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Nocticron 42.5 or FF with 85/1.8

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by freyr, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. freyr

    freyr Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Feb 24, 2015
    Bulgaria
    Angel
    Hi all, a bit of a strange question, I know, but bear with me :)
    In short, I'm really into portraits and I enjoy getting shallow depth of field, but m4/3 is perhaps not the ideal system for the task. I already have the 75/1.8 and don't get me wrong, it's awesome, but at 150mm FF equivalent it's a bit long for some situations. I also own a 45/1.8, but most of the time I want more "blur". That's when the Nocticron got my attention. From what I've read it seems to be one of the best m4/3 lenses and it certainly has the price tag to proove it. I did some math and for the price of a new one, 3000 BGN = 1500 EUR (I can't seem to find used 42.5 locally) I could find a decent used FF, say.. 5D mk2 plus an 85/1.8 that I'd end up using only for portraiture and keep my OM-D for street, travel, etc.
    I already have some thoughts on this, but I'd like to hear other people's opinions before continuing.
    Thanks ina dvance! :)
     
  2. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    As a business purchase, go with whatever will be most profitable.

    A 5D mk1 may be fine for portraiture and save some money at the same time.

    Fred
     
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  3. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Manual AF an option? There are plenty of cheaper native and adapted options.
    Maybe a metabones adapter? In the US the AF for Canon glass seems to be out, the Nikon should be out soon.

    If you're really chasing shallow DOF then those or FF are your best options.
     
  4. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    I was a Canon shooter for the past 15 years until this past May. Having owned and used the 85/1.8 for quite a number of years, it's not the strongest of Canon lenses. It's a good lens for the money and similar in IQ to the non-L 50mm lenses. While you may get just a hair more background blur, the quality of bokeh and rendering will be much better on the Nocticron. With that said, I'd rather take quality of bokeh over just a hair more background blur any day of the year for portrait work or for that matter any other type of photography where shallow DoF may be important. To be more specific, I'd rather use the Nocticron with my E-M5 Mk.II over a FF Canon body with the 85/1.8 for portrait work.

    If it's the 85/1.2L, then that's a different story where you can achieve shallower DoF with amazing bokeh. But then, you're working with something more expensive, bigger, heavier and slower AF (although for portrait work, it's quite acceptable). In other words, it's a trade off.
     
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  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    On paper, an 85mm f1.8 on FF would technically be better in terms of DOF and noise performance. But I don't know of any 85mm f1.8 FF lenses that can hold a candle to the Nocticron in terms of optical performance. Most 85mm f1.8's are consumer level lenses in the $400-500 range and honestly more optically on par with the Oly 45mm f1.8. Now that's very good performance, but it isn't "Special" like the Nocticron.

    In terms of "blur" the 75mm f1.8 and 42.5mm f1.2 are very similar, but you'll be nearly half as close to your subject with the 42.5mm

    If you can live without AF, the Voigtlander 42.5mm 0.95 and SLRMagic 50mm 0.95 will get you even more

    And just as a disclaimer, beware that with the extra blur comes less DOF. A 42.5mm F1.2 will have the same bg blur as a 75mm f1.8 but much less DOF on your subject. If you are doing close portraiture, you may not even be able to get both eyes in focus at the same time unless they are perfectly perpendicular to the camera.

    I will also say that location choice and lighting is more critical than lens selection for subject isolation and bokeh.
     
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  6. freyr

    freyr Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Feb 24, 2015
    Bulgaria
    Angel
    I jumped to m4/3 after owning a NEX plus Lens Turbo (Chinese Speed Booster) setup because I wasn't satisfied with Sony's lack of 85 and 135mm equivalent (back in 2014 that is). I had to rely on my Canon FL 55/1.2, Samyang/Rokinon 85/1.4 and Canon FD 135/2. While optically great, they were quite large compared to the camera. Also, I kind of got tired of manual focusing (I didn't have a single AF lens for over two years). Call me spoiled, but now I really enjoy being able to select one of the 81 AF points and having precise focus on the eye every time. Previously, even with peaking and magnification I couldn't do that. So no more manual focus for now :)
    I've also thought about the 5D Mk1. I rarely do night shots, so outstanding high iso noise performance isn't necessary. 12 mp is enough for me and yes, it's cheaper. However, something is stopping me from buying it. I can't put my finger on it..perhaps that it too old and most bodies I've seen for sale here have been used heavily and have more than 100k shutter counts.
    And I totally agree, location and lighting are more important
     
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    As someone who shot Canon DSLR for almost a decade before switching to m4/3, you are not going to be thrilled about the AF on the older 5D, 5DII and 6D cameras based on the above. On these cameras, there are 9 AF points clustered in the middle 3rd of the camera viewfinder. They are not moveable. 8 of them don't focus very accurately in low contrast situations. They do not detect faces or eyes. They just focus on whatever is underneath them. You will be doing a lot of focus and recompose and rolling a dial to select fixed AF points nearest your subjects face.

    Now that is not to say it doesn't work. How many weddings are shot with these cameras? But I would say on your spectrum of Sony with manual primes and peaking, vs m4/3 with rapid AF, nearly unlimited AF point position and face detection - it is going to feel closer to the Sony!

    I hate to mention it, but how is Fujifilm priced in your country? Their 56mm f1.2 will give thinner DOF/more blur than a 42.5mm f1.2 and costs quite a bit less. Not sure how their AF features compare, however.
     
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  8. jrsilva

    jrsilva Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 1, 2012
    Portugal
    Jaime
    I'm in the same boat as freyr, but I'm not considering leaving micro 4/3 nor buying another system camera/lens.
    Most of my photographic work are portraits and I'm a big fan of extreme shallow DOF.
    I use mostly the 75mm but, like you, sometimes I don't have the room to step back.
    The Olympus 45mm is a very good lens and have a decent DOF, but I would like to have the same (or more) shallow DOF as with the 75.
    I thing sometime in a few years I will end up buying a Nocticron if I could...
     
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    From my memory, (using the 1dMarkII and 5d Mark I) the Canon 85mm f/1.8 was second favorite portrait lens only to the 135mmL. If extreme shallow DOF portraits is what I primarily shoot, I'd still probably choose a FF canon EOS and either the 85mm or 135mm over what I have now (Olympus 45mm f/1.8). That's just my vote. However, I rarely shot portraiture at wide open... just not something I found was effective as a final portrait image.

    I came to the micro 4/3rds system for different reasons and I have no regrets. But it is what it is...
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
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  10. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    Also bear in mind that an f1.2 lens will be too fast for most mu43 cameras outdoors (or should I say that 1/4000th shutter of many mu43 cameras will be too slow?).
     
  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Many of the newer models have 1/8000s and extended ISO down to 100 or 125, so it should be no problem. With my GX7 I can pretty happily just shoot at whatever aperture I want.
     
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That should only be a problem out in the middle of the day. Most of the time you are shooting portraiture in morning or evening light (or shade) for better results and it won't be an issue. That said, if you do find f1.2 to be too much for 1/4000 and ISO 200 to handle, there is a relatively cheap solution. All you need is a 3-Stop ND filter and it's like you are shooting an f3.3 lens with the DOF of a f1.2 lens.
     
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  13. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    The newer models shoot 1/8000 mechanical and have full electronic shutters as well if needed. There is also the "old school" option of using ND filters.
     
  14. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    311
    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Jim
    With the Nocticron at f/1.2 or f/1.4 the depth of field is very thin, but just enough with most head shots to get both eyes in focus. Can't say the same for my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 FF at that distance. I usually have to use f/2 or f/2.4 to get both eyes in focus. And the Nocticron is sharp across the whole frame, has better colors, is 1/2 the size and with IBIS, can be shot at 1/20 of a second and be very sharp. With my 85mm f/1.4 I use 1/125 minimum shutter speed. So the perceived FF advantage is lost somewhat.

    See these two shots at f/1.2 and f/1.4 with the Nocticron:
    Portraits only Thread -Share yours please
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
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  15. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    From dofmaster.com as examples:

    Nikon FX camera with 85mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4

    Subject distance 6 ft

    Depth of field
    Near limit 5.94 ft
    Far limit 6.06 ft
    Total 0.12 ft

    In front of subject 0.06 ft (49%)
    Behind subject 0.06 ft (51%)

    Hyperfocal distance 559 ft
    Circle of confusion 0.03 mm

    Olympus m43 camera with Nocticron 42.5 f/1.2 @ f/1.2
    Subject distance 6 ft

    Depth of field
    Near limit 5.89 ft
    Far limit 6.11 ft
    Total 0.22 ft

    In front of subject 0.11 ft (49%)
    Behind subject 0.11 ft (51%)

    Hyperfocal distance 324.6 ft
    Circle of confusion 0.015 mm

    Nikon FX camera with 85mm f/1.4 @f/2.5
    Subject distance 6 ft

    Depth of field
    Near limit 5.89 ft
    Far limit 6.11 ft
    Total 0.22 ft

    In front of subject 0.11 ft (49%)
    Behind subject 0.11 ft (51%)

    Hyperfocal distance 313.8 ft
    Circle of confusion 0.03 mm


    Also remember, that an 85mm still acts like an 85mm and a 42.5 like a 42.5.
     
  16. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    As an ex 5dii and 85/1.8 owner, I agree with many of the other posters here and would favour the Noc with a u43 body. The 85/1.8 is not a great lens. It has purple fringing problems and isn't sharp across the whole frame. Focus accuracy on the 5dii is poor and of course, the body is primitive compared to u43 bodies in most ways. You'll get more consistent results with the u43 gear.

    The 42.5 is a truly exceptional lens. If you're into portraits I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I played with one for a little while and was very impressed, but I decided not to keep it. I'm not into portraiture enough to warrant it over the incredibly cheap 45/1.8.
     
  17. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    My face twitches every time someone writes this line...
     
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  18. freyr

    freyr Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Feb 24, 2015
    Bulgaria
    Angel
    I'm becoming more and more convinced that the 42.5 will be the way to go. Well, better start saving $$ :)
     
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  19. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Purple fringing is common when you shoot lenses at wide open to various degrees... it depends on how much of it is being corrected.

    In my experience, there is just as much purple fringing in both the Canon 85mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.2L at similar wide apertures. There are tests online that speak to that. The extra cost of the f/1.2 is to the extra stop at the compromise of size. (photozone.de has lens tests for example)

    Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is no exception. At wide open, it also displays purple fringing. I've seen it in my copy.

    Oh yes... dxomark (if you guys believe in their testing methodology) have related measurements for all the lenses in question... feel free to judge yourself. They do give a higher overall score to 85mm f/1.8 Canon than the 42.5 f/1.2.... but take that with a grain of salt (wink... wink)
     
  20. sootyvrs

    sootyvrs Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Mar 6, 2015
    David
    I used to use 5D mk1 with 85/1.8, 100/2 and also 85/1.2L and I would say that I prefer the Canon FF IQ & rendering compared to E-PL7 with 42.5/1.2 which I also used to own..

    Saying that the Nocticron is probably the finest rendering lens I have used in M43 system..

    If size and weight were not an issue for me I would probably still be using Canon FF but lifes about compromises and M43 can produce very nice images with a good lens and the Nocticron is a rare lens that can close the IQ gap between M43 and FF.

    If the size and weight of Canon FF D-SLR and FF lenses is not a concern, I would recommend the Canon system but if you feel you will end up mostly leaving the camera at home due to size/weight, then M43 is a much more portable/discreet system and there are cameras and lense sizes for everyone :)