What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
Pot New Member • Posts: 1
What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

The 75mm f1.8 looks to be a good choice and it is "affordable".

Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95 it's a bit prohibitive but would work I think.

I am not into spending 1k plus on full frame glass + speedbooster.

Would any of the available native zoom lenses produce thin DoF?

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7
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JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 6,026
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?
3

I'm not exactly sure why you would want the thinnest depth of field possible, but the Voigtlander might be it. Much more useful (auto focus and exposure) and probably better image quality would the Panasonic-Leica 42.5mm f/1.2

I have the cute and very inexpensive 42.5mm f/1.7 and honestly that's narrow enough depth of field for anything I might want to do. I rarely use it wide open, because I want both eyes of my subject to be in focus when they are turned slightly away from the camera.

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js

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 6,471
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?
13

Is it thin DoF you want or maximum background blur? They are not the same thing.

You generally get the maximum background blur by using longer focal length lenses (other things being equal), but a number of other factors come into play as well.  Smaller f-numbers also increase background blur.  You also need to consider the distances involved (camera to subject, subject to background).

I suggest you try the simulator at https://dofsimulator.net/en/

It simulates background blur if you give it the details of your lens and camera.

techie takes pics Contributing Member • Posts: 674
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

Perhaps you can post two examples, one which you like, another one which you don't.

As posted above, you will get a lot of background blur (and also a compressed image) with a higher focal length.

I would strongly suggest you try out a couple of lenses to see what works for you.  You can rent them or even subscribe to the Olympus Test&Wow program.

If you go to a brick&mortar store you can try these out on any car in the parking lot.

Lenses I suggest you rent / test:

  • 40-150 f/2.8 and make sure to use it at 40, 75, 100, 120 and 150mm.

Longer range gets a lot of background-blur. Test this particular lens because it will give you a number of longer focal ranges at wide aperture, so you can see what kind of image you like.

  • 75mm f/1.8. Just like the lens I mentioned above, just fixed, and smaller, lighter and a stop wider.
  • 45mm f1/.2 (too shallow at 1.2 for some people, btw)

For cheapo's, since you shoot stationary targets, you may try manual lenses. 
7Artisans makes a few manuals.

Vintage lenses spring to mind. You can get a 50mm f/1.8 for $40 and a 50mm f/1.4 for about $90-140.   A 58mm Helios is f/2 at around $40.  135mm lenses at 3.5 and f/2.8 are abundant and cheap; below $80.

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Terrible Photographer
Terrible Photographer Regular Member • Posts: 447
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

I shoot cars a lot, and have been on a fair tear of commercial car shoots for the Big 3. In micro 4/3rds, your best options will be the 25 f/1.2 PRO, 45 1.2 Pro, and the 75mm f/1.8

Now also keep in mind, the IQ on the 25 at 1.2 ain’t super great for something like cars, the 45 is borderline, and the 75 might be okay.

Or... get an EOS R, 28-70 f/2 and a 70-200 2.8 and you’re golden.

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C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 2,136
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?
1

The best examples I had seen are taken with a Full Frame camera and the 85mm 1.4 wide open.

I tried to recreate the shots with the 42mm 1.7 and you can see it's ok.

epozar Senior Member • Posts: 1,015
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

Pot wrote:

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

You meant 17/1.2?

Emil Pozar, http://www.emilpozar.com/

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ChrisFB Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

Pot wrote:

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

The 75mm f1.8 looks to be a good choice and it is "affordable".

Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95 it's a bit prohibitive but would work I think.

I am not into spending 1k plus on full frame glass + speedbooster.

Would any of the available native zoom lenses produce thin DoF?

Not sure why you want super thin DOF, but you could try the Sigma 56mm F1.4.

Not sure if you get enough in the frame from 3-5 meter, but you can easily try this with a zoom lens. I think the 75mm will be too long.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 9,604
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?
1

Pot wrote:

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

The 75mm f1.8 looks to be a good choice and it is "affordable".

Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95 it's a bit prohibitive but would work I think.

I am not into spending 1k plus on full frame glass + speedbooster.

Would any of the available native zoom lenses produce thin DoF?

The Voigtländer 42.5mm would be perfect, coupled with the Voigtländer 17.5mm.

Neither are particularly light, small or cheap, but well worth the cost and effort.

 jeffharris's gear list:jeffharris's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical +33 more
Bassaidai Regular Member • Posts: 119
Sigma 56mm/f1.4
1

Thats my main lens if I need shallow DOF:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62960688

Cheers,
Bass

If things appear to good to be true - they're usually neither of both

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amipal
amipal Senior Member • Posts: 1,097
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

jeffharris wrote:

Pot wrote:

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

The 75mm f1.8 looks to be a good choice and it is "affordable".

Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95 it's a bit prohibitive but would work I think.

I am not into spending 1k plus on full frame glass + speedbooster.

Would any of the available native zoom lenses produce thin DoF?

The Voigtländer 42.5mm would be perfect, coupled with the Voigtländer 17.5mm.

Neither are particularly light, small or cheap, but well worth the cost and effort.

Speaking of the 42.5mm, I ordered one yesterday... not for car photography, more for portraiture and night shoots.

Cheers,
Paul

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Thomas Traub Contributing Member • Posts: 676
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

what about post production on your PC? The cars have realy clear outlines so it should be easy to isolate them and blure the background on the computer. Then you will have a much better picture than with FF (and withoud post processing).

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with best regards from Vienna
Thomas T
If we photographers were taxi-drivers we all wanted a 450 HP Ferrari for our job

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PistonPhotoUK
PistonPhotoUK Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?
1

Thomas Traub wrote:

what about post production on your PC? The cars have realy clear outlines so it should be easy to isolate them and blure the background on the computer. Then you will have a much better picture than with FF (and withoud post processing).

This. Post production is your most powerful tool, and only a fool wouldn't utilise it in the digital age.

Masking is super easy with cars and fading in a little extra blur is very effective where necessary.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 9,604
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

amipal wrote:

jeffharris wrote:

Pot wrote:

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

The 75mm f1.8 looks to be a good choice and it is "affordable".

Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95 it's a bit prohibitive but would work I think.

I am not into spending 1k plus on full frame glass + speedbooster.

Would any of the available native zoom lenses produce thin DoF?

The Voigtländer 42.5mm would be perfect, coupled with the Voigtländer 17.5mm.

Neither are particularly light, small or cheap, but well worth the cost and effort.

Speaking of the 42.5mm, I ordered one yesterday... not for car photography, more for portraiture and night shoots.

You’ll love it. Such a fantastic lens! Definitely my favorite M4/3 lens.

It focuses down to 9”, so it’s great for close-up shooting, small details, artwork, etc..

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bofo777 Senior Member • Posts: 1,667
Re: What lens produces the most shallow DoF for automotive photography?

Pot wrote:

Hi, I really don't want to go FF for this as I am happy with my MFT kit size and weight.

I shoot cars at about 3-5 meters away, I need very thin DoF, I bought a 35mm f1.2 but it didn't cut it, what lens could help?

The 75mm f1.8 looks to be a good choice and it is "affordable".

Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95 it's a bit prohibitive but would work I think.

I am not into spending 1k plus on full frame glass + speedbooster.

Would any of the available native zoom lenses produce thin DoF?

If you are shooting 10 to 16 feet it really depends if you want the whole automobile or parts of auto in you picture..Myself I would use my  Oly 35-100 2.0 esp at 16 feet you could get the whole auto in the pic and have the narrowest DOF  ..If you want just parts of auto like a mirror then many lenses would work because you are much closer and narrow DOF can be accomplished much easier....One of the biggest drawbacks of the 4/3 system is the lack of narrow DOF  at farther distances for larger subjects or objects..

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amipal
amipal Senior Member • Posts: 1,097
OT: Voigtlander f/0.95 42.5mm
1

jeffharris wrote:

amipal wrote:

jeffharris wrote:

The Voigtländer 42.5mm would be perfect, coupled with the Voigtländer 17.5mm.

Neither are particularly light, small or cheap, but well worth the cost and effort.

Speaking of the 42.5mm, I ordered one yesterday... not for car photography, more for portraiture and night shoots.

You’ll love it. Such a fantastic lens! Definitely my favorite M4/3 lens.

It focuses down to 9”, so it’s great for close-up shooting, small details, artwork, etc..

It's here! And it is a beaut.

Only shot with it a couple of times, and it is the ideal companion to my wider 17.5mm Voigt. I'll open another thread to discuss...

Cheers,
Paul

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