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Thread: Use small aperture

  1. #1
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    Default Use small aperture

    I have just discovered this site few days ago.

    Like to share this with everyone. Looks like small aperture is great:

    1 For portraits in studio, F8 or F11 so that various parts of the body can be in sharp focus, as some part of the body is nearer to the cam than others.
    2 For outdoor portraits, my favorite is F13 and F16 to balance fill-flash and ambient light. Also, to be able to have the background sharp enough to recognise the place. Otherwise, you might as well shoot in a dumping ground and use F2.8 so that you do not see what's behind.
    3 Close-ups like flowers, my choice is F16 so that every part of the flower is sharp, but still get good bokeh in the background.
    4 Landscape - here again I use F16 so that foreground and background are in sharp focus.

    So, looks like not much uses for those huge barrels that are also known as phallic symbols in these areas. That is why I use small lenses and I call myself SmallAperture.

    Cheers!

  2. #2

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    I guess the choice to use fast or slow lens... you have to check the requirements of your needs..

    Like in your case, you probably don't need fast lens..

  3. #3

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    fast glass is still better

  4. #4

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    more important than aperture size is whether the pictures are any good at all. Look forward to smallaperture posting his pictures so that we can appreciate why small aperture is so good.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by clive
    fast glass is still better
    What a load of bollocks.....
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian
    What a load of bollocks.....
    It is better - at least as a paperweight, it WILL be better. Those 20x30" prints won't fly off that easily in a strong wind.

    Regards
    CK

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckiang
    It is better - at least as a paperweight, it WILL be better. Those 20x30" prints won't fly off that easily in a strong wind.

    Regards
    CK
    ROTFLMAO CK! You're an evil evil man

    What Clive obviously doesn't understand is the fact that all lenses have a 'sweet aperture' or range of apertures that give the maximum performance and that fast glass is not a sign of a lens being any good wide open nor even much use as anything but a paperweight.

    With that said it's a rare day that I'll shoot with a supertele other than wide open.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  8. #8

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    hi mod/(s) may i digress: i appreciate your well-meaning humour/sarcasm . no offence and at the same time i have to disagree flat with your point/(s) of view (and most unfortunately your signature/(s) as well) .my comment was based on my own learning experiences as a self-taught photographer and what i meant was that maybe someday our friend smallaperture may come to apreciate the plus points and especially the inherent beauty of this class of precision instruments known as fast glass. sorry for short and loose typing--thats the way i type. it is true that i have other pursuits other than photography thus my approach to photography is to use minimal time and effort to achieve the maximal skill that one can attain, which i hereby profess to having done so. that is why as far as glass is concerned i am only interested in the aperture and do not bother to dwelve too much into sweet spots. i consider myself a skilled yet practical minded photographer and at the same time i respect your experience and credibility as a trustable professional photographer. my maverick approach to photography, together with my age, and my lack of grammtical editing, may very well undermine the credibility of the claims i put across in my posts, particularly in the area of photography related technical discussions. they may come across as callously non-meticulous and not with the "conventional, true learning spirit of photography" but i feel obliged to share my otherwise unconventional yet proven photography methods to people interested in photography, especialy the so-called "newbies". i cannot force everyone to believe in me, thats why people may at times be put off by my posts. anyway, at least i bothered to include smilies in order not to be mistaken as being completely wayward. thanks for your understanding. therefore, i will continue to come to CS and extoll the virtues of fast glass, doing away with tripods and impossible handholding tricks, doing away with "steal-me" bags, doing away with post-editing for digital, the need to to have a better body even with a weak lens; that digicams are crap; or anything regarding the choice of subject/locations, etc coz thats the way i learned it by myself. it works for me that way. and i believe it works also for some other people out there. not all, but maybe some.


  9. #9
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    Okay before this one erupts, let me stress that I am acting in my own personal capacity and not as a moderator, and I believe CK and Ian were as well when they posted.

    The problem is not so much the statement, but the brevity of it. When you say that "fast glass is still better" and nothing more, you're making a sweeping statement, and utterly condemning everything smallaperture said in his first post. If you had qualified your statement and explained as much as you did at the second time of asking, then you original statement becomes far more reasonable, and less likely to promote sarcastic responses.

    As you yourself said, maybe someday our friend smallaperture "may come to apreciate the plus points and especially the inherent beauty of this class of precision instruments known as fast glass", but you certainly could provide better impetus than a one lined sweeping statement that "fast glass is still better". Do you expect him to just take your word for it and abandon his convictions?

    FWIW, I actually agree with you. Although I have my own reasons and I'm still not sure what yours are.

  10. #10

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    well, fast glass is good to aid in manual focussing, esp. low light/indoor situations....

  11. #11

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    Like i said, it all depends on your needs..

    If you're primarily a landscape photographer, you do not need fast glass as you'll usually be using > f8.

    However, if you're a sports photographer, you'll probably be shooting wide open with a fast glass, there might be exceptions, however im not very sure.

    As regards to image quality and sharpness I do agree that MOST, or some fast glass produce sharp images when properly focused as these lenses are usually the "top of the line" lenses for manufacturers.. However, this does not mean slow lenses are not as sharp as fast lenses, especially when stopped down..

    Just my 2 cents.

  12. #12

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    depending on what kind of photography you do, i think everyone has their own 'favorite' f-stops haha! when i'm doing so called 'street photography', sometimes the light get really low, and i can't possibly get in a good shot if my shutter speed isn't high enough. that's when the magic of a f1.7 glass come in. too bad i already sold my canonet ql17 gIII sometimes, you don't care so much about the picture being 'technically sharp'...as long you capture the right moment/expression. plus, a 50mm f1.4 with a FM2 is low profile enough not to attract too much attention. fast primes do come in small packages! right now, my street photography combi is a MC-Helios 50mm F2.0 with a KIEV19.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by junyang
    Like i said, it all depends on your needs..

    If you're primarily a landscape photographer, you do not need fast glass as you'll usually be using > f8.
    junyang...i'm afraid i'll have to say that's not entirely true, either. it does help to have a fast glass to focus properly (most serious landscape shooters still use manual focussing). especially when you add on stuff like a polariser filter, ND-filter or...if you are shooting black-&-white, orange filter etc...all these will add up and cut down on your overall viewing brightness. if you start with a, let's say, 28mm f2.8....in the end you might end up with only the brightness of a f4.5 or f5.6 to view, compose and focus the scene with.

  14. #14

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    Generally, fast glass IS better.

    Most lenses ( if not all ) perform their WORST at their max apertures, and performance improves dramatically 1 or 2 stops lower down. So, say you have lens A that is a 4.0 lens, and lens B that is a 2.8 lens.

    Lens B, when stopped down to 4.0, will be well into it's range of "good" apertures, while Lens A, at the same aperture, will be at its worst ! You'll need to stop A down to 5.6 or smaller. So which is better ? Lens B of course. I'm assuming that of course we are comparing lens of the same "category" or class, such as L vs L, or ED vs ED. There are always exceptions, but this is the general behavior. But once you hit around f8, performance of both will probably be equal though.

    Secondly, a wider aperture allows the camera to AF faster and more surely, and do so in lower light. Anyone who's tried to AF a 5.6 telephoto lens vs a 2.8 lens in evening light will immediately be able to confirm that this is true.

    Thirdly, wider aperture give lower DOF which is desirable in many circumstances. Unlike what smalleraperture said, it is often desirable in portraits to use BIG apertures (ie, smaller values) to blur a cluttered and distracting background. After all, the subject is the person, not the background. DOF is also great for emphasising only an aspect or a portion of the scene.

    Fourthly, a wider apertures also allows far easier manual focussing since the viewfinder is nice and bright, and its shallower DOF allows you to see the objects in focus more distinctly.

    Fiftly, a faster lens allows use of teleconverters while still retaining AF. You can slap a x2 convertor on a 2.8 lens and still AF effectively. If you have a 4.0 lens, x2 convertors will lose reliable AF, though you can still use a x1.4. Don't even think about AF'ing reliably when using 5.6 with ANY teleconvertor. Yes, I know convertors degrade quality, but sometimes you need the extra reach, and you don't really have the dough to go buy a 400mm L lens.

    Last, but not least, wider apertures give you more flexibility. You can always stop a 2.8 lens down to 4.0, but you can't stop a 4.0 lens UP to 2.8.

    On the minus side, fast glass are heavier and more expensive. But performance wise, it rocks.

    Finally, a personal observation : I think that the moderators in this case excercised lack of tact in being so sarcastic and stinging in their response. You are moderators, for crying out loud. You are supposed to encourage good forum manners, not set bad examples for other readers. I'm sorry if I am blunt, but that's the way I see it, and this is my feedback.
    Last edited by chriszzz; 9th January 2004 at 02:54 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriszzz
    Generally, fast glass IS better.
    Most lenses ( if not all ) perform their WORST at their max apertures, and performance improves dramatically 1 or 2 stops lower down.
    Your observation is generally correct for short focal length lenses, however with large fast glass it's an entirely different kettle of fish as long fast glass (300/2.8 and longer/faster) is optimised for maximum performance wide open. In the case of most 600mm and longer professional grade primes the image quality degrades once you stop the lens down more than one stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by chriszzz
    I'm assuming that of course we are comparing lens of the same "category" or class, such as L vs L, or ED vs ED. There are always exceptions, but this is the general behavior. But once you hit around f8, performance of both will probably be equal though.
    At no point in the original post was any reference made to lenses being of the same 'series' or an equivalent series.

    Lens performance between slower and faster glass doesn't actually equate to equal performance when stopped down, as the use of different optical designs has a major influence on how well a lens performs.

    Quote Originally Posted by chriszzz
    Finally, a personal observation : I think that the moderators in this case excercised lack of tact in being so sarcastic and stinging in their response. You are moderators, for crying out loud. You are supposed to encourage good forum manners, not set bad examples for other readers. I'm sorry if I am blunt, but that's the way I see it, and this is my feedback.
    Firstly let me stress my posts were not in my capacity as a moderator (see Nikon forum for examples of 'in moderator mode' .. and I stand by what I say that fast glass is not always good glass and that Clives comment is and was pure bollocks for that very reason alone.

    Secondly I should at this point out that I own and use a massive collection of very fast lenses in focal lengths ranging from 6mm f2.8 to 800mm f5.6 (primes mostly but including a full set of f2.8 zooms)

    Finally wide open doesn't equate to decent performance especially where light fall off and corner illumination are concerned. If however you are shooting on an APS sized DSLR sensor like Jed does this loss of performance is less of a problem than if shooting on film.

    Quote Originally Posted by swingoutsister
    junyang...i'm afraid i'll have to say that's not entirely true, either. it does help to have a fast glass to focus properly (most serious landscape shooters still use manual focussing). especially when you add on stuff like a polariser filter, ND-filter or...if you are shooting black-&-white, orange filter etc...all these will add up and cut down on your overall viewing brightness. if you start with a, let's say, 28mm f2.8....in the end you might end up with only the brightness of a f4.5 or f5.6 to view, compose and focus the scene with.
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you aren't composing and focusing when using an ND or PL with the lens stopped down to the desired working aperture then you will have no chance of ever making great landscape photographs. This is one of the first things you learn (usually the hard way) when you take landscape shots for publication and or profit and is one of the fundamentals of using any filter except colour conversion and correction filters.

    In general terms for landscape work stop down to f11~f16 (135 format) to obtain maximum DOF and in 8x10 format you should be shooting at around f64 (yes you read right, f64).

    Finally, why you should focus at your chosen aperture. With the lens stopped down you get to see what is actually going to happen with a filter, where the exact region of focus lies etc, sure it may be dim, but it's something you get used to.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriszzz
    Finally, a personal observation : I think that the moderators in this case excercised lack of tact in being so sarcastic and stinging in their response. You are moderators, for crying out loud. You are supposed to encourage good forum manners, not set bad examples for other readers. I'm sorry if I am blunt, but that's the way I see it, and this is my feedback.
    Good grief. Did I not anticipate this? Did I not state that I was posting in a personal capacity and not as a moderator, and also stress that CK and Ian were probably doing so in the same fashion? Did I not also state that this was specifically to pre-empt somebody coming out to criticise CK, Ian and, because I didn't know better and to just shut up instead of trying to play mediator, myself as well?

    The best part of it all was, I read your post originally, thought it was brilliant, and thought about using it as an example to highlight to Clive exactly what a helpful response yours was, and one that wouldn't elicit sarcastic etc responses from people, be they moderators or not. And then an hour later you go and amend the post to include this little gem of a personal observation. And let me guess, you're probably going to give feedback about this post too. But before you do that, just take it as my feedback to you.

    Also, explain to me how I was sarcastic and stinging in my original response? Or did you exercise your own little bit of lack of tact in making a sweeping statement about the moderators in this thread? I'm not even sure CK doesn't have good reason to feel hard done as well.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by swingoutsister
    well, fast glass is good to aid in manual focussing, esp. low light/indoor situations....
    What does manual focusing and fast lens have to do with one another?

  18. #18
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    well with a fast lens, your viewfinder screen is brighter (as opposed to a slow lens) and hence you can see the image more clearly and therefore makes manual focussing easier on the eyes, at least if you dont have night vision eyes


    Quote Originally Posted by coke21
    What does manual focusing and fast lens have to do with one another?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123
    well with a fast lens, your viewfinder screen is brighter (as opposed to a slow lens) and hence you can see the image more clearly and therefore makes manual focussing easier on the eyes, at least if you dont have night vision eyes
    Haha...nice try.... OT a bit, why would u manual focus instead od using the AF?...

  20. #20
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    It's not just manual focusing, AF works better too, and it also helps composition if you have a brighter viewfinder.

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