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Roger Hicks
03-17-2009, 07:13
No wonder we all lusted after f/1.4 and f/1.2 lenses 40 years ago, when the fastest readily available 35mm films were ISO 400 (HP4, Tri-X) and 160 (High Speed Ektachrome).

But I used to shoot Kodachrome 64 at f/1.4. With 'only' ISO 2500 on my M8/M8.2 I could use an f/3.8 lens and still be two stops (at least) ahead of the game. So why is the 24/1.4 so damnably attractive? (I should add that I don't own a 24/25 at all, and I 'need' one for my M8.2.)

How many people use ultra-fast lenses for 'available darkness' photography (which has fascinated me for 40 years)? And how many use them just for differential focus (which I find tedious in all too many cases)?

The market for super-expensive 'speed king' lenses was tiny enough in the 60s. It must surely be smaller today (= more expensive lenses). Any thoughts? Or pictures?

Tashi delek,

R.

ClaremontPhoto
03-17-2009, 07:19
Exactly, we think that f1.4 is 'sexy' don't we?

Remember when there was an f1.8, and somebody else made an f1.7? No difference really.

I still think of ISO100 as normal, and ISO400 as being a bit racey.

Seriously, nowadays I'd be very happy with an f2 or so. Even f2.8 perhaps.

Sparrow
03-17-2009, 07:28
GAF500 pushed two stops, these youngsters know nowt about grain

:D

feenej
03-17-2009, 07:44
I choose to push film when it's dark, but I have a f1.5 Nokton when I'm feeling like Tommy Oshima. (and a f1.4 Rokkor slr lens). This photo is from a Cosina 20mm f3.5 slr lens. I'd love to buy an f1.2 lens just for fun, but I don't really think it would improve my photography.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3161/2946201167_49395c4965_o.jpg

back alley
03-17-2009, 07:47
i like 2.8

Lilserenity
03-17-2009, 07:52
It has become a bit of a status symbol for some to own a big heavy fast lens. And that seems to be one of the big factors today in dropping money on a fast lens for some people.

In actual use I have never needed anything faster than f/2 and I shoot night shots and low light usually with Neopan 1600 (excellent stuff) or push Tri-X to 1250. I tend to do this at gigs (folk, rock, jazz and blues) and that's enough light for me. And as I don't live in a mansion (a 1 bedroom flat I thankyew ;)) it doesn't take many 10x8s to cover my walls. So for me it's just fine.

Outdoors, anything faster than ISO 400 becomes difficult I find with the M2, what with a max shutter speed of 1/1000th, you need to be shooting at around f/4-16 in good light at ISO 400 film in the M2 -- anything faster (ISO or aperture wise) becomes impossible to use, so for me ISO 100 is my normal on good conditions and ISO 400 my general purpose. Even this morning in bright light, I was shooting at f/8 1/500th so what is the point in a big heavy f/1.2? None for me.

Yes there's bokeh but tbh at f/2 on 50mm and certainly 90mm you're getting a very nice out of focus background anyway -- well to me I am. Heck even my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L at f/4 at any focal length is throwing the back out of focus when you're close in on a subject.

Finally anything where I am using shallow depth of field for artistic reasons anything wider than f/2 throws the out of focus area out of focus too much for me, I like to see what was behind/in front to a degree.

Of course this is all very personal and subjective (the above) as I have adjusted that perception to the way I currently work.

Vicky

Ronald_H
03-17-2009, 07:53
Nice question Roger.

As an experienced and demanding concert photographer I really feel I have something to say here.

No matter how high your ISO or how fast your lenses, there never is enough light. You can always find a situation where it is too dark. To those with a lot of experience usable 1600ISO might be heaven to what was possible a few decades ago, but a frontier is there to be pushed.

When my concert photography became serious I started using Fuji Superia 800 with my kit zoom. Not enough. Then I bought primes instead of zooms. Not enough.

Then I switched to digital (Nikon D70). That gave me usable (a relative term!) 1600ISO in color. Not enough.

I am not really into speed kings, the fastest I have is a 50mm f1.4 in Nikon F-mount. For my style of photography that f1.4 is already a compromise. To my tastes (spoiled by digital sharpness maybe), 1.4 is too soft. Besides there is also the issue of lack of depth of field. Isolating your subject and nice bokeh are all good and well, but if it becomes a limiting factor, I pass. I understand and accept many will disagree.

I am tempted by the Nikon D700, a.k.a a camera (as opposed to a lens) that pushes the frontier. Those new fast Leica wide angles are undoubtedly the best the industry can produce. But I would make more sense to me to have a camera with better hi-ISO performance (which has been proven possible!). Moving the frontier by means of an even faster lens is a great achievement, but the unavoidable disadvantages of a faster lens (size, optical compromises and most of all cost) are not worth it in my eyes.

But if you lust after that fast lens, go for it. Life is short :D

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 08:03
You could buy Ilford HPS at ASA 800 and Agfa Isopan Record at ASA 1000. Hundred foot rolls of Kodak Royal-X Pan Recording easily gave you 3200 and that was followed by 2475 recording which had finer grain and came in 36 exposure cassettes. Then along came 2484 Recording with still finer grain. Three films by Agfa, Ilford, and Kodak for available darkness way back when Leitz was still selling screw mount bodies.

Maybe an f/1.4 ultra-wide is nice because it can give you a hint of out of focus areas in your shots? More likely it appeals to the typical male "Mine Is Bigger Than Yours" syndrome, which is another variety of "Mine Cost More Than Yours". Bragging rights, pure and simple! It's amazing what you can do with a steady hand, Tri-X, and the cheap little 15mm f/4.5 Heliar.

Sparrow
03-17-2009, 08:06
i like 2.8

yep back in the good-old-days bokeh was a fault you got by not stopping down enough

swoop
03-17-2009, 08:09
I have a soft spot for f2 and ISO 800.

I know that slower lenses do perfectly fine. But I refuse to buy slow glass because I know I'll need the speed eventually. I do about 80% of my photography after the sun goes down.

urban_alchemist
03-17-2009, 08:11
I have a Noctilux (now putting on my flame-retardent jacket) and regularly use it together with pushed film. Why? Because I like using film and at f1.0 and 1600ISO there are very few conditions I cannot shoot in hand-held and without flash...

MP, Noctilux, Fuji [email protected]

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3018/2984401178_602d452f28_o.jpg

cjm
03-17-2009, 08:16
I don't own any "ultra" fast lenses but I do feel the need for one. Not just for the novelty of having a narrow DOF. Most of my recent photography has been in bars, clubs and restaurants. In some those situations, especially in bars, 1600iso film and a f1.8 lens (my current fastest) is not enough.

Here's one at f1.8, 1/8 sec, 1600iso.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3442/3225342881_ba57249db5.jpg

I could definitely use a f1.2 or faster lens but I just can't afford it at the moment.

hans voralberg
03-17-2009, 08:17
I shoot Sensia/Velvia/Provia and Ektar, and I frequently get my ass into place with little light, hence I have to get my hands on lens that are as fast as possible

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 08:19
Chris, you could afford it if you didn't hang out in bars!

Sparrow
03-17-2009, 08:24
f2.8 Summaron, Fuji 400s and a bit of practice

PS thinking about it, it could be a shot from f2.5 Skopar

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2288/2810128591_b89388812c_b.jpg (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2288/2810128591_b89388812c_b.jpg)

cjm
03-17-2009, 08:29
You could afford it if you didn't hang out in bars!

Ha, no kidding. $8+ drinks are ridiculous, but that's precisely why I rarely drink at bars. I'm just there to socialize and take pictures. Besides, for me, alcohol consumption is inversely proportional to the quality of my photos. :)

benlees
03-17-2009, 08:37
I rarely go bigger than 2.8- but I have a question. Is 1.4 lens more sharp at f2 and f2.8 than the respective f2 and f2.8 lens?

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 08:40
CJM, hand out lots of business cards, pick up an occasional paid shooting gig, and those $8 drinks become a business expense. Make sure that you save the reciepts and mark down how much you tipped the bartender. It's called "networking". That's a legitimate write off.

Benlees, the answer is "maybe". It would depend on the lenses. Usually stopping down a stop or two does improve sharpness but the faster lens still might not be as sharp at f/2 or 2.8 as the slower lens. You gotta try 'em.

Spider67
03-17-2009, 08:43
For me it was about the SLR focussing screen geting darker....or in case of teles when the upper half of the split screen went black (Did not know that that depended on the screen).
Later on it was about available light photography.
And now it's all about nostalgia and being able to afford some of the Nikkor f 1:2 lenses.
......Use of RF taught me that f 2,8 was very often enough and that it does not hurt to use smaller apertures from time to time.....

benlees
03-17-2009, 09:03
Al, I figure you are absolutely right- too many ''what ifs'' with regard to lens designs combined with whatever the needs of the photographer are.

CK Dexter Haven
03-17-2009, 09:04
Like "Don't Call Me Ron," i never have enough light.

I have a 5DMkII, which goes up to ISO 25,000 or somesuch, but i'll never use it. I don't even like going above 800. Not because 1600 on a modern dSLR isn't far better than 800 on film, but because 1600 isn't good enough for my needs/wants. When we used fast film in the past, we had to accept the grain. Or, you just didn't shoot in those situations. I generally chose the latter, if i wanted to shoot color, because i can't accept the grain in 35mm ISO 800 films. Even 400 is too much in 35mm....

I shoot indoors a lot. There's NEVER enough light indoors, without strobes. Even if i could get f2 at 1/30, that's not enough. I want to shoot at 1/125 and higher whenever possible. My hands aren't that steady, and even with a rangefinder, at 1/30, i'm not confident i can get sharp results. I'm not content with getting a 'usable' image. I want consistent, repeatably sharp results.

Lastly, a GOOD fast lens probably gives better performance at slightly smaller apertures than a slow lens wide open. I have three f1.2 lenses (CV 35 Nokton, Canon 85/1.2L and a Nikon 50/1.2 AI-S), and quite a few 1.4s. They will all perform better at f2.8 than an f2.8 lens will at 2.8.

As far as size goes, sure, the CV35/1.2 and Canon 85L could be smaller and i'd probably use them much more if they were. But, then again, when i do use them, it's because they go to 1.2. Either for selective DOF reasons, or just for light gathering. And, in those situations, if i didn't have them, i'd probably Not Shoot At All. I just wouldn't go out at night with a 2.8 lens and grainy film, or expect to use ISO3200. I just wouldn't. If we're talking about B&W, it's only a slightly different story. I'd have to WANT grain as an aesthetic component in the picture, not just be able to settle for it. And, most of the time, i just don't want grain under those circumstances.

I love B&W grain. Just not 'in desperation.' It can be really beautiful — Ralph Gibson is always my first example. But, he doesn't shoot at f1.4. Most of the stuff i remember has pretty deep DOF. Wide open, it would just be a lot of 'sludge.'

Vics
03-17-2009, 09:11
I find my Summicron lenses plenty fast enough at Tri-X at 400.
Vic

mcgrattan
03-17-2009, 09:21
I rarely feel the need for more than f1.8 - f2 for compositional reasons. I like playing with very very shallow depth of field in medium format but not in 35mm where around f2 is enough.

I do wish I could shoot in lower light more effectively, though. F1.7/f1.8 with a 3200ASA film is just about enough, but not always.

I don't have any lenses faster than f1.7.

back alley
03-17-2009, 09:23
i like 2.8 and 1/30 second.

Spider67
03-17-2009, 10:05
Secret me: "This 1.2 21mm Summi Leissanon is all I need to impress at my next photoclub show off. Gotta send douchebag to get it from rational me. Oi douchebag!"
poor me: "yeah what it this time?"
Secret me: "I need a 1.2 21mm. you go talk to the scroogy guy!2
poor me (to rational me):"I am in desperate need of a 1.2 21mm Summi Leissanon!"
rational me: "Oh yeah what does it do your VC 21 does not?"
poor me:"Well...well you can take photos in dark bars......"
rational me:"...you rarely visit.."
poor me:"I can use it for homework, for research..."
rational me:"C'mon I heard that when you wanted a second netbook!"
poor me (whispers to himself): Crikey what will the secret guy do to me this time!
"....Yeeees and just like the netbook, whose usefulness you doubted it will enhance our potential as a photographer...."
rational me:"...Ok but the costs.."
poor me:"..I'll make cuts and save money!"
rational me": Still the money...."
poor me:"I won't buy myself a treat for xmas!"
rational me:"that's still a gazillion we talk..."
poor me:"no treat for my birthday....and for easter! an and I won't rent DVD's for 7 month!"
rational me: "OK go on then...(mumbles to himself) I'm sure to regret that later on..."
Me Me (wakes up with a terrible headache):"OMG, I have this terrible longig for that Leissanon...I'll post "What do you think about this lens" tbc

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 10:22
Stanley Kubrick often used a 50mm f/0.7 Zeiss lens when shooting low light scenes in his films. A 21mm f/1.2 is kind of slow.

MartinP
03-17-2009, 10:38
Al, but what was the T-value ? Not 0,7 I'll bet.

The situation when I was really glad of a f1,4 was in the Arctic autumn. The dawn and dusk last many hours in that season and that far North, and typically the weather was overcast. The favourite pics in my first (group) show for fourteen years were from those times of day. To get the same results from a f2,8 lens would knock a couple of hours off the shooting day, and/or mean bog-trotting with a tripod.

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 10:50
I couldn't find anything about the T value. I'd guess more like T 8. Between all those thick chunks of glass and the internal reflections it probably lost 1/4 stop or more.

shadowfox
03-17-2009, 10:55
When it comes to RF gears, I value compactness more than speed. Of course I like fast lenses, but if it makes the lens big and cumbersome, I'd settle with "slower."

My current target for upgrade (I only have one body and one lens at a time) is the Nokton 35/1.4, which is smaller than the Ultron I have now. The fact that it's faster is a bonus, not a requirement.

varjag
03-17-2009, 10:57
Norway gets dark in the winters, so I appreciate every extra notch of speed.

Also, being somewhat passionate about Kodachrome, fast lenses are nice. In Taiwan recently I had to shoot in the range of 1/3 - 1/8 wide open (f/1.5 and 1.7) for most of the time with 64 ISO. I got by, but really could make a use of an extra stop.

Also, when using longer lenses (admittedly not too often by me) there's never too much speed really.

Brian Sweeney
03-17-2009, 11:29
> When it comes to RF gears, I value compactness more than speed.

The Canon 50/1.5 is smaller than the 50/1.8. Much smaller than the 50/1.4. I tend to use SOnnar formula lenses over the bigger Planar lenses. The 50/0.95 rarely comes out. Status symbol, maybe.... But for a $200 BIN it was a good buy.

I like shallow depth of field. In the 1980s, I wrote a lot of code that performed image clutter characterization and rejection. Spatial gradients, T-score, background clutter metrics, scene segmentation, real in-depth image analysis stuff. maybe that's why...

Jason Sprenger
03-17-2009, 11:35
There are a number of times my camera is half-way through a roll of 400-speed when a subject presents itself indoors in low-light. In this situation, there's no replacement for aperture since I don't generally carry two cameras and changing out film mid-roll is generally not practical if I'm moving both inside and outside.

And even when I know the venue will be low-lit and I take fast film, a fast lens is comforting because too dark seems to be more of a problem than too light.

Though before investing in fast 35's, my interest in fast lenses wasn't very great. I found a 50 often just too long for what I wanted to capture indoors. Thus, I'd just limit myself to f2/f.2.8 and make do, or pop on a little flash unit where I could.

Sparrow
03-17-2009, 14:17
There are a number of times my camera is half-way through a roll of 400-speed when a subject presents itself indoors in low-light. In this situation, there's no replacement for aperture since I don't generally carry two cameras and changing out film mid-roll is generally not practical if I'm moving both inside and outside.

And even when I know the venue will be low-lit and I take fast film, a fast lens is comforting because too dark seems to be more of a problem than too light.

Though before investing in fast 35's, my interest in fast lenses wasn't very great. I found a 50 often just too long for what I wanted to capture indoors. Thus, I'd just limit myself to f2/f.2.8 and make do, or pop on a little flash unit where I could.
yep 2.8 is fast enough

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3604/3363096379_e50c0508aa.jpg
(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3604/3363096379_e50c0508aa.jpg)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3433/3363091895_68a0c500c1.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3611/3354620532_644e305c97.jpg
(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3433/3363091895_68a0c500c1.jpg)

aizan
03-17-2009, 14:30
fastest lens for the widest framelines on the m8, you can avoid using the higher ISO settings. take away the crop factor and the noise, and it doesn't look as sexy. it just looks heavy, a little too wide angle, and really expensive.

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 14:32
Take a pistol shooting course at your local gun range.

Peter_Jones
03-17-2009, 14:45
Take a pistol shooting course at your local gun range.

Unless you live in UK :(

Sparrow
03-17-2009, 14:49
Take a pistol shooting course at your local gun range.

For whom?


.

Svitantti
03-17-2009, 14:54
2.8 could be fast enough for handheld photos, but the depth of field is much different when you use a f1.4

With a crop-size sensor this could be important, because you need even more speed to get a shallow DOF.

Still I dont think with that price those lenses are an option at all for "regular people".

Roger Hicks
03-17-2009, 14:58
Take a pistol shooting course at your local gun range.

Been there, done that, though actually my late father-in-law taught me pistol shooting. He was captain of the pistol team at Cornell in the early 30s and a champion shot for decades afterwards. We still have his Colt .45 National Match and stainless-frame .44 magnum (Ruger) in California, though here in France we have to rely on air pistols. Long before that, in the 1960s, I got my Marksman badge on the Empire Test (Rifle). I'm quite a good shot, and appreciate the cross-fertilization of the two kinds of shooting.

I agree with those who say that (a) there are all too many times when there's not enough light and (b) there are also times when you can have lenses that are too fast (not enough depth of field).

As things stand, I have persuaded myself I need a 24/25mm lens. I don't want to go even slower than f/2.8; I can't think of any f/2 (no, I DON'T want to use a reflex); so it's the marginal cost of the Summilux. Yes, it's a lot more than an f/2.8. But I am leaning towards the view that it's probably worth it.

Oh: and Stewart. Thanks for some really nice shots, which have reduced my already wavering certainty about how much I need a fast 24.

Tashi delek,

Roger

Svitantti
03-17-2009, 15:29
There are no too fast lenses, because you can always stop them down. You cant open up a f2.8 more than to 2.8

Probably there are anyway more times when the depth of field is too long, especially with croppy digital cameras and slow zoom lenses (2.8 or 4 max).

Also if you want the same kind of photos with M8 than with film-M, you need shorter focal length and larger or as large maximum aperture (as the longer compared focal length has).

Mackinaw
03-17-2009, 16:46
This past weekend I pulled out my Canon 50/0.95, screwed on a Hoya 3X ND filter, and shot a whole roll on Efke 25 wide-open at 0.95. Talk about unique results. A sharp central area surrounded by strong softness in the corners and with extremely shallow depth of field. Makes the subject, if in the center of the picture, almost pop out of the photo. So, in this case, I used a high-speed lens because of its unique signature (which, admittedly, may not be everybody's cup of tea).

Jim B.

Trius
03-17-2009, 16:55
Higher ISO with a slower lens is NOT equivalent to faster lens with slower film/lower ISO sensor.

Frank Petronio
03-17-2009, 17:02
Now that you can get a D700 for $2400 and shoot at 25600 ISO -- and it kind of looks like P3200 only with detail -- it effectively kills the argument that Leicas and fast lenses are the best low light cameras. They aren't anymore.

Same for color. Digital color is hands down better than color film, unless you jump to the huge formats and drum scanners....

The practical reasons you choose to use a Leica, especially with film, is for the clear finder, the precise focusing, and the quality of black and white film. And the only practical reason to get a fast wide lens that costs the same as a small Korean car is because you want to do short depth-of-field wide shots, which have been impossible up until now (ignoring the Canon 24/1.4).

But who is 100% practical in these matters?

sanmich
03-17-2009, 18:15
Secret me: "This 1.2 21mm Summi Leissanon is all I need to impress at my next photoclub show off. Gotta send douchebag to get it from rational me. Oi douchebag!"
poor me: "yeah what it this time?"
Secret me: "I need a 1.2 21mm. you go talk to the scroogy guy!2
poor me (to rational me):"I am in desperate need of a 1.2 21mm Summi Leissanon!"
rational me: "Oh yeah what does it do your VC 21 does not?"
poor me:"Well...well you can take photos in dark bars......"
rational me:"...you rarely visit.."
poor me:"I can use it for homework, for research..."
rational me:"C'mon I heard that when you wanted a second netbook!"
poor me (whispers to himself): Crikey what will the secret guy do to me this time!
"....Yeeees and just like the netbook, whose usefulness you doubted it will enhance our potential as a photographer...."
rational me:"...Ok but the costs.."
poor me:"..I'll make cuts and save money!"
rational me": Still the money...."
poor me:"I won't buy myself a treat for xmas!"
rational me:"that's still a gazillion we talk..."
poor me:"no treat for my birthday....and for easter! an and I won't rent DVD's for 7 month!"
rational me: "OK go on then...(mumbles to himself) I'm sure to regret that later on..."
Me Me (wakes up with a terrible headache):"OMG, I have this terrible longig for that Leissanon...I'll post "What do you think about this lens" tbc


Then you buy the Leissanon and start calling it "my precious..."
Gollum,
Gollum...:)

Al Kaplan
03-17-2009, 18:19
Learning the properr techniques of calming yourself, controlling your breathing, etc., etc., apply just as much to shooting a camera at slow shutter speeds as they do to shooting a rifle or pistol.

I have a Pepsi can here that I've kept for about 35 years. My friend Spencer Tiger had just purchased a Winchester 94 Carbine. We went out behind their house on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation and he propped the can on a bush about 50 yards away, a twig going in the hole on the end. He took a shot, the can bounced a bit, and there was a hole visible in it. He handed me the gun and I took a shot. I could swear that I saw the can dance but there was only one hole visible. Sure enough, there was one entrance hole on the near side of the can but two exit holes on the back side. Not bad for iron sights and hand holding the rifle from a standing position. It must have been all those years of practice, shooting Leicas at 1/4 and 1/8 second.

sanmich
03-17-2009, 18:30
I guess I am not steadier than anyone.
A softie really improves the camera handling, but I found that it works better for non metered cameras.

I also discovered something:
In poor lighting, shoot movement, shoot blurry!
Less control over the final result, but sometimes, much more powerful, meaningful result.
Go figure...

pagpow
03-17-2009, 18:31
Learning the properr techniques of calming yourself, controlling your breathing, etc., etc., apply just as much to shooting a camera at slow shutter speeds as they do to shooting a rifle or pistol.

I have a Pepsi can here that I've kept for about 35 years. My friend Spencer Tiger had just purchased a Winchester 94 Carbine. We went out behind their house on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation and he propped the can on a bush about 50 yards away, a twig going in the hole on the end. He took a shot, the can bounced a bit, and there was a hole visible in it. He handed me the gun and I took a shot. I could swear that I saw the can dance but there was only one hole visible. Sure enough, there was one entrance hole on the near side of the can but two exit holes on the back side. Not bad for iron sights and hand holding the rifle from a standing position. It must have been all those years of practice, shooting Leicas at 1/4 and 1/8 second.

A modern Davy Crockett, Al? Or are you too young to have seen that episode?

maddoc
03-17-2009, 19:47
I think a lot depends on the - personal - definition of "available light". 90% of my photos (or even more) are taken at EV of ~ 2 to 5. That corresponds to f/1.0 + 1/60s or f/1.4 + 1/30 when using ISO400 rated film. I have tried 50/2.8 (new Elmar-M) and 50/2.0 (couple of Summicrons and the Summitar) at night but then either I have to use 1600ISO film or are very limited.

The advice to use 1/15s or 1/8s (and slower glass) by specific techniques of respiration sounds good in theory but only for static or slowly objects and with lots of time, concentration and practice . I have my cameras preset to 3m, full aperture and the corresponding time. Seeing something interesting I just raise the camera, frame roughly and take the photo. This takes at most 2 or 3 seconds.

Sparrow
03-18-2009, 01:48
Bih edit

which have reduced my already wavering certainty about how much I need a fast 24.

Tashi delek,

Roger

Im unsure how I feel about OOF areas as a feature of a wide-angle image, it has always been the extreme DOF that I found interesting.

Id like to see the results of a 24 at f1.4, if I visualise the effect I "see" too much of the scene OOF, but the reality may differ clearly

Sparrow
03-18-2009, 01:50
Now that's what fast film and available light are all about. Very nice!

Thank you kindly, it also involves a lot of outtakes :)

sevo
03-18-2009, 02:04
Stanley Kubrick often used a 50mm f/0.7 Zeiss lens when shooting low light scenes in his films. A 21mm f/1.2 is kind of slow.

He had it made specially for Barry Lyndon, where all indoor lighing was by candlelight to be more in-period. Its softness (which is very obvious in Barry Lyndon) is not visibly present on any other Kubrick film - with exception of the above film, he rather preferred wide angles, large DOF and rich contrast. If he ever reused the 0.7, he stopped it down until it behaved like any 2.8...

In any case, movie is half frame, with the exposure limited to 1/40s or less by the fixed frame speed - photographers are not forced to work under similar constraints.

Sevo

projectbluebird
03-18-2009, 02:06
It also depends on your definition of "speed". (lens or film) I have a leica guide from the 60's that refers to anything above 200ASA as "fast" film, and above 400 is "ultra fast".

I find 1.4 lenses (50mm) to be just right in terms of speed, I could go faster if I wanted to pay more, slower lenses are also available. The extra stop also comes in handy when using my favorite films that are generally between 50-100 ISO.

noimmunity
03-18-2009, 02:49
Sometimes a little softness is all I can get but that is just right:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3448/3302003769_fb132df7c0.jpg
1/8 at ISO 640 on M8

In poor lighting, shoot movement, shoot blurry!
Less control over the final result, but sometimes, much more powerful, meaningful result.
Go figure...

Was looking for an example that I couldn't find, but yes, I agree with this.

Trius
03-18-2009, 03:07
Frank: But the fast wide will have better resale value than the Kia. :D

Sparrow
03-18-2009, 03:14
A bit of motion blur is OK, it adds drama.

But I’m not sure I’d be happy with camera shake, they usually get edited out


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_U-t2tGr6I1A/RdiJdi9i3TI/AAAAAAAAAIE/EyWLO9uPw9E/s400/pic10014+copy.jpg

DriesI
03-18-2009, 05:35
In poor lighting, shoot movement, shoot blurry!
Less control over the final result, but sometimes, much more powerful, meaningful result.
Go figure...

oh yes! absolutely (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=98698)!

dee
03-18-2009, 05:47
I love my old Rokkor 85 / f 1.7 wide open , the 50 / f 1.4 , I seldom used , the 50 / f 2 usually adequate , but the 35 / f 1.8 was favourite for record interior shots .
Now , they all adapt to my Leica Dig 3 ... [ x2 ] but getting accurate focusing is not easy.
My M 8 has assisted me in redee'scovering the modest joys of an extended 50 / f 3.5
with no dim focusing to spoil it !
But I don't do this for a living - it's very different for a pprofessional .

Svitantti
03-18-2009, 06:21
Now that you can get a D700 for $2400 and shoot at 25600 ISO -- and it kind of looks like P3200 only with detail -- it effectively kills the argument that Leicas and fast lenses are the best low light cameras. They aren't anymore.

Same for color. Digital color is hands down better than color film, unless you jump to the huge formats and drum scanners....

First, why should the final result be (only) digital (scanned)?

Second, I don't think it is that easy to compare film and digital photos, especially in terms of "goodness". What is this "better" actually and is it the same for every photographer?

A slide film can be projected, a color film can be printed either via scanning or traditionally, as the slide film can also be printed either after scanning or on Ilfochrome or even some cross process RA4.

The results are very different and probably mostly about personal taste and the individual case and use, which is the best.

New digital cameras probably give a couple stops more sensitivity, but a pushed Provia 400X at 1600 is still nice and looks like film and can be projected easily.

...and for last, P3200 has plenty of detail. It could be grainy, but that doesnt mean it couldn't resolve stuff well.

Al Kaplan
03-18-2009, 06:28
Originally posted by Pagpow: "A modern Davy Crockett, Al? Or are you too young to have seen that episode?"

I'm old enough to have seen the episodes. I was a big fan of that show! Still, open iron sites, the first time I'd ever shot a Winchester 94, and it's a gun not noted for its great accuracy. I knew that I "had my shot". I didn't try for a third shot. As Kenny Rogers sang: "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run". That was 35 years ago and I never shot a Winchester 94 since that day. A few years ago Spencer Tiger died, way too young. Last year Flo, his widow, showed up at my house. She said that she'd been going through Spencer's things and found the gun. "Spencer would have wanted you to have this" she said, handing me the gun. It didn't look like a gun that had spent years hunting deer in the Everglades. It looked as brand new as the day I put two bullets through the same hole in that Pepsi can, the day Spencer had bought it. He probably never shot it again either.

What does this have to do with photography? I think that too often we're shooting a subject, cranking off a series of pictures, and don't recognize when we've "got the shot" and it's time to move on to the next one.

dfoo
03-18-2009, 06:43
Second, I don't think it is that easy to compare film and digital photos, especially in terms of "goodness". What is this "better" actually and is it the same for every photographer?
...

Surely any discussion that involves the words "better" without any definition of goodness is rather ridiculous isn't it? Therefore, its not really worth your time to respond to the original rather inflammatory post.

Roger Hicks
03-18-2009, 07:36
...too often we're shooting a subject, cranking off a series of pictures, and don't recognize when we've "got the shot" and it's time to move on to the next one.

Dear Al,

Absolutely! I'm going to steal that one...

What I really like about the responses here is that most are by people who know what they are talking about, i.e. they take low-light pictures and know whether they have adequate kit or dream kit. They also, in most cases, know what effect they want. A major improvement over receding fence-posts!

Tashi Delek,

R.

Roger Hicks
03-18-2009, 07:39
. . . I don't think it is that easy to compare film and digital photos, especially in terms of "goodness". What is this "better" actually and is it the same for every photographer?

I could not agree more. The only thing I'd add is that sometimes, we change. What we liked 40 years ago, or 30, or 20, or 10, or 2, is not necessarily what we like now.

And even if we like the same things as 40 years ago, we may approach them differently.

Tashi delek,

R.

shadowfox
03-18-2009, 07:50
> When it comes to RF gears, I value compactness more than speed.

The Canon 50/1.5 is smaller than the 50/1.8. Much smaller than the 50/1.4. I tend to use SOnnar formula lenses over the bigger Planar lenses. The 50/0.95 rarely comes out. Status symbol, maybe.... But for a $200 BIN it was a good buy.


Unfortunately, I prefer 35mm focal length, there are much less option there... :(

Al Kaplan
03-18-2009, 08:19
Roger, I'm probably one of the few folks here that not only was shooting 40 years ago but still have all the negatives and contacts numbered and filed. Over the years I've tried new cameras, films, and techniques. I've shot studio stuff and learned lighting and view camera techniques because there were bills to pay.

When I look back over the journalistic stuff I shot in the 60's and 70's and compare it to what I'm shooting now, just for fun for the most part, I think that the same "me" is very obvious in both groups of photos. I still have a penchant for the widest lens available~ 19mm Canon then, 15mm Heliar now ~ B&W film, rangefinder cameras, similar compositions, the same kinds of available light. What has changed are the subjects. They mostly tend to be a lot older now. On the other hand, when I'm shooting younger folks, they're often dressed like their grandparents were back then. Faded jeans, shaggy hair on the guys, long straight hair, too much eye liner, hip hugging jeans or miniskirts on the girls. They even listen to acid rock! Who could have imagined that The Doors, Cream, Pink Floyd, etc. would still be getting radio play, or that 20 year olds would be jealous of me because I still have the original vinyl. And it's also amazing how many of them see me and say "Ooh,that's a Leica!"

I'd love to meet some college girl who's grandmother I once photographed. It would be interesting to go around with her to some of the same locations where I photographed her grandmother way back when...

projectbluebird
03-19-2009, 04:26
Unfortunately, I prefer 35mm focal length, there are much less option there... :(

In terms of compactness, or speed?
canon had a 35/1.5, canon and nikon both made 35/1.8's, canon and leica made/make 35/2's, there's always the leica 35/1.4 and the speed king the CV 1.2, which is neither cheap, nor compact.

If you want truly compact, find a nikon 35/2.5. It's about half a stop slower than f/2, but you can't get much smaller.

Soeren
03-19-2009, 05:46
Last night I did some shots of my wive and the youngest of my sons (3 months).
I had my F100 loaded with Neopan 1600 @ boxspeed and f/1,4 the shutterspeed was 1/80sec. My Ikonta was loaded with Tri-X 400 rated @1250 (Soup in Diafine) giving 1/10 sec, f/3,5. I think I need the speed, even with D3200 I'd come out with 1/160 @f/1,4 or something like 1/25 @ f/3,5 on my Ikonta.
Furthermore I like the pics from the 85mm @ f/1,4
Kind regards

shadowfox
03-20-2009, 13:28
In terms of compactness, or speed?
canon had a 35/1.5, canon and nikon both made 35/1.8's, canon and leica made/make 35/2's, there's always the leica 35/1.4 and the speed king the CV 1.2, which is neither cheap, nor compact.

If you want truly compact, find a nikon 35/2.5. It's about half a stop slower than f/2, but you can't get much smaller.

Oooh, you're right. But where can you find let's say, Nikon 35/1.8 nowadays? isn't that only packaged with the SP special edition?

Fast 35mm Canon lenses are big, I've seen them. So are leica's and I'm not paying their price of admission.

I'll investigate the 35/2.5, screwmount only, right?

Brian Sweeney
03-20-2009, 13:36
The Canon RF mount 35/2 is fairly small, and quite sharp. Higher contrast than the Canon 35/1.8. I will have to do a side-by-side between the Canon 35/2 (LTM) and Nikkor 3.5cm F1.8 (S-Mount). It's close between the two. The latter lens is rare in LTM.

sanmich
03-20-2009, 13:48
I have a Canon 35mm 1.5. It's not tiny, but not huge.
Much bigger than the 1.8 though. 48mm filter, but half the length of a 50 1.4.
a bit too big for a barnack but feels comfortable on an M.

notturtle
03-20-2009, 20:31
people talk about shooting a lot of the time at f1.4 or so with their 50 velvia or Efke 25/50, but what about the DOF? I find that I want selective focus some of the time, but more often I want shots with a mondicum of DOF and so if shooting one roll of film, faster film is better because I can get DOF when I want it and open up and shoot faster when I want narrow DOF. What is it you guys are doing that you can chug thru a roll of 36 with every composition needing narrow DOF? I have mainly f2/2.8 lenses and find them adequate. A fast lens in the bag would be handy, but generally losing more DOF is not going to work for me. Faster film, a monopod or bracing myself against a wall or similar is likely to give the more appealing neg.

Roger Hicks
03-21-2009, 00:57
people talk about shooting a lot of the time at f1.4 or so with their 50 velvia or Efke 25/50, but what about the DOF? I find that I want selective focus some of the time, but more often I want shots with a mondicum of DOF and so if shooting one roll of film, faster film is better because I can get DOF when I want it and open up and shoot faster when I want narrow DOF. What is it you guys are doing that you can chug thru a roll of 36 with every composition needing narrow DOF? I have mainly f2/2.8 lenses and find them adequate. A fast lens in the bag would be handy, but generally losing more DOF is not going to work for me. Faster film, a monopod or bracing myself against a wall or similar is likely to give the more appealing neg.

I very much agree, but I've always been into 'available darkness' and there are times when I've shot 1/8 @ f/1 and ISO 2500. It's a question of having the choice: you can always stop down a fast lens, but there's a limit to how far you can open up a slow one.

Tashi delek,

Roger

projectbluebird
03-21-2009, 01:37
You've got some good points notturtle, but as someone who shoots a lot of efke 25 and 50 I can honestly say that I've never shot an entire roll wide open. My standard walkabout lenses are f1.4/2, but outside during the day it's too bright to shoot at those apertures, even if I wanted to.

However, having the choice of those apertures allows me to have selective DOF, if I want or need it. Comes in handy in shadows, and when you need it, you NEED it. Also, one lens on the camera is easier to carry than a second lens in a bag. Especially if you don't have another lens, or a bag.

Some of the reasons I like slower films are the smoothness and the tonal range I get from them, they do have their limitations though. High speed films have their own limitations too, but I've also shot at 1.4 around 1/8-1/15 of a second with 3200 speed films.

One of the things I enjoy about photography is balancing the trade-offs to reach a useful setup for shooting. Be it film/lens/camera speed, cost, size, or quality.

projectbluebird
03-21-2009, 02:44
Here's the only photo I could find that shows the size of my 35/2.5 LTM.
(the rest of the gear is my IIIf w/summitar and SBOOI that you see in my avatar, both the canon and nikon 85/2's and some reloadable FILCA's)

Brian, I didn't have any trouble finding my nikkor in LTM, and they pop up frequently on the 'bay that dare not speak it's name. ;) I saw one a few weeks ago that was the newer black and chrome in LTM, very nice.
The going rate seems to be ~$300 more or less. Now if only I could find a 28mm canon or nikon LTM that isn't too expensive...

Ronald_H
03-21-2009, 02:59
I'd love to meet some college girl who's grandmother I once photographed. It would be interesting to go around with her to some of the same locations where I photographed her grandmother way back when...

For me photography will never be something to pay the bills. But nevertheless Al, when I have your age I would love to do that with the (grand)daughters of the girls I'm shooting now.

Brian Sweeney
03-21-2009, 04:57
Brian, I didn't have any trouble finding my nikkor in LTM, and they pop up frequently on the 'bay that dare not speak it's name. ;) I saw one a few weeks ago that was the newer black and chrome in LTM, very nice.
The going rate seems to be ~$300 more or less. Now if only I could find a 28mm canon or nikon LTM that isn't too expensive...

I meant that the Nikkor 3.5cm F1.8 in LTM is somewhat hard to find. The Nikkor 3.5cm F2.5 in LTM is more widely available than the Nikkor 3.5cm F1.8 in LTM. I have both lenses in S-Mount. Both are "about" as sharp, but you lose a full stop with the F2.5 lens. I'm liking the Canon 35/2, which I picked up super-cheap. It had some oil on the surface behind the aperture that cleaned off, and was mistaken for Fungus.

Ken Ford
03-21-2009, 06:19
In reference to the original question...

I find f/2.0 is enough for the vast majority of my work, even nighttime street shooting. However, there are times when I want a faster lens... so I grab one of my Nikons with 50/1.2.

I had a Noct many years ago. Yes, it's an amazing lens but I feel RF generally isn't the best platform for ultraspeed lenses (>f/1.4) due to RF calibration errors. I've always told myself that if I were to get another RF speed lens I'd dedicate and calibrate a body just for that one lens.

I find an SLR to be much more reliable for wide open shooting!