Why not always shoot wide open with m4/3s?

Started Aug 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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mpgxsvcd
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Why not always shoot wide open with m4/3s?
Aug 6, 2012

I have seen a lot of m4/3s pictures lately where the apertures are intentionally stopped down to F10 and smaller. Is there ever a good reason to do that with m4/3s?

Most of the m4/3s lenses are designed to be at least moderately sharp wide open and almost all of them are sharp across the lens within 1 stop of wide open.

The broad depth of field of m4/3s is often cited as one of its weaknesses. So why are people stopping the already slow m4/3s zoom lenses down? The 14-42mm is the only m4/3s lens that is not acceptable wide open and needs to be stopped down almost 1 stop before it even comes close to sharp. And that lens is universally known as a less than stellar lens.

The 20mm F1.7 is tack sharp by F2.0-F2.2 and really quite good wide open. Same for the 14-140mm, 25mm F1.4, 45mm F1.8, 12mm F2.0….etc.

Are people stopping it down because that is what they are used to doing with Full frame to get a broader depth of field? It seemed like the pro photographer shooting the Olympics with the G5 was doing that originally. He stopped and the image quality of his shots noticeably improved.

In this picture he is using the 35-100mm F2.8 lens at F5.6 instead of F2.8 presumably because he thinks the depth of field will be too shallow. He could not be using the 14-140mm for this shot because its largest aperture at that focal length is greater than F5.6.

Focal Length: 68mm ISO: 3200 Aperture: f/5.6 Exposure: 1/1300sec

I have also seen this a lot lately with other m4/3s shooters. They seem to want to always fix the ISO at a single value and then vary both the shutter speed and aperture.

Personally I think that shooting in shutter priority with Auto ISO is the most efficient way to shoot with Panasonic m4/3s cameras. The ISO button just takes too long to change to be useful in manual ISO mode. With shutter priority you just need to worry about shutter speed and Aperture will generally remain wide open.

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