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Old October 16th, 2013, 04:35 AM   #1
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f1.4 no longer vital?

I've been curiously looking at the Sigma 18-35 f1.8. And wondered how much the drop from 1.4 to 1.8 would really bother me.

Personally, a) I can only afford one decent lens at a time, and b) would rather not fiddle around with lens swapping on a frantic wedding.

Is it true to say that 1.4 only ever became popular with video users because we needed the low light capability. But now with better DSLR performances in ISO, we find that we'd rather not be so shallow.

Now that my ISO performance allows me to push up to 3200 with minimal noise, I'm wondering if 1.4 is frankly necessary at all?

Anybody want to argue a case for 1.4 superiority?
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Old October 16th, 2013, 07:24 AM   #2
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

Hi Clive

I'm a coward!! The DOF at F1.4 is scary for me so I restrict myself to constant zooms that are F2.8 and so far no issues. I actually take my hat off to you guys who can manage with an F1.4 ...Love the speed but the DOF is critical !! At weddings I assume at F1.4 you cannot keep the priest and the couple within the DOF .... Do you get really fancy and focus shift between them??

Chris
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Old October 16th, 2013, 07:35 AM   #3
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

Wow, I always thought an f/1.4 was about the quality of the lens, not actually shooting at f/1.4.

At a ceremony, I don't know if we've gone below f/4.
At receptions, we've done f/1.8 and f/2 reasonably often, when it's really dark, like during dancing.

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Old October 16th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

Well to be fair, most of us 1.4 lens owners wouldn't be anywhere near 1.4 during the ceremony or the speeches. To be honest, I don't think that many of us really use 1.4 that much at all, apart from when circumstances are low light.

But I just realised the sigma lens is only suitable for APS-C. So it would be hard to use high ISO and keep good quality.

Either way, you are proof in a way of my argument. Can we get by more than adequately on higher apertures?

I'd be tempted to set myself a task of going no lower that 2.8 for a wedding, and if I felt the quality was up to it, I'd swap my 1.4 prime for 24-70mm 2.8. That zoom range would be so beneficial to me.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 08:50 AM   #5
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

For us it's important to have options, but being able to hit f/1.2 or even 1.4 seems unnecessary unless I wanted to use the 70D, with it's focus-tracking, on a dark dance floor, because it would need the extra stops. Or even more so on a T3i/600D since it has visible noise so much earlier than, say, a 5d Mark ii

For really dark situations, I have some wider primes, including a 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8, and 14mm f/2.8; but those are also good for general dance floor shooting.

To have a tight shot of speeches/first dance OR if the church is darker than usual, we've got a pair of 135 f/2.8. Those are good on our full frame cameras, but if I try to use them on our 70D, it's back to too dark. BUT is great when it's bright, because on a crop factor it's a 200mm equivalent, which is how we just used it during last Saturday's ceremony.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

If you're using lenses at f2.8/1.8/1.4 I'm guessing you are using some sort of stabilization, be it a monopod or steadicam? Many fast lenses that go reasonably wide - especially primes seem to have no OS - I recently purchased a Sony 1.8 50mm with OS which is great for hand held but I feel a prime lens restricts my in being able to reframe quickly enough in changing surroundings

The Canon (or Canon fit Sigma) 24-70mm f2.8 would be my ideal lens but no OS!!! I am currently looking at this Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD as it has their 'vibration control' - I just need to ensure it functions ok with my metabones EF to NEX Adapter :/
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Old October 16th, 2013, 04:23 PM   #7
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

Quote:
If you're using lenses at f2.8/1.8/1.4 I'm guessing you are using some sort of stabilization
The aperture has not much to do with stabilization, the fact that they are or aren't stabilized does, My 12-35 f2.8 lumix lens has stabilization and shoots well handhold but I also use a 14mm f2.5 pancake handheld without stabilization (on a 2x crop camera) and that's also no issue, But when I use a 35mm without os there is a lot of tiny vibration in the image up to the point where it's not usable.

I often use f1.4 to f2.0 at a reception to shoot talking heads, gives a nice blurry background.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 05:13 PM   #8
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

I'll do handheld with the wider lenses, up to 50mm, but really, I usually have the camera on my tripod. Even if I fold up the legs and use it as a monopod - the extra weight really helps smooth things out as I move around.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

I shoot 1.4 or 1.2 at weddings all the time. Focusing really isn't that hard with a keen eye and some practice, especially if the subject isn't moving around much. As long as the lens is around 50mm or less and not an extreme close up, I don't see what the issue is shooting wide open on fast primes. The image may be a bit more soft but I'd much rather lose a little bit of sharpness then add noise to my video by shooting at higher ISOs.

Personally, I don't see the logic in having fast primes if you're only willing to shoot at f2.8 or above.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #10
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

There can be a point to shooting with primes, though, even if you don't use them wide open -- just that the image quality is still better than zooms, and also that the lens functions better when stopped down.

I pretty much shoot with just zooms, at f/2.8, and that works for almost anything. Willing to crank up to 6400 on a Mk3.

If you have an outdoor night-time reception, you'll hunger for something faster than 2.8, but apart from that...
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Old October 16th, 2013, 06:46 PM   #11
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

Canon 50mm 1.4, sigma 30mm 1.4 every wedding but only for the mingling leading into first dance when lights are low. Much needed at 1.4 because I find without a light nothing comes close to a dslr and 1.4 apeture...
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Old October 16th, 2013, 07:39 PM   #12
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

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Originally Posted by Mike Lorushe View Post
Personally, I don't see the logic in having fast primes if you're only willing to shoot at f2.8 or above.
It's easier to collect good quality prime lenses than zooms that will be that fast. For instance, we shoot from three or four cameras, so will put four different lenses on, and space them out, for variety of shots. I could never afford three or four different fast zooms for that.

Plus, never said we won't go below f/2.8, just try not to, if we don't have to. For instance, our first cameras were T3i/600Ds and had awful noise above 1600. We almost always had to shoot f/1.8. Now, with a 5dmark ii, and being comfortable with 3200 ISO, I don't need to go that fast.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 04:21 AM   #13
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
The aperture has not much to do with stabilization, the fact that they are or aren't stabilized does,
Hi Noa - I sort of disagree - Lenses that are generally 2.8 and below are deemed fast enough to not require OS for still photography, so it's not generally a feature - video uses the addition of stabilisation in a different way to a still photographer as we're shooting continuously, and not lining up for 'one shot'

I think Sony sort of back this up by adding stabilisation to their NEX 50mm 1.8

Pete
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Old October 17th, 2013, 04:41 AM   #14
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
Hi Noa - I sort of disagree - Lenses that are generally 2.8 and below are deemed fast enough to not require OS for still photography, so it's not generally a feature - video uses the addition of stabilisation in a different way to a still photographer as we're shooting continuously, and not lining up for 'one shot'
Sort of... There are several factors as to whether IS will be useful & shutter speed is one of them. Shooting video we generally use 1/50 or 1/60 of a second whereas stills photographers can use slower speeds if they need more light & the subject isn't moving much.

The longer the lens the harder it is to keep the field of view still so the rule of thumb for taking stills is that your minimum shutter speed to avoid camera shake is 1/focal length. So using a 50mm lens it will be 1/50 second whereas for a 200mm lens it will be 1/200 second. As a stills photographer if I use IS on a 50mm lens then I may be able to shoot at 1/25 or 1/15 without camera shake but I cannot do this if I am shooting video (OK you can use 1/25 or 1/30 but watch out for extra motion blur).

Long lenses benefit from IS more for both video & stills. The wider the lens the less that you notice camera shake so you can shoot hand held with a 14mm much easier than a 140mm.

BTW With the 5D2 & 5D3 I have never had a need to use lenses with an aperture wider than F/2.8 even in the darkest venues. I used to own the Canon 50mm F/1.2L but never needed to use it wide open. I still have a 50mm F/1.8 in my bag just in case I encounter somewhere so dark that the 5D3 at ISO6400 & F/2.8 doesn't cut it but it hasn't happened yet. If you were using one of the lesser Canon DSLRs where the ISO800 is the highest usable then F/2.8 is not going to hack it but to use ISO800 where the 5D3 uses ISO6400 & F/2.8 would require an F/1 lens & there are few of those around.

Last edited by Nigel Barker; October 17th, 2013 at 06:59 AM.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 04:50 AM   #15
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Re: f1.4 no longer vital?

Sorry, I still don't see what the difference is when I shoot video with a 85mm f1.4 or a 85mm f3.5 when it comes to stabilization, so you are saying the f-stop makes a difference?
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