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Author Topic: When to use f1.4?  (Read 6507 times)

duraace

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When to use f1.4?
« on: March 04, 2008, 02:44:14 PM »

I've got a fast 85mm f1.4 lens, but I've discovered using anything below 2.8 is difficult in terms of narrow depth of filed.  Can anyone give examples of situations that would call for and work with f1.4?
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dlashier

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008, 03:11:45 PM »

Take a look at Mark Tucker's website. Mark is a master of shallow DOF. His galleries don't show settings but I'm sure a number of the shots are at f1.4 or even f1.2.

- DL
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 03:29:10 PM by dlashier »
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duraace

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 03:18:01 PM »

Quote
Take a look at Mark Tucker's website. Mark is a master of shallow DOF. His galleries don't show settings but I'm sure a number of the shots are at f1.4 or even f1.2.

- DL
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179112\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Cool ... thanks.

Very interesting.  His subjects are jaw dropping impressive.  He seems to use narrow aperture to draw attention in some to parts of a face, while leaving the rest out of focus.  Tricky composition choices.  If that's the only reason to use f1.4 though, I'm wondering if I spent too much on this lens for that feature. My shots have turned more on the side of defective, as a result of shooting at f1.4.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 03:25:24 PM by duraace »
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DarkPenguin

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2008, 04:09:15 PM »

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mbutler

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008, 07:29:05 PM »

I've found that my non-L Canon 85 and 50 don't do very well on blur at their fastest speeds of 1.8 and 1.4, respectively. In an inkjet b+ w print, the effect looks muddy and messy to my eye. Could be a combination of my composition/distance from subject/printing technique--but 2.8 to 4 works better for me with these particular lenses.
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mbutler

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008, 08:20:23 PM »

[attachment=5410:attachment][attachment=5411:attachment]

Here are a couple examples of not very great shots but that perhaps illustrate a point.

The barb wire shot was taken with a 50 at 2.8. Because I was so close in, about 1 foot, I wish I had used something like 5.6, maybe more.

The hay bale was with an 85 at 2.8. I was about 20-25 feet back from the hay bale and the out-of-focus elements look more pleasing to me in this case.

Lesson for me: Watch your distance, perspective, chimp the tft screen, and f-stop bracket when in doubt.  
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 08:21:47 PM by mbutler »
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Ken Bennett

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2008, 08:42:03 PM »

Quote
I've got a fast 85mm f1.4 lens, but I've discovered using anything below 2.8 is difficult in terms of narrow depth of filed.  Can anyone give examples of situations that would call for and work with f1.4?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179101\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Two reasons: in some situations one would need f/1.4 due to extremely low light. In other cases, one might want the extremely shallow depth of field provided by this aperture.

If you like the very shallow portrait technique, the key is to practice and shoot a lot. I use a 28/1.8 and an 85/1.8 for reportage, and love the effect of shooting everything at f/2. But nailing the focus can be an issue.

No matter what you are shooting, the wide maximum aperture provides a bright view through the viewfinder.
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Sheldon N

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008, 08:44:00 PM »

When to use f/1.4?

For me the answer is almost all the time. I guess it boils down to whether you "see" that way. Personally I love the look of shallow depth of field and separating the subject from the background. I shoot my 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.2 wide open all the time.

daethon

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2008, 09:13:10 PM »

Another, obvious, application is low level light

Places where you wouldn't want to use flash, and are willing to trade depth of field to avoid noise.

For me, this is most applicable during either parties, or, more importantly, during concerts.  I hate messing with the experience that others have during their concerts and do everything I can to avoid interfering.  I feel that, typically, you lose a lot when flash is used in those situations.

zobeleye

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2008, 10:16:27 PM »

hi guys,

having looked at the stuff mark tucker does, it seems to me heīs not solely relying on wide open and the resulting narrow depth of focus , but also on things like lensbabies and heavy processing in PS. like masking and blurring the things you donīt want to be sharp.
so itīs not that easy like just using 1,4 ...
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dlashier

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2008, 11:53:45 PM »

Quote
having looked at the stuff mark tucker does, it seems to me heīs not solely relying on wide open and the resulting narrow depth of focus , but also on things like lensbabies and heavy processing in PS. like masking and blurring the things you donīt want to be sharp.
so itīs not that easy like just using 1,4 ...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179213\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You're right - he's a big fan of lens babies, but most of the stuff is not - just 85mm 1.2. Some of the stuff is also shift/tilt. But nonetheless his site is one of the best for showing the art and potential of shallow DOF. Don't overlook the more personal work listed at the bottom of his home page also.

Obviously a primary use of narrow DOF is portrait work, but often with medium distance shots with close distracting backgrounds you just can't get enough isolation at 2.8. Examples might be stage shots, stadium, sports, parades, street photography etc. OTOH if you primarily do straight landscape stuff I don't see much point.

Also bear in mind that a fast lens just expands your limits. You may only make use of this on 1 shot out of a hundred but that's likely to be a shot that wasn't possible otherwise. You must have bumped that limit a few times if it occurred to you to buy a faster lens?

- DL
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witz

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2008, 07:56:10 AM »

This shot would not have been possible without a fast lens....

I only had 5 mins with the subjects in a very dark country club library.only available light... and I'm guessing those lamps only had 40 watt bulbs in them. 1ds3, iso 1600, 1/40th, f1.4 35mm "L" canon.

This is one of those moments when you really appreciate fast prim lenses.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 07:57:59 AM by witzke »
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duraace

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2008, 11:52:12 AM »

Quote
This shot would not have been possible without a fast lens....

I only had 5 mins with the subjects in a very dark country club library.only available light... and I'm guessing those lamps only had 40 watt bulbs in them. 1ds3, iso 1600, 1/40th, f1.4 35mm "L" canon.

This is one of those moments when you really appreciate fast prim lenses.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179262\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess I should have included my focol length of 85mm in the original question. Your 35mm made focusing and DOF easier.
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witz

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2008, 12:50:02 PM »

Quote
I guess I should have included my focol length of 85mm in the original question. Your 35mm made focusing and DOF easier.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179325\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


well.... 35mm 1.4, 50 1.4/1.2, & 85 1.2 all are really hard to get the focus right manually.... auto focus and body/lens focus calibration are vital.

I have the 85 1.2 as well... and the images it produces are fantastic....

here's from the same evening.
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duraace

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2008, 01:22:31 PM »

Quote
well.... 35mm 1.4, 50 1.4/1.2, & 85 1.2 all are really hard to get the focus right manually.... auto focus and body/lens focus calibration are vital.

I have the 85 1.2 as well... and the images it produces are fantastic....

here's from the same evening.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179342\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Presumably, that was taken with the 85mm?  Did you AF or focus manually for this one?  Is this a Canon lens, because the 85mm 1.4 I have has a maximum of 1.4 and you refer to 1.2??
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Eldor

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2008, 05:35:49 PM »

Witzke, just wanted to commend you on those two pretty darn superb photos.  Well done!

The first one really looks like you might have used some studio lighting in strategic places, but you say it was available light only.  I think someone would be hard-pressed to do a better job even if they brought their own lighting.  (Looks like there was some kind of lighting from behind the subjects, and more than just the table lamp could provide.)

As far as I'm concerned, those are both environmental portraits at their best!

Cheers!

(BTW, I also love my 35L and 85L and 50 1.4 lenses, and shoot them wide open more often than not.)
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witz

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2008, 07:16:13 PM »

Quote
Witzke, just wanted to commend you on those two pretty darn superb photos.  Well done!

The first one really looks like you might have used some studio lighting in strategic places, but you say it was available light only.  I think someone would be hard-pressed to do a better job even if they brought their own lighting.  (Looks like there was some kind of lighting from behind the subjects, and more than just the table lamp could provide.)

As far as I'm concerned, those are both environmental portraits at their best!

Cheers!

(BTW, I also love my 35L and 85L and 50 1.4 lenses, and shoot them wide open more often than not.)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179407\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

awe shucks... thanks.

it's funny how 20 years ago I would use a dozen lights... but now I've grown to love whats real. i still had a SUV full of strokes, kinos and lowels just in case.

my only problem with the 1st shot is the deep eye sockets... there was a chandeleir hanging right over me which made a decent key.

yes... my treasures are my 35 1.4 and 85 1.2.... my 50 1.4 is a bad egg I think.
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Eldor

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2008, 09:09:44 PM »

Oh, that's too bad (about your 50 1.4).  My own copy is a superb lens and I love it!  Some folks suggest it should be an "L" lens, but then again it doesn't quite have the build quality.

I tend to shoot my 35mm and 50mm lenses most often at f1.4.  And my 85 1.2L at about f2.  I've also got a 135L which I usually shoot wide open at f2.  It's a question of shooting style more than anything else, I guess.  I've also got a 200 f2L on order and my dealer says he expects the first shipment about April.

I did notice the "racoon" eyes in your first shot, but really they weren't all that objectionable.  I wonder if anyone other than us picky photographers would even notice that.  I love the separation you got of the subjects from the background.  And your exposures are bang on.  Did you use any noise reduction software?  I found that at 1600 I like NeatImage quite a bit.  (I'm shooting with 1DIII's.)

Anyway, back to the OP's original question, just because you have a 1.4 lens, doesn't mean you MUST shoot it wide open, but it's really nice to have that option when you need it.  And the ability to minimize distracting backgrounds because of the shallow DOF is a great feature (again when you need it and depending on your shooting style).

Oh, one of my shots with the 85mm f1.2L shot at f1.2 is displayed on the MIR site at:  http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardw...2LUSM/index.htm

There's some of my work on the 24mm f1.4L and 35mm f1.4L pages as well.

Cheers!



Quote
awe shucks... thanks.

it's funny how 20 years ago I would use a dozen lights... but now I've grown to love whats real. i still had a SUV full of strokes, kinos and lowels just in case.

my only problem with the 1st shot is the deep eye sockets... there was a chandeleir hanging right over me which made a decent key.

yes... my treasures are my 35 1.4 and 85 1.2.... my 50 1.4 is a bad egg I think.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179421\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 09:12:18 PM by Eldor »
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gunnar1

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2008, 12:01:49 AM »

I frequently us a 50 1.4 wide open in very low light nightclub work. Of course I have to manually focus, but the extremely limited DOF really works for what I am trying to achieve and the peripheral issues of vignetting and such sometimes add rather than distract from the finished product. This is a pretty cheap, non-L lens too and I rather like the results. (It does look a little small on the front of a 1 series body though... :-) )
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duraace

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When to use f1.4?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2008, 12:42:04 PM »

Quote
I frequently us a 50 1.4 wide open in very low light nightclub work. Of course I have to manually focus, but the extremely limited DOF really works for what I am trying to achieve and the peripheral issues of vignetting and such sometimes add rather than distract from the finished product. This is a pretty cheap, non-L lens too and I rather like the results. (It does look a little small on the front of a 1 series body though... :-) )
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm finding creative uses now for the f1.4, involving drawing attention through focus on the subject. Here's a couple of examples.  The first I call "Cookie Jars".

[a href=\"http://members.shaw.ca/claude.biron/LensExample/]http://members.shaw.ca/claude.biron/LensExample/[/url]
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