Rethinking 4/3 Depth Of Field

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
danijel973 Contributing Member • Posts: 851
Re: I can already predict a response.

MatsP wrote:

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

danijel973 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

I can already predict a response by some people likely to chime in here.

They will say that having shallow DOF at one's disposal is never a disadvantage, because if deeper DOF is desired, the aperture can always be stopped down a bit (while it cannot be "stopped up" to make the DOF more shallow than the lens wide-open on the sensor will allow).

Except when you stop down to have similar DoF you're no longer at f/2.8, you're at f/5.6, and then you push ISO up two stops to compensate for speed loss and suddenly you wonder where your "two stop advantage at high ISO" went.

except that in many cases you do not really need exactly the same DOF as you are forced in w/ m43/43 and then you do not need to push ISO 2 stops... so what you are saying is an artificial condition.

What I'm saying is that sometimes 43 might be exactly what you need - f/1.4 aperture to let more light in and still to have 2 stops more DoF than you would have with 35mm. For situations where you need to work in low light and not have hair-thin DoF, this is exactly what you want.

35mm practically forces you to use very thin DoF when shooting in low light, and if that's what you like, but if it's not, stopping down is possible but very expensive in terms of shutter speed. So "you just stop down" argument is quite dubious. Personally, although I prefer 35mm for most purposes, I know how costly it is to have to stop down in the dark because you need more DoF. Also, I know how annoying is not being able to shoot landscapes handheld with 35mm because at f/5.6, which is most you can afford at times, you just don't get enough DoF to make a usable shot. I usually shoot handheld landscapes at f/10 or f/11 with 5d and 17-40mm, to get it properly sharp, and getting enough light can be tricky. With 43, I could pull it off with f/5.6 with same depth, and this can be hugely important.

Interesting. I remember film days when shooting architecture with a Hasselblad. F 16 or 22 was necessary to get enough dof, so tripod and long shutter time was needed on most cases.

Exactly. My experience is that 35mm is essentially better for landscapes if you use a tripod and stop down to at least f/11; I actually prefer f/16 for near-far compositions. However, 43 allows me to use f/5.6 up to f/8 and shoot handheld, and still get enough depth. This is a significant advantage for handheld shooting.

With m4/3 (or APS) you do it handheld. Maybe a somewhat unfair comparison regarding the final result though.

What do you mean? I don't think there's much difference in the final result between 35mm and 43 if you get everything right. What I'm saying is that "getting everything right" isn't the same thing for those two; sometimes it's easier with one, and sometimes with the other.

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