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08-21-2010, 06:21 PM   #1
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Why does this lens produce pictures like this?

Straight from camera JPEGs.


f/5 1/640 iso400


f/1.8 1/8000 iso400

These were taken by my girlfriend. The subject is yours truly. He kit consists of a 40D and an 85 1.8. I love the look of these pictures. Desaturated yet the color of my strap and the gold on the Tamron pop nicely.

I thought it was just due to the the large aperture, however, the samples I've seen on this forum of 50 1.4s and 77s, ect, don't take on this effect unless pp is applied. I also stepped the 85 down to 2.8 to match the Tamron but there was no change. Furthermore, I tried to play with the white balance and colors on my K-7 and Tamron but inevitably, I wasn't successful.

On a side note, I LOVE the first picture. My left arm and watch look absolutely 3-D against that background. Pretty sweet lens. I'm selling a bunch of car parts so I can afford some primes!

08-21-2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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I have seen samples of that Canon lens before, some people like it, some don't; It is subjective. By the way, the second one is the same setting as the first - not that shallow DOF. Perhaps, you have not seen samples of the FA limited lens before.

If you like it, that is all it matters.
08-21-2010, 07:12 PM   #3
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Shallow DOF and slightly high contrast settings give the apparent separation. Canon defaults to much higher contrast and sharpness settings than Pentax. If you like that look, turn up these settings on your Pentax a couple of notches.
08-21-2010, 07:14 PM   #4
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Three points to remember:
One, most lenses don't give the best results wide open, often lacking contrast and saturation. I see that the shot at f 1.8 looks worse.
Two, the higher the ISO the lower the dynamic range of your image. Both were 400 ISO.
Three, this was shot outside in mid-day light, which is the harshest lighting you'll normally find short of spotlights.

Narrow the aperture and lower the ISO and I think the camera will give better tones. Step into the shade for the shot and you'll look less contrasty.

08-21-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
Three points to remember:
One, most lenses don't give the best results wide open, often lacking contrast and saturation. I see that the shot at f 1.8 looks worse.
Two, the higher the ISO the lower the dynamic range of your image. Both were 400 ISO.
Three, this was shot outside in mid-day light, which is the harshest lighting you'll normally find short of spotlights.

Narrow the aperture and lower the ISO and I think the camera will give better tones. Step into the shade for the shot and you'll look less contrasty.

Like you, I thought that the OP was complaining about the pictures, and like you, I was going to suggest that the problem largely is overexposure, so s/he should try stopping down a bit, and shooting at -1/3EV.


Apparently, the OP "likes" the shots, and is complaining that similar shots can't be taken with Pentax lenses


From a technical viewpoint, there's nothing here that can't be replicated with an FA77/1.8. There's nothing special here.


Now, a shot with a 85/1.2L on a FF Canon.... that's another matter :-)
08-21-2010, 07:42 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I have seen samples of that Canon lens before, some people like it, some don't; It is subjective. By the way, the second one is the same setting as the first - not that shallow DOF. Perhaps, you have not seen samples of the FA limited lens before.

If you like it, that is all it matters.
I have seen samples of FA limiteds. I haven't seen them take pictures with this tone without pp. I love this look. The K-7 and Tamron have been very true to life in terms of color, which is nice, but I already see true to life with eyes. I'll play with the settings a bit more I guess.
08-21-2010, 07:56 PM   #7
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basically the problem here is the canon lens if giving washed out crappy colours, combined with the narrow DOF give a nice feel (and i agree i like it) but you are far better off using a lens that gives true colours, and then going for this effect in PP, at least u have the option of real colours then
08-21-2010, 08:00 PM   #8
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Correction: the second picture is at f/5, not f1.8

@ RawheaD - I wasn't complaining that similar shots can't be taken with Pentax lenses, I was simply trying to find out how to replicate this look with my K-7 and Tamron. Additionally, I haven't seen this look coming from this site, even from FA limiteds. But I now realize why...apparently these pictures are "wrong". Oh well. When I first saw them on her cameras view finder I instantly thought of the movies 300 and Book of Eli.

08-21-2010, 08:05 PM   #9
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I sometimes like this effect too. High contrast and a bit desaturated. I found that playing with saturation of each channel (rather than global saturation) gives a lot more flexibility. In Lightroom it's the Camera Calibration sliders. Because of the (IMO misleading) name I've never touched this sliders before, until I saw some tutorials by Keitha Mcall. She has a lot of awesome high contrast desaturated pictures, check her website and flickr stream.
08-21-2010, 09:42 PM   #10
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Turn the contrast up in camera and deliberately overexpose by a stop or so, and you can get similar results with pretty much any camera or lens.
08-21-2010, 09:46 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the helpful words folks, I'm going to test some of this advice out tonight.
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