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Archive 2013 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture
  
 
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


My wife has an Olympus EM-5 and I have a Canon 5DII, which means I have tried to follow pretty closely the available lenses for both systems. It is clear from our two kits that I not only have a much larger camera, but much larger lenses. I took this basically as a given, after all my camera has a much larger sensor and a much longer registration distance. The received wisdom is that this means larger lenses. As I looked at the lens options, however, I made some observations that surprised me. When thinking about a normal type lenses, my wife has the wonderful Panny/Leica 25mm f/1.4. I have a Rokkor 58 f/1.2 which is wonderful as well, but it is over twice the size. Does it have to be that way? When I thought about it I realized it doesn't have to be that way. I could get a C/Y Zeiss 50mm f/1.7, which is a wonderful lens and it would actually be lighter, have a smaller diameter, and be shorter than my wife's Panny/Leica. The same could basically be said about any FF 50 f/1.8 or 2.0 lens. Maybe that is just normal lenses, what about an Oly 12 f/2 for m4/3rds? Well it is a lot smaller than something like a Zeiss ZE 25 f/2, but it really isn't smaller than the Oly OM 24 f/2.8 that I used to have. Maybe it is just m4/3rds? How about we compare the Fuji 14 f/2.8 to FF lenses. It is way smaller than the Zeiss ZE 21 f/2.8, but it isn't really any smaller than the Oly OM 21 f/3.5 or the Voigtlander 20 f/3.5. Maybe if we switch to telephoto lenses we will see the difference? The Oly 75 f/1.8 is a brilliant and relatively small lens. It is way smaller than the Zeiss ZE 135 f/2 APO, but it really isn't any smaller than the Olympus OM 135 f/3.5 or the Minolta MD 135 f/3.5. As I started to do these comparisons what became evident is that if you equate lenses for the depth of field they can produce m4/3rds and FF lenses (and APS-C lenses as well) all end up being a similar size. Of course some manufacturers generally make bigger lenses (e.g., Zeiss) and some generally make smaller lenses (e.g., Olympus), but it seems to me that whether a manufacturer is making a m4/3rds lens with a max aperture of f/1.4, or an APS-C lens of f/2.2, or a FF lens of f/2.8 and they all have a similar field of view, the lenses will all end up being about the same size. Said another way, it is the aperture of the lens and not the size of sensor it was designed for, nor the registration distance, that accounts for sizes of lenses. More practically, the reason my wife has a great kit of really small lenses is that the lens makers for m4/3rds have made (and we have bought) lenses that have a lot less possibilities for depth of field. The wonderful Oly 45 f/1.8, doesn't really have a counterpart with the same limited depth of field possibilities for FF (there are no small 90 f/3.5 lenses--I know there is the Voigtlander 90 f/3.5 APO, but this lens is larger than it would need to be if it didn't have excellent and short close focus and very high levels of correction). Neither does the Panny 14 f/2.5, nor the Oly 17 f/1.8. M4/3rds just makes some very tiny lenses that no one has tried to make something with similar imaging possibilities for FF. On the other hand, my FF lenses are partly large because no one (not even Voigtlander) has tried to make a m4/3rds lens with the imaging capabilities of a 58 f/1.2, or a 35 f/1.4, or even a 135 f/2. In the middle, however, when lenses have similar imaging capabilities they have similar sizes irrespective of the format or the registration distance. It seems that making lenses with very shallow depth of field (i.e., wider apertures) is what makes lenses big quick.

This should be good news for those who want a small mirrorless FF. When such a camera is made there is no reason that a very small 21 f/4, 24 f/3.5, 28 f/2.8, 35 f/2.8, 50 f/2, 85 f/2, 135 f/4, and 200 f/5 could not be made to match it and if they make constant aperture f/5.6 zooms, a 24-85, and a 70-200 even could be quite small. These lenses could all be excellent as well as it is much easier to make lenses with these smaller apertures.



Sep 24, 2013 at 05:18 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Steve Spencer wrote:
This should be good news for those who want a small mirrorless FF. When such a camera is made there is no reason that a very small 21 f/4, 24 f/3.5, 28 f/2.8, 35 f/2.8, 50 f/2, 85 f/2, 135 f/4, and 200 f/5 could not be made to match it and if they make constant aperture f/5.6 zooms, a 24-85, and a 70-200 even could be quite small. These lenses could all be excellent as well as it is much easier to make lenses with these smaller apertures.


yes.

on the other hand marketing f/4 primes is rather difficult. perhaps whoever produces a 21/4 for FF mirrorless should market it as the equivalent as a 10.5/2 for 4/3.




Sep 24, 2013 at 06:17 PM
ISO1600
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


haha, that was so uncomfortable to read. Please hit "enter" once or twice.

Yes, F3.5/4.0 primes would/could be smaller. But as Sebboh said, they are a hard sell.



Sep 24, 2013 at 06:21 PM
douglasf13
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Yep, although one does need to take into account the extra 20mm+ registration distance of SLRs that adds to the overal system length/size.


Sep 24, 2013 at 06:22 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


douglasf13 wrote:
Yep, although one does need to take into account the extra 20mm+ registration distance of SLRs that adds to the overal system length/size.


yes, but leica and voigtlander already make a bunch of FF mirrorless lenses that are smaller than the aps-c/4/3 equivalents even when you include the adapter for a theoretical FF NEX.

it remains to be seen how well they will work with a non-leica FF mirrorless of course.




Sep 24, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


douglasf13 wrote:
Yep, although one does need to take into account the extra 20mm+ registration distance of SLRs that adds to the overal system length/size.


But this presumably won't apply to a FF mirrorless. Such a camera ought to be able to have small lenses, if people want to buy the lenses.



Sep 24, 2013 at 06:41 PM
ISO1600
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


OM and M(-mount) lenses are always a good place to look for an example of lens size possibilities. They both cover FF, and are generally the smallest lenses in their respective focal lengths.

OM 21/2? Show me another fast 21 that is this small.
OM 21/3.5? MICROSCOPIC...
OM 28/3.5? Barely even there.



Sep 24, 2013 at 06:49 PM
paulhofseth
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Remove superfluous (?) autofocus and auto aperture-mechanics and all lenses will shrink.

Remove the camera mirror so that you do not need retrofocus designs, Leica size optics will result for 24x36.

Reduce the sensor size and hence the angle subtended and further reduction is possible..

Take a look at the small size of the Kinoptik or the Schneider 50 f.2 's which will cover M4\3 but are designed for 16mm. On the other hand, the Schneider 50\0,95 which also was sold as suitable for small sensors,but does cover M4\3.is large and heavy.

Aperture number is effective light opening divided by focal length, but in order to cover lager areas and still keep aberrations down at the larger angle of view, more glass is needed.

p.



Sep 24, 2013 at 06:51 PM
artur5
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


sebboh wrote:
yes, but leica and voigtlander already make a bunch of FF mirrorless lenses that are smaller than the aps-c/4/3 equivalents even when you include the adapter for a theoretical FF NEX.
it remains to be seen how well they will work with a non-leica FF mirrorless of course.

Mirrorless lenses ? Ah, I see, you mean everything except mirror (catadioptric ) units.

Sorry Sebboh, I couldn't help it.



Sep 24, 2013 at 06:57 PM
AhamB
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


sebboh wrote:
yes, but leica and voigtlander already make a bunch of FF mirrorless lenses that are smaller than the aps-c/4/3 equivalents even when you include the adapter for a theoretical FF NEX.

it remains to be seen how well they will work with a non-leica FF mirrorless of course.



And Zeiss (ZM).



Sep 24, 2013 at 07:20 PM
 

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sebboh
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


AhamB wrote:
And Zeiss (ZM).


yeah, but those tend not to be as small e.g. zm 35/2 versus 35 cron asph.




Sep 24, 2013 at 07:30 PM
dcjs
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


It was already mentioned, but I want to stress that auto aperture adds volume to a lens. Mechanically, an M lens is probably the most stripped-down design as far as size goes. Maybe you could go even simpler by allowing the optics to rotate, but who really wants to go that alt?


Sep 24, 2013 at 08:17 PM
douglasf13
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Steve Spencer wrote:
But this presumably won't apply to a FF mirrorless. Such a camera ought to be able to have small lenses, if people want to buy the lenses.


It depends on the mount and how the sensor deals with oblique light rays. As theSuede has shown a few times, the e-mount FF will make it hard to make fast lenses much smaller than their DSLR counterparts.



Sep 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


douglasf13 wrote:
It depends on the mount and how the sensor deals with oblique light rays. As theSuede has shown a few times, the e-mount FF will make it hard to make fast lenses much smaller than their DSLR counterparts.


The crucial phrase here is "fast lenses." The point of this post is that I don't think it will be hard to make relatively slow lenses as small as m 4/3rds and APS-C lenses with similar imaging capabilities.



Sep 24, 2013 at 08:43 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Steve Spencer wrote:
The crucial phrase here is "fast lenses." The point of this post is that I don't think it will be hard to make relatively slow lenses as small as m 4/3rds and APS-C lenses with similar imaging capabilities.


Sure, if you want to negate one of the reasons a larger sensor is more desirable for those shooting system lenses.



Sep 24, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Hm, registration distance is nice thing.. but look at Leica M. Im not sure if M240 is much better, but lens too close to sensor is simply no-no.


Sep 24, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


freaklikeme wrote:
Sure, if you want to negate one of the reasons a larger sensor is more desirable for those shooting system lenses.


No the point is that with a larger sensor (or really any sensor) you can both have small lenses if you want and you can have shallower depth of field if you want, but they won't be the same lenses. Shallow depth of field lenses for any system are going to be large. For a FF system you could have a set of small lenses and a set of large wide aperture lenses that will be a lot larger. But this could be true at least to a considerable extent even for m4/3rds. You could build a set of f/0.95 or even f/0.7 lenses for m4/3rds, but they would be quite large and very expensive. I doubt there would be a market for them.



Sep 24, 2013 at 09:08 PM
U.C.
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


ISO1600 wrote:
OM and M(-mount) lenses are always a good place to look for an example of lens size possibilities. They both cover FF, and are generally the smallest lenses in their respective focal lengths.

OM 21/2? Show me another fast 21 that is this small.
OM 21/3.5? MICROSCOPIC...
OM 28/3.5? Barely even there.

Didn't those have problems with some serious vignetting?



Sep 24, 2013 at 09:14 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


U.C. wrote:
Didn't those have problems with some serious vignetting?


depends on what you mean by problems. they all have vignetting and some have more than most in there focal length/aperture. i would never view it as a problem for landscape shooting, but i usually add vignetting to my images...




Sep 24, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Lens size: sensor size, registration distance, aperture


Steve Spencer wrote:
The crucial phrase here is "fast lenses." The point of this post is that I don't think it will be hard to make relatively slow lenses as small as m 4/3rds and APS-C lenses with similar imaging capabilities.


The problem is: only you and a few other people will buy them, which will make the prices as high as much better and faster (if larger) lenses. It's not like such lenses didn't exist in olden times. But designs have gotten more sophisticated, and as has been mentioned several times, AF, auto aperture, IS, all add size and weight.



Sep 24, 2013 at 09:45 PM
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