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Thread: Higher ISO v Bigger Aperture

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Higher ISO v Bigger Aperture

    I've been thinking about the evolution of cameras and lens, particularly in relation to the rapidly improving high ISO capability of the modern DSLR.

    Not too long ago, anything over ISO 200/400 was going to give you a grainy result.

    To combat this, lens builders gave us bigger apertures in our lens, and when this was done with a telephoto lens, it resulted in some monstrous contraptions.

    With most manufacturers now offering bodies that handle ISO1600 and higher, with little, or nil discernible noise, will there still be a pressing need for the 50mm/f1.4 or the 500mm/f2.8?

    If technology has picked up four or five 'f' stops, in camera, will it not follow that the need for big aperture lens is over?

    Or am I missing something in the exposure equation?

    Cheers

    Kevin
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    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    Mark mpb's Avatar
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    Getting a shallow depth of field would be lost/reduced if we did not have these larger apertures.
    Mark


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    Yeah aperture is not all about getting as much light in as possible - try getting nice bokeh at f9.

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    Aha, DOF.

    I knew I was missing something.

    Ta.

    Kevin

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    Member James T's Avatar
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    Not to mention focussing speed, focussing accuracy and being able to see through the viewfinder at night.

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    Amor fati!
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    and also not to mention looking like a complete and utter photo pro by carring around a lens with a massive front element!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    and also not to mention looking like a complete and utter photo pro by carring around a lens with a massive front element!

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    Ausphotography Regular Bercy's Avatar
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    SOme things are additive as well. Coouple fast glass, decent high ISO and anti-shake technologies and you should be able to take a crystal clear picture in the moonlight!
    Berni

    ""The most important piece of camera equipment you will ever own sits between your ears...."

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    The other night I was shooting an indoor dog event where you really need to keep a fast shutter speed (distance too far and action to fast for good flash work). I was shooting f2.8 and ISO6400, I need every stop I can get!

    (Pics turned out ok, still not fast enough but acceptable all the same )
    Mic

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    I hate to say this, but ever since the advent of AF lenses have become slower because the need for faster lenses and the brighter viewfinder they give is substantially reduced amongst your average photographer. The brighter viewfinder made manually focusing much easier however since AF became commonplace such a thing became, seemingly overnight; much less of an important factor. Ironically it can be extremely difficult to manually focus a fast lens on the modern stock focusing screens* that are commonly sold with DSLR cameras. Often third Party focusing screens are required for precision manual focusing, with the drawback that they can foul up the camera's metering and in some cases, completely void your warranty.

    Higher ISO's do give the benefits of faster lenses with fewer drawbacks. However there is a limit, no matter how high ISO you can use if the lighting isn't good, you are still going to get a bad image. Audio recordists have a saying "crap in, Crap out" the same applies for photography.

    As for me, I use the fastest lenses I can get my hands on (I have the bank balance to prove it) I use the lowest ISO I can to maximise image quality. though of course others are more prepared to sacrifice image quality in order to capture an elusive moment, each to his own.

    * It is possible to do this but your average photographer wont have either the time, nor patience, to develop such as skill. Manually focusing a Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 on a D3s is a challenge few will ever face.
    Last edited by Othrelos; 10-12-2010 at 1:37pm.

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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    I'd absolutely love to have a 1.4 lens for the weddings that I do !
    Mind you, the high iso for the reception would also be good.
    They are two similar issues yet different.
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    yes, depth of field is the clincher. I`m looking forward to using older lenses with not so fast an aperture (when you don`t need a shallow DOF) as the high iso performance will provide faster shutter speeds. Where`s my D7000???....want one..
    Graeme
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    i am only guessing here, but i suspect that the catalyst for most people's desires to upgrade their camera, is better ISO performance, when the most logical step would be to upgrade to faster, better glass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    i am only guessing here, but i suspect that the catalyst for most people's desires to upgrade their camera, is better ISO performance, when the most logical step would be to upgrade to faster, better glass.
    hehehehe, a bit like buying a performance car and whacking economy tires on it - aint gonna handle very well at all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOM View Post
    i am only guessing here, but i suspect that the catalyst for most people's desires to upgrade their camera, is better ISO performance, when the most logical step would be to upgrade to faster, better glass.
    Obviously, a lot of this depends on what you are photographing, but better glass introduces DOF complications - another current thread is talking about using a 200mm f/2 lens for indoor events, but wide open, the DOF is too thin. (I also think that better technique and more care fixes more sharpness issues than either a new lens or a new camera.) Finance is also an issue - in some cases, you get more "bang for the buck" out of a new body vs a new lens.

    BTW, as I have posted elsewhere, my own desire for an upgrade was more related to AF and body issues rather than ISO (and I've yet to really outshoot my existing lenses )).
    Regards, Rob

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maccaroneski View Post
    Yeah aperture is not all about getting as much light in as possible - try getting nice bokeh at f9.
    Unless you are shooting ultra long, there won't be much in the way of nice bokeh at f/9. On the other hand, f/0.95 is a completely different story.

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    but better glass introduces DOF complications
    better [faster] glass gives you more options, i don't see how it introduces more complications.

    you get more "bang for the buck" out of a new body vs a new lens
    that may be true in some instances, but i think it's a rather short sighted solution.


    shot with a 1.4/75mm @ f9.5

    sized__C121597.JPG

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Christmas is fast approaching so it may be a good time to ask Santa for a fast lens.


    The Office Christmas Tree 1 by peterb666, on Flickr

    Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 stopped down to f/1.4.

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    I think there's too many generalisations being made, for me personally, we have not yet reached a technological level where every photographer can get the shutter speed they need, yet have a totally clean file. 5 years ago, ISO 1600 was deemed as the "acceptable" level. Nowadays it's around ISO 3200. We haven't really made that much advancement at all. And for landscape and commercial photographers who need cleaner files, even ISO 400 is still too noisy. ISO technology has not really advanced at all.

    That being said, aperture control, as others have pointed out, is still required irrespective of modern ISO capabilities.

    Yeah aperture is not all about getting as much light in as possible - try getting nice bokeh at f9.
    You can get nice bokeh at f/9. Here's an example at f/8 that I have handy, and I've seen similar at even f/16


    Quote Originally Posted by farmer_rob View Post
    another current thread is talking about using a 200mm f/2 lens for indoor events, but wide open, the DOF is too thin.
    There is a lot of DOF at f/2 on a 200mm lens - because you have to stand so far back, DOF is quite huge. I've used it for indoor weddings and everything.

    DOF is so large on a 200mm lens at f/2 that it can also be used for group photos. here's a group photo at f/2, 200mm:


  20. #20
    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Depth of field is going to depend on the distance the subject is from the lens as well as the aperture. Having a fast lens gives, as others have noted, provides more options. It also makes for a brighter viewfinder and makes it easier to focus in poor light. Of course, f/2 is very fast for a 200mm lens with most lenses of that length starting around f/4. Depth of field at say 1m isn't going to ge very useful (unless you have a relatively flat subject), on the other hand, at 5 metres you may have enough to work with (such as in a group photo) like the one above.

    It is nice to have the options and it provides alternatives to working with longer shutter speeds and increased depth of field when you don't need it - as well as giving less image noise.

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