Help please: 75/1.8 instead of 35-100?

Started Jan 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: Help please: 75/1.8 instead of 35-100?
In reply to S. Miller, Jan 27, 2013

S. Miller wrote:

Sorry, here's another one of those "Can you help me decide which lens is best for me, even though you don't know exactly how I'll use it?" threads.

I played around with a 35-100/2.8 and was very impressed with the build and image quality. I viewed that lens as a great walk around mid-tele zoom that could also do double duty as an indoor low light lens. Unfortunately though, for the the typical low light shooting that I do in my home or similar settings, f/2.8 isn't fast enough. I usually shoot friends and family just hanging out.

So now I'm looking at the 35-100 as just an outdoor mid-tele zoom but know that in good light, I can use my cheap Oly 40-150 and get quite nice results, especially in the 40-100 range of that lens. Sure I won't get the relatively shallower DOF of the f/2.8 lens, but I think you can still get good separation with a slower lens based on FL, distance to subject, and subject distance to b/g. In short, I'm not sure if I really need want this lens.

When I look at the 75/1.8, however, things get really interesting. I would get the low light capability of a f/1.8 lens, and also get a great outdoor mid-tele lens (albeit one for which I'll have to walk to zoom). For those of you that considered both of these lenses, I'd love to hear your thoughts. FYI, my other lenses are:

9-18, 17/1.8, 25/1.4, 45/1.8, 12-50 (kit w/ E-M5), 40-150

As to my self-deprecating comment at the top, I always loved shooting tight portraits. Over the past couple of years, I've tried to expand my skill base focusing on wider shots, be they city/landscape, environmental portraiture, or street photography. I have two areas on which I want to focus right now, though they're at opposite ends of the normal FL spectrum (not including long tele): 1) getting back to traditional portraits (think 85mm on APS-C) or 2) forcing myself to get closer to my subjects while including more of the surroundings (thus the reason for the recent 17/1.8 purchase) - I'm a huge Arnold Newman fan.

I realize the last sentence may have answered my own question, but I'd still like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks,

Steve

P.S. Yes, I realize I can save a ton of money buying a legacy lens, but I can't manual focus worth *#$!. Certainly not in situations where I want to maintain some sort of spontaneity.

While the 35-100/2.8 is a good lens if you need to quickly change focal length across the 35-100 range and want decent low-light capability, the 75 has a number of advantages that are of greater importance to me. It is 1.3 EV faster (which is a lot when the going gets rough or if you want maximal subject isolation which is more difficult achieve with MFT than with bigger formats), it has better MTF values at equivalent apertures, and is optically close to perfect in pretty much every regard. On top of that, it is somewhat smaller and lighter and significantly less expensive.

If you have the 45/1.8 (as we both do) and can go to at least 45 with the kit zoom (as we both can, your reach being 5 mm longer than with my 14-45) the gap in the FL range up to 75 is something I can easily live with. And 75 is not a whole lot shorter than 100, particularly since the MTF values of the 75 are so high and the lens so fast (helps keep ISOs and noise down) that it easily permits a bit of cropping. On top of that, we both have the 40-150 for continuous coverage of the 40-100 range as long as the light is decent (although I doubt that I'll be carrying both the 75 and 40-150 and suspect that it's the latter that will usually be left at home).

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