Rethinking 4/3 Depth Of Field

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: Lovely pix and excellent presentation of your argument
In reply to Great Bustard, Apr 12, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Hen3ry wrote:

And my argument if it comes to that.

Razor thin depth of field is a by-product, an artifact of big apertures. They allow you to shoot in lower light but more often than not, the very shallow DoF is a damned nuisance.

For me, shallow DOF is the bomb, and I'm wide open, more often than not, regardless of the light.  That said, I don't expect others to have my tastes, but it's not like I never stop down:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/39537128

Besides, and editor might use one or two thin depth of field shots in a publication, but s/he certainly didn’t want page after page of them -- they were showing what the world looked like, not some arty-farty extract of the world governed by a super large aperture.

Well, a modern compact, like the RX100 might be better still for many, and DPR has been showcasing many pros making good use of cell phones for published works.

Then the argument was switched around so that razor thin DoF was practically the raison d'etre for taking a picture. Of course, you had to have the most expensive lens to achieve it so ordinary mortals were excluded.

There are quite a few fast primes for FF that aren't particularly expensive:  35 / 2, 50 / 1.8, 50 / 1.4, 85 / 1.8, 100 / 2.

On the other hand, many of those that aren't particularly expensive aren't very good wide open and thereabout. I am not saying that exceptions do not exist, but they are hardly frequent. Most of the fast Oly & Pany MFT primes, by contrast, do very well already from the get-go, and at least some of them are quite affordable too (20/1.7, 45/1.8).

Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "aren't very good wide open" -- I found the 50 / 1.4:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/34489299

85 / 1.8:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/34631434

and 100 / 2:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/lenses/100f2/

more than "good enough", although that's not to say that I would not be against paying more for better still.  Indeed, I paid a lot more for the 50 / 1.2L:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/lenses/50L/

but I have to wonder how many, if anyone, appreciates the difference.

My definition of "not very good" is something like "significantly worse than peak performance". Most MFT lenses are just marginally worse wide open than at peak, which they typically reach at f/4 in the center and at f/4 or f/5.6 at the edges. Since I want to use the really wide apertures far more often with MFT, due to the DoF "bonus", this is a blessing (and one of the things that convinced me to take the plunge).

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