Why do m4/3 shooters feel threated so by "Equivalence" ???

Started Jun 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
Anders W
Forum ProPosts: 15,444Gear list
Re: that remains the best link :)
In reply to Great Bustard, Jun 8, 2012

Great Bustard wrote:

Didn't see that as a discussion about the merits of shooting fast primes wide open on FF.

No, but about the quality of different lenses when shot wide open.

I don't know which specific lenses you personally have and what your standards of acceptable performance is, but if we are talking systems performance rather than personal preferences and criteria, I agree with John that the good wide-open performance of these MFT primes lessens the practical difference between the formats.

Lessens, but does not remove. The Canon 24 / 1.4L II or Nikon 24 / 1.4G, are much larger and more expensive than the 12 / 2, for example, but handsomely outperform it, both in terms of light gathering ability, DOF options, and MTF-50 on their respective systems.

Light gathering ability, yes. DoF options, yes. MTF-50 no. Some figures from DxO, FF-normalized lp/mm at MTF-50, 1/3 from center, green channel, average between sagittal and tangential (for simplicity).

Nikkor 24/1.4G on D4 (16 MP):
1.4 23
2.0 27
2.8 31

Olympus 12/2 on GH2 (16 MP):
2.0 30
2.8 33

When it comes to resolution, I can't think of a reason to compare at anything other than the same DOF.

Be my guest. If we do so, the two are roughly on a par. But then the Nikkor has no advantage with regard to light accumulation and shallow DoF. This thing about eating the cake and having it too again.

But I agree that these 24s are top-notch FF lenses. However, my point is that it takes something like these up-to-date, very big, and very expensive, pro-level lenses to match MFT in this regard.

BTW: Do you have any examples of creative use of shallow DoF with a 24 on FF?


And where the use of a lens this wide is essential rather than coincidental?

"Essential" is a strong word -- how about "desirable"? And, yes, tons. Here's one example -- see if it doesn't have some sort of appeal for you (don't be shy to say you think it sucks -- I'm sure many feel that way):

It sucks! No more seriously, I can see what you are after. It vaguely reminds me a little of a classic photo by W. Eugene Smith. But I am not sure the effect works so well in this particular case, in part because of the environment which doesn't naturally support the subject isolation by other means, in part because the blur is not sufficiently pronounced.

Not all are the "shallow DOF whore" that I am.

True! I can't help but think again of the example I used against Bob in our discussion towards the end of the thread to which I linked above, and which illustrates how the photographic mood has changed over time with respect to things like these. Not that the idea of subject isolation by means of background blur is new or that it wasn't desirable in earlier times. But the idea that this is a key advantage of really fast glass, including WAs, is certainly not representative of earlier periods. Consider this ad for the Vivitar 35/1.9 announced in 1974 (a lens I bought soon thereafter and used for more than 30 years).


Here is the text of the ad (since it's a bit tricky to read it in the picture):

"Here is one of the fastest wide angle lenses available.

Why are so many photographers leaving their 50-55 mm lenses at home and using 35 mm as a normal lens? Because of the incredible depth of field possible with a medium wide angle lens. Look at the example on the next page taken with the new Vivitar 35 mm f1.9 lens. In sunlight, stopped down to f11, everything is in focus from 4 feet 8 inches to 14 ft 9 inches. (With a 55 mm lens, the depth of field would only extend from 5 feet 9 inches to 9 feet). You simply prefocus at 7 feet and practically anything interesting that happens on the street can be shot, in focus, without wasting valuable seconds refocusing. When you get the picture, you can then crop to suit. Or shooting indoors with tungsten light and color, the extra depth of field can make the difference between a partially or totally sharp picture. Of course the depth of field is reduced when you shoot wide open with a wide angle lens but it is still greater than that of a normal 50-55 mm lens.

Why is the f1.9 speed so important. Because it is practically as fast as the standard 50-55 lens and opens up that whole wonderful area of "available light" photography. Until recently, there were very few wide angle lenses this fast and they were usually very expensive. Computer design efficiencies have made it possible for Vivitar to offer this lens with top resolution, high contrast and a rational price."

It is quite interesting to compare this ad to the way Panasonic presents its 20/1.7 (actually more like 18.5/1.7 and thus equivalent to 37/3.4), more than 30 years later:


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