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Recommendation for Car Photography

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by donsun, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. donsun

    donsun New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 1, 2011
    Hello,

    I'm fairly new here and have done some lurking, but I figured I'd post a question of my own after not finding a direct answer for what I'm looking for. I'm looking to go beyond the kit lens that came with my used Panasonic G1 and I am looking at adapted lenses since I am shopping on a budget (<$75) with the added bonus that I get to learn about manual focusing. I was wondering what lenses would be recommended for automobile photography. I have been looking at the sample images archives and found that a lot of the lenses in the 50-55mm range seems to be within my price range, but I wasn't sure if they were the appropriate lenses for the photographing cars as my main subjects.

    So far I have looked at the Helios 44M, SMC 50/1.7, Rokkor 45/2. I would appreciate it if you guys could confirm that I am looking at the right range of lenses, or suggest some that are more appropriate/better for my application.

    Thanks in advance,
    donsun
     
  2. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Welcome donsun. :)

    Can you tell us more about what kind of car photography you expect to be doing? For example, will it be racing (cars in motion), car shows, single car portraits, etc. What do you think you are missing when using the kit lens (I assume it's the 14-45mm).

    --Warren
     
  3. donsun

    donsun New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 1, 2011
    Guess I forgot to mention that. I'll probably be doing mostly still cars either at car shows or single cars both indoors and outdoors and some moving cars at auto-x events or track events.

    I have the 14-45 that came with the G1 currently. In terms of still cars, I would like to get sharper images and a faster lens would be helpful for motion photography. One thing I forgot to mention was that I share the camera with my sister who likes taking photos of flowers/plants as well as food, so perhaps a lens with some nice bokeh would be an added bonus.

    I'm not sure if there is a prime lens out there capable of serving a function for both our interests, but if there is then even better!
     
  4. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    If you're looking to take shots of cars standing still, particularly at a car show or such where you'll be limited in the amount you can "zoom with your feet", then you want to get a WIDE lens. I would suggest the native Panasonic 14mm as a good place to start. Unfortunately, at around $170 that lens is around $100 over your budget.

    Wide legacy lenses are generally slower than native lenses. You might want to search for something like [post=288169]this Super Takumar 28/3.5[/post].

    For inspiration, here's a nice set of car shots taken with the Panasonic 14mm.
     
  5. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
    I would recommend getting a red Ferrari ...
     
  6. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Actually the kit lens would be a better choice for car photography in my opinion. You usually want to go pretty wide and the kit lens at 14mm can't be matched by any legacy lens of reasonable price.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    This is good advice. I'd shoot with the kit lens you have first, it's likely to perform as well or better than any reasonably priced, wide, legacy lens. I'd recommend that you save up for the 14mm or 20mm native prime.
     
  8. donsun

    donsun New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 1, 2011
    I see, thanks. Guess I'll just wait and build up my budget for the 14mm
     
  9. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Not that I'm recommending against legacy lenses in general, I shoot with them alot. Just for your specific application I think the kit is a better choice.

    If you have some cash around buy yourself a fast 50mm (1.7, 1.8) and play around with it, you will get that bokeh without breaking the bank.
     
  10. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    227
    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Tuan Huynh
    I shoot still cars with my 25mm F/1.4. The most important thing for me is to take my time to manually focus - the focus assist helps, but I'm not sure if the G1 features it or not. However, for car shows where you want to get people out of the way, just use the 14-45 at 14mm. I typically use an aperture of F/4-6.3 at base ISO and increase the shutter speed. Here's some examples.

    Night shots
    7558036360_2e0dbfb909.
    2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track by tuanies, on Flickr

    7185818095_3e0475b07a.
    KIA Soul ! by tuanies, on Flickr

    Daytime
    7235938316_c66c6eff8b.
    2012 Ford Focus Titanium by tuanies, on Flickr

    At a car event, hand held
    7013974147_6ffda41bd1.
    Rover_TC-2000-3 by tuanies, on Flickr

    6867854506_5cc2a652c5.
    Mazda_Cosmo-1 by tuanies, on Flickr

    6867865482_19bbb78b6c.
    Italians-7 by tuanies, on Flickr
     
    • Like Like x 3
  11. atomic

    atomic Mu-43 Veteran

    224
    Nov 3, 2011
    For action shots at autox and track days you may want more reach, depending on how close to the action you are allowed to get. I find that my track shots are generally most pleasing when one or two cars fill the frame. I've used the Panasonic 45-200mm quite a bit for this. You might be better off saving for this lens than a prime, As you'll probably gain more from focal range than you will from the speed and sharpness of primes.

    If you or your sister has another camera with interchangable lenses, then you can probably find an adapter for them. This will add to your lens collection very cheaply.

    Also, don't be afraid to use manual focus on your autofocus lens(es). It doesn't give as nice a feel as old manual focus glass, but it does give you control and practice.
     
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Yes, for track photography you're probably going to want something in the 135 to 200mm range. You can probably find some good deals on legacy 135mm lenses, as they were pretty popular for a while. Legacy 200s won't be as common, but you might find some zooms in the 70-200 range that would work.
     
  13. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    car shots???
    qué tan boring....



    nobull-9.



    nobull-12.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. donsun

    donsun New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 1, 2011
    Wow, thanks for the suggestions guys. Well from looking at tuanie's post, the picture of the gen coupe and the focus seem most like the style of pictures I'd like to take, but the 25mm Panasonic lens seems to be 4x the price of the 14mm lens. Is there any legacy substitute that will get me similar results, or is the kit lens still more suitable for the application?

    I do see what you guys say about suggesting telephoto's for track events since spectator areas are fairly far. If it is the case that the kit lens is sufficient for the job to get photo's like tuanie's, then perhaps a zoom lens is more suitable for the next lens.
     
  15. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    227
    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Tuan Huynh
    You can use the kit lens. The 25mm isn't really needed, I bought it for portraits mostly which is where the wide aperture, the Gen shots were shot at F/5 I believe, ill have to check my exif data
     
  16. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    You already have some great advice, so I'll just add my .02. :smile: (and inundate everyone with too many pictures...:biggrin:)

    The 14-45mm kit lens is a fine, sharp lens, and should be great for covering your static car shots. Now, given your <$75 budget, you are pretty much limited to the range of lenses that you have been looking at. This is fine, you should go ahead and find one with a good reputation for having good optics, and then go experiment with it.

    For your racing shots, I second the recommendation for you to save up for a nice tele-zoom or tele-prime, like the 45-200mm or a legacy lens in the 135m to 200mm range.

    I have had success using the 14-45mm, 14mm, 20mm, legacy 50mm, 45-200mm, and legacy 200mm, and many other lenses with my mu-43 gear.

    Here are a few samples:

    G1 w/ Lumix 20mm:

    orig.

    G1 w/early 60s, Leitz 50mm f2.8 Elmar

    orig.

    G1 w/14-45mm @ 16mm

    orig.

    G1 w/14-45mm @ 17mm

    orig.

    G1 w/200mm f4 Micro-Nikkor

    orig.

    G1 w/14-45mm @ 14mm

    orig.

    GF1 w/ Lumix 20mm

    orig.

    G1 w/45-200mm (Victory Lap)

    orig.

    G1 w/45-200mm

    orig.


    --Warren
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    762
    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Neil
    Not that I have a lot of experience (with cameras OR cars), but to start I'd invest in a circular polarizer to cut down glare for your stills. Maybe some others will tell me how I'm wrong about that, don't know. :) But I'm a rank amateur and got some pretty nice results with the 14mm and a CPL.

    7553749374_120c7019c2_z.

    7553751408_a74da8da6b_z.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    I didn't get a CPL, rather I use a Hoya Linear polarizer for my daytime car shots using the 14mm...


    dro14-2.


    dro14-3.


    dro14-9.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    762
    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Neil
    nice! I thought linear polarizers didn't work with auto focus? obviously i'm wrong . . .
     
  20. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    True for DSLRs with phase-detection AF, but not for contrast-detection cameras like m43 ...