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Thread: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

  1. #1

    Default Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Hi all, I've made the decision to upgrade from my Samsung EX1 to M43.
    However, despite spending time searching the web over the past month, I am unable to find answers on these 3 topics above.
    I know I am asking quite a alot at a time so I'll divide it into sections accordingly.

    Much appreciated if you could help me answer these questions. >.<

    Thanks in advance!

    Lens Selection:
    I take mainly long exposures(street light trails/night city scapes/night sky shots) & portraits of friends/family.
    However, I am not very well versed with portrait shots. Much of my confusion is attributed to articles such as this:
    http://www.sebstudios.net/for-photog...ens-50mm-85mm/

    Panasonic 14mm F2.5 - For Landscapes & group shots/outings
    Panasonic 20mm F1.7 - For Landscapes, Full body & Half body* portraits, Crops of specific constellations
    Olympus 45mm F1.8 - For Upper Body Portraits** & Tighter crops of specific constellations

    *I define half body as above the hip.
    **I define upper body as elbow/chest n above.

    Issues/Questions:
    Panny 20mm - I know this is not a nifty fifty but since it has a 40mm FF equiv FOV. Will there be excessive distortion of body proportions if I use it for half body shots?
    Oly 45mm - I like the DOF of this lens. However, it has a 90mm FF equiv FOV. Will it over-flatten the face and distort the nose if i use it for upper body portraits?


    Storage:
    I have decided to get a dry cabinet.
    However, my area is very lightning strike prone, resulting in a ton of blackouts every rainy season.

    Issues/Questions:
    In the event I go overseas for an extended duration (Eg: 2~3weeks) & there's a power trip, will my camera gear be safe in e dry cabinet?
    This is assuming there's no one to bring the power back & check e setting on e dry box during that long 2~3 weeks.


    Focus Stacking:
    This isnt exactly much of an issue but just a curious question =p
    Is it possible to get an extra blurred out background for portrait shots via focus stacking?
    I know that m43 has deeper DOF compared to APSC & FF sensors but I am wondering if this could be used as a possible work around.

    Eg: merge 2 shots
    1st shot - Portrait subject is in focus.
    2nd shot - Portrait subject is just out of focus.
    Last edited by ProwlinPoet; 5th January 2014 at 11:52 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ProwlinPoet View Post
    Hi all, I've made the decision to upgrade from my Samsung EX1 to M43.
    However, despite spending time searching the web over the past month, I am unable to find answers on these 3 topics above.
    I know I am asking quite a alot at a time so I'll divide it into sections accordingly.

    Much appreciated if you could help me answer these questions. >.<

    Thanks in advance!

    Lens Selection:
    I take mainly long exposures(street light trails/night city scapes/night sky shots) & portraits of friends/family.
    However, I am not very well versed with portrait shots. Much of my confusion is attributed to articles such as this:
    http://www.sebstudios.net/for-photog...ens-50mm-85mm/

    Panasonic 14mm F2.5 - For Landscapes & group shots/outings
    Panasonic 20mm F1.7 - For Landscapes, Full body & Half body* portraits, Crops of specific constellations
    Olympus 45mm F1.8 - For Upper Body Portraits** & Tighter crops of specific constellations

    *I define half body as above the hip.
    **I define upper body as elbow/chest n above.

    Issues/Questions:
    Panny 20mm - I know this is not a nifty fifty but since it has a 40mm FF equiv FOV. Will there be excessive distortion of body proportions if I use it for half body shots?
    Oly 45mm - I like the DOF of this lens. However, it has a 90mm FF equiv FOV. Will it over-flatten the face and distort the nose if i use it for upper body portraits?

    Storage:
    I have decided to get a dry cabinet.
    However, my area is very lightning strike prone, resulting in a ton of blackouts every rainy season.

    Issues/Questions:
    In the event I go overseas for an extended duration (Eg: 2~3weeks) & there's a power trip, will my camera gear be safe in e dry cabinet?
    This is assuming there's no one to bring the power back & check e setting on e dry box during that long 2~3 weeks.

    Focus Stacking:
    This isnt exactly much of an issue but just a curious question =p
    Is it possible to get an extra blurred out background for portrait shots via focus stacking?
    I know that m43 has deeper DOF compared to APSC & FF sensors but I am wondering if this could be used as a possible work around.

    Eg: merge 2 shots
    1st shot - Portrait subject is in focus.
    2nd shot - Portrait subject is just out of focus.
    For lens selection, I can only say you can shoot landscapes with the 45mm too. Any lens can do any job (within reasonable limits). If in doubt, get a zoom lens, and fast prime (why you did not list the 25/1.4?) for the shallow depth of field shot that u so seek.

    Storage.
    You have a m4/3 camera. You are going overseas. Why not bring your camera along?

    Focus stacking.
    I have only heard of focus stacking to increase depth of field and not the other way around.
    If u shoot your subject at closest focus, you get the shallowest depth of field possible for the particular lens/camera u use. If u shoot out of focus, the background will be "less defocused".
    hi

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Thanks for ur reply =)


    Quote Originally Posted by silvermoon1407 View Post
    For lens selection, I can only say you can shoot landscapes with the 45mm too. Any lens can do any job (within reasonable limits). If in doubt, get a zoom lens, and fast prime (why you did not list the 25/1.4?) for the shallow depth of field shot that u so seek.
    Ic... Thanks & good point on e 45mm... I thought e FOV would be narrow for a landscape shot =p

    As much as I like the panny 25/1.4, it is out of my budget and i find the focal length a bit too wide for my night sky shots.
    This is why I am wondering if the panny 20mm & oly 45mm can fulfill the roles of a 35mm, 50mm & 85mm(FF equiv).
    Zoom lenses on the other hand... I've decided to avoid them due to shaky hands and slow aperture.

    Quote Originally Posted by silvermoon1407 View Post
    Storage.
    You have a m4/3 camera. You are going overseas. Why not bring your camera along?
    Depends on which country i travel to. I might bring the EX1 in place of e m43 camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by silvermoon1407 View Post
    Focus stacking.
    I have only heard of focus stacking to increase depth of field and not the other way around.
    If u shoot your subject at closest focus, you get the shallowest depth of field possible for the particular lens/camera u use. If u shoot out of focus, the background will be "less defocused".
    Yeah, I know it does sound odd but I'm wondering if focus stacking could be applied in reverse =p
    If my 2nd shot is at min focus distance & i merge it w the 1st shot(subject in focus), would that work out?

  4. #4
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProwlinPoet View Post
    Storage:
    I have decided to get a dry cabinet.
    However, my area is very lightning strike prone, resulting in a ton of blackouts every rainy season.

    Issues/Questions:
    In the event I go overseas for an extended duration (Eg: 2~3weeks) & there's a power trip, will my camera gear be safe in e dry cabinet?
    This is assuming there's no one to bring the power back & check e setting on e dry box during that long 2~3 weeks.
    Cheap version: Put in a thirsty hippo before you leave. It will last a few weeks and will keep humidity in good range.
    A bit more costly: Get a UPS (battery) for your dry cabinet. The smallest units (1kVA) will keep your dry cabinet (<10W)powered for weeks and months.
    EOS

  5. #5
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by silvermoon1407 View Post

    For lens selection, I can only say you can shoot landscapes with the 45mm too. Any lens can do any job (within reasonable limits). If in doubt, get a zoom lens, and fast prime (why you did not list the 25/1.4?) for the shallow depth of field shot that u so seek.

    Storage.
    You have a m4/3 camera. You are going overseas. Why not bring your camera along?

    Focus stacking.
    I have only heard of focus stacking to increase depth of field and not the other way around.
    If u shoot your subject at closest focus, you get the shallowest depth of field possible for the particular lens/camera u use. If u shoot out of focus, the background will be "less defocused".
    Actually there is a method to shoot with a longer focal length and shoot the scene like a pano and stitch them together. So you can get a wider scene but thin dof thanks to the focal length. It is called the Brenizer method i think.

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProwlinPoet View Post
    .......................................
    Focus Stacking:
    This isnt exactly much of an issue but just a curious question =p
    Is it possible to get an extra blurred out background for portrait shots via focus stacking?
    I know that m43 has deeper DOF compared to APSC & FF sensors but I am wondering if this could be used as a possible work around.

    Eg: merge 2 shots
    1st shot - Portrait subject is in focus.
    2nd shot - Portrait subject is just out of focus.
    http://www.alienskin.com/bokeh/
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    1. just shoot

    2. thirsty hippo. as suggested by a sempai above. more enjoyment less worry.

    3.focus stack of non static objects is terribly tricky and maybe even pointless.

    do consider to dupe the image layer
    apply Gaussian Blur ( although strictly speaking not equivalent of DOF ) to the lower layer then paint out the non blurry top layer via layer mask
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Thanks for the replies! =D

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Cheap version: Put in a thirsty hippo before you leave. It will last a few weeks and will keep humidity in good range.
    A bit more costly: Get a UPS (battery) for your dry cabinet. The smallest units (1kVA) will keep your dry cabinet (<10W)powered for weeks and months.
    UPS sounds good... how much does it cost?
    Also, are any brands you would recommend?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Actually there is a method to shoot with a longer focal length and shoot the scene like a pano and stitch them together. So you can get a wider scene but thin dof thanks to the focal length. It is called the Brenizer method i think.
    I did a quick search and found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsMnRxmeJ74
    I'm definitely gonna have to try that! Thanks!! =D

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Sry, didnt realise i missed out on these posts in my haste >.<

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    Thanks! I'll check it out! =D
    On a sidenote, are there similar freeware programs for this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizuma View Post
    1. just shoot

    2. thirsty hippo. as suggested by a sempai above. more enjoyment less worry.

    3.focus stack of non static objects is terribly tricky and maybe even pointless.

    do consider to dupe the image layer
    apply Gaussian Blur ( although strictly speaking not equivalent of DOF ) to the lower layer then paint out the non blurry top layer via layer mask
    1. noted... i guess i am spending too much time researching while saving up =X

    2. just curious... would thirsty hippo cause e RH to drop too drastically? I'm worried it'll affect the lifespan of e camera/gear.

    3. I did use gimp 2.8 for this but the overall results seemed too harsh, especially on full body portraits. Then again, I am still quite unfamiliar w the program and probably am doing something wrong. =p

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Lens Selection:
    For a start buy cheap and good Panasonic Lumix 14mm to 45mm F3.5 to F5.6 zoom lens. Later on choose what other lens you would like.

    Storage:
    Try to buy a bigger dry cabinet if you plan to buy more stuff.

    If you have lightning strike tripping your MCCB, then photo equipment is not your biggest worry.
    The dry air inside will last some time with power off.
    Your food in the fridge and freezer will spoil if there is no one to turn on the AC again, and power is off for 3 weeks.

    Focus Stacking:

    Yes MFT has deep DOF. Try 75mm F1.8 if you want blur background.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cvHyZyHaoj...0/P7211706.jpg

    I have not tried focus stacking. Seems like too much trouble and artificial.
    Next time try 35mm full frame and a 300mm F2.8 telephoto lens for model with blur background.

    Some FREE digital utility.
    http://www.fotor.com/features/blur.html
    Last edited by ricohflex; 6th January 2014 at 11:25 PM.

  11. #11
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProwlinPoet View Post
    UPS sounds good... how much does it cost?
    Also, are any brands you would recommend?
    APC is even offered in Sim Lim Sq now, several shops have smaller models ex-stock.
    I haven't checked the prices in detail, but it's a bit more than your dry cabinet. Define your budget and have a look there.
    But unless you have something very critical in your dry cabinet I would rather opt for Thirsty Hippo. Sometimes a simple solution is just the best. A power surge by a lightning strike could also roast the UPS circuits, then it is of little use.
    EOS

  12. #12
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProwlinPoet View Post
    2. just curious... would thirsty hippo cause e RH to drop too drastically? I'm worried it'll affect the lifespan of e camera/gear.
    No. My gear is all well with RH of 30% (at display) and others here have reported the same positive result. The best is to use the gear, there a thing as 'storing to death'.
    In addition, when going on a trip: put in the hippo, adjust the dry cabinet a bit up. Both together will maybe give 30%, hippo alone about 40% max. All safe for a few weeks. I doubt that Singapore Power will take that long to restore power to your unit.
    EOS

  13. #13

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Thanks for reply =)

    Quote Originally Posted by ricohflex View Post
    Lens Selection:
    For a start buy cheap and good Panasonic Lumix 14mm to 45mm F3.5 to F5.6 zoom lens. Later on choose what other lens you would like.
    Hmmm... the list/choice of primes in my 1st post is largely based on how I use my samsung EX1.
    I know the EX1 lacks any proper focal length display but based on my rough gauge, I tend to use it at approx 28mm, 35mm, 50mm & 72mm. (72mm is the max focal length)
    Only issue i have w the focal range is its a bit too short. TBH, I wanted a focal length around 80~85 but I think the 45mm fits the bill.

    Off topic: Stupid samsung didnt bother to put a numerical figure on the zoom scale >.<

    Quote Originally Posted by ricohflex View Post
    Storage:
    Try to buy a bigger dry cabinet if you plan to buy more stuff.

    If you have lightning strike tripping your MCCB, then photo equipment is not your biggest worry.
    The dry air inside will last some time with power off.
    Your food in the fridge and freezer will spoil if there is no one to turn on the AC again, and power is off for 3 weeks.
    Ic... thanks!
    Although I doubt I'll be away for more than 2 weeks, I'm using 3 weeks as a gauge in e event something happens - eg: flight delayed by a few days.
    On a sidenote, having suffered so many power trips has taught me to clear my fridge before going overseas.

    Quote Originally Posted by ricohflex View Post
    Focus Stacking:
    Yes MFT has deep DOF. Try 75mm F1.8 if you want blur background.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cvHyZyHaoj...0/P7211706.jpg

    I have not tried focus stacking. Seems like too much trouble and artificial.
    Next time try 35mm full frame and a 300mm F2.8 telephoto lens for model with blur background.
    ic... thanks!
    Although, I'll pass on the 75mm... An amazing lens but its more expensive than the panaleica 25mm.
    Btw, just curious though... what is the working distance for such shots w the 75mm?

    The focus stacking qn was just a part of my curiosity.
    I was simply wondering if I could get more natural looking blur by using the focus stacking method in reverse.
    I know its more post processing involved but I'd rather spend time editing instead of lugging around a big heavy camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by ricohflex View Post
    Some FREE digital utility.
    http://www.fotor.com/features/blur.html
    Thanks!! I think this will save me alot of effort! =D
    Last edited by ProwlinPoet; 7th January 2014 at 12:04 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    APC is even offered in Sim Lim Sq now, several shops have smaller models ex-stock.
    I haven't checked the prices in detail, but it's a bit more than your dry cabinet. Define your budget and have a look there.
    But unless you have something very critical in your dry cabinet I would rather opt for Thirsty Hippo. Sometimes a simple solution is just the best. A power surge by a lightning strike could also roast the UPS circuits, then it is of little use.
    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    No. My gear is all well with RH of 30% (at display) and others here have reported the same positive result. The best is to use the gear, there a thing as 'storing to death'.
    In addition, when going on a trip: put in the hippo, adjust the dry cabinet a bit up. Both together will maybe give 30%, hippo alone about 40% max. All safe for a few weeks. I doubt that Singapore Power will take that long to restore power to your unit.
    Noted. Thanks!! =D
    I think I'll just go w thirsty hippo in that case...

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    camera not made of tofu. it's able to tolerate various humidity levels.

    shooting more exposes the inside of the system to more light. fungus hates light
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProwlinPoet View Post
    Btw, just curious though... what is the working distance for such shots w the 75mm?
    This quote is from photoreview:

    For portraiture, it provides a working distance of around one metre when you want face shots or about two metres for portraits from the waist up. The f/1.8 aperture setting is ideal for blurring distracting backgrounds, while stopping down to f/2.8 allows the subject's ears to appear acceptably sharp.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizuma View Post
    camera not made of tofu. it's able to tolerate various humidity levels.
    Not made of tofu but still a glass cannon =X
    But thanks, that's one worry less abt storage =)

    Quote Originally Posted by ricohflex View Post
    This quote is from photoreview:
    Thanks! Although, that does sound off by 1~2m.
    approx 1.5m distance @ 72mm on my ex1 gives me a similar FOV to the image you posted.
    I'm guessing 2m would be closer to that of the oly 45mmm's working distance for waist up.

    For lens lineup, I've decided to get the 14mm and 20mm due to their weight/size & fast apertures =)
    As for the 45mm, I think I'll rent it, test it out and decide later =)

  18. #18

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    wise man tell me :
    "Spend less money on gear
    and spend more time on practice;
    Enjoyment and skill increase,
    worry and cost decrease. "


    (same wise man who say wax on wax off )
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

  19. #19

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizuma View Post
    wise man tell me :
    "Spend less money on gear
    and spend more time on practice;
    Enjoyment and skill increase,
    worry and cost decrease. "


    (same wise man who say wax on wax off )

    I second that but let's look at the facts.TS has got money to spend and as the saying goes
    better gear better pictures that's from the perspective of good exposure and focussing
    so more chances of acceptable pictures rather than rejects.

    Let him explore what he can do with his gear that's the fun isn't it?.My guess is he will need more lenses.Good luck.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Advice needed on Lens Selection, Storage & Focus Stacking

    I'm currently saving up and I'll be going for 2nd hand lenses =p
    While I'm in no rush to buy m43 gear, I thought I'd clear some questions that have been bugging me...
    Last edited by ProwlinPoet; 10th January 2014 at 12:07 AM.

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