Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

Started Apr 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Good Depth of Field

SergioNevermind wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

SergioNevermind wrote:

Older film lenses, specially in the manual focus era (pre 90's) had to deal not only with limited ISO film but also with the ability to allow you to focus manually using in the best case a split image viewfinder. A brighter lens wide open may not be sharp, but it will help you focus, and then stop down and then click.

So autofocus, plus digital sensors capable of getting higher ISO than film with decent results, gave designers the chance to make MUCH MORE CHEAPER lenses, just as APSC kit zooms, e.g. 18-55 f 3,5-5,6. Won't get any DOF at any focal length out of that.


Errr... do you mean, "won't get any SHALLOW DoF out of that...??"

Thank you for your correction.

My question was prompted by the new tendency to use the term "Depth of Field" as if it automatically meant SHALLOW Depth of Field.

For instance, we see "good DoF" as if it refers to the background blur that is, by definition, quite OUTSIDE of depth of field.

This use of terms is confusing.

Historically, "good DoF" has always meant plenty of depth to the DoF referred to...

.... and NOT the opposite (shallowness).

It is my opinion it would be nice if we could keep it that way, for the sake of continuity, and of clarity.


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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

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