Is shallow DOF really the pinnacle?

Started Jun 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Great Bustard
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Re: No, it is simply an artistic style.
In reply to mh2000, Jun 20, 2012

mh2000 wrote:

Having a lens with a wider aperture simply gives more perspective-framing-DOF options than a lens with a more narrow aperture. Whether or not those options are desirable is another matter entirely.

However, one thing does appear to be clear: the "need" for any particular option, such as wide apertures, low noise, etc., seems to be in direct response to what a person's system of choice offers.

For example, if a system does not offer lenses with wide apertures, then wide apertures are not "needed". When the lenses become available (and/or affordable), the "need" changes.

Except, you read over and over again from people who say they bought their fast lenses for the aperture and they only shoot them wide open... not quite as much here, where people focus on lamenting that they can't match a 85/1.2L on FF with any m43 combo, but still it's here.

I cannot recall ever seeing a post where anyone said that they only use their lenses wide open. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that many people have said that. And? Some shoot jpg in Auto mode.

I agree completely with the article... and yes, I started on film and larger formats and I fought to get DoF most of my life and not to give it up.

That's a weird fight -- if you want more DOF, you simply stop down. If you need to maintain a certain shutter speed when stopping down, you simply eat into the noise advantage of the larger format, but you are never at a disadvantage (unless the smaller format has a more efficient sensor).

So, no struggle. Just the simply reality that both DOF and noise (as well as diffraction) are functions of the aperture of the lens, where the same perspective, framing, and aperture (entrance pupil) diameter result in the same DOF (and diffraction softening).

Throw in the same shutter speed and you also get the same total amount of light projected on the sensor which results in the same noise for equally efficient sensors (less noise for the system with the more efficient sensor, more noise for the system with the less efficient sensor).

But, sure, if you want a deep DOF with a fast shutter speed in low light, well, yeah, you're gonna have a problem with noise. But that problem is the same for all formats.

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