What a difference 3mm can make (some images reshot with a 12mm focal length lens)

Discussion in 'Photography Techniques' started by grebeman, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    A few days ago I started a thread https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=31377 and one of the responses (from Nic, aka Luckypenquin) queried the "tight cropping" of some of the images. I explained that I was using a 15mm lens (on a m4/3 camera) and that the location was such that I was physically unable to get further back from the subjects.

    I've since taken another walk in that location and took the opportunity to take some photographs with a 12mm f/5.6 lens. Whilst I didn't always manage to stand in the exact same position as the previous shots I hope that I was close enough that the results are such that the difference in field of view of the two lenses is obvious, and that you can see how it affects the feeling of the resulting images. The 12mm image is shown first followed by its corresponding 15mm image. Again I stress there has been no cropping of width of the camera raw image, just a height crop from the original 4:3 format.


    15128454565_39e948d345_o.
    Barn-at-East-Peeke-Farm
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    15070327292_6130c263b7_o.
    140828-1100625
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    14941876977_002aa58c1d_o.
    East-Peeke-Farm
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    15067665351_3e260b92f5_o.
    140828-1100628
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    14941739339_de9f045f12_o.
    Owley-Farm
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    15067662151_b4e01e7d8a_o.
    140828-1100636
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    14941880668_659020d70e_o.
    Bridge-at-Owley-Bottom
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    14883980579_64abff9175_o.
    140828-1100642
    by barrie.whitehall, on Flickr


    I would have to say that the shots with the 12mm focal length lens do tend in my opinion to set the subject material in context better than those taken with the 15mm lens. The bridge scene has of course been taken in landscape and I think being able to include the curving parapet leads the eye into the photograph more dramatically than the previous version.

    I think the 12mm f/5.6 Voigtlander lens has produced images capable of being printed with little loss of image quality compared to the 15mm lens. Unfortunately my printer has thrown a wobbly and is printing a borderless block with one of the coloured inks overlaying the A4 print :confused: At a smaller print size the problem doesn't appear, all very odd and just when I've purchased a full new set of bulk coloured ink for it :frown: Therefore, despite many attempts I've not been able to produce any prints for a direct comparison at print size and resolution to judge the image quality of the two lenses, but I have a feeling they are not too far apart. I did use stronger sharpening, and indeed a different technique on the images taken with the 12mm lens which does appear to produce a softer image.

    I trust this has been of some interest to some of you. I felt compelled to carry out this comparison following Nic's comments.

    Barrie
     
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  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    a dramatic difference. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  3. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    Interesting, thanks for sharing! I really love that 24mm FoV.
     
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  4. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Barrie,

    I like the viewpoint of the wider lens. It gives more "environmental context" for the subject matter. I also like wildlife shots where we get a bit more idea of where the animal or bird is living.

    Cheers, Jock
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    As you go down in focal length, every mm starts to make a visible difference.

    You'd never see the difference between a 50 and a 55 ... but the difference between a 15 and a 12 is dramatic.

    When I was still predominantly shooting digital I took three test shots in a camera shop with the then new 12mm Olympus prime. When I looked at the pics I just fell for that look completely, but couldn;t afford the new lens.

    Instead, when I got back into film, I put a 24mm on my OM1n and it almost hasn't come off since.
     
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  6. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    Good shots

    15mm first image and 12mm the rest for me Barrie

    never sure about B & W processing in this digital age - too many options to play around with and the contrast can be difficult
     
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  7. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    It's certainly a different way of seeing, one that I embraced during the "Single in January" challenge when I used this lens, and only this lens, for the month. Since then it had fallen out favour with me on image quality issues, however I have to say that having resolved the printing issue I had earlier today, the A4 prints I've produced have stood close inspection against those obtained from the 15mm native lens and haven't come far short on quality. I guess its a lens that will be returning to my armoury.

    Barrie
     
  8. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    Barrie

    the exposure settings between the two seem (noticeably) different as does the contrast … particularly the highlight areas
     
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  9. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Hi Bill,

    The Voigtlander does produce less image contrast, presumably something to do with it producing an image circle to cover 35mm film stock, and therefore there's a lot of stray light bouncing around in the camera light box. I have a copy of an article somewhere by a Frenchman (written in french, have to send you a copy for translation) where he advocated the fitting of a baffle behind the rear element of the lens to cut down the size of the image circle, and hence the stray light. A photographer, James Ravilious, who worked photographing rural life in north Devon some 20-30 years ago used a Leica M3, but eventually found that he produced more easily printed negatives when he used pre war, uncoated Leica lenses. That was because he favoured taking photographs against the light, therefore the scene had high contrast before he even started. The modern coated Leica lenses only served to increase that contrast and produce very difficult to print negatives, whereas the earlier uncoated lenses softened the contrast in the scene.

    Barrie
     
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  10. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Wonder if there's an impact also from paralellism (or lack thereof) - a sensor rather likes perpendicularly incident light, while silver gelatin doesn't really give two hoots. Although of course newer sensors have microprisms and similar voodoo now to mitigate that
     
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  11. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Paul, it was my feeling that the major effect of the light striking the sensor at an angle caused degredation of the image quality towards the corners of the image due to increased noise and what I can only describe as smearing of the image detail. I seemed to go through a period of seeing these effects with this lens which is why I stopped using it. I wasn't sure if it was the lens itself or perhaps some slight misalignment in the two part lens adapter (mine are Leica screw mount Voigtlanders). I think I've had had greater success with longer focus length adapted lenses than wide angle ones due to the acute angle made by the light rays striking the sensor with wide angle lenses. I've been pleasantly surprised at the quality obtained from this lens on this shoot as judged from the A4 prints I've produced.

    Barrie
     
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  12. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Makes me think I need to get something 12mm for mFT. I think the cheapest way to get there is the panasonic 12-35 kit zoom pancake, but I haven't heard too much about quality yet.
     
  13. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Jason, I presume you mean the 12-32mm f/3.5-f/5.6 zoom, the 12-35mm f/2.8 is a different beast. from what little I've read it's a so-so kit lens, nothing special, and best used at fairly wide open apertures, but hey, all this kit talk will do my reputation no good whatsoever :biggrin:

    Barrie
     
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Sorry to cause you all the extra work, Barrie :smile:

    I guess that my observation about in your other thread was based on my own particular preference for leaving some "breathing" room around an image, but there are also some practical implications as well. Correcting perspective distortion when you are forced to shoot above or below the horizontal requires some additional space to be left for cropping, and of course when printing you lose the edges of the images beneath the frame or around the sides of a canvas.

    I like your reinterpretation of the last image where you have switched from landscape to portrait orientation. You still get the effect of the bridge leading your eye across the image, as well the natural instinct to follow the long edge of the image up and down. I agree with Bill that the first image of the barn already worked nicely at 15mm, although I do like all the clouds in 12mm shot.'

    Also glad to hear that the Voigtlander is better around the edges than you remembered.
     
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  15. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Nic, the extrawork proved to be quite enjoyable. The original of the barn at 15mm probably already enough space round it, but both farmhouses show a distinct improvement with the 12mm lens which sets them in context.

    Barrie
     
  16. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Barry,

    Thats the one I meant. Just looking for something cheap and decent to get me to 12mm.
     
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  17. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    That GM1 kit zoom is a bit soft in the corners at 12mm, but decent overall. It is pretty great from 17-25mm.

    One other lens you could consider is the new-ish Samyang/Rokinon 12mm. Built for APS-C, so a little big, but supposed to have low optical distortion.