Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Fast Glass

The 70-200mm constant-aperture zoom lens is a staple in camera bags. It's such a staple that, well...
"’s a lens that so many pros rely on for a considerable portion of their photography that the leading manufacturers of camera bags design their wares around it. We’ve seen countless demos by the bag makers who describe a pro-level case as being able to hold a DSLR with a 70-200mm."
I like "travel zooms" (like the Sony 24-240mm that's on my a7 right now) as the walking-around lens on my camera, but while they add the versatility of going from wide-angle to long telephoto, they are too slow to use for anything other than brightly-lit outdoor work.

Even with extensive work in Lightroom, trying to shoot derby with a typical f/3.5-5.6 travel zoom results in a hot mess.
I'd been pondering getting a constant aperture 70-200mm to better be able to shoot things like roller derby. There was no way I was going to be able to swing a lens like that before Blogorado time rolled around again, though.

A full-frame Sony E-mount 70-200mm f/4 is about a grand used, and the one I really wanted, the 70-200mm f/2.8, is double that money or more.

This is where the magic of Micro Four-Thirds comes to the rescue. Since the MFT sensor is half the size of the one on a full-frame camera, a 35-100mm zoom would give the same field of view as a 70-200mm on the Sony. And Panasonic happens to make a very well-regarded 35-100mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
Due to the smaller glass, it's a lot more affordable, too. Sure, because of the crop factor you also lose some of the tight depth-of-field control you get with a full-frame f/2.8, so if portraiture is your jam it's not really a substitute. But is it capable of shooting roller derby? It would appear so.

Speaking of the magic of crop factor, the tiny 1/1.7" sensor on the Pentax Q7 and Q-S1 means that the 70-200mm equivalent on those cameras is a 15-45mm lens that costs a hundred bucks and fits in a teacup.