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05-04-2014, 01:02 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Is the first photo the Zeiss?
I'd say the second is 50mm, and to me that one looks significantly sharper.

05-04-2014, 03:10 PM - 1 Like   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
One taken at about 5 feet? and the other at about 25 feet.
At 5 feet away, the subject is going to have a hard time not looking at you, at 25 feet you might get the shot without being noticed. Which brings up another point, did you have the subject's permission for the second shot? I'm strictly a holiday snap candid photographer, and relatives don't like to see their own faces close-up, filling 3/4 of the frame, so I always try to include enough background to give people their personal space, even in photographs. Extremely shallow DOF in portraits is probably the second most annoying photographic cliche, right after long exposures of running water.
05-04-2014, 05:40 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
A... Extremely shallow DOF in portraits is probably the second most annoying photographic cliche, right after long exposures of running water.
Shallow DOF in portraiture has also been around since the beginning and is popular among large format shooters. And it is fun to try and do it on a medium format Pentax 6x7 as shown here. I, for one, say it's a pretty cool technique and certainly one you do not see everyday, IMHO.





05-04-2014, 09:17 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
taking advantage of ephemeral light is more important than changing from zoom to prime.

For me, within wide limits, content trumps sheer technique and that's where a decent zoom comes into it's own - it's responsive to change.

QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Is the first photo the Zeiss?

Yes.

QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
did you have the subject's permission for the second shot?

Yes. They are both close friends.
The first one was at this women's wedding of her son and the other was on a field trip where we were taking a bird census (the man is a field biologist).

Note:
The first one is an old photo taken with the K20 in jpg while the last one was with the K5 in RAW early this spring.
Also my PP skills are much better now than when the first shot was taken. The first shot is an old file as I processed it about 4 years ago.

05-04-2014, 09:40 PM   #50
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Primes and Bokeh

QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
When lenses are really close in terms of sharpness, how a lens renders it's out of focus can decide which is better. There are no bokeh examples here.
I find I love primes for two reasons:

1. The good ones have thin DOF and hence lend themselves to good bokeh (but again there are good and bad primes to speak of here)
2. A prime lens present an opportunity to natively crop an image and in so doing preserves the lens characteristics in that shot. I find that PP cropping can remove these subtleties, which otherwise substantially contribute to the image as a whole.

So there is no guessing as to which of the two I prefer. But, yes, primes are more work and can be hit and miss when the moment is brief and your not ready! In this respect I have bought more cameras

My latest (cross posted image) is as follows. A little post processing there when it comes to cropping, but not much as I wanted to keep the bokeh .......




I'm not sure I would have got this result using a zoom (unless it was a very expensive one with large aperture settings (f2 or there abouts).

---------- Post added 05-05-14 at 02:44 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
At 5 feet away, the subject is going to have a hard time not looking at you, at 25 feet you might get the shot without being noticed. Which brings up another point, did you have the subject's permission for the second shot? I'm strictly a holiday snap candid photographer, and relatives don't like to see their own faces close-up, filling 3/4 of the frame, so I always try to include enough background to give people their personal space, even in photographs. Extremely shallow DOF in portraits is probably the second most annoying photographic cliche, right after long exposures of running water.
Part in agreement re: shallow DOF and portraits. Bokeh must be used deliberately to create mood and atmosphere. It help validate the composition. Bokeh for the sake of it is annoying.
05-05-2014, 05:41 AM - 2 Likes   #51
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QuoteQuote:
2. A prime lens present an opportunity to natively crop an image and in so doing preserves the lens characteristics in that shot. I find that PP cropping can remove these subtleties, which otherwise substantially contribute to the image as a whole.
Did you get that backwards... did you mean a zoom. A zoom gives you the opportunity to crop in loco and use the full resolution of your sensor. With a prime you're almost certain to be cropping in PP, unless everything is so static that you have time to move around.

As for shallow DoF in portraits, I don't even know if this has been said before, but, I really don't like it. I prefer using a backdrop to create subject isolation, and keeping the whole subject in sharp focus. To me it's more natural. IN the end, I like my able to wander where ever it wants in the photo and to be able to scan an image looking for detail where I choose. Having a photographer decide what is important and focus on that, that would be to me the sign of a control freak. I'll decide for myself what I want to look at. If I want to look at the guy's ear, and you're decided it's going to be out of focus...I don't want your picture....

Before anyone get's their knickers in a knot, I'm not saying everyone should think like me. All I'm saying is that narrow depth of field may get you clients, but it will also lose you clients. Shoot the way that makes you happy, but realize, there will be many who don't care for that style. I have books by Karsch and Avedon, I have no books by photographers who shoot consistently using narrow DoF for portraits, although I don't mind if one is thrown in every now and then.

Arni- taken by Richard Avedon...



One could argue that using effects like narrow DoF is technically lazy.... instead of achieving a subject that's in focus, one gives up and settles on selective parts in focus. After all my struggles in my studio class when I was given a specific subject and would fail if the whole subject wasn't in focus, and spending hours understanding control of DoF, I look at most of these images, and think, ,"the guy didn't have the skill to manage DoF." That's not always the case, there are also many images that are quite good, but it's like everything else. For every great narrow DoF image posted, there are 10 disasters.

Last edited by normhead; 05-05-2014 at 05:52 AM.
05-05-2014, 06:04 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Did you get that backwards... did you mean a zoom. A zoom gives you the opportunity to crop in loco and use the full resolution of your sensor. With a prime you're almost certain to be cropping in PP, unless everything is so static that you have time to move around.

As for shallow DoF in portraits, I don't even know if this has been said before, but, I really don't like it. I prefer using a backdrop to create subject isolation, and keeping the whole subject in sharp focus. To me it's more natural. IN the end, I like my able to wander where ever it wants in the photo and to be able to scan an image looking for detail where I choose. Having a photographer decide what is important and focus on that, that would be to me the sign of a control freak. I'll decide for myself what I want to look at. If I want to look at the guy's ear, and you're decided it's going to be out of focus...I don't want your picture....

Before anyone get's their knickers in a knot, I'm not saying everyone should think like me. All I'm saying is that narrow depth of field may get you clients, but it will also lose you clients. Shoot the way that makes you happy, but realize, there will be many who don't care for that style. I have books by Karsch and Avedon, I have no books by photographers who shoot consistently using narrow DoF for portraits, although I don't mind if one is thrown in every now and then.

Arni- taken by Richard Avedon...
No I didn't get it the wrong way round. The way I see it is fast primes give you the option of shallow DoF. If your bag is full of them and you have a few cameras to mount them then you can pick and choose. In addition I think it important to mention that sharpness across the full field of view is over rated. Lenses that naturally deliver sharp centres and softer edges can and are useful in portraits - shooting with these lenses knowing that you are going to crop it in PP is counter intuitive (ps one of my favourite lenses in this category is the Super Takumar 85/1.9).

With respect to zooms they are not nearly as fast as the top primes and as such generally compromise on Bokeh (although there are some very nice fast zooms out there that can deliver). On that note, of the fast zooms that can be used they are likely to be physically much bigger than a comparable prime within the zoom range. The larger lens size represents a negative in my view especially when you are seeking candid shots (people often freak out in front of a big lens).

Not all my shots are as you suggest



Summary - horses for courses. Choose your passion and hook into it. For me I love primes - it challenges me all the time, which one do I use. For me a zoom takes that challenge out of the equation. But I can see the alternative perspective. One lens and a world of opportunities. For the record I have one zoom in my bag and it happens to be a fish eye and it has delivered some awesome shots.

Last edited by Wild Mark; 05-05-2014 at 06:16 AM. Reason: added a photo
05-05-2014, 06:54 AM   #53
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QuoteQuote:
With respect to zooms they are not nearly as fast as the top primes and as such generally compromise
Many good points you have there. A couple of responses

-That new Sigma 18-35 1.8 is the first to break that pattern.
-More expensive zooms tend to have better bokeh... comparable to that of primes...

05-05-2014, 09:37 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote

One could argue that using effects like narrow DoF is technically lazy....
How do you arrive at that conclusion? The choice to turn a dial or rotate an aperture ring is not being lazy. If EVERYONE is getting full DOF in the face than one could argue that is a cliche', no? Over on the large format forum if you use shallow DOF they say, nice. Here, in small format land it is YUCK!
05-05-2014, 02:34 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
How do you arrive at that conclusion? The choice to turn a dial or rotate an aperture ring is not being lazy. If EVERYONE is getting full DOF in the face than one could argue that is a cliche', no? Over on the large format forum if you use shallow DOF they say, nice. Here, in small format land it is YUCK!
Perhaps one of my 'rebellions' at the moment is summarised by the distain I have for iPhone photography. An iPhone never gives you anything but sharp across the FoV, unless you go ultra close - and who does that. Everyone is now using their iPhone for shooting and quite frankly that annoys me.

I guess that is why I am partial to thin DoF shooting at the moment. I might drift away from that perspective after I have placated myself of the severance from iPhone photography. For the moment this style offers me a point of difference and in a strange way vindicates the the buying of expensive camera gear (not the noblest of notices but one all the same).

Soon I can see iPhone photography being post processed in Photoshop to make images look like they were taken by a pro. Blur here and there artificial OOF and sharpening, vinetting etc all tools in the PS toolkit. All iPhone need to do is ramp up the hardware and wha la a serious contender to the DSLR .....

For me the DoF inclusions have, thus far, allowed me to experience movement in a shot while at the same time capturing sharp detail. I try to frame the sharpness such that the OOF compliments it - using a rule of photography. My above photos generally abide by the golden ratio rule where the sharpness is right in the middle although the second photo is arguable more diagonals. This is the skill I am trying to develop at the moment and perhaps once I master it I will drift towards the style your mentioning.

One thing is for sure - style should never be static otherwise boredom will set in.
05-05-2014, 03:22 PM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
How do you arrive at that conclusion? The choice to turn a dial or rotate an aperture ring is not being lazy. If EVERYONE is getting full DOF in the face than one could argue that is a cliche', no? Over on the large format forum if you use shallow DOF they say, nice. Here, in small format land it is YUCK!
I guess you didn't notice all my linked portraits are shot by artists who used large format, as in 8x10 film, calling 36x24 late format is a bit of a stretch... as I said, myself and many others prefer to use large format, and keep our subjects completely in focus... which if you've ever done large format studio work, you'll know is quite a bit more demanding than the narrow DoF thing. The current crop of folks who say "nice" when they get a narrow DoF 35x24 image, probably don't have a clue what large format is.

IN any case, I have no need to get into a full blown debate on different styles in portrait photography, except to point out, if you think you're getting narrow DoF in a 35x24 image, try 4x5 or 8x10 film. And a Wide DoF photograph taken on a large sensor camera is hardly cliche... people saying they take images like that on their iPhone. It would be nice to be polite, but that's just ignorant.

Take this with your iPhone...

If you've ever seen a print of the image, you'd know, it is not going to happen.

So no, not all large format portrait artists are in love with shallow DoF, in fact those acknowledged as the best usually aren't.
05-05-2014, 03:41 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I guess you didn't notice all my linked portraits are shot by artists who used large format, as in 8x10 film, calling 36x24 late format is a bit of a stretch... as I said, myself and many others prefer to use large format, and keep our subjects completely in focus... which if you've ever done large format studio work, you'll know is quite a bit more demanding than the narrow DoF thing. The current crop of folks who say "nice" when they get a narrow DoF 35x24 image, probably don't have a clue what large format is.

IN any case, I have no need to get into a full blown debate on different styles in portrait photography, except to point out, if you think you're getting narrow DoF in a 35x24 image, try 4x5 or 8x10 film. And a Wide DoF photograph taken on a large sensor camera is hardly cliche... people saying they take images like that on their iPhone. It would be nice to be polite, but that's just ignorant.

Take this with your iPhone...

If you've ever seen a print of the image, you'd know, it is not going to happen.

So no, not all large format portrait artists are in love with shallow DoF, in fact those acknowledged as the best usually aren't.
Indeed I see tour perspective.

With the iPhone thing you are right:

1. You can't take images like that and
2. iPhonography is exactly that - ignorant perhaps even arrogant

A mate the other day was observing me taking shots with my DSLR. HE was a bit confused and quizzed me on my gear. I showed him the photos and he was amazed. The colours the subtleties that an iPhone does not have. Next time I saw him he had bought a Canon DSLR (oh well no one is perfect). If it were not for the exchange we had he would have naively continued being an iPhonographer ....... and missed taking unique shots of his kids as they grow up.

That is another point to make. I find that getting in close with the lens is part of the experience I have with the kids. They don't mind anymore - in fact they like it. They eagerly await to see the image I've taken and then ask for more. It is fun
05-05-2014, 03:52 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I guess you didn't notice all my linked portraits are shot by artists who used large format, as in 8x10 film, calling 36x24 late format is a bit of a stretch... as I said, myself and many others prefer to use large format, and keep our subjects completely in focus... which if you've ever done large format studio work, you'll know is quite a bit more demanding than the narrow DoF thing.
Yes, Norm, I have a 4x5 and I post in a large format photography forum. I have owned a 4x5 for about 20 years and shoot it now and then and certainly not as much as medium format. Since I never seen you post any of your film shots, I can only guess you don't shoot it much if at all except maybe for some class you took?
05-05-2014, 04:01 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
Extremely shallow DOF in portraits is probably the second most annoying photographic cliche, right after long exposures of running water.
Actually taking landscape photos at sunrise or sunset is the most cliché...

Long exposures of running water are an expectation in the genre, so until you "re-educate" buyers that blurred water is actually "not desirable", landscape photogs are going to have to blur their water if they hope for sales.

In the circles I run in, any photo with stopped action water is met with derision and muttering of "amateur", except in the rare occasion of a powerful wave. much in line with the comments about iphone-tography, that is what separates them from "us"; the ability to control and utilize long shutter speeds to denote action.

let me know when stop action photos of waterfalls at noon start selling like hot cakes and i'll change my shooting style.
05-05-2014, 04:02 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
An iPhone never gives you anything but sharp across the FoV, unless you go ultra close - and who does that
Actually, the whole phone camera thing is about being able to get so close you can take a picture of yourself. The iPhone started with the equivalent of 37mm focal length in FF terms, and with the 4 model widened out to 30mm equivalent. Combine a fixed wide angle, short minimum focusing distance and poor optics, you end up with a camera that emphasizes the foreground over the background, regardless of DOF. Which nicely serves the main purpose of phone camera shooters to record themselves in the context of other people and their immediate surroundings.

SLR's are for recording what you see in your mind's eye. Special momentary lighting conditions, objects that move in and out of view, moments in time that seem to stand still, but never last. I've never used a MF camera, so I won't pretend to understand why you would use one to take pictures, but the MF landscapes I've seen are painstakingly posed. Thin DOF is a conscious decision, so everyone with a capable camera is free to use it or not, but I can't say I've ever wanted to record stubble on someone's face or nose hairs, while deliberating making the rest of the person a blurry background.
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