Fast lenses, and High ISO

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
hotdog321
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Re: Fast lenses, and High ISO
In reply to Chikoo, 3 months ago

Chikoo wrote:

Fast lenses, as they are called allow for more light to hit the sensor and in turn allow for fast(er) shutter speeds. The F number provides a relative measure of how much this ability is.

In this age of ever increasing ISO, are fast lenses needed anymore? The only ability I see the fast lenses provide was actually a disadvantage that happened to become a feature, and that is shallow DoF, allowing for separation of subject from the background.

That said, should they be called Fast Lenses or Shallow Lenses?

Since they've always been called fast lenses, I think we should stick with established tradition in the interest of simplicity and to avoid confusion. Why borrow trouble?

You opening question is more interesting. Back in the film days, we would eagerly pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more for a lens that was 1/3 to 1 stop faster. This miniscule difference often spelled the difference between getting the picture or missing it altogether in sports or news photography. 3200 film, for instance, was often so "crunchy" that it was unsuitable even for newsprint.

But these days we use those wonderful modern digital sensors that allow us to shoot at 3200-6400 or higher and still capture really excellent images. Bokeh aficionados might still desire really fast lenses, but most of us can probably do without.

For instance, I recently bought Canon's 16-35 f/4L IS lens because of massive improvements in edge sharpness. My old 16-35 f/2.8 (version 1) is going into a drawer as backup. I'm a photojournalist, but I'm not worried about the f/4 speed. I wish it was f/2.8, but it's not a deal-breaker.

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