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12-21-2010, 02:43 PM   #61
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I didn't realize all pros were portrait photographers .
you are being sarcastic now and this defeats the purpose of the discussion unless you vehemently reject any facts of fast lens usage.

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If we are going to talk physics for a moment, though, most shots below f2 are going to have pretty much just the eyes in focus and while this may be desirable for a classic portrait look, shallow depth of field is not the only sort of portrait that looks good.
really? I try not to laugh at the highlighted part. obviously, you haven't really have any idea what you are talking about. I would suggest browsing more images taken faster than f2.

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Speaking strictly about professional work, of which I can only go to samples because I am not one and will never be one, many, many stunning headshots I've seen were shots with what looks to be f4 to me. Commercial photography tends to be rather sharp these days, and while shallow depth of field has its place, it is not ubiquitous with professional results.
Ash answered this one already.

12-21-2010, 02:45 PM   #62
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As many cases as there are where a soft-focus in desirable for a portrait, there are just as many cases where it harms the image or can look overdone. The point is that this particular aspect of the FA ltd's photographic abilities is really specialized, and likely not incredibly important for many individuals. I would think thing like bokeh rendering, sharpness, and features such as autofocus speed would have a much more dramatic effect on the value the average photographer would observe. This is important... value *is* in the eye of the beholder, and instead of talking about how one rendering is superior, let's discuss features for value. Obviously, this will come into effect, seeing as the DA ltd. trio is about 50% of the cost of the FA trio.
I'm just wondering how can it be harmful using FA LTD?
12-21-2010, 02:45 PM   #63
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And no, I didn't take photography in school... but I do study people. Since you feel like mincing words, I would suggest then that the DA 70 2.4 is, in fact, a fast lens by your standard. I don't really see it as such, but I know that I rarely use any of the fast 50's I've owned below f2.4. When I do, it's often because the light is bad, and it generally results in sub-par images compared to f2.8 - f4.0. Maybe you prefer the look of f1.8 - f2.4. I don't think one could conclusively say that one is better than the other. This is supposed to be art, after all.
you answered it yourself and it is one of the characteristics of a fast lens (regarding your use of the DA70).
the highlighted part is an overused alibi of people trying to justify an unwinnable argument.
12-21-2010, 02:57 PM   #64
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Ash, you provided some classic examples on how aperture speed makes a difference in DOF. obviously those very examples are one of the very reasons why we see people buy fast lenses. the truth is, a fast lens is more flexible than a slower lens and answers the shortcomings of the latter. it is east to step down but impossible to step up.

I believe it would be funny to think that one would justify that fast lenses are not necessary and completely eliminate them. and that f2.8 lenses are more than enough. of course, but you have to buy yourself an MF or 6X7 .

12-21-2010, 03:03 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
the highlighted part is an overused alibi of people trying to justify an unwinnable argument.
Well it's not really an argument, but if it was, I would agree that it would be impossible to declare victory. Some great points have been made here in favor of the FA ltds, but in the end different things (aperture, price, rendering) are going to matter differently to different folks. These subjective needs are going to determine the value of a lens to a person, which means no lens is the best, really.

But I do think that the comment that this is art, and therefore, subjective, IS true. Its not a cop out, because there is no answer... only opinions. Just like how no one could say that Joan Miró is any better or worse a painter than Jackson Pollock. The question is, by what standard?

Do you prefer soft focus and acceptably sharp, or sharp focus at the cost of bokeh? Bokeh itself is much debated. Some people don't like the look of crazy bokeh, and prefer something more naturalistic. Others prefer the surreal edge that large bokeh brings.

These are exactly the sorts of things one needs to ask themselves before selecting a lens. If these low DOF shots are not important to the buyer, why pay for that aperture? On the other hand, there are those that would scoff at the DA 40 for being to slow, but also at the FA 43 for being too sharp, and select the FA 50 1.4 for it's classic rendering. Another would say "all of you are too reliant on autofocus, the A 50 1.2 is the clear winner". I don't think there is a correct answer. However, we live in the zoom-age, and f2.8 (and up) is really the look people use most often for all sorts of commercial photography.

The argument that you can't stop a lens up is completely valid. In many cases, it would be reasonable for someone to invest in a wide aperture if they were going to actually use it.

Please don't think I'm defending my DA 40. I'm not. In fact, I may very well sell it along in the near future, if something tempting comes my way... but I suppose I never bought the DA 40 as a low DOF / portrait lens anyways. I find 50mm a little short for portraits, personally, and viewed the 40 as snappy general purpose lens. It works perfectly in that situation, but the bokeh of the DA 40 is also very nice in my eyes. I find the background blur in this image very smooth. Maybe not to everyone's taste, but that is fine with me. What really helped me get this picture (f2.8) was the lightning quick autofocus, which is very important too. And the DOF is rather razor thin here, if you ask me.


Last edited by paperbag846; 12-21-2010 at 03:15 PM.
12-21-2010, 03:43 PM   #66
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What you may be neglecting in this discussion of shallow DoF, paperbag, is the importance of arranging the subject in order to have all the essential components of the subject in focus whilst being able to adequately throw the background in the scene out of focus for improved aesthetics. In your above example, much of the dog's *important* features (nose, teeth, eyes) cut though a reasonably wide subject-to-lens distance range. This therefore *requires* stopping down to render all these elements in focus - and therefore the background will not be as blurred out as desired (unless further physical separation is done). With people, there is less of this issue if shooting at head level, and thus it may be prudent to shoot at apertures of f/2 and wider to get the desired effect in the background as already discussed. I cannot say it any clearer than this.
12-21-2010, 04:00 PM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
I cannot say it any clearer than this.
Yes, very clear.

My sample was shot at f2.8. If you had the full sized version of this image, you would be able to see that the DOF is quite thin, and really only the end of his snout is in focus. Furthermore, the background is, to me, acceptably blurred. I was very happy with the subject separation in this shot (this was my first day with the lens, on a sort of "trial run"). Now this is the part you cannot make perfectly clear in good conscious - is the background acceptably blurred? That will be a judgement call on any photographer's part.

With people f2 is, of course, more useful, since we have flatter faces (hopefully). This discussion is also clouded by the fact that we are not discussion focal length, which is arguably as important for subject separation as aperture is.

For example, I would suggest that the DOF of the film 85mm shot you posted at f2 would be similar in look to a 70mm shot at f2.4 on ASPC. Maybe, maybe not. My experience with the DA 70 2.4 was nothing but blurry backgrounds and sharp features at f2.4.

The FA 77 has blurrier bokeh, a softer look, and different colours, yes. The value of those things are up to individual taste. I have no idea why this idea is so offensive.
12-21-2010, 04:24 PM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
What you may be neglecting in this discussion of shallow DoF, paperbag, is the importance of arranging the subject in order to have all the essential components of the subject in focus whilst being able to adequately throw the background in the scene out of focus for improved aesthetics. In your above example, much of the dog's *important* features (nose, teeth, eyes) cut though a reasonably wide subject-to-lens distance range. This therefore *requires* stopping down to render all these elements in focus - and therefore the background will not be as blurred out as desired (unless further physical separation is done). With people, there is less of this issue if shooting at head level, and thus it may be prudent to shoot at apertures of f/2 and wider to get the desired effect in the background as already discussed. I cannot say it any clearer than this.
Indeed this sounds like an "art"...

12-21-2010, 04:45 PM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Well it's not really an argument, but if it was, I would agree that it would be impossible to declare victory. Some great points have been made here in favor of the FA ltds, but in the end different things (aperture, price, rendering) are going to matter differently to different folks. These subjective needs are going to determine the value of a lens to a person, which means no lens is the best, really.

But I do think that the comment that this is art, and therefore, subjective, IS true. Its not a cop out, because there is no answer... only opinions. Just like how no one could say that Joan Miró is any better or worse a painter than Jackson Pollock. The question is, by what standard?

Do you prefer soft focus and acceptably sharp, or sharp focus at the cost of bokeh? Bokeh itself is much debated. Some people don't like the look of crazy bokeh, and prefer something more naturalistic. Others prefer the surreal edge that large bokeh brings.

These are exactly the sorts of things one needs to ask themselves before selecting a lens. If these low DOF shots are not important to the buyer, why pay for that aperture? On the other hand, there are those that would scoff at the DA 40 for being to slow, but also at the FA 43 for being too sharp, and select the FA 50 1.4 for it's classic rendering. Another would say "all of you are too reliant on autofocus, the A 50 1.2 is the clear winner". I don't think there is a correct answer. However, we live in the zoom-age, and f2.8 (and up) is really the look people use most often for all sorts of commercial photography.

The argument that you can't stop a lens up is completely valid. In many cases, it would be reasonable for someone to invest in a wide aperture if they were going to actually use it.

Please don't think I'm defending my DA 40. I'm not. In fact, I may very well sell it along in the near future, if something tempting comes my way... but I suppose I never bought the DA 40 as a low DOF / portrait lens anyways. I find 50mm a little short for portraits, personally, and viewed the 40 as snappy general purpose lens. It works perfectly in that situation, but the bokeh of the DA 40 is also very nice in my eyes. I find the background blur in this image very smooth. Maybe not to everyone's taste, but that is fine with me. What really helped me get this picture (f2.8) was the lightning quick autofocus, which is very important too. And the DOF is rather razor thin here, if you ask me.
I thought that pet shots are not allowed as samples? what is this? j/k

ASH had given a good advice on how to keep the essential parts in focus. this is just more than trying to focus on one area but what you want to show. it involves the focal plane, angle, distance and focusing distance as a whole. this is exactly the reason why people would ask others how they are able to keep what is needed in focus at such aperture speed while they struggle to do the same. of course the easiest thing would be to stop down, but trying to nail focus at fast aperture is more than just lock and shot. I would think that this has also got to do with AF spoiling people to do their work for them which would result to not getting the desired result of not getting everything in focus. these are the particular scenarios why manual focusing is needed. also the small viewfinder makes it tougher for the person to see the difference and focusing in DOF.

I'm not trying to influence you but rather correcting some misconceptions regarding lenses. Bokeh can be subjective but it doesn't mean that it is entirely a preference. there are exceptions but those can't be considered as whole nor can form a generalization out of those few exceptions. otherwise, that would be a fallacy.

regarding the pet shot, I can focus with the same amount of DOF with a lens at f1.2 or better with much more DOF at f1.4, f1.8 and f2. also, you'd be surprised how sharply focused some lenses are from f1.4 to f2. so there is not even a soft focus issue at fast apertures.
12-21-2010, 04:54 PM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by beaumont Quote
Indeed this sounds like an "art"...
I consider it a good marriage between art and science.

Photography, as technical as it can be, is, in the end, a work of art. The art may have taken some science to work it out (or it happens by complete fluke), but it is form of art that crosses sociocultural boundaries and appreciated the world over (kind of like good music).

Last edited by Ash; 12-21-2010 at 05:14 PM.
12-21-2010, 05:26 PM   #71
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I realize this is a bit off topic from the original DA vs FA limited portion of the thread, but in response to the recent discussion about large apertures and taking pictures of people with thin DOF, I thought I would post an example of a shot taken at f/1.4 with the FA*85.

12-21-2010, 05:31 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
regarding the pet shot, I can focus with the same amount of DOF with a lens at f1.2 or better with much more DOF at f1.4, f1.8 and f2. also, you'd be surprised how sharply focused some lenses are from f1.4 to f2. so there is not even a soft focus issue at fast apertures.
If this is the case, is it due to a focusing error on my part, or a different focal length choice. I find that very interesting...

PS the pet shot comment made me laugh .
12-22-2010, 05:38 AM   #73
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I understand the need for narrow depth of field, but to me the reason to have fast lenses is to have faster shutter speeds in places where I can't increase my iso any more. Narrow depth of field is a side effect.

In reality, the difference in depth of field between the DA and FA lenses is not that much different, while rendering is quite different. The FA 43 wide open shot at 10 feet gives a depth of field of 1.2 feet, the DA 40 wide open at same distance gives a depth of field of 2 feet. This 8 inches of difference is not going to make the difference if the back ground is blurred or not. The DA 70 at f2.4 and shot at 10 feet gives a depth of field of 8 inches, the FA 77 wide open at same distance to subject gives a depth of field of 5 inches. There are many reasons to want to the wider aperture, but telling me that this difference in depth of field is significant in real life shooting is absurd.

Obviously, by increasing focal length and keeping aperture wide, you can blur the back ground more easily, but none of the lenses we are talking about have the kind of blurring capability of an 85mm f1.2 on full frame anyway.

I know this is going far afield from the OP question, but for most photographers in most situations, the question is one of how to maximize depth of field, not to minimize it.
12-22-2010, 05:57 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
telling me that this difference in depth of field is significant in real life shooting is absurd.
the small things in life can often make the biggest difference

I have never been kept awake by a dog barking at night, but I have been kept awake by a mosquito in my room.
12-22-2010, 08:22 AM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
the small things in life can often make the biggest difference

I have never been kept awake by a dog barking at night, but I have been kept awake by a mosquito in my room.
Of course there is a difference, I just think the main reasons to get fast lenses have to do with faster shutter speeds and increased sharpness at similar apertures.
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