Primes – who needs ’em?

Now that Olympus’s 40-150mm f/2.8 zoom is here, the Micro Four Thirds system is almost mature. With upcoming ‘Pro’ lenses from Olympus like the 300mm f/4 and the f/2.8 7-14mm, we’ll have have a choice of of zooms from ultra wide to medium telephoto, in a variety of apertures and covering from tiny to (comparatively) large.

What’s more, the compromised sharpness, bulk and weight of zooms is a thing of the past. They are not only the bread and butter kit lenses of cameras, they are the upgrade path too. The logical upgrade from the kit 14-42mm f/3.5~5.6, decent enough lenses in themselves for most photographers, is an f/2.8 standard zoom. Faster, sharper and bigger but not really big. Distortion used to be a factor in zooms, barrel at the short end, pincushion at the long. But the grand optical illusion that is in-camera correction has hidden that. We can now build zoom lenses that conventional optical design does not allow. Who wants a single focal length when they can have an all in one 14-150mm, wide angle to telephoto and all stops in between.

Once zoom were bulky compared to  a prime. Not now, though!

Once zoom were bulky compared to a prime. Not now, though!

Whichever way you look at it, the prime lens is an anachronism. It’s yesterday’s lens for yesterday’s photographers. It is a late lens. It has passed on. It has gone to meet it’s maker. Except it hasn’t.

Olympus is to introduce a 300mm f/4 we are told. Panasonic recently put on sale a 42.5mm f/1.2. There is the 17, 45 and 75mm f/1.8 and the 15 and 20mm f1.7. Sigma make them and so do Voightlander. They are not only still being made, they’re proliferating. Why do people who have bought into what is probably the most technologically advanced of all camera systems still covet a single focal length lens that is not too different from something they could have bought 50 years ago?

The obvious answer is that they are faster and it’s true. I’d observe, though, that with perfectly usable ISO performance up to ISO 3200, and an f/2.8 zoom, an extra stop or stop and a half doesn’t make that much difference. Nonetheless, a half-credible reason.

Next, they are sharper. Actually, the latest zooms can often match primes for sharpness and even when they fall short it is at the edges which hardly matter under the conditions where you are likely to be working a lens wide open. Stop a modern zoom down a stop or two and the edges come in anyway. How often do you shoot a landscape at open aperture?

Now the big one. Depth of field. You have me there. An f/2.8 lens on an MFT camera has the same depth of field as  a f/5.6 on a full frame camera. On my film cameras shooting a portrait  I would use an 85 or 105mm Nikkor at f/2.8 to isolate the subject from a fussy background.  My Olympus  45mm f1.8  prime comes much closer to that than any zoom. That’s why I own one. I regard it as one of my all time favourite lenses along with the 180mm f2/8 Nikkor and the 150mm Zeiss Sonnar for Hasselblad. Just thinking about those lenses make me….no, too much information.

But I can refute the depth of field argument. If that was the reason, why does anyone buy the 12, 14, 15, 17, 20 and even 25mm primes? No-one buys standard or wide-angle lenses because they want shallow depth of field. More often you want a bucket load of depth with such lenses so as to get foreground and background sharp and accentuate the steepened perspective that they afford.

So, I’ve proved that you don’t need a prime lens except a short telephoto for portraits. Forget it, save your money. A reasonable question would then be, ‘well, David, why don’t you practise what you preach?’ It’s simple. I can muster all the logical arguments I like against prime lenses and I’ve done so here. But in the end, I like them.

I like the feel of them and the size of them and speed of them. If they had body odour I’d probably like that too. I like they way they impose their discipline on me so that if I want to frame more tightly I can’t just turn the zoom ring, I must move in closer. They force me to consider my picture so that the space I am working in manipulates me rather than my lens manipulating the space.

I always tell others to treat a zoom lens as a series of fixed focal length lenses. If you are taking a picture set your zoom to 42mm and move back. Set it to 25mm and move in. To 14mm and move in further. Note the difference in perspective and the profound effect that has on your image.  I tell others that but I am as lazy as the next photographer and it is so much easier to just turn the zoom ring.

A zoom allows you to master your environment. A prime forces you to submit to it.  I often go out with just one prime and allow it to manipulate me. If it’s the 17mm and I want to make a portrait, I can either make an ugly perspective distorted one or I must step back and include some background. I am forced to think about what I want to include. The 45mm does the opposite, it forces me to think about what to cut out.

If I were training a photographer and he asked me if he could borrow the GX7 for the weekend, I’d say ‘sure. And any lens you like as long as it’s not a zoom’.

The heading to this blog is Primes, who needs em? The answer is, we all do.

 

 

31 thoughts on “Primes – who needs ’em?

  1. Aiman Mustafa

    Hi David! I am happy to be writing to you for the first time. I chanced upon your blog while deciding upon m43 and then getting the E-M10 over a Panasonic. Initially it seemed minimalist but then reading the entries was like a blast of fresh air that rejuvenated my senses inundated with the dry prose of most other articles on things photographic. It is not an easy task to talk about technical stuff while also affording the pleasure of good writing. So, look forward to more from you.
    I am one of those relatively younger lot you mention as fans of shooting prime. My short experience as an amateur have only furthered this love of primes. When I got the Oly 45 mm not only was the jump in performance over the kit lens wow inducing, but this is one lens that makes me feel like picking up the camera and going out to shoot. So I totally relate to what you say about zooming in and out while standing in one place, unless of course absolutely necessary.
    I am also realising that I need to stick to one or two focal lengths for at least a few years to really be able to ‘see’ photographically. And this is where I am a little confused. I have decided on using my primes on two bodies and I wonder if I should have a combination of 45 / 25 / 17, 45 / 25 / 15, or 45 / 17 / 12 ? I do general photography when I travel, so architecture and landscapes, street, portraits. No plans yet of macro, sports/action, or wildlife. Would you recommend I also have a longer tele like the 75 mm? Should I perhaps use only one prime and have a zoom on the other body?
    Second, I’d appreciate a word about post-processing. I have neither the time nor the inclination to PP at length. I’ve played around in OV3 and PP is mostly a mystery to me. I know PP’s important so which softwares should I be learning for this?
    Third, I am quite taken with the RF style Panasonic bodies and very disappointed that Oly seem in no mood to release a cheaper Pen-F style body. But I love the Oly look, and have heard of Panasonic colours being a little off. Do you think this is a significant issue or is it fine if I get a Panasonic GX85 as a second body?
    That’s all, thanks!

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Hi Aiman – first of all, on the Panasonic the colours are only subtly different to Olympus’s and you probably wouldn’t notice except in side by side comparison. I sometimes prefer the Olympus rendering, sometimes the Panasonic depending on the subject so I just use the maker’s cameras interchangeably without a thought on that subject. I think a Panasonic GX80 would be an excellent second body but when you experience its focus speed and easy menu system you may find yourself using it more than you expect. I tend to shoot at 3:2 aspect ratio with it since it gives a much bigger EVF image.

      Post Processing, I just don’t do much of it. I shoot RAW and bring all my images into Lightroom. The only thing I adjust normally is the exposure, maybe lighten or darken the image a little to my personal taste sometimes. No added sharpening or anything else, especially of you shoot jpg. In which case I leave everything on the default camera settings which works well for me. I do have Photoshop but it is mainly used for preparing my images for my Youtube channel. I like to keep my pix as taken with not even any cropping preferably. I’ve found paint.net a neat – and free – program for normal adjustments.

      Re the lenses, It is difficult because so subjective. I find a 17mm the best all purpose lens and that a 17 and 45mm combination do most of what I want while being nicely compact. I’m inclined to think in terms of separate outfits to suit my purposes on the day, so my choice would be a 17 and 45mm prime plus 12-32 and 35-100 Panasonics, the very small ones. You thus have two outfits, a 17 and 45 on each body for street and general use or a 12-32 on one body and a 35-100 on the other. The beauty of it all is that carrying all of them is no burden, even on a travel trip and all are brilliant performers. I can’t choose for you, of course but I can say that while the 12-32 zoom is slower than the Olympus 12mm prime, optical quality is just as good.

      On the lenses

      Reply
  2. Jerry

    Hi David,

    I too really enjoy your reviews and incidentally found your “The Panasonic GX7 Menu System Simplified” invaluable when I purchased my GX7. I am a real fan of primes and currently have the Panasonic 14mm, and Olympus 17mm 1.8, 25mm 1.8 and 45mm 1.8 lenses all of which I rate very highly. I have a question along the same lines that Max asked. Apoogies for turning up late to the party but I have only just discovered your blog!

    In your opinion is there a great enough difference between the field of view, and other characteristics, of the 17mm and 25mm lenses to justify having both? I would not describe myself as a street photographer but I do like to have people in my photographs and in this respect the 25mm makes life a little easier as I can be confident I am not trespassing into someone else’s personal space. On the other hand I love the wideness of the 17mm. I am not in any hurry to part with either lens but I do like to travel light and wonder whether there is a degree of unnecessary duplication in having both lenses.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Hi Jerry. Nice to hear you found the book handy. I don’t actually have a 25mm at the moment as it’s not a focal length I find particularly useful. I’ve always preferred 17mm as a bit more all round useful. Having said that, 14, 25 and 45 in primes are perfectly complementary and the 25mm makes conplete sense in that context . I’d keep all 4 myself and use the 17mm when I’m going out not to take pictures but for some other reason. Then the 17 is simply the best all rounder prime. I probably wouldn’t take the 25 and 17 out together, not because of the weight which is as Micro Four Thirds light as we both appreciate but to avoid having to make a decision about which lens to use for a shot.

      Reply
  3. Michael Gent

    Hi David, Im a long time fan of your superb reviews, informative and a joy to watch.
    On the subject of primes
    Last year I picked up from forums that some photogs who bought the full set of Oly primes are now wishing they had the Oly Pro Series zooms instead.
    With that in mind I acquired the 12-40 f2.8 and 7-14 f2.8 over this last year to work with my E-M1. This is my going out on a mission setup. The IQ from the 12-40 has left me very satisfied, a versatile lens and no need to go out and buy the 3 primes its focal range covers. I have no interest in long zooms but felt I needed something longer just in case. I also wanted to experience a prime lens, so why not get the best? Wow the 75mm f1.8 did not disappoint. Lovely isolation, sharpness and colour rendering. I could just head out and return with a whole bunch of keepers. But yes those images were using bokeh as a crutch rather than true compositions that had context. Nice lens all the same and glad I have it. Next prime was the 9mm bodycap lens! Everything in focus handheld night shots of 1sec with IBIS, has nice contrast and bags of fun. With the 9mm the lamp bulb came on, the freedom this little lens afforded was liberating. Those big pro zooms are heavy lumps kinda against the m4/3 ethos. This got me thinking, those other primes may be worth getting to work with a second body. Having read the reviews I felt I would be paying premium for a focal length I had covered, a f stop that was only marginally better than f2.8 (with IBIS who cares), a physical size that was smaller than the zooms but not small enough to be pocket-able and then the question of which one would I fit on the day. Being satisfied with the IQ from the 9mm Ive decided im going to take a punt with either the Oly 17mm f2.8 or the Pany 14mm f2.5 Pancake, both primes but not of the true sense of the word ie compromised in IQ. But good enough IQ for it intended purpose.
    The most important aspect of a camera for me is ‘composability’ I value this over IQ and low light performance etc. Which is where flip down touch screens come into there own. E-PL5 with 17mm prime makes for a superb street and everyday near pocket-able camera. So yes there’s life in primes.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Life in primes still and yes, I think there always will be. The zooms will do all the day to day heavy lifting but the primes bring something special. It might be as prosaic as just having to move in and out to get the framing you want but it forces you to think more. I’ve always advocated to zoom users that they should treat a zoom as a series of fixed focal length lenses and to explore the effects of moving in and out to alter the perspective of your picture rather than just zooming in and out for framing purposes.

      As for sharpness, it too easily becomes a fetish. There’s no reason for it to be so since once a pic is sharp enough the rest doesn’t matter. That’s actually why i liked both the 17mm f/2.8 Olympus and the 12-50mm zoom. Not the sharpest but both eminently usable and good value lenses.

      Reply
  4. Gonzalo Broto

    My progression has been, like for many others, from zooms to primes, and for basically the reasons that you mention throughout this detailed, well explained article. Even if I had the so-called pro zooms to begin with (both the Lumix 12-35 and 35-100), and not the lower kit zooms, I always considered I was lacking control over my field of view, relying too much on rotating the zoom ring rather than understanding the changes in view and perspective that each and every focal length demands; but there was another factor that also contributed to my decision to finally buy a prime (along with the speed), and that was size: I wanted to carry the smallest kit possible, so the Olympus 45 and the PanaLeica 15 became my new acquisitions and I started shooting almost exclusively with them, one in each camera, and since I bought both of them the zooms have seen much less use.
    I just discovered your blog randomly and I think you really synthesize the benefits of the m4/3 system very clearly, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, Gonzalo. It’s so minimalist and fast, two bodies with two fast lenses covering the majority of subjects. Something satisfying about it. That combination has been the favoured one since 35mm started out and it became practical to tote 2 cameras.

      Reply
  5. N3EG

    I like my primes too. When 4/3 was known as the Pentax Auto 110 back in 1981, I had a 25mm and a 50mm. I still use them now with adapters, along with a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 at $5 instead of the Oly 45mm. Next up will be the 25mm f1.8 Olympus, since my kit zoom is already f/5 at that length.

    Reply
  6. matt

    A good article and pretty much the conclusion I’ve come to regarding primes and zooms. I’m a Lumix GM5 user – moved from the OMD EM1. The Olympus is an amazing camera, and more capable than the GM5, but I like my cameras small and stealthy. The GM5 is small enough to accomplish this and just big enough for my hands to work efficiently. Obviously it would be ridiculous to mount pro zoom lenses on the little Lumix so I have the diminutive 12-32 and 35-100. When I need shallow depth I pull out my 45mm 1.8. What do I need? A small macro lens. I’m also tempted by the 14mm 2.5 because it’s cheap and so very tiny.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      The little 14mm Panasonic is a much underrated lens, probably because it has been around a long time and does not have a spectacular specification. But it focuses well, is sharp and tiny and not too expensive. Pretty much all you want in a lens for day to day use. The small macro, macros are usually quite big, I suppose because of the need for a long focus throw. Your best bet might be a set of extension rings. No auto-focus but that often doesn’t matter much for macro work and you still have auto-exposure on aperture priority. Should work nicely with the 35-100.

      Reply
  7. pete

    Hi David

    the lens I always go back to is the 20mm f1.7 ,if I was to head off with just one lens I think I’d pick that one. it makes a nice walk around lens on the street.

    curiously I rescued my first ever camera from my dads the other day, VIvitar 35ES with a 40mm f1.7 maybe that’s why I am attracted to the 20!!

    maybe one day I’ll get the courage to do one of those one camera one lens trips…. not sure I’m brave enough to do it for a week in tuscany.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Hi Pete

      yes, 20mm is a good all round focal length and the speed makes it very versatile. It would be brave to go to somewhere like Tuscany with just one prime lens. You just know you’d take the 20mm and an eagle would land on a chimney in San Gimignano and you’d need a 100mm. Or there’d be an amazing night scene in the square and you’d need a 12mm. Sooner you than me 🙂

      Reply
    2. Mat

      I have the slow zooms and 45mm 1.8 Oly which I am really enjoying. I think my collection would be complete with the Panny 20mm 1.7. Sounds like both versions are good but I will watch your videos of them both David before choosing. Being a pancake lens is a nice bonus too.

      Reply
      1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

        The 20mm is nice but focusing is not up to the latest standards. Sharp and compact, though.

        Reply
  8. Gary

    Excellent article about prime lenses. I myself do enjoy the Olympus 75mm f1.8 that I recently purchased, it is by far the most used prime lens in my whole m43 lens catalogue as of 2015. That, and the Olympus 45mm f1.8 are two of my favorite prime lens for doing serious portrait work and for getting close up shots during an event.

    But if I have to live with just one prime lens to do all my photography stuff, those two aren’t going to make it on my list; it’s gotta be the Olympus 17mm f1.8. I “survived” 4 full days just with that one lens and with nothing else to photograph everything from portrait, landscape, event, product close up, and even selfie.

    The 12-35mm f2.8 is now becoming some sort of an emergency lens that I only use at 12mm 14mm 18mm(not 17, there is no marking for 17 in that lens sadly) 25mm and 35mm and NEVER in between. It’s for the occasion where I can’t switch lens too often and I need to have those focal lengths handy.

    Interestingly, I do treat my 75mm like it’s a “zoom lens” if you get what I mean; I use it to get the shot that is usually covered by the 45mm, 67.5mm, 75mm, and 100mm by stepping forward or backward to get to the desired composition. That way, it is now becoming my “45-100mm f1.8” that doesn’t zoom! The only time the 75mm gets replaced by the 45mm is only when I travel, and I don’t treat the 45mm like it’s a zoom; 45mm is a 45mm, it is compact, light, and easy to carry around.

    As you have already said, we all need primes. Greetings from Indonesia 🙂

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Greetings from London! The good old 17mm. There’s just something about that angle of view, isn’t there? As I said in the blog, I like the discipline a prime imposes and the way in which it suggests pictures to you. I’d perhaps think that it’s because I’be been around a long time and old habits die hard but I embraced zooms as soon as they were professionally usable, many years ago. Primes are just pleasurable to use and do things in a way a zoom doesn’t. What is interesting is that young photographers, who have never known a time when prime quality zooms weren’t freely available, still buy primes.

      Even if f/1/7 14-45mm quality zooms become available, I don’t think they would ever replace the 17 and 45. I haven’t tried the 75mm but I’d love to some time. It seems to inspire the same positive vibeas the 45mm and there aren’t many lenses that can do that.

      Reply
      1. Max

        Hi David,

        I’ve been watching your videos on YouTube for about the past 6 months. Really enjoyed your reviews, thanks. Just discovered your blog.

        I wanted to get your opinion about the Olympus 17mm in reference to this thread above. I have the Oly 45mm & Pana 12-35mm. I’m consiering the Oly 75mm and Oly 17mm (not buying both at same time – dont have that much cash). How would you say the Panasonic 12-35mm at the 17mm length differs from the Oly 17mm? Apart from obvious the difference in Aperture, I was wondering about sharpness, bokeh and just overall image delight.

        If you get the chance to review the Olympus 75mm that would be great to see.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

          Overall, I would prefer the results from the Olympus 17mm to the 12-35 zoom but not enough to stop me buying the 75mm first. The 12-35, 45 and 75 together give you an absolutely top quality and versatile lens set. The Panasonic zoom can’t match the overall results from the 17mm but that is a reflection on how good the 17mm is rather than any reflection on the zoom. The Olympus 17mm is more a lens to go out with on its own, it just engenders a different way of working, more off the cuff and it feels good to use. I’d buy it for that reason but definitely the 75mm first. I’ve taken a few pix with the 75mm but haven’t had long with it. Long enough to know that it’s one of the nicest lenses in MFT, it feels good, looks good and has unbeatable performance. Expensive maybe, but well worth it.

          Reply
          1. Max

            Thanks for your reply.

            If I may ask further (and put a spanner in the works). I think the 75mm looks amazing and I will hope to get it at a later date when I can afford to. But if you had to choose between the Olympus 17mm 1.8 & 25mm 1.8 which would it be? I know both of these are covered in the Panasonic 12-35 zoom range but I love primes. I mainly shoot video though (sometimes stills) & mostly fictional not documentary style. I’m trying to discern which lense out of the Oly 17 or 25 would be the most useful? I know it’s fairly subjective though.

            Thanks

  9. Christos Pastelas

    Dear David, I am following your YT channel for some time now and I always enjoy your videos, even after watching 5-10 times the same one!
    Your article is right on the spot. In the old days a “prime” lens was necessary because, with ASA 100/400 film, f/1.4 was the only way to take a picture in low light with 1/30 or 1/15 shutter speed. But your feet had to do the framing and that wasn’t always possible. And zooms were always slower (and rather expensive I should add). Today, with sensor sensitivity of 1600+ and OIS, one can shoot 1/8 or 1/4 (or even lower in the new Olympus E-P5mkII) and have excellent results for a 9X12 size print (the standard print size back then). It’s like shooting at 1/30 with a f/3.5 lens (if my math is correct). And there is always the POST option.
    In my plans for a new M43 system, the lenses in my list are the OLY 9-18, the OLY 14-42PZ, the OLY 12-50 (WR) and the OLY 40-150. The only prime I would consider is the OLY 17mm for the very same reason you use it.
    Nowadays I am shooting with an OLY XZ-2, leaving my Pentax K5 mostly at home.

    BTW, when the term “prime lens” came about? When I bought my first (not really first, but proper) 35mm Pentax MEsuper in1981, there where only “lenses” (fixed focal) and “zooms”.

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Hi Christos – yes, you are right, there were lenses and zooms. I don’t know when that changed but maybe it has turned around and zooms are the norm with fixed focal lengths being the exception. So now when someone says lens, zoom is assumed and prime is necessary to assert that it is fixed focal length.

      How things have come on, though. Zooms are now often cheaper than a prime and not too much slower. We agree on the 17mm for sure. The only other lens I’d never be without is the 45mm f1.8.

      You are a glutton for punishment watching my videos more than once, I’m just glad you enjoy them!

      Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      Thanks, Giacomo. I know that in English your name would be Jack but why does it sound so much better in Italian? 🙂

      Reply
  10. Kevin Carroll

    Enjoyed your article David.

    I used to hate zooms as I only had a kit lens for a good while so I had convinced myself that primes were the only way to go. I gradually moved to getting a 14mm 2.5, 45mm 1.8, 12-35 2.8 and 25mm 1.8 in that order, selling the kit zoom and little 14mm along the way. I got a load of legacy primes and zooms in between though they are a different story. Anyway, I only got the zoom as I really need it for videoing events and pretty much exclusively used it for that. Photography for me is fun 🙂 video is my passion!

    When I shoot stills I usually use my 25mm 80% of the time and the 45mm and zoom when I need something specifically on the wide end. Anyway, just today I went down to the Botanic Gardens in Dublin to take some photos of flowers. I’ve never done this before as I’m primarily a street shooter (I’m never bored by people). Before I left I decided to test out the close focusing of my lenses and low and behold the zoom was the closest focusing (not to mention the IS) so for a change I shot primarily on the zoom. Wow the difference compared to shooting with my old kit. The shots were superb; sharp, shallow dof on the long end and good light gathering with plenty of contrast. I definitely enjoyed it and will do it again!

    However will i ditch my primes? Um no and my biggest regret through amassing my m4/3 set up? selling my 14mm lol 😉 Primes in many respects are more freeing I find because you can imagine your focal length before you even look through the viewfinder, so I often find myself walking up and frame my shot before I even lift the camera to snap whereas I find I can get “lost” focally when using a zoom if that makes sense. This often results in me taking shots far too wide with busy backgrounds and distortion or being unable to find my subject matter as the fov is tiny when zoomed out, missing the moment.

    BTW if you really want to have fun with a prime check out the fujian 35mm f1.7 cctv lens on ebay. The most fun lens I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting with. I managed to get it with some macro rings, you should see what I captured with it today! whoa!!

    Anyway. I’ve really enjoyed your videos on YouTube and now this blog. You should mention it in your videos, I only found this site by chance! Have a good un!

    Reply
    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      I’m glad you like the blog. In return, I loved your Road Rage video especially, very funny with an unexpected turn at the end followed by an even more unexpected turn.

      As you say, with primes you have just the one view to deal with and you can pre-visualise that. But all of the lenses have their value. At the moment I’m in love with an old 80s 300mm ff4.5 Nikkor used with a Metabones speed Booster. Real fun! I’ll take a look at that CCTV lens. I mainly use video for bands at my local blues club. It’s something I’d like to get into more but daunting that there is at least as much to know about that as stills. I wish I was a Buddhist, then maybe I could spend the next lifetime learning about video! Great comment, Kevin, thanks.

      Reply
      1. Gary

        Hey David,

        Regarding your comment about video, I am now also struggling to learn how to properly shoot video using my GX7. For me, the best run-and-gun approach to set the camera for video is to set one of the Custom Dials on the GX7 on a full manual mode with a shutter speed of twice your frame rate. Let’s say I like to use 25fps for most of my video, I’ll set the shutter speed to 1/50s and leave it forever like that until I need to change the fps on a very rare occasion.

        As for getting the correct exposure, I usually keep the aperture somewhat big at around f2.8 or f4 and just change the ISO according to the light. Many people usually turn down all the picture setting adjustment, especially saturation and contrast, and add them back later in video software(treating the video like some sort of a RAW picture that requires post processing). But I don’t have time to process them again in the software so I usually just dial the saturation and contrast down a little bit by -1 and just shoot away. It’s usually good enough for most Youtube stuffs.

        For video, the stabilization on the GX7 doesn’t turn on so I rely 100% on video tripod to get some stabilized panning action as well as for still video…. Unless I’m using Panasonic lens with lens stabilizer, which means I can have some degree of stabilization from the lens thus I can get away from carrying a tripod if I must.

        Reply
        1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

          Hi Gary

          In video and I do a similar thing to you. Basically, I try to eliminate as many variables as possible and keep it as simple as possible. Luckily my YouTube photography videos don’t need any more. My biggest problem as been getting the sound right and I’ve sort of done that now. I’d love to be as instinctive about video as I am with stills but I’d need another lifetime for that. The whole settings thing for video foxes me too. I read some stuff and try that, turning down this and that, upping master pedestal levels(!) etc and it always looks ok but so does it with everything set at default.

          With stills, I can change exposure on a RAW file and see a big difference between 1/10th stops. It’s instinctive, my eye is tuned to it. Video, I don’t know what I’m looking for, really. If ever I meet Old Nick at a crossroads, I’ll trade my soul for another lifetime to learn video. I don’t have any use for my soul but I really would like to do better video.

          Reply

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