What a difference a lens makes!

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by laser8, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. laser8

    laser8 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 29, 2013
    Mare nostrum, Istria
    Having walked the road uphill from P&S to advanced compact, to finally find a good system in micro43, I thought I may share my experiences with others and maybe save them some time and money (if others confirm my thinking is on the right path!)

    I do not speak as a pro of any kind, I use the pictures I take for family albums, to document my work in the orchards, and for fun. I do enjoy the process of taking and postprocessing pictures, and am starting to develop an unhealthy interest in printing...

    Anyway, I upgraded to :43: from an LX5, with just a bit of technical knowledge, and got a "kit" lens to go with my camera. I thought it would give me the additional quality over the LX5 that I found I wanted. It was so, on a nice summer day. Winter come, and taking pictures of my small daughter inside proved to be very difficult, as it was to get good macro shots with just a close up add-on lens.

    After I managed to fund them, I got two primes to cover the above needs - the Panasonic 25 and the 45. Oh boy, was I in for a surprise! The basic quality image gap was similar to scuba diving with swimming glasses or a proper mask! And the rendering of the pictures, the mood and the way colours look, not really comparable! If before the good primes a technically good picture (to me) left me a bit cold, the looks of a properly nailed pic with the 45 gives a dreamy, etheric rendering I could not imagine before. The 25 on the other side, allows me to have pictures taken in less than ideal conditions, speaking of available light. However, it is much harder to obtain a beautiful (to me, again) picture in good light with this lens. For some reason unknown to me, generally the results are a bit too clinical, however it gives its best renderings of reality in shaded places, at nights, indoors.

    The point I was trying to make, is that better lenses (for the purposes I need most) make the process of taking pics, and the results, much more pleasant. Before one shells out a lot of money on new bodies, bigger sensors, maybe it would be worth to think a bit about the most used focals, and get a good lens.

    And most important of all, try them (if possible) to see the emotions they are able to imprint in the scene, as this is the biggest gain I noticed, after getting used to the improved overall quality.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    It's interesting that you say that about these 2. I don't have the 45mm but I often read comments from people accusing it of being the overly clinical one , and 25 as the special-rendering one. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  3. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Please show us "what a difference a lens makes". I don't have any primes and I've read mixed opinions as to whether they make a substantial difference in image quality (in good light) as compared to kit lenses.
  4. I have both - they do render slightly differently but the focal length is a more dramatic difference.
  5. Curtox

    Curtox Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 11, 2013
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    The day I picked up the Sigma 19mm for landscape use, and had a look at the difference in IQ compared to the 14-42pz, was the day I really fell in love with this system. Kit lenses can get the job done, but a decent prime can really bring out the best in the camera (and photographer).

    Nearly every image in my Flickr was taken with the wonderfully affordable Sigma 19mm (on my G3). Can't recommend it enough: Flickr.com/photos/curtox
  6. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Primes have and always will render better images than zooms if all other things are equal. There are several reasons why.

    First, there are fewer elements{individual pieces of glass} inside a prime. A zoom lens has extra elements to allow adjustment to various focal lengths and this causes the image quality to go down{very small amount but it does add up}. Second, most primes have a larger max aperture. This allows for shooting in lower light but also affects the sharpness.

    Lenses are rarely their sharpest fully open and usually have to be stopped down 2 stops to reach it. Since the average kit zoom is fully open at f4 or so, it has to be stopped down to f8 to be it's sharpest. A fast prime may reach the same maximum sharpness at f2.8{for an f1.4 lens}. This is an average so please don't reply with hate! I know that some lenses are very sharp fully open and reach max sharpness with only one stop but they are the exception and not the rule.
  7. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    No way...I really, really, really wanted to love the PL25...but I just don't. The 45 is a wonderful little guy with gorgeous rendering! For reasons unrelated to photography, I'm putting some of my stuff in storage...the 75 will be stored for a year or two, while the 45 will take over as my go-to fast prime. I have all the confidence in the world in this little guy! :D
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I hung on to my E-PL1/E-PL2 for a long time thanks to fast primes....:cool:
  9. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Patrick Kristiansen
    Op: welcome the club:) good primes make all the difference in the world. For me, so much I almost never use a zoom anymore, and I just got the 12-40.

    Interesting how you compare the two you got, as much as I agree they are both great, I dont see the 25 as clinical in any way. It has been critized for being not clinical enough elsewhere. Some say it favours character at the cost of sharpness. I dunno about that and dont care too much. For me, it is the one lens I'd keep if I could only keep one.

    Patrick K
  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Honestly, it very much depends on the prime/zoom and on the subject matter. I love a lot of my prime images, but a good number of the really large prints were all shot with zooms. For landscape, for example, a high quality zoom that is sharp corner to corner stopped down is more important than a prime lens that 'renders' really well. For me, shooting for the sake of shooting is primes territory, slows me down, lots of fun, gets me a lot of keepers. Travel? Mostly zooms. Because of flexibility. But high quality zooms, because primes have spoiled me.
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