Primes and Hyperfocal

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by bob_cook, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on the purchase of an EM-1 system. I've sold all my manual focus medium format gear, as well as all my Nikon film and digital, and lenses. Going to the mirrorless side.
    My favorite subject is mountain streams and waterfalls. I spend a number of weeks in the Spring and Fall in the Smokies. My normal practice was all medium format primes, Velvia, f16, and hyperfocal focusing set at f11.
    Do the Olympus m43 primes have DOF scales? The only Olympus prime I have is a 25mm f2.8 for the older 4/3s system. It does not have any DOF scale. Could be I'll have to adjust my technique and rely on experience and the large DOF of the smaller sensor systems. But I'd like to find out before I make my purchase. I have already decided to get the new 12 - 40 zoom for general purpose. I'm thinking of the Panasonic 7 - 14 for really wide POV, which I tend to like for my water subjects.
    Any info and opinions are welcome. Thanks.
  2. The Oly 12/f2 and the 17/f1.8 both have DOF scales while the Oly 45/f1.8 does not. Many of us have been shooting landscapes for years using zooms on SLRs and DSLRs, so shooting with a zoom on an M43 would be no different. There are a number of DOF Apps available for smartphones which can be used instead of DOF scales. Note that for M43, diffraction has a negative impact on sharpness at larger fstops than FF or MF, so I rarely stop down beyond F8 (which provides DOF equivalent to F16 on FF).
  3. Thanks, Kenneth. Good information on the diffraction issue; I was not aware. When shooting 35mm or more recently FF digital, I also used a couple of zooms, so I'm familiar with the technique; however most of my work was done with 6X6 or Hasselblad Xpan using primes. I'm sure I'll figure out the m43 approach.
  4. It is easy to do a quick preview DOF on mirrorless because of the increase in gain in lower light levels. Vs computation and such.... I don't miss it much on my 12-35, my favorite lens available at time, and one for all seasons and all reasons. Zooms are so versatile, and so good now, its a pleasure to use one of the good models.... You will find micro four thirds to give plenty latitude in focus for your kind of work - landscape and nature.
    I am looking hard at the EM-1 down the road when I feel the need for something new with Wi Fi and all the goodies. Olympus has pulled another rabbit out of its hat with this solid device. Comes the revolution, tovarich, you will be ready and leading the pack, comrade Bob.....Smokies Park is still my favorite from the old campout days in Eastern Appalachians.
  5. I did some tests to determine where diffraction sets in on my E-M5. Softening is just perceptible at f8, quite obvious, but not disastrous at f11 and horrible at f16. I find f8 to give the best dof/diffraction balance (remember that dof will be equivalent to f16 on full frame and f11 on DX).
  6. Thanks all for the information. DOF is very important to me in most of my preferred subjects. Sounds like I should be able to strike a balance between DOF and sharpness if I change my "f16 standard" when using the m43 gear.
  7. When I want to get more DOF, I tend to use f/4 or f/8 and I check focus on the crucial element in the frame using the magnification feature. Being able to check the DOF in magnification mode beats a DOF scale.
  8. Yeah, I haven't used a hyperfocal distance to get near to sharp at an f stop since I stopped doing stereoscopic film work where everything had to be sharp and Kodachrome had low ISO so f stop selection was important. With four thirds and micro four thirds the pendulum has swung (almost too far) to where depth of field is too great for the mushy background folks like for people pictures. Diffraction? Never entered my mind, never shot at f 22 where it might rear its head. I can't even remember what it looks like, frankly....that is me.
  9. Part of the learning curve for me will be to understand and get good at manual focus with the E-M1. I'm sure I'll figure out a good process for me, it will just take a little time. Your comments have been helpful for me to understand the differences between m43 and medium format. Thanks.
  10. Talk about a change of gear! I am sure there are many MFT owners who would love the chance to experiment with MF equipment. Just before reading this post I was reflecting on the last couple of days in which I left my D5100 at home and relearned to love my GX1. I've been hankering after a semi-pro DSLR for ages and while the D5100 have a very good sensor indeed, it is very easy to understand why many talented shooters are more than happy with their MFT systems. Rather than buy a Sony SLT A77 I am going to give my MFT images another step up this month by buying the best MFT lens available for SP. I currently don't quite know which that is (20/1.7 or 25/1.4)!
    I really do love the increased DoF these smaller sensors give. One needs to be very careful with how one processes the images and sets up the picture controls to get the very best out of the sensor, but one very experienced shooter whose opinion I respect has told me he feels the GX1 sensor can outresolve any MFT lens. I am going to put this to the test very soon. Shooting landscapes will allow you to really experiment. I wish you luck.
  11. Hi Bob,
    Relative to the 56mm frame width of your 6x6 body or the 65mm frame width of your XPAN, the E-M1's 17.3mm sensor has only 30.9% or 26.6% of those widths, respectively.
    Shooting the 6x6 at f/16 would be like shooting the E-M1 at f/4.9, in terms of diffraction and DoF for an equivalent focal length. (f/4.9 is 30.9% of f/16; you're opening up 3 and 1/3 stops.)
    Shooting the XPAN at f/16 would be like shooting the E-M1 at f/4.3, in terms of diffraction and DoF for an equivalent focal length. (f/4.3 is 26.6% of f/16; you're opening up 3 and 2/3 stops.)
    In summary, you'll find the smaller sensor giving you the same DoF and diffraction for a given print size and viewing distance, at shutter speeds that are more than eight times faster (corresponding with opening up more than 3 stops in each comparison).
    Are your E-M1 primes three 3 and 1/3 or 3 and 2/3 stops faster than your 6x6 and XPAN primes?
  12. Mike - thanks for the info. I don't have any primes yet for the E-M1. Heck, I don't even have the E-M1 yet; still on backorder. In addition to the 12 - 40 I've already ordered, I think I may pick up the Olympus 9 - 14 SWD 4/3s lens and use it with an adapter. It's an f4.0, I think. But your point is well made. As I think about my shooting and subject styles, I think one of the bigger problems I'll have is getting the shutter speeds slow enough to give me the silky water appearance that I like in the waterfall and stream photography. I always use a polarizer; may also have to add some ND filtration. Regardless, it will be fun experimenting and learning a new system.
    With the exception of the 80mm on the H'blad, all the other lenses were f3.5 or f4.0 max aperture, I think (they've been gone for awhile now).
  13. Should have said 7 - 14 SWD in the above post.

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