Oly 60mm vs Oly 45mm for portraits

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by StefanKruse, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    My kids are growing up quickly and have reached an age where I can get them to pose for a portrait for a few minutes.I currently own the Oly 60mm and I love everything about, but I also like to have options and different tools for different jobs. Would I gain a lot by adding the Oly 45mm as a dedicated portrait lens? How important is the added speed in terms of subject isolation compared to the 60mm which I guess benefit from the extra 15mm?

    PS I also own the 12-40 pro so for FOV I am covered.
     
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's not as much as you'd think. The longer focal length almost fully compensates for the slower aperture vs the 45mm. I owned both and I don't think there's much in it. I think the 45mm focal length is a bit more friendly, but I wouldn't get it for subject isolation.

    The f1.8 aperture will make more difference with nearer backgrounds. If you go outside, they are roughly the same.
     
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  3. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    It all comes down to how close you are when you typically take photos. When I had the 75mm I used it for capturing natural shots with my kids playing. With the 45mm you're a bit closer and more in their environment, and with the 25mm you're practically in their face! The 45mm is good for taking portraits when you don't have much distance between you and the subject; a head and shoulder shot will require a distance of around 1.5m.
     
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  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    There is no practical difference in my opinion, even wide open:

    How much blur? - A visual background blur calculator

    For an adult head and shoulder shot you have about 0.5% of difference, this means that the blurry disk diameter (with a background 10 meters behind the subject) with the O45 is 2.5% of the frame rather then 2.0% with the O60. For full body the difference is 0.1%.

    Stop the 45 down to f/2.1 and and difference is gone.
     
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  5. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Thanks all - seems there is little reason to spent the money other than controlling GAS.

    Although I find it a bit difficult to relate to blur in percentages they are small enough that i figure then dont matter. I guess the latter statement of stopping down the 45 to F/2.1 confirms that.

    But how about quality of the blur/bokeh? I know it is subjective but still any subjective opinion in tis regards?
     
  6. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    You are right, those percentages means about nothing to humans as we rarely take pictures of OOF black dots. This samples can give an idea of what the percentages looks like:

    Background blur and its relationship to sensor size

    But in practice it really depends, for a given percentage/distance, by each background. A grass field blurred 2% may look better and smoother then some tree branches blurred 4%.

    I think both have beautiful and similar blur. I got curious myself so I spent some time in the showcase threads:

    Showcase - Olympus 45mm f/1.8
    Showcase - Olympus 45mm f/1.8

    Showcase - Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro
    Showcase - Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro
    Showcase - Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro
     
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  7. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Thanks Klorenzo - I agree with you seems very little differencein quality of blur.

    I guess the 45mm is only warrented for indoor shooting when space is tighter and/or less light is available. I think I will save my money for now. I am sure I will have plenty of other things to spent my money on when the oly 1.2 line is released :)
     
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  8. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    305
    Oct 12, 2013
    I recently researched this some as well, since I've got the Sigma 60/2.8 -- my conclusion was the same as yours, that in terms of subject isolation, it didn't much matter. The tradeoffs are really distance vs low light ability (and macro, since you have the Olympus).

    The reason I looked into this was because I also was curious about the upcoming Sigma 30/1.4 -- it could be an interesting option for portraiture and would have roughly comparable subject isolation, from what I can tell.
     
  9. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    The Sigma 30mm 1.4 coud indeed be an interesting option for indoor portraits as well as a lot of other things... we are blessed(sometines cursed) with the many options in this system
     
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  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I know I'm tempted by the 30mm f1.4!

    Your 20mm isn't a bad lens in those conditions, either!
     
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  11. magicaxeman

    magicaxeman Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Feb 27, 2016
    Essex UK
    Ian
    Its when we look at trying to isolate subjects from the background/ background blur where the background is fairly close to the subject that the sensor size & crop factor of the M43 sensor comes into play as the smaller a sensor is, the more inherent depth of field it has, in effect an F2.8 lens on M43 will have a similar depth of field of a lens set at F5.6 on a full frame sensor or F4 on an APS-C camera.
    Hence the faster the lens the better when trying to throw backgrounds out as long as (yes theres a caveat) the quality of that background blur ( bokeh) is to your liking.
    I shoot a lot of portraits as they're my favourite subject and have just bought into M43 again, my choice of lenses?

    Oly 60mm f2.8 - Covers the classic longer portrait length for head & shoulders
    Oly 45mm F1.8 - Covers 90mm classic portrait length
    Oly 25mm F1.7 - Covers 50mm

    I've also got a Leica 75mm F2.5 that will be used giving me 150mm coverage,Zeiss 50mm F2 giving me 100mm, 200m F4 pentax prime & Nikon 300mm F4.5 to cover shooting birds/wildlife that between them cover the 400mm & 600mm ranges.

    You may have worked out I much prefer primes to shooting with zooms however had I been going for zooms then it would have been the panasonic 12-32 & 32-100 duo.

    So to finally answer your question. Yes I'd grab a 45mm F1.8, they can be picked up really cheaply and are worth every penny for the results they give.
     
  12. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Could probably replace both your 25/1.8 and 45/2.8 if you aren't tempted by macro and further streamline your optimal kit.

    I see you've added the 45-175. What do you think of it?
     
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I thought about it, but the 25mm is so compact and perfectly sharp from f1.8 on. It will be hard to get rid of. But 15-30-75 is a very sweet progression, IMO. I do feel like 15 and 25 can be a bit close and rarely bring both to the same outing. Do I want another 75mm f1.8 sized prime lens in the bag is the question.

    I'm already planning on selling the PL45mm though. I have a manual macro prime, too, and I really bought the PL45 on a whim due to an excellent deal that popped up. It's good, but I just haven't used it as much as the 25 and 75mm.

    45-175mm I haven't used much, really, yet. It's cold and gray and most things are dead or hibernating this time of year. I did use it to video a kid's school performance and that worked as I'd hoped.
     
  14. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    719
    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Solid points so far. The only thing i'd like to mention is the AF speed of the Oly 60mm. Even with focus limiter, it can hunt a bit. Not sure if that matters to you.

    That said, if Sigma makes the 19 and 60mm f1.4 lenses (hopefully), i'm selling my oly 25 and 60mm and getting those (plus the Raynox 250 for occasional macro shots).
     
  15. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    I Already own the 60mm and agree focus hunting can be an issue but mainly in low light in my experience at least in good light it is not to bad, I can manage getting shoots when the kids are riding their bikes. Also I love macro and would not replace it for any lense - also there is something about the lense and the quality of the pictures... Maybe it is what people refer to as rendering.

    That said a 19mm 1.4 may indeed be interesting although I love my Pana 1.7 so maybe not after all another prime would probably be the oly25 or Pana 25. Will be interesting to see oly's 1.2 lenses when they are introduced.
     
  16. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    I've always built my lens packages on this kind of basis ever since my second SLR. Doubling or halving the angle of view from one focal length to the next keeps the size of your kit down and reduces your investment. The difference between a 'normal' lens field of view and a 'super-wide' or 'short tele' is apparent when you put the next lens on your camera. When I want space, I want really wide (something lacking in m43). When I need more reach, I usually need a lot more reach - 1/2 to 1/4 the angle of view.
     
  17. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I bought the Oly 60 f2.8 macro back when I had to choose between the 45 and the 75. Didn't want/afford to buy both, and also wanted some macro capability. The 60 fit in the middle and could do macro. I figured it would be a good portrait lens and thought I was saving myself from GAS by doing this. However, later on I bought the 45 because it's so compact, relatively inexpensive, and well suited for using indoors. It was a better fit for a small fast prime kit in conjunction with my 17 f1.8.

    The 60, as you know, is like the 12-50 in that it's a lot longer (physically) than you think it needs to be. The 60 is no slouch at portraits, especially outdoors.

    This is not a great example; just happened to grab this during a recent outing where I was exercising the 60. Yahoo - login

    I think when you feel you must have a shorter focal length or wider aperture for portraits, then you'll know it's time to think about the 45. Just keep using your 60 until then. :)
     
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  18. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Mar 16, 2014
    I own both lenses. When I bought the 60mm I planned to sell the 45mm f1.8. But after using the 60 I decided I like the 45 better for everything except macro. It is smaller, lighter, faster, focuses faster, can produce shallower DOF and has better bokeh. The 60mm works well enough for portraits and pets that if I had bought it first I would have never tried the 45. But since I already own the 45mm f1.8 I am going to keep it. I use the 60mm for macro and nothing else. If you can afford the very reasonably priced 45 I would get it. If you are not shooting macro it is better in every way.

    The 45 does not just blur the background more, it blurs it better. Compared to the 45 out of focus highlights with the 60 have a bit of an edge sometimes instead of smoothly blurring away. It is a pretty subtle difference but it is there. It shows up more in shots where the background is not as blurred as the two pictures below. I took these selfies after I got the 60 to see how well it compared to the my 45. The camera focused on my nose when I used the 45 so do not use the top picture to judge how sharp the lens is, both the 45 and 60 are sharp lenses.

    First, the 45mm:
    full.

    Next, the 60mm:
    full.
     
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  19. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Sep 30, 2013
    Thanks for the comparison Dave, there are a few things other than the bokeh that I prefer in the 45/1.8 shot as well but I can't quite put my finger on them. I think it may be the overall rendering and micro contrast, and the fact that the perspective in 60/2.8 shot is a bit more compressed (it looks a little flat while the 45 has more of a 3 dimensional pop) due to the longer working distance for the same framing.
     
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  20. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    349
    Jan 28, 2015
    Denmark
    Stefan
    Great Stuff Dave that is exactly what I was looking for. You are right about the 45mm giving a smoother and nicer Bokeh partly depending on how busy the background is I assume. However overall I think the difference is subtle in my opinion, I take it both lenses are shot wide open? For my current purposes i dont think I will invest in the 45mm even though it is a bargain lens, perhaps if I come across a nice second hand lens.
     
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