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Optics Theory - This forum is aimed towards the TECHNICAL side of photographic OPTICS THEORY. There will be some overlap by camera/manufacturer, but this forum is for the heavy duty tech discussions. This is NOT the place to discuss a specific lens or lens line, do that in the appropriate forum. This is the forum to discuss optics or lenses in general, to learn about the tech behind the lenses and images. IF you have a question about a specific lens, post it in the forum about that type of camera, NOT HERE.

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Old 09-27-2008   #41
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f/2 is fast enough for me 99% of the time, but that last percent really hurts!
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Old 09-27-2008   #42
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Fast enough? Fast enough for what...? As has been said, all depends.
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Old 09-27-2008   #43
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I shot for a couple of years with a 35/1.7 before treating myself to the 35/1.2 I thought I deserved. And I'd shot for a couple of years before that with a 35/1.4. For the kind of reckless, bravura handheld shooting I do, sometimes even 1.2 at ISO 1600 isn't going to be enough. Perhaps I should stick to shooting things I can actually see...

The jump from 35/1.7 to 35/1.2 (or 35/2 to 35/1.4) is a fair bit of money if all it's going to do is let you shoot at 1/15 instead of 1/8 at the same ISO. I justified it by the amount of very low light stuff I do, and by my liking for shallow depth of field. Getting a lens twice as fast doesn't actually mean I can take twice the shots in low light. And there's a weight/size penalty that comes with it.

So every stop helps, but it's not always enough.

F/2 is perfectly respectable and you can achieve a lot. Still faster than virtually every zoom or digicam. And depending on your subject and ISO, you can do work at night with f/4 if you pick your battles carefully.

And remember that handholding 28/2.8 at 1/8 is as good as 50/2 at 1/15 (as far as camera shake goes), so speed is more of an issue at longer focal lengths. Not that that stops the speed freaks on here joining me in looking longingly at the new Leica 21/1.4...
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Old 09-27-2008   #44
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I don't care for film faster than 400 and I shoot predominantly indoors, and so fast lenses are very valuable to me. I shoot almost exclusively with a 35mm Summilux and very often at maximum aperture. Simply, the difference between f2.0 and f.1.4 often means the difference between 1/15 of a second and 1/30 of a second and that often equates to having usable results or not.

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Old 09-27-2008   #45
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F/2 is IMO the best compromise between size, speed and weight of the lenses. There might though not be important criterias to all, but I have just sold my Nokton 50mm and 28mm Ultron; fast but too big to carry around. I just bought a 35mm Summicron, a perfect mix of all requirements for me.
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Old 09-29-2008   #46
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I recently did some night shooting with my 40mm f/1.4. With the ISO 1600 film I was using, I shot at 2.8, 4, and 5.6.

I do own a few f/1.4 lenses and occasionally use them wide open. One instance where f/1.4 can sometime be essential is with the 75mm lens. With it, I can shoot at 1/125th second and get a sharp picture. With a 35mm lens, I can shoot at 1/30 or 1/50th though, and that is fast enough to eliminate camera shake at that focal length. So f/2 is often good enough at that focal length. I got a nice color picture of my wife in a restaurant, with my 28mm f/2. I probably shot at 1/30th and f/2.

So I think focal length enters into the decision. Shorter lenses can be hand-held at longer exposure times.
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Old 09-29-2008   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
I don't care for film faster than 400 and I shoot predominantly indoors, and so fast lenses are very valuable to me. I shoot almost exclusively with a 35mm Summilux and very often at maximum aperture. Simply, the difference between f2.0 and f.1.4 often means the difference between 1/15 of a second and 1/30 of a second and that often equates to having usable results or not.

Ryan
Exactly my experience too. Tri-X rated at 400ISO used indoors in a bar or outside at night requires 1/30s and f/1.4 in most cases and sometimes 1/15s. A f/2.0 wouldn't work for me. This one was taken with the 35mm Summilux (pre-ASPH) at f/1.4 and 1/15s (handheld) on Tri-X @ 400ISO:

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Old 09-30-2008   #48
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Dear Shaun,

If you constantly find yourself running out of light, you need a faster lens.

If you don't, you don't.

What other criterion is there? How can anyone else's opinion help you? Like many people I shoot mostly at f/5.6 to f/11 -- but sometimes I need all the speed I can get, which is why I own and regularly use f/1.5 and f/1.4 lenses, and would buy a Noctilux if I could afford it.

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Old 09-30-2008   #49
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thanks so much for the responses guys.

just last night i was shooting in a bar and with neopan 1600 loaded in my camera and f1.4 i was constantly between 1/8 and 1/15 which is really the limit of my hand-held capabilities. so i guess i will keep my f1.4

thanks so much again for all the responses!
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Old 10-10-2008   #50
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With a faster lens, you can always stop down. But not the other way around.
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Old 10-11-2016   #51
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Professionally I always carried a small flash for otherwise unworkable situations. I hardly ever used it but that and f2 lenses was enough. Now I prefer to go without that safety net and like having f1.4 available. This happens to open up some situations I run into regularly, but can just barely shoot in with film.
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Old 10-11-2016   #52
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yes; f/2 is enough for me.
I once switched to f/2.8 for a while and found it quite unncomfortable; that's why I am now with mt f/2 again. (35mm summicron)
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Old 10-11-2016   #53
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I think f2 is plenty fast. I shoot a Leica M9 which has an ISO that is not on par with more modern machines, and I still don't have a problem with shooting at f2 and ISO 1600 max (black and white only, for me).

The other reason I think it's best not to go faster than that is that lenses not only tend to jump in price, but also in size. I used to have a Canon f1.4 50mm and sold it because it was too big and heavy. I also rarely shot it at 1.4, but the times that I did it was soft, difficult to focus and the bokeh was not of my liking.

I also shoot film, and in fact in doing so I can go up to (on Tri-X) 3200 or 6400, which is good, again, for an f2 lens (and you can have one stop because my M3 shakes a lot less than my M9).

In fact, these days my most used lens is a Summaron 35mm f3.5, which is even plenty for most daytime situations
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Old 10-11-2016   #54
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What a peculiar way to revive a 8 year old thread...
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Old 10-11-2016   #55
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Oops, I apologize for the thread revival. I really thought this just came up in the rotation. I must have turned it up in a search and got it mixed in with the tabs of current threads I'm following. Not sure how that happened.
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Old 10-11-2016   #56
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f2 is fast Cal, but not fast enough.

I like f 1.5 lenses.
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Old 10-11-2016   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
What a peculiar way to revive a 8 year old thread...
But also fascinating how seamlessly the responses are. 8 years of "progress" and the advice doesn't change.

The answer is still; it depends, maybe.

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Old 10-11-2016   #58
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But also fascinating how seamlessly the responses are. 8 years of "progress" and the advice doesn't change.

The answer is still; it depends, maybe.

Lol yep
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Old 10-12-2016   #59
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For my work and projects f 2 is fast enough... even with an APS-C sensor.
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Old 10-12-2016   #60
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Eight years old thread becomes alive!

It all depends on camera, film or sensor, light and subject.

I have to use 50 1.2 with color film indoors and with ISO 1600 max no noise sensors. But I quit on 50 1.2 once my family grown. I need f5.6-f8 to have all in the DoF. Bouncing flash is still better option to get clean, sharp and naturally looking pictures, even with modern 12K-56K ISO sensors, IMO.

But I like J-3 over J-8 on FED-2 due to 1/30 as the slowest speed...
With film Leicas I could handle it with f2.5 and f2.8 if pushing bw @1600.
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Old 10-12-2016   #61
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The answer is a definite maybe.
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Old 10-13-2016   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
...

It all depends on camera, film or sensor, light and subject.

I have to use 50 1.2 with color film indoors and with ISO 1600 max no noise sensors. But I quit on 50 1.2 once my family grown. I need f5.6-f8 to have all in the DoF. Bouncing flash is still better option to get clean, sharp and naturally looking pictures, even with modern 12K-56K ISO sensors, IMO.

...
This ^ !

My experience with subtle use of a bounced flash is similar.
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Old 10-13-2016   #63
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Digital, yes. Film, maybe not.
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Old 10-13-2016   #64
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Fast enough in terms of light gathering? Yes, I think it's plenty. In terms of DOF and some of the softness that some of the older lenses have when opened up to f/1.4 or the DOF in general I think is very pleasing for certain things. My fastest lens is f/2 and I'm fine with that. Do I need 1.4? No. Do I want it for other reasons aside from light gathering? Yes.
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Old 10-13-2016   #65
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Quote:
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Fast enough in terms of light gathering? Yes, I think it's plenty. In terms of DOF and some of the softness that some of the older lenses have when opened up to f/1.4 or the DOF in general I think is very pleasing for certain things. My fastest lens is f/2 and I'm fine with that. Do I need 1.4? No. Do I want it for other reasons aside from light gathering? Yes.
In art, what is the difference between "need" and "want"?

Though in all fairness, many of those who say they don't want art may be the ones who need it most.

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Old 10-13-2016   #66
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What Hacker said. A lot depends on whether you're shooting film or digital. With digital, you can usually bump the ISO and at least get recognizable results. If you've got a partial roll of ISO 400 black and white in the camera, you're stuck with that speed unless you want to load another roll or ruin what you've already shot. There are a few, very few in fact, days when I go out with nothing faster than a 2.0. Typically the day's kit will include at least one, and sometimes as many as three, lenses that are 1.4. I never know when I'll need the speed, so I pack for that uncertainty.
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Old 10-13-2016   #67
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As fast as I can afford...

and as small as I can get.

It always seems that when I need a 1/15s shutter speed to get the photo, that is when my hands start shaking like a paint mixing machine. I have plenty of blurry photographs at f/2 to prove this point for me. Sometimes f/1.4 and ISO3200 are not enough for me.

Of course, if your hands are as steady as a surgeon's than you may find f/2 to be all you need.

Digital is another ball of wax but high ISO, whether on film or on digital, always seems to come at a price.
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Old 10-13-2016   #68
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I don't find f/2 fast enough. Maybe it is for today's digital sensors, I don't know...
But for film it's not: it's far from being fast enough...
It can be good outdoors with natural light, but with low light, indoors, night, artificial light, even at 3200 I constantly need speeds like 1/15th and 1/8th when I use f/1.4, so, f/2 is not fast at all for low light with film.
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Old 10-13-2016   #69
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FWIW I shoot only film, now 35mm exclusively, and usually ISO 100-400.

I own f/2.0 lenses in 35, 50 and 85mm to fit my Pentax and Nikon SLR bodies.
I prefer to use these fast lenses; their brighter image makes focusing easier.
Given an SLRs focus accuracy and ability to preview depth-of-field I'm not
afraid to shoot at maximum aperture in existing light or for selective focus.

For my rangefinder and other non-SLR cameras I don't require a lens that fast.
In fact for these cameras I prefer a slower f/2.5 - f/4.0 maximum aperture.
Lenses in this range are more compact, cheaper and often perform better.
Their greater DOF makes them more tolerant of focus inaccuracy as well.

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Old 10-13-2016   #70
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Quote:
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FWIW I shoot only film, now 35mm exclusively, and usually ISO 100-400.

I own f/2.0 lenses in 35, 50 and 85mm to fit my Pentax and Nikon SLR bodies.
I prefer to use these fast lenses; their brighter image makes focusing easier.
Given an SLRs focus accuracy and ability to preview depth-of-field I'm not
afraid to shoot at maximum aperture in existing light or for selective focus.

For my rangefinder and other non-SLR cameras I don't require a lens that fast.
In fact for these cameras I prefer a slower f/2.5 - f/4.0 maximum aperture.
Lenses in this range are more compact, cheaper and often perform better.
Their greater DOF makes them more tolerant of focus inaccuracy as well.

Chris
Very well put Chris.
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Old 10-13-2016   #71
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Quote:
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I don't find f/2 fast enough. Maybe it is for today's digital sensors, I don't know...
But for film it's not: it's far from being fast enough...
It can be good outdoors with natural light, but with low light, indoors, night, artificial light, even at 3200 I constantly need speeds like 1/15th and 1/8th when I use f/1.4, so, f/2 is not fast at all for low light with film.
Cheers,
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Dear Juan,

I heartily agree. Often, f/2.8 is enough for differential focus. But when it's not enough to get enough light on the film or even sensor, it's very different. You need f/2. f/1,4, f/2, f/1. See http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...ps%20king.html for some f/1 pictures.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-13-2016   #72
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I've had f1.4 and 1.2 lenses in the past but have always stopped them down to 2.8 to get a more manageable dof.
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Old 10-13-2016   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
I don't find f/2 fast enough. Maybe it is for today's digital sensors, I don't know...
But for film it's not: it's far from being fast enough...
It can be good outdoors with natural light, but with low light, indoors, night, artificial light, even at 3200 I constantly need speeds like 1/15th and 1/8th when I use f/1.4, so, f/2 is not fast at all for low light with film.
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Old 10-13-2016   #74
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Always a f2.8 girl, used to live with f2.5 but sometimes needed more. Just got a lens that is f2, so we'll see but I guess it depends what you're shooting more of. I prefer daylight stuff so yeah, plenty for me.
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Old 10-13-2016   #75
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It depends.

For low light photography using digital sensors (especially on full frame) yes it is adequate, given it is easily possible to shoot at sensitivities of at least 1600 ISO. In fact I have a Nikkor 16-35mm f4 lens which is stabilized and I have shot sharp images in very, very low light at 1/8th second with that lens at f4. So if you add optical stabilization into the mix then f2 is even more adequate.

But not of course for film in the same conditions.

And I would say also not for native lenses in the micro 4/3 range. This applies partly because such sensors still do not have the same performance as full frame in regard to sensor noise in low light. In that situation a faster lens may be better for noise. And neither is is adequate for m4/3 if you are shooting for bokeh. In those lenses f2 is equivalent to a much smaller aperture on full frame so the bokeh outcome is more problematic. (This does not apply of course when f2 is used on a full frame lens mounted on an M4/3 camera using an adapter as those lenses have "normal" bokeh).
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Old 10-13-2016   #76
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If I'm shooting outdoors my Elmar 3.5 is more than enough, I rarely open up more than 5.6.

However, indoors my 1.7 Summilux is quite often not enough, I miss the 1.2 50s I used to own in the 80s.
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Old 10-14-2016   #77
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Quote:
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I guess I'm different: if there's no light, I don't take pictures

You are not alone. When I started for years I spent much time attempting "existing darkness" photography.
In my experience the miss rate is far too high in those conditions, even using fast lenses and high ISO film.
To me the time spent is just not worth it. There are plenty of better things to do when it's that dark...

Chris
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Old 10-14-2016   #78
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Quote:
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You are not alone. When I started for years I spent much time attempting "existing darkness" photography.
In my experience the miss rate is far too high in those conditions, even using fast lenses and high ISO film.
To me the time spent is just not worth it. There are plenty of better things to do when it's that dark...

Chris
Em... I tried the Canon f1.4 when I'm indoor, then i realize all my pics indoor was just soft to blur (I like iso 100 bw film), I suppose I just don;t have the enough DoF that i want. And now for me indoor always end up with using a flash, which is not too bad especially when you bounce the flash and on BW its still pretty nice IMHO.
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Old 10-14-2016   #79
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I have and use lenses all over the place aperture wise I prefer faster lenses, but usually focal length is what I look for in a lens. If it isn't as fast as I prefer, there are things to make up for that, such as film speed, tripods, or flash.
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Old 10-14-2016   #80
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I've got an 85/1.4.. Never use it for indoors shooting, the DOF is so shallow, that getting focus right is a hit and miss. It does see use outdoors though in the absolute dark, though I think that doesn't count as it's for astrophotography
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