as I'd want if moving. when the bus stops, change lenses!

    A lot of times I felt like 75mm or higher would be nice to zoom in on subjects in the distance. an m/43 40-150 f4-5.6 is only about $100 and very small.

    here's one of my favorite shots taken from the car, moving around 45mph. Happy hunting.

    watchful_tower.
    f4.5, 1/1000s, ISO 800
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  3. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I think you’re probably fine with a manual focus lens. Shooting through a window can cause issues if it is dirty or scratched, or if there is glare. A circular polarizer will help with the glare. The rest, you will just have to shoot through, and if it’s bad, it could confuse the AF. MF might serve better in those circumstances. You may need to adjust focus some, but the wider you go, the less of an issue this is.

    I don’t have any low budget, wide primes to recommend, however.
     
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  4. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    This is the type of situation I use the Olympus body Cap lens
     
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  5. zzffnn

    zzffnn Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Nov 19, 2017
    Texas
    Yes, glare and dirty windows ruined some images from our previous trip. I have learned to point lens as close as possible to window, to reduce reflections. I did use some polarizers.

    Wide angle at 14mm F/3.5 did not seem to produce motion blur, though our tour bus/train was probably quite slow. Definitely less than 60 miles per hour, many even less than 40 mph. I cannot remember exactly, maybe I used shutter priority mode and higher iso, but it was at less than 3200 (or even less than iso 800) and shutter less than 1/1000.

    I do already have a Canon FD 50mm F/1.4 adapted to m4/3, but framing landscape with it require more care. And too much background blur at F/2.8 or less. Thus I want wider than 14mm. Already have the two kit zoom 40-150 and 14-42 as well and a Sigma 30mm F/2.8.

    I did have a (manual native) Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 m4/3 lens before, but regrettably sold it due to lack of use. But now I have a use for it :-(
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  6. fader

    fader Mu-43 Top Veteran

    530
    Aug 20, 2016
    Brest, France
    Isaac
    I gotcha. Definitely, bigger apertures are less of an issue at wider angles. I was recalling my attempts to shoot from Amtrak's Berkeley -> Portland line, and on TGV here in France (150-200 mph!). Scooting past Mt. Shasta with no zoom was a bummer. I just had my little LX7 compact (24-90mm equiv.) On The TGV I mostly gave up - too fast, and the landscape is pretty boring between here and Paris, anyway!

    There will always be a little bit of blur in the foreground, even at faster shutters. The problem on digital is that this blur looks like a big drop in resolution, not a nice smear like on film. On a slower moving bus for sure you can get away with wider. At 45mm I rarely drop below f5.6, and often try to stay between there and f9, adjusting ISO up to 3200 if need be.

    The older 14-54 is better than the 14-42 in every way, including being a great field lens as it's weather sealed. It's on my short-list to acquire. The older Olympus 12-60 SWD is also a great lens but goes for more money, and is bigger.

    I have a little bit of Minolta and Canon glass back in the states, but haven't sent for it. Since I don't' have a valid driver's license I'm always riding passenger and shooting during our excursions. If the car's moving, I go ISO 800 at least at 1/1000, 1/1250, and 1/1600 and shoot in shutter priority. Less than 1/1250 at 60mph results in heavy foreground blur, even at the short telephoto range w/ the 45.
     
  7. zzffnn

    zzffnn Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Nov 19, 2017
    Texas
    The Oly body cap lens tops at 15mm F/8, which may be too slow and not wide enougb for my purpose (already have kit zoom 14-42 F/3.5-5.6).

    Oly offers a wide converter WCON-P01 for $99. Will that make F/stop faster (or provide not change)? If budget is not strict, I am guessing Rokinon 12mm F/2.0 may provide better imaging than wide converter + Oly kit zoom 12-42?

    fader is a much more serious photographer than me. On fast cars with normal lens on (the small sensor of) m4/3, I didn't think about trying. I know some pros won't use wide lens to include everything (rather they use lens to exclude), but I am just a casual shooter :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  8. fader

    fader Mu-43 Top Veteran

    530
    Aug 20, 2016
    Brest, France
    Isaac
    I'm a snap shooter who dabbled with some paid work in film, as a healthy percentage of amateurs so often do. How serious I am is up for very short debate :p I figured there was no reason not to snap from the car. Shutter goes to 1/4000 and ISO good to 1600, so I pushed it to see what could happen. To my surprise, lots. probably 20% of what I've uploaded to the site is shot while moving.

    I think a converter on the kit lens will leave you disappointed. If you really want to get to 12mm, the Panasonic 12-60 f3,5 kit lens would be a solid upgrade over your 14-42. There's also one for sale on the site here right now for < $300. just hit the buy & sell link. I think the wide primes are a tough sell, personally, given how good the zooms are. a 12-40 pro is just as good as the 12mm prime at roughly the same cost.

    Going back to 4/3, the 12-60 SWD is a great lens but it's a bit large on an E-M10. the native zooms are a better bet - just as sharp, much smaller, and lightning fast AF.
     
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  9. zzffnn

    zzffnn Mu-43 Regular

    35
    Nov 19, 2017
    Texas
    Thank you, fader. I will consider native wide zooms in the future. Did not know the pro zooms are as good as native wide primes.
     
  10. fader

    fader Mu-43 Top Veteran

    530
    Aug 20, 2016
    Brest, France
    Isaac
    I've been researching lens options high and low for several months, and I too prefer landscape. Here's what I know: at wider angles I have yet to hear a compelling case for primes on m43 format. I know you were hunting for adapted primes, but the reality is that a) for landscape photography, super fast glass just isn't necessary, and b) in m43 the world's your oyster for great selection of sharp and incredibly light weight zooms at f3.5 and higher. On the professional end, the Olympus "Visionary" photographers, pro landscape artists, and deep pocketed amateurs are all doing great landscape work using the f2.8 zooms. Panasonic 12-60 f2.8-f4, 12-35 f2 (same aperture on both ends), and Oly 12-40 pro are all excellent pieces of glass. At the ultra wide end, you've got 4 different zooms to choose from in the 7/8-14/18 mm range ... and they're all pretty good, with the Panasonic 8-18 sitting in 1st position for it's ability to take normal filters.

    Back in budget land, the Panasonic 12-32 kit zoom is regarded to be the best budget 12mm prime in m43. Super sharp at the bottom end, okay at 32mm. And it's cheap - these can be had for ~ 170 - 200 on ebay. But there's 1 big caveat: it doesn't work in manual focus mode on Olympus bodies, because there's no MF ring on the lens barrel, and Oly doesn't support the Panasonic MF slider on its touchscreen. It does work fine with AF, and that's more than enough for alot of folks. The reality is that shooting f5.6 or higher on landscape doesn't need such critical focus, anyway. If you enlarge your AF focus point to the maximum and set it on screen, you can compose at will and the AF will latch on to nearly anything in that box at apertures bigger than f4. (my E-PL7 has the same guts as your E-M10). I do this all the time out of the car window and it works fine.

    Your other budget 12mm zoom option is the Olympus 12-50, which happens to be weather sealed and also has a macro function. I started a thread about choosing it or the Panasonic 12-60, and most here agreed that the Panny was superior. On the other hand, the 12-50 can often be found for ~ $150 or so. I can't seem to find the link; it's buried somewhere in the "this or that" section.

    I missed earlier that you mentioned the Rokinon f2. The astro guys get excited by this lens because it's an f2 at a good price. It's also overkill for daytime landscape, and a tad bigger than 12-* native zooms, definitely heavier, and the AF isn't as good as the low end native lenses. Aside from that, it gets generally good marks. Since it was designed as an APS-C lens, you've got the best part of the glass aimed at the smaller m43 sensor. If you really like that focal length (and only that focal length), this lens is probably a good deal.

    Having said all that, like you I'm budget challenged, and holding out for a 4/3 14-54 Mk I to use for landscape work. I've grown accustomed to stitching composite images to be able to "zoom out" my 45mm in post processing. This routine is such a habit now that I don't foresee any problems in stitching to a 7mm ~ 12mm viewing angle with a 14mm focal length. A 30-40 megapixel stitch taken at 15~20mm is going to have a lot more detail than a 16mp image shot at 7-12. That equation changes drastically if trying to use ND filters or time sensitive shots in changing light at dusk and dawn. Shooting hi-res on E-M5 MkII with an ND filtered Panny 8-18 sounds like a dream, but is beyond my budget for the time being.
     
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  11. dd-b

    dd-b Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Nov 13, 2017
    Minneapolis, MN
    Wideangle is one of the real problems in M43-land these days. There are those zooms, big, heavy, and pretty expensive, that go out to 7mm or thereabouts; I dunno, never used any of them. But even those don't get you very far into extreme wide land. I've got a 12-24mm zoom for my full-frame Nikon!

    What I just got for M43, and am liking very well so far, is the Laowa 7.5mm f/2. It's a manual-focus lens, but for a really wide range of situations, at 7.5mm you can just focus at infinity (or the hyperfocal distance) and have everything in focus without effort. So far I've looked at informal test shots, walls of books and things, and it seems pretty clean and straight and not very CA-prone, but I haven't done anything systematic or formal with it. It's a remarkably complex design -- 13 or so elements, dual-surface aspherics, a couple of ED glass elements. It's pretty cheap for an extreme wide in an under-served market, B&H had it for $500. Still not as wide as my 12mm on full-frame.
     
  12. junkyardsparkle

    junkyardsparkle Mu-43 Top Veteran

    793
    Nov 17, 2016
    like, The Valley
    I'm not sure that anything wider than 12mm would be all that great for the OP's stated purpose of shooting through vehicle window glass, possibly combined with polarizer glass. That said, one thing that is great for shooting through windows is a wide-angle rubber lens hood. Pushed up against the glass, it can do a better job than a polarizer at eliminating reflections. My favorite for this purpose is one sold under the Tiffen brand once upon a time, not too hard to find used or NOS on ebay. Give it a try, whatever lens you settle on.
     
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  13. Henk

    Henk Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Aug 18, 2010
    the Netherlands
    Why not get the tiny Panasonic 12-32mm? It produces a great image quality at 12mm which has surprised me positively quite often.
    It is cheap, you don't need an adapter, is very small and is a versatile zoom for traveling. It makes a great traveling kit with the Panasonic GM-5 which I use often besides the GX-8.
     
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