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why get a telephoto?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by david88, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. david88

    david88 New to Mu-43

    Aug 14, 2014
    A possibly naive question from a digital newbie:

    After 40 years with a film SLR, I recently bought my first digital camera - an OMD EM1. I initially thought I would buy a set of lenses equivalent to my film set (35mm, 85 and 135 or 200). I started with the Oly 45mm and planned to get the 75mm later. After 6 months with the 45, I'm wondering if i need another telephoto at all. Why not just crop after the fact?

    I've done test prints at 6X magnification and the sharpness is amazing. With image stabilization & autofocus, the human error is pretty much gone, leaving only a very sharp image. I can certainly print a 2x crop at 11x14, which is the most I want to do.

    Shooting 35 mm slides, I had to compose the picture perfectly in the viewfinder so I often needed a telephoto. But with digital, I can crop after the fact. The sharpness is fine and, if I know my theory correctly, I get the same perspective & depth of field from cropping that I would from a telephoto. So why would I put up with the expense, bulk and inconvenience of another lens? Am I missing something?
  2. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    My personal advice, don't shoot with the O75 it will save you $$$. If you decide to try it out be prepared to buy it. The 75mm lens is really really sharp with great rendering. I resisted for quite a while, but it would be one of the last lenses I give up.
  3. I used to have a D200 that shot 10.2 megapixels. I was fine with that size of a photo up until I had a 24"x36" poster printed from one. I was warned by AdoramaPix that I was pushing the limits for that size of a print with 10mp image but went ahead because it is what the customer wanted. Really, as a poster and standing back from it, it looked ok. But within a couple feet of from the eye, you could see a bit of the enlarged pixels in some areas. Luckily the customer was fine with it but really I wished I could have delivered a bit better quality. That was my reason for upgrading to a 16mp camera.

    So now, I do sometimes crop down on images where I didn't get the reach with my lens that I needed but, in the back of my head I am always reminded, don't crop it down too much. Never know when you might need to print a poster again. There lies my need for telephoto.

    Also, I shoot stock images and the larger images often are more appealing to customers even if they really don't need that large of an image. It's the whole, "more megapixels is better" philosophy.
  4. S28546

    S28546 New to Mu-43

    Feb 9, 2014
    I've been thinking about this a lot as I try to decide if I should get a wide normal lens (Oly 17 1.8 or Oly 25 1.8) or use a Oly 12 2.0 with my cameras 2x digital teleconverter or cropping in PP.

    I can see advantages using a lens at a natural length in focus selection if you are relying on the camera to focus on a point as opposed to manual focusing. Using the native lens will narrow the image target that the focus points will cover (i.e. the camera will not choose to focus on a point that is in an area you plan to crop). Auto Exposure calculations will be based on the image you want and not biased by what you will crop as well.

    As a novice hobbyist (biggest I've had printed is about 12x18), I guess I'm on the side of relying on cropping if the lens I'd get is less than twice the length of a lens I already had, as long as what I have is still suitable to me. If I were a better photographer or planning on trying to make money with it, I'd might go for the additional lens.
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The obvious answer is that if you crop an image taken with the 75 it will be even more "telephoto". :smile:
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I an not a big fan of extreme cropping, but if you are fine with your results, that is all that matters. In the end, I usually look at pixels, output and expectations. I like enough pixels to provide a quality print in the size(s) that I prefer, and my expectations are that it should hold up to very close viewing. Thus, I like having resolution to spare if at all possible.

  7. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    I'm not much a telephoto guy, easily 90% of my stuff is between 24mm to 50mm....so I've never really had the need for anything much longer except for the occasional 'long shot'. At one point though I did pick up the Panasonic 35-100 because Ithought I'd get into the longer stuff, amazing lens but severely underused and hence I sold it off. Just too big and too costly for such sparse usage. I did however appreciate having the extra reach so when I got rid of the 35-100 I wanted to replace it with something similar that could come in handy on those rare occasions, but, I wanted something cheaper and smaller, something that could sit neatly at the bottom of my shoulder bag without adding weight or bulk. I ended up getting the Panasonic 45-150....and absolutely love it. Sure, it's not the stellar premium lens the 35-100 is, but heck, it delivers brilliant results in good to average light, is insanely small and light and cost me less than $200....not to mention the extra reach (200mm vs 300mm eqv).

    I haven't used it prolifically, but sure has come in handy when called upon.

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    Flamenco Guitar3 [explored] by Livnius, on Flickr

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    Flamenco Guitar5 by Livnius, on Flickr
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  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    If you need the reach, then getting a longer focal length makes sense and you know why you need it.

    Go out and shoot with the EM1 and either the Oly 75-300 or Pany 100-300, which gives you an optical FOV of 600mm - then go ahead and kick on the 2x Digtial teleconverter, which gives you an equivalent FOV of 1200mm.
    Then turn on the IBIS1 and shoot the Supermoon handheld at night 1/200, f/6.7, ISO 1000.

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    Full Moon From Olympus by gryphon1911 [A.Live], on Flickr
    This is uncropped.

    Then ask yourself again why you might want a longer focal length.
    Again - if you have subjects that require that distance be covered - it makes sense. If you are happy with the way you shoot, that is great - keep on keeping on!! :D 
    • Like Like x 3
  9. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    Yes, you'll get the same perspective but with less resolution;
    and No, you won't get the same DOF.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    Keep you eye open for the next time Olympus sells their 40-150 for around 125 or so. I've found that lens to be surprisingly useful, and at that price it's too cheap to not to add it to your kit...
  11. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Use a fisheye for BIF, never miss a shot or focus....
    • Like Like x 6
    • Funny Funny x 4
  12. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    As far as I can see, the 16 mp sensors certainly have room for cropping. It makes me comfortable with primes again; just a double/half focal length lens set(12-25-45-90+), and crop anything in between.
    But it depends on what you use for out put. In my case, 12x16 inch (30x40cm) prints are very fine. If I would prefer printing on museum scale (40x60 inch, 100x125 cm or up), I would not be a happy camper...
  13. david88

    david88 New to Mu-43

    Aug 14, 2014
    Can you elaborate re DOF? I would love to get shallow DOF - lack of it is the one thing I don't like about micro 4/3. But how does a telephoto lens help?
    Whether I use 2x telephoto or 2x crop, my distance from the subject & background is the same. At the same aperture, the DOF should also be the same. No?
  14. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    The longer the focal length, the shallower the DOF. As well as aperture and distance between subject and background, it's the third way of creating shallow DOF.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  15. You get a greater degree of background blur and subject separation, but the DoF doesn't really change if the framing is the same.
  16. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Thanks! I needed a laugh this afternoon!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    The plane of focus at a given focal length, aperture combination gets smaller as the camera distance is increased from the subject.

    EG: you like the look of a 135mm f2 on a FF sensor where a typical working distance is lets say 8 feet. The depth of field will be the same on m4/3 at 135mm f2 at 8'. The 8' is a problem as you know have a nose shot instead of a headshot. So what the manufacturers have done is equaled the field of view by halving the FL while maintaining similar range apertures which effectively increases the area of focus. So to have the same look (math may get fuzzy here as I'm manipulating all three factors, and I've worked 16 days straight atm, and I just got up from a nap), you need to have a 270mm f2 at 16' or a 67.5mm f1.2 at 8'.

    BUT WAIT, there's more! As Focal length/magnification increases, the larger the hyperfocal distances (in or out of focus) will appear in the picture compared to the subject in focus. more compression as we say. so that 270mm lens will be more compressed (feature thinning) looking compared to the 67.5mm, and both still unlike the 135mm.

    If anyone cares to correct that math out, or point out errors, thanks, I'm going to go back to bed. Why did I write this. Too late to delete. zzzzz
  18. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think if you have to ask, then you may not need one at present, and I think the reason may be present in your comments.

    You're not shooting the same way. You used to shoot slides and couldn't crop after the shot. If you could have, would you have needed your longer lens when you were shooting film? A longer lens was your crop technique with film, you're doing it differently with digital. Do you still need to do it the old way? Really, only you can answer that.

    But there may be a different answer as well. "After 40 years with film…" So, you used film for a long time and I'll lay odds that your final lens set with film developed over that period. Were you still using the longer lens a lot at the end, or less, Was it still as essential to you as it was when you originally bought a long lens or had it become more of an option, an occasional use, and handy to have around. Has the shift to digital made some other shifts in your photography over time more noticeable and you're simply noticing that the long lens option is no longer essential to what and how you shoot?

    If you're wondering, then I wouldn't rush to buy. Leave it for a while and see what happens. If you stop wondering and start needing, then buy. If you don't then just keep doing what you're doing and start looking for a different lens to fuel your desire. A new toy every now and then is fun, but it's more fun if it's a toy you really want instead of just wonder about :) 
  19. Lindt

    Lindt New to Mu-43

    Dec 2, 2012
    I use a telephoto zoom on my Nikon as I shoot sports with it. No time to crop a 100 or more keepers from a game (Australian rules football) that will be just for the players or the club.

    The E-P1 then E-P3 and now E-M5 are for travel. More time to think about shots, "zoom with your feet", don't want to carry 20kg of kit, 9mm rather than 90mm is more usual and so on means I haven't bought a tele. Tempted by the 40-150 though.
  20. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa

    pardon the out of order answer

    for the same reasons you don't just crop after the fact with a film SLR. I can only guess that you never did dark room printing or "light room" work (scanner) and crop after the fact.

    To be honest my Nikon LS-4000 yeilds resuls that are quite close to what a micro4/3 will yeild. For exactly the same reasons its better to capture what you want as closely as you want than it is to crop.

    Lenses are made to suit the resolution of the format, so ewen if you only want 1200x800 if you crop the guts out of it you'll loose resolution simply because you're going to be magnifying the image and magnifying the capture ability of the lens.

    perhaps you don't ... for instance you're not going to get a shot like this from a 20mm f1.7 with cropping

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    nor this

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    certainly not that you'll be able to print at even A4 and have look any good.

    if you're not after such types of images then clearly you have no need.

    what does this mean?

    probably ... which answers your question in some ways. Although you won't be able to get such subtle control over DoF ... but it sounds like you're not after that anyway...

    The subject matter is different, but on my blog post here you can see how much I can actually crop on 35mm and still get a result which isn't dreadful compared to micro43 (and in that example the digital had an advantage of being taken closer to the subject)

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