Comparing Low Aperture Lenses

Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lensAnyone who knows my photography habits will know I only shoot on primes. The image quality and the low apertures is what drew me in. While I predominantly shoot on the Olympus M.ZUIKO 17mm f1.8  for day to day I have fallen hard for a new Olympus M.ZUIKO pro 25mm f1.2. But I thought it’d be interesting to see what the others could do too…

Getting quite into this one pink bloom the other day as the light faded, I started shooting it on different lenses. Slightly obsessive behaviour I agree, but one that I’m quite into documenting. So here it is. More than anything I think the biggest revelation (well, maybe not to some!) was the complete inadequacy of shooting beautiful detail in low light conditions of the iPhone which I thought I’d throw in there too! The resulting picture is just flat out ugly IMHO.

The rest of the lenses I would say performed admirably – but I’ll say now I was not shooting strictly the same shots each time! It’s more a look at what you get with different focal lengths when shooting low aperture – my apertures ranged from f1.2 – f1.8 and I purposively kept shooting as the light went to see how they would handle. Please note I only started – typically! – when the light was only just still viable for a decent picture. Again, all lenses performed well. None notably struggling.

Always remember something like the manual 50mm f1.2 OM and Lensbaby will give a softer, dreamier quality. So if you prefer pin sharp then those kind of lenses are not for you.

While most of my lenses are Olympus – also thrown into the mix for interest is the Leica D-Lux 190 I’m currently reviewing – which for a zoom I was pretty impressed, its lowest aperture is f1.7. Interesting to see the different colour of the Leica – I applied exactly the same editing as to the others.

Funnily enough, I think my favourite shot is the one taken with the Olympus 75mm f1.8. A lens I rarely use! How about you? Let me know your favourites in the comments below!

ps. I used the Olympus Pen F to shoot with the Olympus, OM and Lensbaby lenses and the Leica D-Lux 109 for the Leica shot!


Olympus 25mm f1.2

(buy)

There’s something just a little more painting like about how the new 25mm f1.2 shoots, I can’t quite put my finger on it. But looking at this shot I see details which I didn’t notice when shooting and don’t see in the other shots – although of course the angle and focus is slightly different on this one! Must be more uniform when doing this kind of post next time!

Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Olympus 45mm f1.8

(buy)

I feel like my focus was a tad off here, could have definitely got it a bit sharper, but again the fading light. The 45mm always delivers and is nice and fast too and this is just the kind of shot I would reach for it for.


Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Olympus 30mm macro f3.5

(buy)

I mean you can go in a lot closer with this macro lens, but you need a steady hand! I still feel like maybe I haven’t pursued the full depths of this lens, but then macro is quite a specific focus. Makes for lovely detail but I feel I haven’t really used this lens as it’s meant to be used here!


Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Olympus legacy OM 50mm f1.2

(buy)

Ah my eBay treasure. I have to use this old manual lens with an OM-M43 adapter and I usually take advantage of the focus peaking function; which highlights your focus, you can find this when assigning functions to buttons. Also useful if you’re using automatic lenses from non-micro four thirds brands like Canon or Nikon, which will work with an adapter but only on manual. It’s not pin sharp, but its softness and filmic quality is just gorgeous to me!


Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Olympus 17mm f1.8

(buy)

Please note this shot on the 17mm was taken when the light was practically gone, so I didn’t get a sharp as shot as I would normally expect; and I didn’t use the steadiness of a tripod. And I should have gone in a little closer… I’ve definitely let this wonderful lens down with this shot!


Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Olympus 75mm f1.8

I adore the texture of the background with the 75mm, and the feathery soft feel of the petals. Aside from the 25mm f1.2, the Oly 75mm is one of the physically larger & heavier primes and for that reason I’ve tended to leave it to one side. It’s also a little slower to focus. But goodness, it takes beautiful photos. I think this is my favourite of all the shots!


Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Lensbaby

(buy)

Ok, bit of a fail shot here, as I am not that brilliant getting Lensbaby shots – it is extremely hard to get a sharp part of the picture. But also again the light was going, I would have had a better time about 10 minutes earlier and having made more attempts! Fyi I bought a Lensbaby lens that fits straight onto my Pen – it’s this one!


Stylonylon | Olympus low aperture lens

Leica D-Lux zoom f1.7

(buy)

Really interested to see the brighter pink picked up by the Leica here. Do note though that I have my Olympus Pen F set to a more muted colour profile, although not massively desaturated like I used to! So this is the fixed zoom lens of the D-Lux at its widest aperture and I’d say quite impressive – although I have taken some more bokeh-lovely ones which I’ll be sharing soon.


Stylonylon | Leica D-Lux

iPhone 8 Plus

Ok I’m almost embarrassed to put this up because it wasn’t a very carefully taken photo I’ll be honest with you. But I have because I think it shows quite how indispensable cameras still are! End of day low light conditions on a mat by the garden door, the cameras work beautifully while the iPhone produces a very mediocre shot; the chasm feels quite wide from the dreaminess and magical-ness of the photos above I think!


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