Why All the Concern with Lens Speed?

Started Sep 9, 2010 | Discussions thread
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geezer52
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Why All the Concern with Lens Speed?
Sep 9, 2010

I've seen several threads lately with complaints about how slow a 2.8 or 2.4 lens is and I'm not sure I understand why. I know back in the films days lens speed was an issue for low light shooting because film ISOs rarely went above 400 but that is hardly the case with modern DSLRs. Modern DSLRs frequently have ISOs over 3200 producing quality images plus they have the advantage of image stabilization. Film lenses with f-stops ranging from 1.2-2.0 often had their own design compromises and didn't achieve maximum performance till 2.8 anyway. The Pentax DA-40 is wide open at 2.8 but achieves edge to edge sharpens from the git-go. And this is all before you venture into the ease and control of computer based post processing.

I realize some of these old, fast, film-era, lenses have their uniques charms (the Pentax 50mm, 1.4 comes to mind). But it seems to me, the only valid argument for lenses wider than about 2.0 is greater control over depth-of-field. The lens speed itself seems to be a non-issue.

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