How often do U shoot af F1.4 and F1.8? 24mm and 85mm lenses

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by martindomok, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Hello,
    yesterday I was shoving some pictures to my friend and we spoke about the bokeh of 24mm F1.4 II and 85 F1.8 - used for portraits, wedding and detail.
    I was taking portraits of this girl and shot with 85 at F2.0 and 3.5 (on 5D MKII) and then with 24 at F 2.5.
    My friend sugested to shoot as often as you can at F1.4 and F1.8 as you ca - the main reason for buying these lenses is to shoot at these F numbers, otherwise to save money and get F2.8 lenses...
    I do all kinds of photography and not very often I can use F1.4 - e.g. when busy and rushing AF will not be at the place that I wish, that is the reason to go for F2.0 and so on...
    sending a sample 85mm@F2
    Finally, how often do you shoot wide often?
    Did get the F1.4 and F1.8 lenses to shoot at these F numbers or for low light conditions?
    Thanks,

    Martin
    00XcD1-297815584.JPG
     
  2. I don't use those two lenses, but I frequently use my 28 1.8 and 50 1.8, and not often wide open. Most lenses work best when stopped down slightly, so I frequently use them at f 2.0 or f 2.8. An f 2.8 lens, I typically use at f 3.5 or higher. There are other reasons for these lenses, such as more light coming in through the lens for focusing. And of course, if you need f 1.4 or f 1.8, you have it! Can't do that with a 2.8 lens...It also depends on what you are shooting. The pic you posted would likely not be as effective with less dof, as the farthest eye would be more out of focus, and that's typically not what you're looking for...Keep on using your lenses as you are. You certainly did not waste any money!
     
  3. I shoot low light frequently. So I shoot f1.4, f1.2 & f1.0 (I have one of those, too). Edgy lighting, wide open is a lot of fun to shoot. My best pictures aren't always my sharpest pictures but that's okay. The 24mm at f1.4 is quite fun. So don't put the camera away when the sun goes down or you go into a dark interior. Open the lens up and go for it. Good luck with your photography.
     
  4. Your friend is right: you pay for the superb performance these lenses offer when used wide open, so that's what they're designed for.
    As you say it requires careful work to get the focus right and the AF often does more harm than good. Using 2.0 over 1.8 though won't give you any noticable DOF increase. You'd need to step down quite a bit more to be on the safe side, but that again would defeat the purpose.
     
  5. There's a common misperception among amateurs shooting portraits that 1.4 lenses ought to be regularly shot wide open. That's OK for an artsy effect but pro-shooters will tell you otherwise. (Unlike pros, many amateurs have a fixation with 'wide open'.) Too little DOF may give the bizarre-looking effect of your key subject (e.g. face) floating in space/detached from the shoulders. Pros buy 1.4 lenses because they're performance is superlative at 2.8 and 4. The same cannot be said of a 2.8 lens. Shooting 'detail' wide open may be more appropriate to isolate your subject.
    That's a nice image of you've posted but I find a little more DOF would be pleasing as her left eye would then be sharper (e.g. at 2.5 or 2.8). Furhter experimentation will solidify the opinion that matters most - yours.
     
  6. I don't see much of this kind of pictures in magazines. Every time someone post it here, I have to remove my eyeglasses to make it look better
     
  7. I agree with everything Lilly has said. I hear the term portrait lens all the time and I really don't think I understand that, many times I shoot portraits at 5.6 or even f8 depending. You can still get some nice separation while still getting both eyes in focus.
    With fast lenses its more about having the ability to shoot at 1.4 etc. it does not mean you need to use it all the time.
     
  8. Mike: Most lenses work best when stopped down slightly, so I frequently use them at f 2.0 or f 2.8. An f 2.8 lens, I typically use at f 3.5 or higher.
    - I agree, that is what I thought, perhaps ought to go for F2,8...

    Lilly: Thanks for letting me know... overe here portraits are regularly taken at anywhere between F2.8 and F5.6, even F8 if you like, however - as everyone pleases... again, thanks for explanation.
     
  9. Sending a F3.2 version..
    00XcIs-297889684.JPG
     
  10. I generally try to use my 85 F1.8 at F2 or above as going from F1.8 to F2 improves the image quality significantly. I don't have the 24 F1.4 but my 50 f1.4 is soft until F2 so it almost never gets used at F1.4 or F1.8. The only lenses I really ever shoot at their widest aperture are either my slower F2.8 zooms or my long white lenses. Interestingly I do shoot portraits on film with lenses wide open and love my FD 85 F.2s at F1.2 and also my Fuji GX680 180mm F3.2 at F3.2 (on the big format this lens is basically the same as a 35mm 85 F1.2). Of your two shots I prefer the F3.2 image
     
  11. Philip, thanks for input and your knowleadge experience ...
     
  12. You are the judge, not your friend.

    That said, the use of big apetures should be when needed (DoF or low light) same as any other aperture.
     
  13. The 85/1.8 is my normal low-light lens, and I very often use it wide open. It's quite sharp at f/1.8, good enough for most work. And I'm likely to get a sharper pic with 1/60 at f/1.8 versus 1/25 at f/2.8. With the very narrow dof, the keeper rate is not stellar, but the keepers tend to be exceptional.
    I suspect many pros stop down because it does increase the keeper rate somewhat. And most pros just use a flash in low light anyway.
    The f/2 sample above illustrates a common problem, that being it's often impossible to get both eyes in focus if the subject is close. This doesn't bother me much, but for some people it's a deal breaker.
     
  14. Choose the aperture that suits the effect you want to create and to fit with the light you have. Don't choose the aperture just because you can.
    F1.4 lenses exisst because f2.8 lenses don't go to f1.4. and f2.8 lenses exist because they are more affordable than f1.4 lenses.
    Most professional studio photography is shot between f5.6 and f16, often with lenses that are much faster.
     
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    My friend sugested to shoot as often as you can at F1.4 and F1.8 as you ca - the main reason for buying these lenses is to shoot at these F numbers, otherwise to save money and get F2.8 lenses...
    No, my main reason for buying these two lenses and other lenses like them, was firstly to have F/1.4 and F/1.8 available when I needed that aperture speed for either reason of DoF or EV.
    The choice then became which fast lens gave me the best value for money, an dvalue for money includes quality and how much I had to pay for that.
    In respect of the 24 and the 85, in the Canon Range, for me the best value for money was (and still is) the EF24LMkII and the EF85/1.8.
    Also I have the 50/1.4 because at the time of purchase it was the best value for money, though the 50/1.2L would be the lens I would buy now if I needed another 50mm lens. Similarly the 135/2 presented better value for money than the 135/2.8SF – though the latter is a “sleeper lens” in the Canon line-up, IMO.
    I think it is foolish to go out shooting with the conception that as many shots as possible need to be shot wide open – that is just as silly as saying that you should go out shooting with Nikon Cameras Only – because they are the best.
    Finally, how often do you shoot wide often?
    Quite often,
    Because firstly I shoot a lot, Sans Flash: http://www.photo.net/photo/10451039&size=lg
    Secondly I have digital cameras that manage ISO3200 quite OK, but often I need a Tv of 1/800s to freeze motion even in “OK” light for static shots: http://www.photo.net/photo/10451039&size=lg
    Thirdly I don’t see value for money in buying a new body capable of ISO12800 as I get what I want at ISO3200 with care and skill:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/10442964&size=lg
    http://www.photo.net/photo/10442931&size=lg
    Fourthly I am often in low EV:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/9567764&size=lg
    Fifthly, some of those FL are not available in IS and tripods are not always an option:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/9199113&size=lg
    Did get the F1.4 and F1.8 lenses to shoot at these F numbers or for low light conditions?
    Both.
    WW
     
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “There's a common misperception among amateurs shooting portraits that 1.4 lenses ought to be regularly shot wide open. That's OK for an artsy effect but pro-shooters will tell you otherwise. (Unlike pros, many amateurs have a fixation with 'wide open'.)”​
    For those amateurs and professionals alike, who have the misconception that we need super large apertures to create shallow Depth of Field - Subject Separation, have a read of this current thread in the Beginners’ Forum.
    It has the Maths of it if you are a Pedant and it has the In-Filed practical applications, if you just want to go out and shoot a lot and learn from experience . . .
    What I appreciated most was the thread was begun by someone actually thinking about it and not just being a Sheep.
    http://www.photo.net/beginner-photography-questions-forum/00XbqA
    WW
     
  17. I have the Sigma 50mm F1.4. I don't use it very often at 1.4 but it is nice to know that if I need it its available. That said I often find the narrow DOF and blurr at 1.4 too much and end up stopping down a little.
    As to your shots I prefer the second one at F3.2. In fact I think it would have look a little better at F4 or so.
     
  18. It takes time to learn when you need to use a lens wide open at F-1.4 or anything lower,
    you can use F-1.4 in the middle of the day but you best make sure everything else will work with it:
     
  19. It entirely depends on your required depth of field. Comparing the two pictures my comment is this. Picture number one is showing a depth of field of perhaps 4 cm. The other one, at least double that.
    My grandfather, a noted portrait photographer of his time said this: The eyes must be in focus first, then open up the aperture so the tip of the nose is also in focus. Take the shot. Then open up one more stop to see if that extra couple of centimetres reaches the ears. Then stop.
    Also compare the bokeh of all three shots and usually the mose appealing one will be in the middle
     
  20. I have a 85mm 1.2L. Apertures 1.2-1-6 are usually for the low light situations.
    In "better" light I usually set the aperture based on the position of the head of the subject. Typically: if the eyes are not in the same plane, i shoot at 2.8.
    If I am forced to use a larger aperture, i usually shoot at a direct angle of the face, or more from the side (only one eye visible), like the example below, shot at 1.8:
    00XcdL-298177584.jpg
     
  21. Your friend is right. A good f/2.8 zoom gives you plenty of options for crop sensor and so does an f/4.0 for full-frame. Super shallow DoF effects like the one you illustrate are beautiful, but like any trick, get tiresome in excess. An extra stop (or two) do help in low-light situations, but with today's low-noise sensor digital cameras I generally avoid shooting wide open since there's too little depth of field. I don't mean to deny that these specialized lenses can enable exceptional shots, but they are just that--specialized and exceptional.
     
  22. I'm not a Canon user but I'll comment on this anyway since the question isn't really specific to Canon.
    I use fast lenses a lot when photographing people. For formal portraits in the studio I normally use f/5.6-f/11; outdoors typically at f/4-5.6 (sometimes with fill light). For indoor office portraits and more casual shots which are not tightly framed I shoot at around f/2.8; with a wide angle you still get sufficient depth of field. For tightly framed head shots on location indoors I will use f/3.5-f/4 and focus carefully; in the winter I have to shoot these also at f/2.8. Most of the office work is with window light and 1-2 flashes either bounced or shot through a diffusing panel at the door.
    So the question is: do I use faster apertures than f/2.8? Yes, I do, a lot, but not for shots that are formal or posed. To use the widest apertures I have to accept that the image quality is going to be compromised somewhat and to make it worthwhile there has to be a good reason to go for these apertures. I use f/1.4 and f/2 when the window light has subsided to a low or negligible level, because even at the fastest ISOs I am willing to use, I cannot otherwise guarantee a sufficiently high shutter speed to stop all movement and get a crisp expression the main subject's face. To communicate emotion I need the face rendered clearly. If I shot close-ups at f/1.4 there would be only very little truly sharp, and while I do this from time to time, most shots at I make at the widest apertures are shot with a sufficiently loose framing that at least half of a person's body - in many cases multiple persons are in the picture, and I use the aperture to guide the eye to the main subject's face. Now, the depth of field at f/1.4-f/2 is entirely acceptable at these levels of magnification (i.e. at a wedding) when the emotion and interaction between people are the main points and exquisite sharpness is not. For tight shots - there can be a problem, and my preference would be to shoot tight indoor shot at f/2.8-f/4, not at f/1.4 if I can avoid it. Nevertheless with these constraints (i.e. no formals, few tight shots) I shoot about 30-40% of all shots at a wedding at f/1.4-f/2. And even for those shots at f/2.8, the quality from f/1.4 and f/2 lenses is usually appreciably better at f/2.8 than that of f/2.8 zooms shot wide open. (I do use the 24-70/2.8 a lot, and don't hesitate to use it wide open but it's a case of speed of operation and convenience that dictates that over image clarity, which is important but sometimes good enough is good enough when there is no time to play with toys.)
     
  23. i only shoot with 1.4 lenses, and distance to subject has a much greater affect on DOF than aperture. At normal distances and beyond, I use 1.4 for available light, not to create beautiful boke. but i sure do use 1.4 at close range for particular subjects, but i wouldn't attempt a portrait at 1.4 and minimum focus on my 75mm.
     
  24. Thanks for all the input interesting to read what all came out of the original thread.
    Always enjoy the discussion with sample images...Low light can be a PITA... Im sending a one more sample, after 30 mins of shooting ballet, I got bored and started to play with the speed.
    Im uploading an older image where there is no exif, as I downloaded it from the web... This was shot at F2 and 1/60 I think.
    00XchX-298259584.jpg
     
  25. When shooting with my "studio" setup I use 17-55 f2.8 at 55mm and f5.6 or f8 or 50 f1.8 at f/4 and up. most of my "studio" shots are done this way. I dont have the fancy 85 1.4 but if I did I would probably use it the same way. There are however times when I want to use my lenses wide open to throw the background out of focus.
     
  26. I think the responses would be more useful to you if you were to ask the question to people who's work you admire. Even better is to ask yourself... do you like your f2 shot or your f3.5? I know which one I like. Asking a room full of photographers you'll clearly get answers all over the map. And what do you do if most people shoot at f8? Shoot at f8 too?
     
  27. Well I guess the main reason for the f1.4 and f1.8 lenses is the option to use shallow DOF, a brighter viewfinder and better focussing, and better quality when stopped down to f2.8 than a f2.8 lens as mentioned above and those are the reasons why I own these lenses as well. I agree with the "too shallow" DOF some of mentioned above and I try to shoot at f2.8 and f4 more nowadays for portraits but I also shoot a lot of low light events and when I want to use a lower ISO, I will often shoot wide open with those fast lenses. But I am more apt to shoot wide open on my 30mm rather than my 85mm.
     
  28. I love my 85 1.8 but rarely shoot it wider open than f/3.5
     
  29. I shot this 50mm F1.8 at F2.5 and it has just about enough DOF. I do use F4 quite alot with a 28-75 f2.8.
    00Xctq-298455584.jpg
     
  30. Lilly W , Nov 04, 2010; 09:17 a.m.
    There's a common misperception among amateurs shooting portraits that 1.4 lenses ought to be regularly shot wide open. That's OK for an artsy effect but pro-shooters will tell you otherwise. (Unlike pros, many amateurs have a fixation with 'wide open'.) Too little DOF may give the bizarre-looking effect of your key subject (e.g. face) floating in space/detached from the shoulders. Pros buy 1.4 lenses because they're performance is superlative at 2.8 and 4. The same cannot be said of a 2.8 lens. Shooting 'detail' wide open may be more appropriate to isolate your subject.
    That's a nice image of you've posted but I find a little more DOF would be pleasing as her left eye would then be sharper (e.g. at 2.5 or 2.8). Furhter experimentation will solidify the opinion that matters most - yours.​
    You should change that to "your opinion is...." as many pro shoot wide open. Take a look at some fo the PDN wedding winner and you'll see this to be true. Check out the work of some of the best out there, Jonathan Canlas, Jose Villa, Riccis Valaderes, Leah Mccormick, Tracy Tessmer, etc, etc, and you'' quickly see that they use 35mm and MF, wide open.
    Many of us shoot wide open. And this pro won't tell you otherwise!
     
  31. I like my primes a few stops down from their largest opening. I shoot canon and with the exception of the 85mm they are all a little soft wide open. I suppose if I owned a noctilus ( spelling ) it would be different perhaps but I dont. If im really backed into a corner ill shoot at the full opening apperture but try to avoid it.
     
  32. John, you might have been referring to the Noctilux, however it is soft wide open. The Summilux is sharp as a tack wide open at f1.4.
     
  33. lol yes I was , see what gear lust does to you, i cant even pronounce her name :) I think it does depend a lot on the lens itself. Some professionals really dig for example the canon 50mm F1.4 prime which bests ( imho ) the 50 F1.2L when stopped down ..so many go for the 1.4 due to the price differential , including professionals .. but its generally accepted that the 1.4 consumer lens is mushy at 1.4 ( my experience is that it is ) , the 85mm F1.2L is in my experience sharp wide open so im more inclined to go there If i need it open and am happy to manage the dof one gets at that apperture. The OP in thread title doesnt specify which 24 and 85 primes. Im still working toward managing in the artistic sense DOF ,, i think " bokeh " can be abused a little in the beginning..sometimes a dreamy but discernable bokeh imho is appopriate and very pleasing.
     
  34. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The OP in thread title doesnt specify which 24 and 85 primes​
    But does in the text:
    “yesterday I was shoving some pictures to my friend and we spoke about the bokeh of 24mm F1.4 II and 85 F1.8 - used for portraits, wedding and detail.”
    WW
     
  35. Hey while on the topic of fast primes, I had a Canon 85mm f1.8 for the longest time (since 2001 I think) but never shot with it much until these last two years and these last couple of years and been thru a couple Rebels and now just got a 60D. I never noticed what I see is maybe a backfocus or focus shift issue. For sure I saw it on the T2i but I don't recall offhand if I noticed it on the T1i body, haven't tried the lens out much on the 60D yet. I wonder if you guys that used this lens before noticed any focus issues ... I have had 2 of 3 friends routinely complain about not getting sharp pics from this lens - one's sold hers and the other does not use his much but when I see him use it, he seems to have similar incorrect focus to what I describe. I shoot at f2.8 and f4 with this lens a lot and for example I could be shooting a person not facing me straight on and I'd focus on the eye closest to me and the other eye would come out sharp instead. Maybe this problem was always there but maybe I was shooting from further out and not framing so tightly that I did not notice before. But just wondering you guy's experience with this lens. Thanks.
     
  36. My version is dead sharp...
     
  37. Sorry William I believe those to be Canon lenses but Im not certain hence the doubt..are canon the only show in town at those focal distances?
     
  38. oh boy do i feel thick. i just realised this is the canon forum. I think i found the topic on the front page and just went straight to it.
     
  39. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    :) Don't sweat it - you have the answer now.
     
  40. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "But just wondering you guy's experience with this lens. Thanks."
    "My version is dead sharp..."
    Ditto.
    A larger version here: http://www.photo.net/photo/10963088&size=lg
    F&R; Centre Point AF on the far eye;
    EOS5D + EF 85./1.8
    Shooting: F/1.8 @ 1/80s @ ISO400; Manual; AWB; Spot Meter; HH.
    F/1.8 used at close SD is a very small DoF.
    F&R technique needs to be accurate, as does your hand need to be rock steady so as not to move the shooting position.
    In some circumstances, even one half inch movement by Photographer or Subject after Focus is achieved can result in error.
    Why not do a bench test with a rule and shoot from a tripod at 45 degrees to re assure yourself it is the lens / camera combination and not user error.
    WW
    00Xdyd-299739584.jpg
     
  41. I shoot with Canon 85 1.2L but use it at F8 most of the time. I use a lot of studio strobe lighting and use light fall off to control DOF not aperture. I prefer my pictures very sharp not soft and burry so I like using tripods, small apertures and as high a shutter speed as will sync with strobes. However, when I am shooting video where I can't use strobes, the 1.2L and 1.8 lens on 5D2 rule.
     
  42. Well I shot this with a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 but it was set at f/2 for this shot. Awesome Bokeh with this lens.
    Here's the small look,
    see bigger here to appreciate detail. http://www.photo.net/photo/9252332&size=lg
    00Xe8u-299879584.jpg
     
  43. MM and William, thanks.
     

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