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Shallow depth-of-field lenses.

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Superstriker#8, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    What lenses would you recommend for shallow DOF in normal shooting conditions, at least kit-lens level sharpness wide-open, preferably 25-85mm focal length.
  2. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    That's a pretty wide range and there are plenty of lenses covered in that range that will give you shallow depth of field. What do you mean by "normal shooting conditions"? Because a Pana Leica 25mm f1.4 and an Olympus 75mm f1.8 will both give you shallow depth of field but you will be shooting them quite differently.
  3. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Hard to give advice based on that very vague request but your list would include:

    Olympus 25mm f1.8
    Panasonic 25mm f1.4
    Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2
    Olympus 45mm f1.8
    Olympus 75mm f1.8
    Sigma 60mm f2.8
    Panasonic 35 - 100mm f2.8

    What are you going to be shooting? There is a huge difference in what a 25mm FL looks like compared to 85mm....
  4. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    How much do you want to spend...that will narrow things down a bit...personally, I LOVE the 75...but it ain't cheap, and the focal length can be a bit long for some (not me though).
  5. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Oly 45mm is the best value in m43 for shallow DoF
    • Like Like x 3
  6. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Every prime of the relevant FL in the Pan/Oly stable fits your criteria. :) 
  7. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    I forgot to mention, preferably under $350 or so, and I already have the 60mm f2.8 macro. And also, 35-85mm actual focal length.
    Something like the SLR magic or Rokinon lenses.
    Thanks, and sorry for not being clear in my original post.
  8. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    I would say Olympus 45mm 1.8 in that case. If you need something a little more general use then spring the Oly 25mm. Both of those are pretty close to your price range but again very different lenses in use. Again it depends on what you plan on shooting...
  9. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Does aperture alone determine DOF whereas FL AND aperture determine amount of blur?
  10. gprana

    gprana Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 3, 2014
    Format, focal length, aperture, and subject distance affect DOF. You might want to try calculators such as http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html to check DOF for different combinations of the above factors :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  11. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Also check www.howmuchblur.com as DOF and background blur aren't the same concepts. Most DOF calculates will tell you how much is in focus (which doesn't really vary by focal length for a given aperture, say 1.8). However what does vary is how much of the background is in the frame eg how enlarged the background is, with longer focal lengths you move further back to get the same framing, which means the background is compressed/enlarged making the out of focus area appear even more out of focus. DOF calculators on the other hand will only tell you how much is in sharp focus, which doesn't really tell the whole story but may be useful for other reasons.


    Distance to subject, and subject's distance to background elements are very, very important as well. If you're close to your subject, but there is a wall 6 inches behind them, it will be very difficult to blur the wall. However, if you move the subject so the background is far away, it will be very easy to blur the BG, even with a slower lens.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    60mm macro
  13. poopstick

    poopstick Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 9, 2013
    Burlington Ontario
    With the 60mm macro, you already have the shallowest depth of field lens in all of Micro 4/3.
  14. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Thats an odd way to look at it, I guess its technically correct if you don't care what your subject is or how much of it is in the frame and just want shallow DOF in spite of image content.

    However, if you want to say, take a headshot, or a full body shot, then no, various other lenses will provide narrower DOF.
  15. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    Well, but not at normal portrait shooting distances. In such conditions the 60mm and 45mm Zuikos provide approximately the same DoF.

    If shallowness of DoF is your main concern, then a vintage 50mm/58mm F/1.4 is a good bet for lots of bokeh on the cheap. Throw in one of those budget $100 focal reducers to get them to F/1.0.
  16. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I would guess there are more than a hundred lenses that would fit your criteria ... :eek: 
  17. poopstick

    poopstick Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 9, 2013
    Burlington Ontario
    Oh. I know. I'm just having some fun.
  18. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    So let's hear them smarty-pants! ;) 

    I second the suggestion of a 50mm MF SLR lens + adapter, for portraits on a budget.

    Otherwise the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is a fantastic choice, keep your eye on the Buy & Sell Forum here, not hard to find for well under $300. For wider, the Olympus 25mm or Panasonic 5mm are both great but above your budget.
  19. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Thanks for that link, it's a great online calculator. Here are some good real-world examples to go along with those charts, comparing different focal lengths at same aperture-


    It shows how even with same calculated DOF (as opposed to 'background blur', images will look much different at different focal lengths. The second link describes it as 'absolute blur' vs. 'relative blur', which I think is a pretty accurate way of describing it that also easy to grasp.

  20. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    My pants are silent at the moment.
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