New to photography, help me understand my lenses

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by gengo, May 13, 2014.

  1. gengo

    gengo Mu-43 Regular

    70
    May 12, 2014
    I went over much (and more) of this in my introduction thread - I'll try to rehash as little as possible.

    I just bought an Olympus PEN E-PM2 with two lens kit (M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R and M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R). Additionally, I purchased the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5.

    Before this setup, I've had P&S cameras that cost < $150 (if that).

    So, when and how would I use these lenses?

    I've enabled SCP, and from the little I've read so far, I think I'm planning on Aperture Priority mode.

    In this mode, the camera will choose my shutter speed, but what about my ISO - do I set that? How to I know what situation calls for which ISO setting?

    When would I use each respective lens (this is ALL new to me)?

    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    ISO is light sensitivity. Set it depending on the light. Lowest for outside in the sun, but raise if you need more sensitivity indoors or at night. The higher the ISO number, the more light sensitive your sensor is, but the noisier the files will be. That is why people often buy at least one fast prime (O17 1.8, P20 1.7, PL25 1.4)... they can keep the ISO lower indoors or at night.

    Use the 14-42 for general use with good light, use the 40-150 for stuff far away with good light (you will get much better results with a tripod or setting the camera on a flat surface when you are zoomed in), use the 14 2.5 for indoors or low light (or if you like that focal length, and don't mind not being able to change it, its very good for general use as well).

    Edit: Curzan80 had a good point about ISO, set it to auto ISO with a 3200 or 6400 max ISO setting. I don't have the EPM2, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think for vacation snaps its probably usable up to 6400 ISO.
     
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  3. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    You can either set the ISO, or let it do auto-ISO. The lower the number, the less sensitivity to light (higher shutter speeds with aperture constant). Generally if outdoors on a sunny day, 200, Cloudy day 400-800. Inside, 800-3200, depending on lighting.

    You are going on vacation, right? I would use the 14-42 most, the 40-150 if you know you will be farther from details (inside cathedrals, down a canal, in a park, etc.) The 14 has the benefit of size and max aperture, so it would be great for indoors, low light, pocketability. Museums, dinners, night landscapes, etc. Roughly speaking, 22mm is what your eye "sees". Therefore the main lens gives you a .5-2x look, and the telephoto gives you a 2x-8x look.

    Again, having done the same thing you are doing (going on vacation 2 weeks after getting my first serious camera), I cannot stress enough to remember you are on vacation first, and have a camera second. When it stops being a fun new toy, and you start fighting it, iAuto or put it away.

    All of the above are suggestions on "most common ways of doing things". Feel free to improvise and make it your own.

    Also, a neat trick for travelling light is to get a 1/4x20 eyebolt, a large fender washer amd a piece of string. Tie the string between the easher and eyebolt, and voila! Istant pocketable monopod! Step on washer, pull up on camera (eyebolt goes into tripod slot), and get a bit better stabilization.

    Sent from my LG-P769 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
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  4. gengo

    gengo Mu-43 Regular

    70
    May 12, 2014
    @Cruzan80 - I remember that advice from the other thread. I'm trying to learn as much as possible now for that exact reason. I want it to be as close to second nature as possible while I'm there. Great advice on the monopod!

    @GFFPhoto - my budget isn't (wasn't) huge, so I opted to go with the 14mm f/2.5 as my "prime lens". I'm not sure exactly what a "prime lens" is, or if that even qualifies as one. I have access to an older tripod, but I haven't looked at whether or not I need to purchase a new one.
     
  5. karma

    karma Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jan 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Peter
    Prime lenses are fixed focal length lenses. The only way to zoom with a prime is with your feet.
     
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  6. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    The 14 is a great travel lens, as it is light, relatively fast, and cheap. After your trip, you may want to see what lengths you used the most (various programs can compile this for you), and then see if there is a prime near that length. Generally speaking a fixed focal length (prime) lens has a larger maximum aperture and higher image quality than a zoom. There is nothing saying you have to have a prime, or a zoom.

    For general learning of photography, I would highly recommend a lecacy lens (post-trip). Will force you to control aperture and focus, and since most decent quality ones are primes, will help you start to "see" in a certain focal length. For me, I love my 45mm (Minolta). I also have an easier time with the 28mm I have than the 20mm Panasonic. I rarely find myself shooting very wide, so I woyld not get nearly the use out of the 14 as another would.

    "You've taken your first step into a larger world." -Ben Kenobi

    Sent from my LG-P769 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
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  7. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Things just get really shaky with a zoom. A good rule of thumb for m43 is to try and get a shutter speed at least 3x what your focal length is for hand held shooting (to avoid blur). so around 1/50 with the 14mm or 1/500 with the zoom at 150mm. Put the big zoom on your camera and zoom all the way in, you will see how zoom really magnifies every shake. A tripod is nice for a zoom, but you can always just set the camera on something sturdy. I've done this many times. Set it on a bench or a wall, use something to prop up the lens so it points where you want it to, and if you really want to avoid any shakes, use the timer on 2 seconds. I've actually done long exposure night shots like this :smile:
     
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  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Lenses with different focal length differ for the magnification but also for the different "look" that they can give to a photo.
    Longer lenses (40-150) give you a "compression" effects. At the bottom of this page there is an example of the same portrait taken with different lenses:

    http://www.tamron-usa.com/lenses/fundamentals.asp

    You can see how the amount and aspect of the background differ. Here the photographer had to move around a lot to keep the subject always the same size, and this caused the difference in the pictures.

    Instead here you can see a portrait done with a wide angle, where the camera was placed extremely close to the subject and this give a "widening" effect:

    http://photosntravel.com/photo-tip-shooting-with-a-wide-angle-lens/

    So sometimes you choose a lens for the specific "look" you want and then you walk change your distance from the subject to get the correct framing. I suggest you to try these same experiments. Other times the subject is too far, too big or there is not much light and you just have to use the only lens that can give you the shot.

    Aperture priority is good to play with dof. I suggest to use it only when you want a specific dof effect, like a portrait with a blurred background or a landscape with everything in focus. If you want a small dof you need a fast and long lens, so probably the 40-150 on the wide end, at the largest aperture (f4), should give you the the best results.
    Otherwise P mode is very good to find good settings for a "generic" photo, and you can also "shift" its proposed exposure values giving you something close to a mixed aperture/shutter priority mode.

    IMO for most of the shots these are just technicalities: they can make great a good shot, but cannot save a bad shot. So the what matters most are subject and composition.
     
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  9. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    920
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I would suggest using Auto-ISO mode at this point until you learn more. Use the Auto ISO Set option in the custom E menu to set the high and low limits. The EPM2 is fine between 3200 an 200, If you don't mind a little noise, you can use 6400. Auto-ISO will allow the camera more margin to pull out more shots in lower light conditions if you have picked poor settings.

    Also don't be too proud to use P mode. It generally picks a workable combination of shooting parameters. Sometimes, in either A or S mode, my camera is set up completely wrong and if I go thru the menus to correct, the moment goes away if I start pressing buttons on my PEN's. Then it's faster to switch to P. This will be less true for an EPM2 wince it lacks a mode dial.

    Finally, as mentioned by several posters above me, take note of your shutter speed and make sure it's fast enough to stop action as needed or handle any camera shake.If shooting action, you may want to use S mode and set the shutter speed. Then Auto-ISO gives your camera more flexibility to find a suitable exposure combo.
     
  10. gengo

    gengo Mu-43 Regular

    70
    May 12, 2014
    Is there a critical lens that I am missing?

    Or should I immerse myself and try and figure out how to use what I already have before expanding my options?

    Again, I'm just trying to set myself up for the fewest problems down the road.

    Should I have gone for the 20mm f/1.7 instead of the 14mm f/2.5? I was led to believe that they were very similar lenses and that each had their strengths and weaknesses. I found the 14mm f/2.5 for $200 new on eBay while the cheapest I could find the 20mm f/1.7 new was $350.
     
  11. gengo

    gengo Mu-43 Regular

    70
    May 12, 2014
    This is definitely something I see myself needing more help with.

    I tried running through it last night, and on the PM2 - my understanding is that the shutter speed is to the left of the f stop on the screen.

    While in AP mode, the shutter speed was 30 - then if I "raised" the flash (allowed it the opportunity to fire), it went to 60. It pretty much stayed at 60 regardless of what I did to the lens (14-42mm - I went the full range).

    Someone else suggested that the speed should be 3x focal length (?), so at 42mm it should have been ~150 - but I couldn't figure out a way to make the camera increase that number.

    Also, I went into S mode and couldn't see how to force the speed to increase (and I've printed the entirety of the larger manual).

    Thank you again for all help.
     
  12. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I think you have already everything you need. It depends a lot on what and how you are going to shoot. Some people use nothing but two or three primes. Other prefer zoom lenses.
    There are a lot lenses designed for special purposes: portraits, macro, wildlife, night photography, etc. but you do not need all of them. I would not buy a lot of gear all together now: learn strength and weakness of what you have and buy something when you are sure that you need it.
     
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  13. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Canada
    You have more than enough gear. Stop looking at specs and start shooting. ;)

    Toss the kit zoom on that thing and go out and play with settings.

    Many of us started photography with film cameras and a single fixed-focal length lens...compared to that, you're already lightyears ahead. You're in luck...digital cameras show you the results of whatever settings you just changed immediately. Go read/watch some tutorials, and play with your camera. The best thing you can do is shoot, shoot, shoot.
     
  14. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I think you should follow a quick introduction on how exposure works (metering, aperture, iso, etc.) there a a lot of good tutorials online and also a lot of videos on youtube. Like these for example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8T94sdiNjc&list=PLBE338967F8DB7F2A&index=9
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBE338967F8DB7F2A

    About you question: A mode and P mode will try to keep ISO al low as possible and give you "enough" shutter speed and this usually means twice the maximum focal length of the lens. So you actually just can not control the shutter speed in these modes with auto-iso. If you want to set the speed use S mode.
     
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  15. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Flash is a whole different beast entirely. The flash sync speed (which has a technical definition that won't benefit you now) is the standard speed that the camera will default to when the flash is on. This is because it assumes that it is dark enough that the flash will be the primary illumination, and the flash will "freeze" the motion at the point of flashing (the rest of the motion is lost due to not enough light getting to the sensor).

    Leaving the flash down, the same way you control the aperture in A will work for the shutter in S. For now, I would stick with a general ISO based on scenery. Outside 400, inside 1600. Not sure what the PM2 specifically does for balancing auto-iso vs non-controlled option (shutter in A, aperture in S). This way with the ISO locked, you can control one variable, and the camera will take care of the other.
     
  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    You have more than enough equipment. Just start taking pictures. Leave the flash alone for now. Just shoot with available light.

    This is important. Klorenzo's "look" change is due to perspective, which is, in turn, determined by the camera's distance from the subject. Perspective is one of the most misunderstood things in photography. For example, it is very common for someone to say that a wide angle lens causes distortion because pictures take with the lens make people's noses look big. This is complete nonsense. The noses are big because the camera is close to the people's faces. I suggest that you fireproof yourself against such misinformation by reading and taking the time to really understand this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_distortion_(photography) Use the concepts there to make some little photography experiments for yourself so that you really see what's happening as you change lenses.
     
  17. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I suggest you read more carefully and with less preconceptions other people posts before jumping to conclusions and even suggesting, unrequested, to "make some homeworks". In my post I stated twice that is the distance that causes the different "look", you can check it by yourself. Your remark about the "big nose" is almost a quote from my post.
    I was trying to explain concisely and in plain words different "looks" that you can get in your pictures and with which lens you can get those more easily in normal shooting conditions. I tried to be as precise as possible but trying at the same time to say something useful and understandable given the context of this thread.
     
  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Klorenzo, I was trying to reinforce what you said because it is important. That is why I said "This is important." Your explanation was much better than many I have seen, but I wanted to introduce the more usual term "perspective distortion" and point the OP at the Wikipedia article for more information. No criticism intended.
     
  19. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Sorry for the misunderstanding, I think I got it wrong. The quote lead me to believe that the message was directed to me. Now I see that it wasn't this way.
     
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  20. gengo

    gengo Mu-43 Regular

    70
    May 12, 2014
    Honestly, I foresee myself taking a LOT of landscape / nature pictures.

    My questions are because, as I have stated before, this whole hobby is new to me - this is my first camera with changeable lenses and adjustable anything beside zoom.

    I'm fairly happy with what I have right now - but the more I read, the more I question my decisions.

    Again, since I am so new and don't really know how I am "going to shoot", I'm hoping to be directed away from bad habits.

    I've watched a few Lynda videos as well as read forums / threads here as well as dpreview and other sources.

    I definitely don't want to buy all of the lenses - and I can't, even though the prices are cheaper than their DSLR alternatives.

    I'm not sure I'm getting what I want out of the 14mm f/2.5 - I can't really see much of a difference yet between it and the kit lens (zoom 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6) at 14mm. However, it could be a matter of me not using it correctly.

    Thank you all again for the help! I greatly appreciate the feedback, input, and advice.