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08-07-2010, 06:46 PM   #16
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I'll have to look around when I get home in a few days, but I think I have one of the Pentax 50mm f1.2 lenses, all manual so I'm using the A series 1.4. I have a couple of 1.4 and I think a 1.7, I rarely drop below f2 or 2.8 when shooting with the 1.4 though. As mentioned more than once, DOF is gone bye bye at that kind of aperture. I mostly shoot ISO 200, f4 right now, f8 if I have enough light to get by with it, but most often it's f4. this morning I tried a couple of shots at f1.4 just for fun, it's near impossible to get good focus.

Fast is great, but I like to have at least a little depth, so focus is not quite as critical. Someone menitoned having more trouble focusing a 80mm than a 50. I notice the same thing in a big way when I swap to the 135mm from the 50, if I can't see some detail it's not going to happen. The 135 is very difficult to focus, more so than the 70-210 I used with 35mm film, it almost always stayed on 210 and got me a lot of very nice shots. With the 135mm I have to be able to see some good detail to get clear focus.

I've been using the 50mm f1.4 ever since I got the K-x, but I'm thinking about trying the 1.7 later on, I don't know if I have a f2, but I might and might sacrifice auto aperture for a while just to try it out. As for ISO I tried 100, switched to 200 and use it almost constantly now, occasionally bumping it to 400 for low light in early morning or late evening. I tried a few shots in late evening at ISO 1600-3200 just for kicks, way too grainy for me. Unless I want that effect...400 and 800 seem to do fine, but I don't like to go higher than 400 if I can avoid it. I like shooting at ISO 200 really well, nice smooth pictures with virtually no noise except for shots of birds at the limit of the distance the 135mm will handle, and when trying some unorthodox setups for macro shots. I won't go into that here...

08-07-2010, 08:24 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kguru Quote
Problem is even if they existed, at 1.2 or 1.0 the DOF would be so thin, only practical for special-effect shots.
Absolutely false, unless you consider portraits special effect shots. If you're unsure if 1.2 lenses even exists, chances are good that you've never used one. You should give it a try before dismissing it as a "special effects" lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
Fast lenses are of limited use in my opinion.
The fact that they can be stopped down makes them of more use than any other slower 50mm lens. You do know it's not locked at f1.2? They're typically sharper than f1.4 lenses at similar apertures. Not to mention it gives you a brighter viewfinder, which is critical for low light shooting and focusing.

QuoteOriginally posted by tiltman Quote
A flash ruins everything.
That's typically what I hear from people who do not know how to use flash. It sounds like an excuse to me. In no way does flashes "ruin" everything when you use it well. It's a tool and like any tool, can be misused in the wrong hands.

Last edited by hangu; 08-07-2010 at 08:30 PM.
08-07-2010, 09:42 PM   #18
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the Pentax 35mm f/1.4 is a lens only a few have heard of, I don't think it was ever in production. even in my years I have only seen the lens hood; I have never seen the rest of the lens. but I'm more willing to settle for the Pentax 31mm f/1.8 - a stellar lens it is.

there is the view that lenses in the f/1.0 ~f/2 speed range were never designed to be used wide open. that is weapons grade Bull sh*t.

I own a leica noctilux 50mm f/1.0, I use it wide open whenever I want. Sure it has bad vignetting and horrendous coma but it enables me to get images when people with their "fast"f/2.8 zoom lenses have completely given up and headed home. I also use the SMCP-50mm f/1.2 wide open too, I don't mind it's spherical aberrations at f/1.2 it is the nature of the beast. It is possible to create a f/1.2 lens without these aberrations ( the Nikon 58mm f/1.2 Noct nikkor comes to mind) but those lenses employ aspheric lens elements that make those lenses extremely expensive even on the second hand market (I paid $2800 for mine it was in mint condition)

What these fast lenses allow for is high shutter speeds in dim light. The shallow DOF is just a side effect, and it isn't an insurmountable obstacle because you can stop the lens down when you need to. and f/1.2 lenses typically perform better at f/2 than f/1.4 lenses do.

Last edited by Digitalis; 08-07-2010 at 09:53 PM.
08-07-2010, 10:20 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
there is the view that lenses in the f/1.0 ~f/2 speed range were never designed to be used wide open. that is weapons grade Bull sh*t.
Absolutely.

It sounds like some people on this thread have never used an f1.2 lens yet has an opinion on how it should or should not be used.

I'm curious to see some photos from the Noct-Nikkor.

08-07-2010, 11:25 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Derridale Quote
I really think that you're limiting your options by leaving the ISO at 100. Most modern DSLRs are extremely capable of taking good shots at much higher ISOs than that, including yours.

I've just returned from a course which included portrait work using available light only, and most of the shots were taken at f/2.8, occasionally f/4, and the ISO was adjusted as necessary, with some being at 800 and a couple at 1600. And this was using K20D bodies, not the newer models. The shots were excellent, and although there were one or two with a bit of "graininess" to them (no more than you used to get with fast film), this can be removed very easily using plugins such as Topaz, Nik, or in my case, Noise Ninja. I have all three of those, but for me, Noise Ninja does it best - but, your mileage may vary.

I'm not sure why you'd want to be keeping the ISO at 100 for some theoretical purist reason - it's like driving a Ferrari with the handbrake on...!
it's not just for theoretical purist reason. everyone knows that base ISO will always render the best IQ overall. it is also the ISO with the best and highest DR. 2nd, shooting at Higher ISO like 800 and 1600 can only be as good as how much light is available. salvaging or recovering details on a heavily underexposed image or on the shadow region is more tricky (much so at 3200 and over). in the end, you will get more noise signals rather than detail in return. removing noise is not even an option as that would leave the recovered shadow regions bland. a post-processed would appear good on a small print/screen but a zoom cropped image would tell all the shortcomings of it. so if you post-process an underexposed ISO 800 or ISO 1600 image, it would definitely be nothing as good as something shot at lower ISO, even with NR and especially when zoom cropped at bigger sizes. shooting at f4 at extreme lowlight or with a small single light source is tough work. fast aperture however, gives you that luxury of shooting bright images. also, workflow plays a part on why people have fast lenses. it decreases their processing time and effort, and helps and spare those who have limited knowledge with post-processing the trouble of learning/study or go thru the processes of excellent NR techniques. unless that you assume that everybody is as good as JB. lastly, had you seen how the OOF are, bokeh of an image shot wide open at 1.2 under very lowlight or extreme lowlight looks like? for sure, nothing like that you could see with an f2.8.

also as mentioned before in some other threads regarding fast lenses, fast lenses gives you more versatility and added extra light power as opposed to having only HIGH ISO power and slower shutter speed as a solutions. or simply saying that f2.8 gets you running at 100mph in a race, f1.2 gets you to overdrive. now that makes sense, does it?

anyway, I understand the sentiment of some people dismissing the 1.2 as useless due to it's shallow DOF. it is only useless for those who can't work it. point is, compromise between luxury of use play a part. some prefer shooting at slower aperture because of difficulty of nailing focus, and some shooting at fast aperture because of a certain look in an image that they can achieve with it, better IQ and because of shooting with more light without having to deal with further post-process work. as I said before, this is a specialist lens not because for a certain purpose, but because it would require some specialist skill to use it effectively under special situations. that's why these are called professional lenses. they are not do-it-all lenses.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 08-07-2010 at 11:48 PM.
08-07-2010, 11:57 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
it's not just for theoretical purist reason. everyone knows that base ISO will always render the best IQ overall. it is also the ISO with the best and highest DR. 2nd, shooting at Higher ISO like 800 and 1600 can only be as good as how much light is available. salvaging or recovering details on a heavily underexposed or on the shadow region is more tricky (much so at 3200 and over). in the end, you will get more noise signals rather than detail in return. removing noise is not even an option as that would leave the recovered shadow regions bland. a post-processed would appear good on a small print/screen but a cropped image would tell all the shortcomings of it. so if you post-process an underexposed ISO 800 or ISO 1600 image, it would definitely be nothing as good as something shot at lower ISO, even with NR and especially when cropped at bigger sizes. shooting at f4 at extreme lowlight or with a small single light source is tough work. fast aperture however, gives you that luxury of shooting bright images. also, workflow plays a part on why people have fast lenses. it decreases their processing time and effort, and helps and spare those who have limited knowledge with post-processing the trouble of learning/study or go thru the processes of excellent NR techniques. unless that you assume that everybody is as good as JB. lastly, had you seen how the OOF are, bokeh of an image shot wide open at 1.2 under very lowlight or extreme lowlight looks like? for sure, nothing like that you could see with an f2.8.
You've gone off track here. I don't think Derridale is disputing the merits of low ISO. Only that it's folly to limit yourself to ISO 100 when your camera is capable of so much more. A shot with lower dynamic range and a smattering of noise is better than a pitch black photograph shot at ISO 100. Any real photographer would agree with that. As long as you expose shots correctly in ISO 800-1600 on the K-x, the results are nothing short of stunning.

Using the noise reduction function in LR3 is not rocket science. Any schmuck can monkey around and get decent results.

I would hardly call using f1.2 manual focus lenses something that requires specialist skills. Not unless you consider photography 20 years ago something that requires specialist skills to do. I doubt most of the naysayers here have even used an f1.2 lens.
08-08-2010, 12:15 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
You've gone off track here. I don't think Derridale is disputing the merits of low ISO. Only that it's folly to limit yourself to ISO 100 when your camera is capable of so much more. A shot with lower dynamic range and a smattering of noise is better than a pitch black photograph shot at ISO 100. Any real photographer would agree with that. As long as you expose shots correctly in ISO 800-1600 on the K-x, the results are nothing short of stunning.

Using the noise reduction function in LR3 is not rocket science. Any schmuck can monkey around and get decent results.

I would hardly call using f1.2 manual focus lenses something that requires specialist skills. Not unless you consider photography 20 years ago something that requires specialist skills to do. I doubt most of the naysayers here have even used an f1.2 lens.
no I didn't. you just didn't read and understand my post correctly. or in short, you are clearly missing the point of what you just quoted.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 08-08-2010 at 12:32 AM.
08-08-2010, 12:50 AM   #23
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I'm not disputing your analysis on the merits of low ISO. I'm just wondering why you went on a complete tangent about the merits of low ISO when Derridale was simply stating that there are times when high ISO is required. No one is saying that an ISO 1600 image will have better IQ than an ISO 100 image, just that ISO 100 is not always feasible with available light.

Am I off-base here? Was there some secret message embedded in your analysis that I didn't have a cipher for?

08-08-2010, 02:23 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
I'm not disputing your analysis on the merits of low ISO. I'm just wondering why you went on a complete tangent about the merits of low ISO when Derridale was simply stating that there are times when high ISO is required. No one is saying that an ISO 1600 image will have better IQ than an ISO 100 image, just that ISO 100 is not always feasible with available light.

Am I off-base here? Was there some secret message embedded in your analysis that I didn't have a cipher for?
it's no secret. I just wonder why he said that shooting at ISO 100 under certain condition is based on theoretical purist reason. it was the first line on the post that you quoted and should had noticed that immediately. I did mentioned the merits of the trade inorder to show that I'm not biased regarding fast lenses and High ISO. explaining the reasons why people shoot at low ISO and why some at High ISO. to simplify the explanation further, I myself for example would shot at f1.2 at ISO 100 or ISO 200 as opposed to shooting at f2.8 at ISO 800. this is also with regards to certain situations from standard lowlight to extreme and tough lowlight situations. I had seen merits from both use and there are times that even with the K-x's great High ISO capability, the images just don't cut out for my taste. to make it fair, I had some really nice shots taken at Higher ISO, under certain situations, but it's not everyday and every shot that I would prefer shooting at those range. not because it's based on principle, but with certain things I could achieve much better and easier.
08-08-2010, 02:27 AM   #25
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Please allow me to chip in here - Hangu is right. I wasn't trying to imply that one SHOULDN'T shoot at ISO 100. Of course that will give the best image quality when light conditions allow. And if shutter speed isn't too slow for the subject matter.

But to LIMIT yourself to ISO 100 seems silly to me.

I just got back from a photo course which involved, as well as the available light portraits mentioned above, aerial shoots from helicopters. This was in the VERY brightly lit surroundings of Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. I could obviously shoot at ISO 100 on the beach, and even while taking off and landing. But from 1000 ft up, and moving, I was shooting at 1/2000 at ISO 400, and when we did several high-speed low passes about 100 ft off the deck, I used 1/4000 at ISO 1600. Anything else would have resulted in blurred shots. This was with a 70-200mm f/2.8 - probably one of the most useful and versatile lenses made.

Now I fully realise we're talking apples and oranges here, but my point is that I was using the full range of ISO settings available to me, in order to get the shots. I was using aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and juggling all three. By limiting yourself to ISO 100, you're eliminating one very valuable variable. The shots I got were eminently usable, some being quite spectacular, even if I do say so myself.

And, in passing, I also have and use a 50mm f/1.4 lens extensively too, but I still vary the ISO as required.

EDIT: Another thing to remember is that it is better to overexpose slightly (but avoiding real blown-out highlights) than to underexpose, with a digital camera. There are about 6 times as many bits used to record detail in the highlights compared to the shadows. It is better to try and shift the histogram to the left and recover some of those highlights than it is to try and boost the shadows by much, which introduces much more noise.

Last edited by Derridale; 08-08-2010 at 02:37 AM.
08-08-2010, 02:31 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Derridale Quote
Please allow me to chip in here - Hangu is right. I wasn't trying to imply that one SHOULDN'T shoot at ISO 100. Of course that will give the best image quality when light conditions allow. And if shutter speed isn't too slow for the subject matter.

But to LIMIT yourself to ISO 100 seems silly to me.

I just got back from a photo course which involved, among other things, aerial shoots from helicopters. This was in the VERY brightly lit surroundings of Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. I could obviously shoot at ISO 100 on the beach, and even while taking off and landing. But from 1000 ft up, and moving, I was shooting at 1/2000 at ISO 400, and when we did several high-speed low passes about 100 ft off the deck, I used 1/4000 at ISO 1600. Anything else would have resulted in blurred shots. This was with a 70-200 f/2.8 - probably one of the most useful and versatile lenses made.

Now I fully realise we're talking apples and oranges here, but my point is that I was using the full range of ISO settings available to me, in order to get the shots. I was using aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and juggling all three. By limiting yourself to ISO 100, you're eliminating one very valuable variable. The shots I got were eminently usable, some being quite spectacular, even if I do say so myself.

And, in passing, I also have and use a 50mm f/1.4 lens extensively too, but I still vary the ISO as required.
Im glad that you cleared that out for me DerrisD, although I think the theoretical purist comment was a bit too much or unnecessary.
08-08-2010, 03:47 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
That's typically what I hear from people who do not know how to use flash. It sounds like an excuse to me. In no way does flashes "ruin" everything when you use it well. It's a tool and like any tool, can be misused in the wrong hands.
Added light (flash) can be used to "document an object" (like in a portrait) but when You try to capture a "sensation" it often ruins the scene IMO.
08-08-2010, 08:22 AM   #28
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"I would hardly call using f1.2 manual focus lenses something that requires specialist skills"

with the focusing screens you find on current DSLRs I would say otherwise. You have to buy a special replacement to make the most of f/1.2 glass at full aperture....that, or you must have relatively static subject matter. Or be endowed with the visual acuity of a hawk. Fortunately I have been gifted with the latter.
08-08-2010, 08:55 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
"I would hardly call using f1.2 manual focus lenses something that requires specialist skills"

with the focusing screens you find on current DSLRs I would say otherwise. You have to buy a special replacement to make the most of f/1.2 glass at full aperture....that, or you must have relatively static subject matter. Or be endowed with the visual acuity of a hawk. Fortunately I have been gifted with the latter.
A split focusing screen is not a specialist skill. It's just a $30 tool. You wouldn't call a tripod, handgrip or flash gear specialist "skills", would you? Perhaps tools would be a more apt description. Sure f1.2 lenses may take some getting used to, but so do all new lenses in general. I just think it's BS that certain people think f1.2 lenses are off limits to amateur photographers. I would in no way consider myself a professional yet I find f1.2 lenses an absolute joy to use.

QuoteOriginally posted by tiltman Quote
Added light (flash) can be used to "document an object" (like in a portrait) but when You try to capture a "sensation" it often ruins the scene IMO.
Yeah, when you're trying to capture the way-under-exposed-sensation of a photograph, I guess a flash could ruin that. This is just like the high ISO discussion. In no way am I saying flash is better than natural available light, it certainly doesn't look as good most of the time. But you're not going to always get bountiful amount of natural available light. What then? You refuse to go above ISO 100 and you refuse to use flash. I'm curious as to what kind of photography you do as you've basically limited yourself to scenes of the bright outdoors. Have you ever shot an indoor scene? Have you shot anything on a cloudy day? Do you just turn off your camera at 5PM? I'm extremely curious to see some of your photos.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
Im glad that you cleared that out for me DerrisD, although I think the theoretical purist comment was a bit too much or unnecessary.
Derridale is spot-on with the theoretical purist comment. If your camera is glued to ISO 100, either you've never encountered a night scene, an indoor scene or a scene involving fast moving objects or you're prescribing to some puritanical doctrine regarding digital photography. Again, we all agree with you on the merits of low ISO shooting, we just don't think it's possible 100% of the time. I'm not sure what you're trying to argue here besides how clueless I am.

Last edited by hangu; 08-08-2010 at 09:09 AM.
08-08-2010, 09:15 AM   #30
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"I just think it's BS that certain people think f1.2 lenses are off limits to amateur photographers. I would in no way consider myself a professional yet I find f1.2 lenses an absolute joy to use."

I never said that f/1.2 lenses were off limits to amateurs. Though, I will say requires skill to use such fast glass and get the most out of it. Landing a newbie with a 50mm f/1.2 and a K7 makes the learning curve a tad steeper.
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