Nocticron vs other portrait lenses (posts moved from Noct image thread)

rezatravilla

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If you had read my posts carefully enough, you would have noticed that I said very clearly that m4/3 is great for everything, but it lacks when it comes to portraits. That's where Fuji excels, and that's what the 56mm is great at.
:coco: what?

As far my eyes can see, m43 is the best when it come to portrait instead. My friend have XT1 with 56mm F1.2 and my student have XT10 with 35mm F1.4. They envy with the capability of Sigma 60mm F2.8 Art, M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 and Summilux 25mm F1.4.

I think m43 weaknesses is on landscape due to dynamic range performance.

Took the link from @kevinparis post:
Why Did I Leave The Fuji System….

There are a lot of nice images on this thread. But then there are a lot of nice images on the Oly 45mm 1.8 thread as well. A much less expensive lens. The Nocticron is also a much bigger bulkier lens than the 45 1.8.

Ok the f1.2 aperture gives a thinner depth of field , but if thin dof is the goal, wouldn't it be cheaper to go full frame? An older used 12 mega pixel Canon 5D full-frame body can be had for a couple of hundred euro and a couple hundred gets a used 85mm lens. So you could get a full frame lens and body for about half the price of this lens. So if price is an issue, why pine after the Nocticron when you could get an older FF for a lot less money?
Because on FF camera often missed focus. I am using Nikon D800 also with some nano and manual lenses. One of my collection is Nikkor 50mm F1.2 Ais. Trust me controlling DoF of the true F1.2 is not easy. Nocticron have the advantages to absorb the light of F1.2 capabilities and yet give result like F2.4. So it will be useful at low light condition and sharp at the wide open.
 
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tkbslc

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People on this thread were rhapsodizing over the narrow DoF of the Nocticron but complaining about the price of it. So that begged the question, if DoF is so desirable (and I don't see much other reason to buy the Nocticron) why not simply pick up another system that is naturally better suited to achieving narrow DoF especially if it can do it at a lower price?
.
Because, again, you cannot do it for a lower price once you factor in having to buy a camera to use it on.

I have no problem opening another thread, but I must say you guys do seem to get mighty touchy at any suggestion that M43 might not be the best all-round camera system. I highly doubt that that is just because this is an image thread. I suspect if you really believed the M43 system was superior you would be quite happy to discuss DoF as a side issue on this thread.
I think the reverse. You seem to be annoyed that we already know what you are saying, have factored it into our decision making, and continued in m4/3 anyway because the system as a whole is still more appealing.

And of course Fuji has less dof at the same aperture. What is there to discuss?
 
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Tadgh78

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Nocticron have the advantages to absorb the light of F1.2 capabilities and yet give result like F2.4. So it will be useful at low light condition and sharp at the wide open.
But isn't any light gathering advantage of a wide aperture in m43 lens cancelled out by the smaller sensor? For example, FF has a 2 stop advantage in light gathering ability over m43 and a 2 stop advantage in thin Dof. So f1.2 in m43 isn't equivalent to f1.2 in FF even light gathering ability. it's equivalent to about F2.4 in FF. In FF, f2.4 can be had fairly cheaply and usually not even shooting wide open.

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bahamot

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Can you open up new thread instead please? I subscribe to this thread not for those debates. It's getting annoying.
 

Tadgh78

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Because, again, you cannot do it for a lower price once you factor in having to buy a camera to use it on.
Again? Ok. As already mentioned a few times in this thread. A used Canon 5D + 50 or 85mm f1.8 lens can be had for about $400 or euro, total! So don't say a Noctricron is cheaper. It isn't. It's twice the price at least.

I think the reverse. You seem to be annoyed that we already know what you are saying, have factored it into our decision making, and continued in m4/3 anyway because the system as a whole is still more appealing.
The only thing that annoys me on a discussion forum is when people try to shut down discussion...

And of course Fuji has less dof at the same aperture. What is there to discuss?
What is there to discuss? lol! That very point! Fuji gives you narrower DoF at the same
aperture, possibly as narrow as you would ever need. So if you want narrower DoF (and people on this thread see to be raving about it) why not use a fuji system instead of a more expensive M43 + Nocticron?

Why is that so hard to get your head around? Is it more a case of someone not being "able" to understand something that they don't want to understand, hmm?
 

SVQuant

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@Tadgh78
I think you asked reasonable questions, but IMO, the original thread was the wrong venue for them. I will try and give you my answers for these.

First, a disclaimer: I do not own the Noctiron. I have also shot a variety of Nikon APS-C bodies as well as early Sony NEX bodies in the last 10 years and still own some Nikon glass and a vintage D40.

There are a lot of nice images on this thread. But then there are a lot of nice images on the Oly 45mm 1.8 thread as well. A much less expensive lens. The Nocticron is also a much bigger bulkier lens than the 45 1.8.

Ok the f1.2 aperture gives a thinner depth of field , but if thin dof is the goal, wouldn't it be cheaper to go full frame? An older used 12 mega pixel Canon 5D full-frame body can be had for a couple of hundred euro and a couple hundred gets a used 85mm lens. So you could get a full frame lens and body for about half the price of this lens. So if price is an issue, why pine after the Nocticron when you could get an older FF for a lot less money?
I for one am perfectly happy with the O45 and feel that the Noctiron is not for me. Having said that, if a professional photographer is carrying a m43 kit, I can see how owning a Noctiron (in conjunction with the O75 and maybe the PL25) makes a lot more sense in terms maintaining systems and ensuring consistency of image characteristics and post-processing workflow. It is an expensive lens, but not horribly more so than similar lenses on other systems. The Fuji X56 brought up earlier is around a 1000 dollars and the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 used to sell for around 1250 dollars. Adding a body to either of those would probably result in a cost similar to the Noctiron.

But isn't any light gathering advantage of a wide aperture in m43 lens cancelled out by the smaller sensor? For example, FF has a 2 stop advantage in light gathering ability over m43 and a 2 stop advantage in thin Dof. So f1.2 in m43 isn't equivalent to f1.2 in FF even light gathering ability. it's equivalent to about F2.4 in FF. In FF, f2.4 can be had fairly cheaply and usually not even shooting wide open.

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This is incorrect. While the DoF for m43 is twice that for FF, for a identical megapixel sensor, identical apertures do mean identical light density. Another advantage which m43 gives is that many m43 primes are sharp wide open, while FF lens have to be stopped down to get equivalent sharpness. In practice, this may mean that your f/1.2 FF lens may have to be shot at f/1.8 in any case.

More generally, if DoF is all you desire you should not in m43. Having said that, in my opinion a shallow DoF is only one aspect of IQ and there are many others. In buying any kit, compromises have to be made. Many of the people who have chosen m43 are aware that they are giving up DoF over FF or APS-C, but like other aspects of the system better and are willing to live with that compromise. To quote my earlier post:

I have shot film(almost 20 years), APS-C(10+ years) and m43 (for a little under a year). Also used FF on occasion. I view my gear as tools for achieving my aims as an amateur photographer and hobbyist. I try to understand what a tool can achieve and where it may be lacking and make decisions based on that. There are always compromises be they cost, weight, IQ and/or features. Once a tool is chosen, I do not keep complaining about it based on what I read in random blogs or videos. If I feel that it is coming up short, I try to see how I can do better or if I need different gear.
In the end, it is about images and how you perceive them. If you think that your images are lacking something with the equipment you have chosen, it is either you or the equipment. In my case, it is almost always me. I see fantastic images on the Noctiron Sample thread and others taken with the humble 14-42 kit lens which show me that composition and light are far more important in many images than the actual gear used. If you think that your m43 images lack in something, feel free to post samples and invite comments. This is a very friendly forum with great and helpful members.

If your issue is the cost of the lens, I will say that people who own it made a choice to spend their money and you can equally make a choice not spend it. I picked up the O45 for around 200 dollars and for me, that is a good choice. Others may choose differently.

Just my 2c.
 

MAubrey

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Again? Ok. As already mentioned a few times in this thread. A used Canon 5D + 50 or 85mm f1.8 lens can be had for about $400 or euro, total! So don't say a Noctricron is cheaper. It isn't. It's twice the price at least.
Yeah. You said that. And we all already know it. FF looses it's two stop advantage if you're talking about the 5D classic. All of the 16MP μ43 sensors have competitive or better noise performance than that camera. So light gathering equivalence isn't relevant. The 5Dc doesn't get a 2 stop advantage.

Either way, the moment you start talking about Fuji the cost of the 5Dc becomes irrelevant. And that was the point. You want to have your cake and criticize μ43 as a value proposition while also eating your cake with pronouncement about how great a $1000 lens is for a system that has expensive camera bodies.

I'm glad you're thinking through these things. We've all done it at some point. Some of us have moved to other systems as a result. Some of us, as you have suggested, shoot multiple systems--I think I currently have six (2x LF film, 1 MF film, 1 35mm film, 1 35mm digital, and μ43). Some of us have decided to stay all μ43. And we all have reasons. Decide on your own reasons and then don't be bothered by the fact that not everyone thinks they're the right reasons.
 
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Tadgh78

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Yeah. You said that. And we all already know it. FF looses it's two stop advantage if you're talking about the 5D classic. All of the 16MP μ43 sensors have competitive or better noise performance than that camera. So light gathering equivalence isn't relevant. The 5Dc doesn't get a 2 stop advantage.
Actually, according to Dxo mark the Canon 5D has an iso rating of 1368 compared to 791 for the Panasonic GH4. So that's still nearly a 1 stop advantage for a 10 year old FF camera costing maybe $200 or euro on the used market. Add that to the fact that all M43 lenses are at a full 2 stop real world disadvantage compared to all FF lenses and we are up to a 3 stop advantage for a 10 yearold FF camera with an equivalent lens compared to M43. Or, still 2 stop advantage for a $200 canon 5D with a $200 85mm 1.8 FF lens on it, compared to a brand new GH4 with a 42.5mm "f1.2" Nocticron (really only f2.5 in full frame terms). The Canon system will cost 1/4 of the GH4 + nocticron and will probably render more accurate colours too.

A lot of people don't realise that when making the comparison between m43 and FF that you have to consider both the lower ISO rating of the m43 sensor and the fact that the m43 lenses are actually 2 stops slower than rated when comparing to the full-frame equivalent, and that you need to add these two factors together. Not only is say f1.2 on m43 not the same as f1.2 on FF, ISO 200 on m43 is not the same in terms of noise as ISO 200 on FF. M43 is actually 1 or 2 stops noisier at a given ISO depending on the age of the bodies being compared.

Tony Northrup does a good job of explaining m43 and Full Frame equivelence it in this video;

Start watching from; 7:47.

So, drawing from Tony's demonstration, to get the same picture in terms of noise and Dof from FF as you would get from a modern M43 camera with the Nocticron f1.2 lens wide open at say, ISO 800 you need only require your modern FF camera to be at f2.5 and ISO 3200!

If we are comparing an older FF camera like a Canon 5D mark I to a GH4 you would still only need the FF to be at ISO 1600 and f2.5 to match the noise and dof of the GH4 with nocticron at f1.2 and ISO 800.

Needless to say Full frame f2.5 85mm lenses don't cost $1000. $200 more like.

When you look into it, the Nocicron is a damn expensive f2.5 85mm equivalent lens, and at 425g not any smaller or lighter than an 85mm full frame f1.8 either.
 

Tadgh78

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Lol, that's you're considered response is it? Dxo mark is wrong and you're right? Ok, well I guess people can make their own minds up about that.

In any case you could even get a used 5D mark II + 85mm f1.8 for less than the cost of a Noctricron + GH4 and that would tidily out-perform the m43 setup in just about all respects.
 
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MAubrey

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Lol, that's you're considered response is it? Dxo mark is wrong and you're right?
Only because you're picking up a discussion from May. Not because of anything you've said. I agree with DxO and I've said nothing that contradicts DxO's data. I wouldn't take issue with that--even back in May. My disagreement was with your (1) condescending tone and (2) the extrapolations you made from the facts (facts that we agree on).

For my part, I've left the μ43 system and I selling the last of my kit. If you want to keep a stupid argument going that shouldn't even be an argument, go ahead. That fine.

smh.
 

Tadgh78

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Only because you're picking up a discussion from May. Not because of anything you've said. I agree with DxO and I've said nothing that contradicts DxO's data. I wouldn't take issue with that--even back in May. My disagreement was with your (1) condescending tone and (2) the extrapolations you made from the facts (facts that we agree on).

For my part, I've left the μ43 system and I selling the last of my kit. If you want to keep a stupid argument going that shouldn't even be an argument, go ahead. That fine.

smh.
I wasn't aware that there was a 3 month statute of limitations for threads on this discussion forum! Perhaps one of the moderators can adjudicate on that matter, lol!

In point of fact as all of the items of equipment at issue here are still very much available for purchase either new or on the used market, I for one think this discussion is still quite relevant to readers of this forum and is far from stupid.

It seems to me that many readers of this forum are unaware, as I was, of the magnitude of the difference in light gathering ability between M43 and Full Frame equipment.

I am glad you now agree with the facts I have stated as you certainly didn't before...

As for my tone, well if I appeared condescending I didn't intend to, I simply intended to point out that you were wrong when you blithely claimed, without reference I might add, that modern 16mp M43 cameras had a better ISO handling ability than a 5D mark I, when according to Dxo Mark they don't, in fact they are 1 stop nosier!

Add that 1 stop to the 2 stops difference between the M43 lens rating system and the FF equivalent and you are now at 3 stops difference. 3 stops is a very considerable difference in light gathering ability. Add a newer full frame body and you are at 4 stops difference.

I think this thread will be very instructive to people taking their M43 cameras indoors with $1000 f2.8 zooms (f5.6 in FF terms) and wondering why their results are so damn noisy compared to a fairly ancient Full Frame camera with an f2.8 zoom at 1/4 the price.

Is it my imagination or do some people around here get a bit sore at being called out eh...? ;)
 
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Machi

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Add that to the fact that all M43 lenses are at a full 2 stop real world disadvantage compared to all FF lenses and we are up to a 3 stop advantage for a 10 yearold FF camera with an equivalent lens compared to M43. Or, still 2 stop advantage for a $200 canon 5D with a $200 85mm 1.8 FF lens on it, compared to a brand new GH4 with a 42.5mm "f1.2" Nocticron (really only f2.5 in full frame terms).
It doesn't work that way. Illuminance on the sensor for f/1.8 FF lens and for f/1.8 M43 lens is exactly the same in theory (in practice it depends on real throughput of lens, which is always lower but this works the same for both FF and M43 lenses).
So there isn't another 2 EV advantage caused by lenses. High ISO advantage of FF sensors is generally caused by the fact that pixels are bigger, they have larger area, so at the same illumination they have more photons available per every pixel.
 
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EarthQuake

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I stand corrected. So all else being equal it's just a 2 stop advantage for FF vs m43 then. Thanks for clearing that up.
If all else is equal, same f-stop, similar generation sensors, the difference is usually about 2 stops.

This comparison to an old 5D mark 1 + 85/1.8 is far from all things being equal though. First off, the 5D is only 1 stop better in terms of noise, but the 85/1.8 is 1 stop slower than 42.5/1.2 on M43, so the noise advantage for the 35mm camera is totally gone, noise performance should be about equal there. Now, if we look at something like the EM1, the dynamic range is about 1.5 stop better than the 5D, plus you can use a stop lower iso if you're light limited (too little light causing you to raise ISO) as well (ISO 200 on EM1 vs 400 on 5D means about a 2 stop dynamic range advantage for the EM1), so overall the EM1 + Nocti would produce somewhat better image quality. If you're shooting a static scene, handheld in low light, you could get away with 4-6 stops lower ISO as well, due to the faster lens and IBIS/OIS (the Canon has neither), which means for every metric other than shallowness of DOF, the M43 camera would be significantly better.

In summary, The 5D + 85/1.8 would cost less and give narrower DOF, but the advantages end there.

Even something like the class leading A7r II and A7s II cameras, when coupled with a 1.8 lens, only offer about 1 stop better noise and DR at most ISO settings (the A7s II is exceptional at very high iso, like over 12800).

To really hit (or get close to) that theoretical 2 stop improvement over an M43 body and the Nocticron you need to go with a current generation 35mm body with something like an 85mm 1.4 or 1.2, which pushes the price up to the $3000+ range, in most cases.

A Fuji with the 56/1.2 is certainly a good value, but the difference between M43 and APS-C is generally more like 2/3rds of a stop, which is probably not enough for most people to swap systems for, and again, no OIS or IBIS. Personally I went from a 35mm and APS-C DSLR system to M43 and find while the IQ of my M43 cameras is a bit worse than the 35mm body, it's basically on par with APS-C in real world use.
 
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MAubrey

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Even something like the class leading A7r II and A7s II cameras, when coupled with a 1.8 lens, only offer about 1 stop better noise and DR at most ISO settings (the A7s II is exceptional at very high iso, like over 12800).
For the record, the A7rII is in a dead heat in noise performance with the A7s II, but yes to the rest.
 

Tadgh78

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Now, if we look at something like the EM1, the dynamic range is about 1.5 stop better than the 5D, plus you can use a stop lower iso if you're light limited (too little light causing you to raise ISO) as well (ISO 200 on EM1 vs 400 on 5D means about a 2 stop dynamic range advantage for the EM1), so overall the EM1 + Nocti would produce somewhat better image quality.
This is an interesting idea that a noisier sensor might compensate in low light through improvements in dynamic range. However at base ISO the EM1 is still going to be a bit noisier than a 5D.


Even something like the class leading A7r II and A7s II cameras, when coupled with a 1.8 lens, only offer about 1 stop better noise and DR at most ISO settings (the A7s II is exceptional at very high iso, like over 12800).
The A7s is noticeably faster than the Canon 6D which is already a good low light performer among the current FF cameras. The Canon 6D should be pretty close to 2 stops faster than an EM1 and the A7s is faster than that.

Here's a comparison between the A7s and the Canon 6D. The A7s is at least a stop faster.

To really hit (or get close to) that theoretical 2 stop improvement over an M43 body and the Nocticron you need to go with a current generation 35mm body with something like an 85mm 1.4 or 1.2, which pushes the price up to the $3000+ range, in most cases.
The A7s is about 2 1/3 stops faster than the Em1 according to Dxomark. So you'd still get 1 1/3 stops over the EM1+Nocticron with an A7s + 85mm f1.8 Zeiss Batis. And price and weight would be similar. So then the question becomes why wouldn't you go the Sony route!?
 

EarthQuake

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This is an interesting idea that a noisier sensor might compensate in low light through improvements in dynamic range. However at base ISO the EM1 is still going to be a bit noisier than a 5D.
I wasn't suggesting that more DR means less noise, but more DR does mean more DR. At base ISO, basically any large sensor camera has low noise, so I don't see how this would be something to worry about. I was talking about real-world cases where you're light limited and need to raise the ISO.

The A7s is noticeably faster than the Canon 6D which is already a good low light performer among the current FF cameras. The Canon 6D should be pretty close to 2 stops faster than an EM1 and the A7s is faster than that.

Here's a comparison between the A7s and the Canon 6D. The A7s is at least a stop faster.
This is a comparison of light light video performance and is not very relevant to stills, as is mentioned by the author of the video in the description. I don't think anyone would argue that the A7S/II is an exceptional low light video camera.

The A7s is about 2 1/3 stops faster than the Em1 according to Dxomark. So you'd still get 1 1/3 stops over the EM1+Nocticron with an A7s + 85mm f1.8 Zeiss Batis. And price and weight would be similar. So then the question becomes why wouldn't you go the Sony route!?
Well, the A7s II + 85mm 1.8 Batis costs $4200, while the EM1 + 12-40/2.8 + 42.5/1.2 costs $2700, that's $1500 less and includes an awesome 2.8 standard zoom lens.

The A7s is certainly a bit cheaper, at $3200 with the 85/1.8, but lacks IBIS, which means for certain situations (still life, landscape, etc in low light) you're going to lose the large sensor advantage entirely. Not the case in this specific comparison though, because the 85/1.8 has OIS. But let's say comparing the a7s +55/1.8 to the EM1 + 25/1.4.

Anyway, it's easy to cherry pick one lens or one camera that compares favorably (especially when it's a niche lens like the Nocticron), but I think it makes more sense to look at the entire system. For me, I couldn't care less if Sony has one camera and lens combo that does better than something I use, as I have a full system of M43 gear. If you really want to get that ~2 stop advantage, you need to use lenses with the same f-stop.

With that in mind, let's look at the prices and weights of M43 vs FE system with a trio of fast zooms and a premium portrait lens:

EM1 + 12-40/2.8, 880g, $1300
Panasonic 42.5/1.2, 425g, $1400
Panasonic 35-100/2.8, 360g, $900
Panasonic 7-14/4, 300g, $800

Total: 1965g, $4400

A7s, 445g, $2200
Sony 85/1.4 (a half stop slower f-stop here, but close enough), 640g, $1700
Sony 24-70/2.8, 985g, $2200
Sony 70-200/2.8, 1300g, $3000
Sony 16-35/4, 520g, $1350

Total: 4720g, $10450

So, if you want to build a Sony FE system that actually gives you that two-stop advantage for stills, you'll have to pay well over twice as much, and the kit will weigh over twice as much as well. At which point I think it is quite clear why many would not opt for the Sony.

I've done a lot of research into this topic, as I do like the A7* series on paper, but every time I add it up, I come to the conclusion that it's not worth the extra size, weight and cost, when M43 already provides image quality that exceeds my skills in most situations.
 
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