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Thread: Who ever shoots wide open?

  1. #1
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Who ever shoots wide open?

    There;s been a lot of discussion over the years about 'fast' lenses. We hear
    " really need a fast lens for this situation where I don't have flash option... etc etc etc.

    Think-why are lenses made at the f number selected?
    Well it is a trade-off; size, weight, speed, resolution (line per) , method of focus (yes) etc.

    Why would anyone ever take a shot wide open except for maybe catching a theif on a dark night?

    If you make a 2.0 lens it SHOULD be better at 2.8 than a 2.8 is at 2.8 UNLESS you design it for more resolution.

    Yes, Leica tends to have workable lenses at 2.8 to 5.6 whereas I don't think I would use an MF lens less than 5.6 most times. Just no DOF (Just so many "I got the nose hairs in focus, and all else is just bokeh" shots I can stand )

    For one thing, the faster lens is easier to focus since you do that at full aperture, the AE stops down. And yes there are the emergencies. I always want 2 stops head room in a lens-if I buy a 1.4 over a 2.8 its because I want to shoot f4 instead of f5.6 or f8.

    Some viewfinders just don't work over 5.6 (Brightened screens will go dark on one side on a prism at 5.6 and over)

    So again, when judging lenses maybe it is best to compare 'real world" f stop- where we are likely to shoot. The comparison's of lenses at wide open is technically interesting , but that is not to say another lens doesn't 'overtake' in some quality stopped down.

    I can't think of a wide open shot that I EVER used; but then again, I am not a pro. Maybe a pro knows how to usre it. Maybe the 'mood' shot at a wedding, etc. I can go for that.

    Wre mere mortals can barely keep the focus NEAR the subject, much less deal with 2-3" DOF.

    Any comments?

    Victor

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Some do not consider absolute sharpness to be the only goal, or even primary goal, in the making of many images. Some images excel because of how shallow depth of field is used in the composition. Some lenses draw in a certain way when wide open, eg. the Canon 85mm f/1.2 has a "look" wide open that is not quite the same at say f/1.8.

    And if one wants to adhere to the "stop down a bit" idea, then starting with an f/1.4 allows one to still shoot at f/1.8 or f/2.0, get a shallow DoF and potentially very sharp images.

    As I've mentioned in other posts, IMHO much too much emphasis is placed on pure resolution and "sharpness" at the expense of content, composition and "mood". I know this is almost heresy in some forums, especially gear oriented forums. Ideally, one seeks to have both, "sharpness" when needed, and the other elements of a successful image. Given a choice, I prefer content.

    But in response to your main point, Victor, I like the shallow DoF for some images, or low-light usage because I do not like flash.

  3. #3
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Excellent point about sharpness- although IN GENERAL I like a sharp image, there are times when that is certainly not the main consideration. Content in my mind ALWAYS dominates.

    That said, part of my point was the difficulty in GETTING the focus with shallow DOF. I think pros have the skill, even with sloppy viewfinders-I have seen some amazing shots.

    For the rest of us, focus bracketing is a life saver. I can't tell you how often I click off three shots 'around' what I think is the focus.

    But my point wasn't to shoot down full open-it was a genuine curiosity about where the image benefits from narrow DOF; gets the mood. I think your 'compromise' of going up a half or one stop for narrow DOF PLUS a little better clarity is a good one. Sometimes I think I do that just instinctively.

    regards
    Victor

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    I originally chose the Rollei 6000 system partly because it had the fastest lenses overall. So it was a high priority for me, and I actually wish the lenses were even faster. I would easily use f1.4 at times if I had the option. I think Leica has missed an opportunity with the S2 by bringing out glass which is not the fastest in class.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    "Who ever shoots wide open?
    There;s been a lot of discussion over the years about 'fast' lenses. We hear
    " really need a fast lens for this situation where I don't have flash option... etc etc etc.""

    With all due respect, Victor... you're sounding more than a bit like a troll here. How long have you been shooting?

    For one: wedding photographers and event (i.e. ballet) photographers can't shoot indoors with flash. Fast lenses are the only option if you want to succeed at your goal.

    Second: fast lenses allow for better separation of subject and background. For street photography, anything BUT f16 and be there works! For portrait photography fast glass provides that dreamy effect that adds that element of romanticism to a shot. Just look at some of Marc William's shots.

    Third: fast glass allows for shooting closer to optimum asa instead of having to shoot at 1600 + and deal with all the detail robbing noise.

    Fourth: faster glass allows for faster shutter speeds (sacrificing depth of field) and can make the difference between sharp and mushy.

    The list goes on...


    "Think-why are lenses made at the f number selected?
    Well it is a trade-off; size, weight, speed, resolution (line per) , method of focus (yes) etc.

    "Why would anyone ever take a shot wide open except for maybe catching a theif on a dark night?"

    See points 1-4 above

    "If you make a 2.0 lens it SHOULD be better at 2.8 than a 2.8 is at 2.8 UNLESS you design it for more resolution."

    Drink some more coffee, dude. That makes no sense at all. That comment contradicts itself.

    "Yes, Leica tends to have workable lenses at 2.8 to 5.6 whereas I don't think I would use an MF lens less than 5.6 most times. Just no DOF (Just so many "I got the nose hairs in focus, and all else is just bokeh" shots I can stand )"

    Once again: faster shutter speeds allow for sharper images. Not as big a deal with 35mm cameras that have IS in lenses or SSS in-camera... but MF has neither. Larger mirrors and larger shutters create more vibration w/MF cameras. If your goal is being able to print larger (and why else spend all the money on MF digital?), being able to get sharp results while hand holding is critical. Faster lenses allow for that as MF digital does not have acceptable IQ at 800+ asa.

    "For one thing, the faster lens is easier to focus since you do that at full aperture, the AE stops down. And yes there are the emergencies. I always want 2 stops head room in a lens-if I buy a 1.4 over a 2.8 its because I want to shoot f4 instead of f5.6 or f8."

    Yup.

    "Some viewfinders just don't work over 5.6 (Brightened screens will go dark on one side on a prism at 5.6 and over)

    So again, when judging lenses maybe it is best to compare 'real world" f stop- where we are likely to shoot. The comparison's of lenses at wide open is technically interesting , but that is not to say another lens doesn't 'overtake' in some quality stopped down.

    I can't think of a wide open shot that I EVER used; but then again, I am not a pro. Maybe a pro knows how to usre it. Maybe the 'mood' shot at a wedding, etc. I can go for that.

    Wre mere mortals can barely keep the focus NEAR the subject, much less deal with 2-3" DOF.

    Any comments?

    Victor"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Why would anyone ever take a shot wide open except for maybe catching a theif on a dark night?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Wre mere mortals can barely keep the focus NEAR the subject, much less deal with 2-3" DOF
    Does a shot like this (test shot with 110mm f2) explain it? 2-3" DOF is not a problem at all and is far too much DOF sometimes.


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    Super Duper
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    I am going back and forth regarding the question shooting wide open or not.
    However I have tried several times to take 2 images of same subject, one wide open and one stepped down a bit and in the end, if one nails focus and if the subject is placed in the right angle etc. shallow DOF does look very interesting to me. Specially interesting I find non-tele-shallow DOF shots.
    Personally I have decided to shoot more often wide open.
    Regards, Tom

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Why? Depth of Field (DOF) = creativity; Here is an example of shooting wide open (f2.2):



    Kind regards,
    Derek Jecxz
    http://www.jecxz.com

  9. #9
    ddk
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by foto-z View Post
    I originally chose the Rollei 6000 system partly because it had the fastest lenses overall. So it was a high priority for me, and I actually wish the lenses were even faster. I would easily use f1.4 at times if I had the option. I think Leica has missed an opportunity with the S2 by bringing out glass which is not the fastest in class.
    I think that they might add faster glass at a later date, looking at the pricing of their faster m lenses they probably wanted people to buy into the S system first before scaring everyone away with ultra expensive fast S lenses.

  10. #10
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by foto-z View Post
    Does a shot like this (test shot with 110mm f2) explain it? 2-3" DOF is not a problem at all and is far too much DOF sometimes.

    Dear Graham

    YES. Thanks for answering my question - however provocative, it was a REAL question. (sometimes one needs to be 'creative' in the title to elicit creative answers )

    Maybe its just fear of old eyes (67 miles on them) poor prisms, or back/front focusing (ALL cameras have to a certain extent)

    Do you find you sometimes need to bracket focus? maybe its just sports and outdoor cityscpae/people. they tend to move (how annoying ) .

    I think the speed comment touches on an important aspect of fast lenses - although I don't necessarily want WO of a 2.0 ( graham on the cig man shot) a 3.5 or 5.6 lens is manageable.

    Thanks for the responses (even you," troll caller" )

    Victor

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    My .02...

    I personally find shallow DoF shots interesting, though it is not a high priority for my MF shooting.

    The other side of the question is equipment capability. To be able to nail focus at the precise point you want reliably and repeatably requires gear that is perfectly set to work together along with you and your vision; sensor/back has to be perfectly registered to the camera body, focus screen has to be perfectly positioned, viewfinder diopter has to be perfectly set for your corrected or uncorrected vision depending on how you shoot and finally, you need to be able to read when focus is spot on, or have an AF system that does it for you. Get all that together and you have a chance, but getting all of that together is not a given as anybody who does it regularly can tell you.

    I am fortunate in that my particular MF system is "there" for me (the Mamiya has a manual-focus "confirmation" light that is spot on with my current group of components) but it still requires paying strict attention during capture to get decent results. My current favorite lenses for this are the Mamiya manual focus 80mm f1.9, AF-D 150mm f2.8 and manual 200mm f2.8 APO; the latter having a portrait distance DoF so shallow as to be almost absurd. I used to use the Hassy 110mm f2 F lens and love the look, but the hard fact is I got similar enough results from the 80mm Mamiya, and then even shallower DoF's with the 150 and 200 lenses at f2.8.

    Given the effort required with the MF outfit, I tend to now do shallow DoF more often with my DSLR system; with its micro-adjustable auto-focus for individual lenses I tend to nail my exact desired focus point with more regularity using the camera's AF. However, even with very fast f1.2 glass, the look isn't quite what the MF combo delivers --- and here's the real nit --- IMO it isn't just about the shallowness of DoF! I believe it's more about how the focus falls off from center toward edges that gives the fast MF lenses their rendering appeal. Of course then Bokeh factors in too, so it's a complicated soup to get that special look IMO...
    Jack
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  12. #12
    gdwhalen
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Why shoot wide open?

    Because you don't ever want to walk into a situation where you can't get a shot. Obviously, you CAN'T get every shot but you certainly want to reduce the odds against you. I can think of dozens of reasons to shoot wide open. Dozens of reasons to shoot with as much DOF as possible. The world requires options.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    I agree and what most don't realize is 5.6 on a MF camera with DOF look is like 2.8 on a 35mm given the same focal length. Shooting people that DOF is so damn thin to start with even F11 you still get great Bokeh sometimes with the longer glass. Sure I love fast glass but i also want success rates as well.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I agree and what most don't realize is 5.6 on a MF camera with DOF look is like 2.8 on a 35mm given the same focal length. Shooting people that DOF is so damn thin to start with even F11 you still get great Bokeh sometimes with the longer glass. Sure I love fast glass but i also want success rates as well.
    Yes, thanks Guy I am glad that even pros acknowledge that nailing the narrow DOF shot, though rewarding, is tough. And yes, the 35 vs MF difference must be remembered!

    For some of us a long shot.

    One thing Jack, does the Phase One have focus bracketing? that really helps. AF is fine, but it can never pick EXACTLY what the eye wants.

    All the narrow DOF shots here are spot on in demonstarting the aesthetic basis of such shots. Thanks for sharing.

    maybe I will practice

    Victor

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Victor many times I will use AF than switch to MF . One thing I do like about the Phase lenses is the manual focus clutch which I use a lot. The S2 uses the focusing ring once you touch it than your manual. Both are good but both have some limits as well
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Guy, our fearless leader, GREEN?

    ...with...

    no, don't go there

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Guy, you look like Data from Star Trek
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post

    One thing Jack, does the Phase One have focus bracketing?
    Nope, at least not an automated version For the rare occasion I need it with my system, I focus bracket manually.
    Jack
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    I rarely shoot the Canon 50mm f/1.2 past f/1.8. It just draws such a beautiful image at those apertures.

    Is it a bit technically soft? Sure. But for the images that I'm shooting at f/1.2-f/1.8 technical sharpness is pretty far down my priority list.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Guy, you look like Data from Star Trek
    Good description. One problem someone else having the same admin rights as me.

    You know they say paybacks are a bitch. Jack yours is coming bud.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Do you find you sometimes need to bracket focus?
    I never do. It's meaningless on moving people.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Good description. One problem someone else having the same admin rights as me.

    You know they say paybacks are a bitch. Jack yours is coming bud.
    Yeah, well maybe next time you won't lean on me so hard to do weird color!
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Good description. One problem someone else having the same admin rights as me.

    You know they say paybacks are a bitch. Jack yours is coming bud.
    Haha, I *knew* something like this was going on. Ooohh, I am going to enjoy the next few days until the (temporary) cease-fire
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Check his avatar. LOL

    Poor Bob get's the brunt of this joke
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    You folks forgot to mention that shooting wide open tends to alleviate all that dust spotting on your shots when you forget to clean the sensor

    LJ

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Jack and Guy... love the new colorful avatars

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    You folks forgot to mention that shooting wide open tends to alleviate all that dust spotting on your shots when you forget to clean the sensor

    LJ
    Tell ya a little secret. Say you have a dust bunny on your sensor and working in C1 . Neat trick use the spot tool to hit that spot or as many as there maybe in the same place. Copy that adjustment and apply to the whole folder. Every image those spots are gone on processing them out. Almost never need to clean your sensor again.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Jack and Guy... love the new colorful avatars
    I think we need to change them back here soon. Just busting each other.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    The assumption that shooting wide open means shooting right on top of the subject isn't always true or the best way to use a fast lens all the time IMO. Shooting at more of a distance helps mitigate the shallower DOF. So, if I use a HC 100/2.2 wide open but at more of a distance, I can still get nice OOF areas not possible stopped down or with a slower max aperture lens.

    Plus, these fast optics allow a lesser ISO to be used ... because higher ISOs all to often introduce more image issues than they solve.

    The other thing that is often overlooked is that the viewfinder is brighter so you can actually see what the heck you are shooting better ... and the AF is a bit faster because you can better see what to put the AF sensor on.

    The fact that these MF don't have the well spread out multiple AF points doesn't help when using fast glass on off center subjects ... which is why I am really interested in the new focusing innovation for the H4D cameras. If that works as well as advertised, it'll make use of fast glass even more practical and creative.

    If you are manually focusing, I'd highly recommend a flip magnifier on the viewfinder. I also installed a split diagonal focusing screen on my MF cameras ... which helps even when using AF since you can immediately see if the AF did it's job.

    -Marc

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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Victor,

    I think a lot of people here have given good feedback. I find that there's a degree of 'emotion' that motivates me to shoot with a shallow DOF. neither of the following images look remotely interesting if fully stopped down, but with a shallow dof, there's a greater sense of dramatic light created that helps isolate the subject, as well as convey a mood.

    a completely sharp image can also convey emotion/mood.. but it's dependent upon the quality of the light that's in the image.

    (these are all generalizations, btw.. there are exceptions to all











  32. #32
    andershald
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Hi Victor.

    I agree with Victor on this one. There can be a lot of drama in the lo depth field shots...Jim lovely images.

    For my application, childrens fashion, I usually shoot at lower apertures f5.6, f4, f2.8 and on a rare occasion even f2 on the 80mm Contax lens. The Contax autofocus, fortunately, is quite accurate (as you know), but I tend to shoot a lot of frames and refocus frequently, just to increase my focus success rate.

    The low depth of field helps seperate the child from the background, at various levels, depending on aperture. We usually work on a location, which we have paid for and which is meant to add to the mood of the images. So we need to see the setting, but it needs to be just slightly out of foucus so that it doesn't draw attention away from the clothes (the product). I also tend to shoot a lot in available light, with only a little flash or reflectors to control the light, so the option of shooting on a larger aperture is really handy sometimes.

    For my type of work often the mood of the images is more important than sharpness.

    Examples here, pick almost any image: www.andershald.com

  33. #33
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Who ever shoots wide open?

    Thanks to all who responded. Good examples and comments.

    Victor

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