Is f/2.8 that important?

Started Jun 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
hypercore360
Contributing MemberPosts: 854Gear list
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Re: Is f/2.8 that important?
In reply to buckeyevet, Jun 14, 2013

buckeyevet wrote:

On my continuing journey of deciding what lenses to buy to compliment my 60D (with TONS of help with this forum, BTW). I increasingly come back to the question of

"How important is it to have an f/2.8 lens as opposed to f/3.5 or f/4?"

I'm probably over-thinking this whole thing! But, for indoor family candids, outdoor landscapes, and kid's sports photos, will going to an f/3.5 or f/4 make a large amount of difference? I had one professional photographer that I know tell me that I should never shoot at f/2.8 because I won't get any depth of field and subject will be all flat, so why spend all of the extra money to buy an f/2.8 lens. But, in going through all of my photos with my Tamron lens and the 60D in P mode where I just adjusted the white balance, the camera auto-selected f/2.8 on all of my indoor photos, and a lot on cloudy days outdoors. (I have since bought 'Understanding Exposure' and am learning to use my own settings).

Background on why I'm asking?

I currently have a Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP Aspherical (IF), and I have grown tired of it's constant focus search, and decreased sharpness when shooting indoors and close up (it's an excellent landscape lens).

I'm in love with the Canon 24-70 L f/2.8 lens after renting it for 10 days, but thinking about the price tag makes me hyperventilate (I'm a bit clutzy, and the front ring on my Tamron is loose from that clutziness).

So, to try and preserve my nerves, I'm seriously considering other suggestiong from another forum thread: the EF-S 15-85 f/3.5 and the 24-105 f/4 or 24-70 f/4.

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Jennifer

Jennifer,

It's very important to be able to shoot in low light situations. Sometimes, f/2.8 is not enough and need to go to f/1.4 or even f/1.2. With that said, it's important to understand that the optimum IQ is not rendered at f/2.8 (since we're talking specifically about f/2.8 lenses). For talking purposes, your optimum IQ for an f/2.8 lens 'MIGHT' be around f/5.6 +/- (depends on the specific lens). For some of my f/1.4 lenses, the optimum IQ is at around f/4.0. I'm not necessarily going to be shooting at f/1.4 or f/2.8, but rather, if possible, at the optimum IQ. So it isn't about just the f/2.8 that you're concerned with.

A simple answer is, "YES", it is important, from a variety of perspectives. That's why we pay so much for the f/2.8 and faster lenses.

 hypercore360's gear list:hypercore360's gear list
Sony RX100 II Nikon D90 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
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