Do Fast Lenses Matter Anymore?

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Legion5 Senior Member • Posts: 1,047
Re: Do Fast Lenses Matter Anymore?

bruxi wrote:

As I look at pricing for Canon 70-200L lenses, it looks like the price premium for a 2.8 is about $1,000 (average of IS and non-IS versions). A thousand bucks seems like a lot for basically one stop when new sensors are bring many more times that through rapid ISO improvements (like the 6D). There is so much more room now on ISO to crank it up with very little performance drop off. The notion of "fast lenses" feels more and more like dinosaur film thinking and makes very little sense to me from a value perspective.

Fast lenses are still absolutly critical.

First off ISO has in no way shape or form improved "more than one stop". Cameras from the last generation captured around 1/3rd of the light striking the sensor. The current generation captures a little over 1/2 the light that strikes the sensor.

Feel free to take a look at if you disagree at all, because this is fact not overzealous oppinion or marketing like those that claim modern ISO performance is magic.

Simply put manufacturers and reviewers overstate the advancements ISO has made in the last generation. On top of that we are very close to the absolute limits of being able to improve ISO any more, we can at best expect expect an improvement of a 30% reduction in noise until there is a radical overhaul in technology such as micro prisms or quantum sensors etc. We are already capturing the majority of the photons that strike the camera, and camera noise is a function of the random gausian distribution of the photons themselves, so we would have to defy the laws of physics to actually get the results some of these marketers claim.

In the last generation in my oppinion cameras were at the brink of being just barley usable in difficult situations. The paltry increase in ISO performance of the current generation is very much welcome but essentially you're saying that going from: "Barley usable" to "slightly better than barely usable" is time to call it quits and means we should actually go back to being worse than we were in the first place, because again ISO improvements are just under 1 stop. So 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

You have bought into the the nonsense and marketing.

In any case not everyone has the same needs as you do. While f/4.0 on a 6D may be just fine and it may be useless to get more background blur, I know plenty of photographers who would pay ten times that to get half as much noise and twice as much background blur.

In fact those photographers DO pay $7,000 for the stunning 200mm f/2.0 IS.

For those of us that enhance the detail of photos such as myself, I need several times less noise than already can exist with current technology and I'm always struggling with having too much.

I can't get enough wide open aperture and am constantly searching for faster sharp lenses. I want a 70-200mm f/2.0, a 35-70mm f/2.0 and a 20-35mm f/2.0 combo, and I'd pay over $50,000 for them.

Besides that fast lenses usually offer many advantages over slow lenses:

- Typically much sharper at the same aperture as a slower lens

- Much brighter Viewfinder

- More pleasing background blur

- Half as much noise due to twice as much light.

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MOD schmegg
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