Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

Started Apr 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
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hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 16,396
Re: Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?
4

Specifics will differ, but generally, taking a photo at high ISO in the film days was problematic at best. A sports photo at ISO 1600 was pretty darn "crunchy" and getting almost unusable if the light was contrasty. Heck, even photos shot at ISO 400 were pretty grainy. A film photo at 3200 was generally totally disgusting and barely acceptable even in newspapers with rotten reproduction.

Thus a "fast" lens wasn't just a nice thing to have so you could enjoy swell bokeh--it was absolutely necessary to produce any kind of usable image whatsoever.

These days any decent digital camera can easily handle 1600 speed or even much, much faster speeds and still produce stellar results. You can still find fast lenses if you want to pay for them; they just aren't so vital these days. Long live digital!

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 11-24mm F4L +1 more
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