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Zoom lens perspective vs prime lens

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by rossi46, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    Hallo all again,

    Has more beginners questions.

    A 45mm prime lens will give a more compressed view in comparison to say 14mm prime lens.

    Will a 14-45mm zoom lens give the same compressed view at the long end of 45mm when compared to the 45mm prime lens?
  2. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    It should be the same, the out of focus area will be more in focus with the zoom, because it's slower (larger f stop).
  3. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 25, 2010
    The 'compressed view' is solely determined by your distance to the subject. The reason you get a more compressed view with a tele lens is because it lets you stand further away, and that effect will be exactly the same whether you are using a prime or a zoom.
  4. dfreezy

    dfreezy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 23, 2012
    Boston, MA
    They should be the same, but some lenses of the supposed same focal length differ depending on the brand or particular lens design (ie one may be actually be 43mm rather than truly 45mm). Some lenses also exhibit 'focus breathing' where the field of view changes depending on the focus, even at the same focal length. On the telephoto end, slight differences will be minimal, but at wider angles, they are more noticeable.
  5. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    There are several issues here:

    #1 - Lens focal length NEVER EVER alters the perspective. Perspective is only altered by a change in shooting position relative to the foreground and background. Using a longer lens, in and of itself, will not give you a "compressed view". It's only when you stand further away to get the same framing with the longer lens that you get a more compressed view. Still, if you stood that further distance, shot with a wide lens and cropped the result would have EXACTLY the same perspective as shooting with the longer lens from that same position.

    #2 - Whether a lens is a zoom or prime doesn't make any difference, though a lens' true focal length usually differs somewhat from its marked focal length. The old standard was that zoom lenses can vary 10% and primes 5% from their marked lengths. Today, most will be within 5%, zoom or prime, but even with that one could be 5% longer and another 5% shorter leaving a 10% difference.
  6. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    This is incorrect. Zoom lenses are not necessarily slower, and even when they are if the prime is shot at the same aperture this wouldn't be true. In other words this is not a valid statement as written, and when written "correctly" it is so full of caveats that it is still a pretty useless thing to say.
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  8. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    True, but not really in this case- he specifically says he has the 14-45mm zoom, compared to the 45mm Oly.
  9. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    But only if (a caveat) you are using the 45mm Oly at an aperture wider than what is available on the zoom. Use both at f/5.6, or any aperture available on both lenses, at the same subject distance they will display the same depth of field. It's the focal length and the aperture used and not whether the lens is a prime or a zoom that impacts DOF.
  10. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    Thanks alot for all your replies.

    My second question on zoom lens, for example the 14 - 45mm -

    When using a zoom lens, the shutter speed requirement at different focal length will be nearly the same as prime lens?

    For example, when I use 14mm prime lens, I need minimum 1/14s speed to avoid camera shake blur.
    When I use 45mm prime lens, I need minimum 1/45s speed to avoid camera shake blur.

    Does the same concept of minimum shutter speed applies to zoom lens at the 14mm focal length, and at the 45 mm focal length of the zoom lens?
  11. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Zoom or prime are affected by camera shake depended on focal length. To avoid camera shake use the rule of thumb of not getting bellow 2xFocal length. This is true when there is no IBIS/OIS. For 45mm do not get bellow 90 shutter speed. With IBIS/OIS you can safely get to 45 shutter speed.
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Think of a zoom as a collection of individual primes conveniently packaged together. At any given focal length and aperture, all the same rules apply to the zoom as would to a prime.

    Note that, in general, a prime will be sharper and have better contrast than a zoom at the same focal length. Not always, though. There are primes that perform relatively poorly, and some very, very good zooms. For most amateur use, the available zooms are pretty darn good.
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