Shallow DoF for portraits Locked

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Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 340
Shallow DoF for portraits

Hello all,

I was at a workshop the other day when someone seemed to be gloating about their 70-200mm f2.8 and how it was superior to other lenses such as my 70-200mm f4 due to the shallower depth of field it can produce. I didn't tell him that I also own a f2.8 but prefer the f4 for the task we were doing. From watching this guy at the workshop he clearly was a bit of an idiot and still a beginner but it did make me reflect upon the use of fast glass within portraiture.

I've noticed when enthusiasts talk to me (an enthusiast) about DoF and location portraiture there seems to be a general consensus that that shallower the better but does this really matter that much?

Sure, fast glass can be important when you need that extra stop of light (such as low light photography) but other than photographers do people really care that much about the quality or amount of bokeh? I feel the bokeh is a tool to draw the eye to the subject of the image. Other than photographers do people even examine it? I think not.

Do you really think a portraits shot with a larger aperture (such as 1.8 or 2.8) are that much better than those shot at f4? I feel it is splitting hairs and that it would be more important to nail other aspects (such as posing) than obsessing over a shallow depth of field.

This being said, what are your thoughts?

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