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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Old 06-26-2012   #81
reagan
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I suck at this. But I shoot what I shoot. And I even like some of it. :-J

Recently, I've been toying with exposure calculations & DOF calculations. So I went back and randomly picked out 100 of my photos from various rolls shot in the last couple of years. 77 of the 100 were shot outdoors/plenty of light. (probably in the f8 category.) Another 21 shot indoors were all near a window with good sunlight coming in. (likely slower shutter speed, probably @ f5.6) A very major portion of the 100 were shot with the 35mm f2.8 Jupiter or 28mm f6 Orion.

I've got f2s sitting on the shelf and a Yashica w/f1.4 in a drawer ... somewhere. But to nail down the settings I like - exposure & DOF calculations - and lenses I'm going to need in the future, I took a look at what I liked shooting in the past.

Conclusion: I don't need fast glass.

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Old 06-26-2012   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
...i was curious what others thought and i was challenging my own biases about lens qualites and uses.
That's a good thing. The diversity of opinion is quite interesting... even when somewhat crudely stated. I'm finding it interesting.
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Old 06-26-2012   #83
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i like fast lens because the limit to my creativity is no longer the equipment but myself.
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Old 06-26-2012   #84
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You didn't come across that way Joe. The mocking/judging/triumph of opinion thing here (lately) is a bugger.
sorry, i'm not clear...i didn't come across that way...which way?
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Old 06-26-2012   #85
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Quote:
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... a 50 centimetre f1.4 would be quite heavy I imagine ...
Yes, but size does matter
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Old 06-26-2012   #86
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Quote:
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sorry, i'm not clear...i didn't come across that way...which way?
Intending for it to turn into a thread mockery
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Old 06-26-2012   #87
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Yes, but size does matter
I don't know, I don't think it would be any heavier than a .5m f1.4.

I have to say that as someone who has been wanting to get into more serious photography for a bit that I'd bought into the faster glass being necessarily better. This thread has made me think about that and I'm noticing that what I'd picked up over the years from the net and Nikon (which is all I've used up till now) may just be wrong. Comparing some of the images on here taken with Jupiter lenses verus newest Nikon 70-200 f2.8 I've been drooling over I'd say right now I've have to go with the Jupiter.
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Old 06-26-2012   #88
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Quote:
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i often read that people want at least one fast lens in their kit...my fastest lens is a 2.5 50mm and while i admit to at times thinking i need a fast lens i always talk myself out of it.
i rarely shoot at night...i'm happy with the rd1 at 800iso if i need it...

yet...i wonder why everyone else seems to need that one fast lens?

where are you guys at with this?
An ultra-fast lens is handy to have for when a shooting situation really needs it, either due to poor light or the desire to reduce the depth of field. That said, the vast majority of the time my lenses are stopped down to between f/2.8 and f/8, even the fast ones.

For RF cameras, I'm generally happy enough with f/2.8 and f/4 lenses. Ultra-fast lenses are more critical with manual focus SLRs, where the lens speed limits the brightness of the viewfinder for focusing and framing.

I do have a few ultra fast lenses for the RF—the Ultron 28/2, Nokton 40/1.4 and Nokton 50/1.5—but I find I often carry the Skopar 35/2.5 and Skopar 50/2.5 instead as they are much smaller, lighter and handier.
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Old 06-26-2012   #89
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I use medium format these days and while I'd like a 1.4 to work with a reasonable shutter speed at the end of the day it just doesn't work. Even 2.8 doesn't give enough depth so you're stuck with 1/8s or 1/4s when using 400 film. And then we're not even talking about the weigth.
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Old 06-26-2012   #90
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f1.8/2 is plenty for me for my slrs. f2.5 has never been a hindrance for me on an RF ...
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Old 06-26-2012   #91
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Favorite lens is a 35/2.8 C-Biogon. Good straight from wide open, and I usually shoot it at f/4 to f/5.6. Just like I did with the 35 Summilux ASPH that I had previously. But at those apertures the C-Biogon is a better lens.
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Old 06-26-2012   #92
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i am sincerely asking folks about their reasons for fast glass...
The reason for fast glass for me is 1) to get shots like the one below, and 2) because there are 6 months of rather dark winter here and lots of cafes and pubs to seek joys in

This is the very last shot taken yesterday on my Cron 50, just before I sold it. Now waiting for a Lux 35

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Old 06-26-2012   #93
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I use a 50 Recent Elmar and a 35 Summaron 2.8. It's good for what I like to do.

Some people don't need these extra stops, it depends on your technique and aesthetic. I'm not against a very good blurry image, it's part of my work.
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Old 06-26-2012   #94
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Quote:
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Intending for it to turn into a thread mockery
thanks for the clarification...
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Old 06-26-2012   #95
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max = f2.8 is fine with me, as I shoot 80% of my stuff at f4.0 or f5.6.
max = f2.0 makes me feel good about my lifestyle

I buy fast prime lenses (f1.8 - f2.0) when they are not expensive.

You didn't ask, but . . . . I personally feel the shallow DOF technique is way overdone, and sadly mis-applied.
I see noses and ears out of focus in portraits that people gush over, and for the life of me, I just don't get the point.
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Old 06-26-2012   #96
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Quote:
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... a 50 centimetre f1.4 would be quite heavy I imagine ...
Thank you corrected the typo.
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Old 06-26-2012   #97
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Thank you corrected the typo.
Sorry, I couldn't resist ...
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Old 06-26-2012   #98
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Quote:
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Fast glass gives you options.

Narrow DOF is one of the options. Best example I know is Phillip Toledano's Days with my Father

Of course, such lenses can also be used at smaller apertures for a greater DOF. What's not to like? (Perhaps the weight and the price of entry! But if you buy good lenses the chances are that you can get your money back after enjoying them for a while - treat it like rental.)

Chris thanks for sharing the link. Loved the photographs and the storyline.


On another note: I have fast glass and do love it. The best part is that I have the option to shoot wide open or step it down. At times I love a thin DOF to isolate and other times a wide DOF to capture the entire scene. I love the capability of shooting hand held without a flash in twilight, at night, and indoors. Its all good, what ever your preference, as long as you like it.

Good luck with sorting it all out.
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Old 06-26-2012   #99
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My fastest RF lens is 1:1.7 because I'm too cheap to spend the bucks for a Summicron.
Talking about 35mm focal length, of course.
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Old 07-05-2012   #100
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At one point of time, I had only the CV 35mm 2.5 PII to work with. I spend roughly same amount of time in sunny light and in poor light conditions and I find that I need that half a stop to get my tact-sharps images ...

I think speed is especially important for film users who cannot just change ISO on the get-go.
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Old 07-05-2012   #101
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The limited depth of field is not the "way people see"! Small digitals have proved that. i looked yesterday at Thorsten Overgaard's blog latest. It is so irritating when all the details are lost. After awhile, i had jungle blindness!The bur out of focus makes one unable to see!I had a Canon f1.2, used Leica's Noctilux f1.
Big deal. Prefer my Summicron and lenses as speedy as f2. My sharpest lens? The Nikkor Micro (Macro) 55mm f3,5!
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Old 07-05-2012   #102
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Quote:
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The limited depth of field is not the "way people see"! Small digitals have proved that. i looked yesterday at Thorsten Overgaard's blog latest. It is so irritating when all the details are lost. After awhile, i had jungle blindness!The bur out of focus makes one unable to see!I had a Canon f1.2, used Leica's Noctilux f1.
Big deal. Prefer my Summicron and lenses as speedy as f2. My sharpest lens? The Nikkor Micro (Macro) 55mm f3,5!
Did you not get the memo? ... Some inane object pin sharp in the foreground with an unintelligible myopic blur over the rest of the print is the pinnacle of photographic achievement these days I'm told
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Old 07-05-2012   #103
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As a film shooter, I find having a fast lens very important. I might have iso50 film in the camera and I am presented with a shot indoors. It's the 1.5 Sonnar leaning against a wall at a quarter-of-a-second. Maybe I might get it... sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised. With a digital RF with the ability to go to iso 800 I would be happy with a slower lens.

I had a 21f4 with a 75f2.5 for a short period of time. I couldn't do it, I needed something faster.
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Old 07-05-2012   #104
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The only thing more silly to me than the bokeh craze is the current backlash against it. Show me a good shot at f8 and I'll match it with one at f2, or f1.5. And vice-versa. It all depends on the subject matter, the vision of the artist, and the taste of the viewer.

To Joe's point, of course there is nothing wrong with having "only" a f2.5 lens. I personally prefer f2 or 1.8 as a base because it gives me greater flexibility when determining how I want to control the DOF; more options in low light conditions, especially if I want to shoot with a faster shutter; and it allows me to close down a stop or two to achieve greater sharpness while still maintaining a large aperture.

Joe - having used and let go of faster lenses, do you feel your photographic style has suffered? Are you missing shots you would have gotten at f1.5 or f2? Is low-light or narrow DOF photography something you would like to move back into? To me, those are the only relevant questions.
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Old 07-05-2012   #105
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i don't believe that i'm missing out on shots...mostly because i am a daytime shooter and rarely venture out into the darkness these days.
the need is irrational at this point...like i 'should' have a faster lens, 'just in case'.
i shoot alot at 4-5.6...
even last night i was looking at some of the faster lenses in the classifieds...
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Old 07-05-2012   #106
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I have a Canon 1.4 50mm and a Zeiss 80mm f.14 fits Canon stuff.
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Old 09-09-2017   #107
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If sharpness is a bourgeois concept, fastness is a neoliberal one
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Old 09-09-2017   #108
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I am a film shooter so the difference between walking around with a f2.5 and a f1.4 lens is so I can continue to shoot for another hour. This is enough reason for me. I only need one of my lenses to be fast, the most used focal length which is the 35mm Summilux. I also carry a 50mm Summicron or Elmar plus something wider maybe a CV 25 Skopar.
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Old 09-09-2017   #109
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Since the advent of highly sensitive digital sensors that can comfortably shoot at 3200 ISO I find I feel less inclined to need fast lenses regularly. Having said this though I find I still like to use fast lenses in order to separate the subject from its background and produce nice bokeh where possible. Yes I admit it I am a bokeh "wh*re".
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Old 09-10-2017   #110
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Again, I keep bumping into depth of field (depth of sharpness) and can't bear to
shoot wider than around 2.8 with any lens in the 35mm format.

I have a Nokton 1.5 but have never used it.
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Old 09-10-2017   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Taurisano View Post
The reason for fast glass for me is 1) to get shots like the one below, and 2) because there are 6 months of rather dark winter here and lots of cafes and pubs to seek joys in

This is the very last shot taken yesterday on my Cron 50, just before I sold it. Now waiting for a Lux 35


awesome shot !
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Old 09-10-2017   #112
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My fastest lens for now is Jupiter-3 50 1.5. Where f1.5 is sharp enough for me and at subjective part it is superior to all and many 50mm LM lenses I have tried. It gives me most of the character and pleasing pictures where I care for it most. On BW film. From f1.5 to f22.



But it sucks on digital .
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Old 09-10-2017   #113
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I use mostly 50/2 as my normal lens as we have many sunny days in Pensacola. Yesterday, I used a Hexanon 50/2.4 with ISO 200 setting.
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Old 09-10-2017   #114
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The original post was from 2012 and back alley indicates he now has several lenses faster than f/2.5. Time moves on and things always change.

Personally, I've always been fond of fast lenses even though I almost always stop down a bit from maximum--bokeh is not often a priority for me. When using SLRs, fast lenses meant a little brighter viewfinder and that proved helpful as my eyes aged. These days, with EVFs and separate optical viewfinders in my cameras, lens speed is less important for viewing. Although I have a few lenses faster than f/2, they weren't bought for the speed but for their optical quality.
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Old 09-10-2017   #115
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While I have a few lenses faster than 2.5, I will be perfectly happy with 2.8 or 3.5 even. I almost never shoot at max aperture and have never bought a fast lens for its speed.
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Old 09-10-2017   #116
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I have f/2.0 manual focus lenses in 35mm, 50mm and 85mm focal lengths for my Pentax and Nikon systems.
The large aperture allows selective focus and the brighter image makes SLR focusing somewhat easier.

OTOH I have never felt the need for anything faster than the 35mm f/2.5 lens on my RF camera.

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