Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

Started Aug 16, 2014 | Discussions
enkindler
enkindler Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?
1

The little things may not be a conscious element in your evaluation of a photo but the little things are what differentiate an exceptional photo from a good photo. Most people wouldn't be able to call out an eye breaking the skin line or a slightly out of focus eye but it most defiantly effects the experience of the photo. A distracting busy bokeh will pull the eye from the portions of the picture you want to emphasize if your style of photo uses bokeh as a creative tool. That said I have seen some people use that more distracting bokeh quality to enhance the emotion of a photo. Quite often in life differences are not a matter of what is better or worse, they can just be different. Buy the tools that let you create what you want to create and ignore the chest puffing. If a lensbaby is "better" for you than an otus it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, unless you are trying to convince them to pay money for your work.

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Selander Forum Member • Posts: 54
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

draculr wrote:

28/85 sounds like a combo that can handle just about anything with lightness and great image quality to boot.

Indeed it is. They complement each other wonderfully, and they don't take up much space either. Put one on your camera and the other in your jacket pocket, and you're good to go.

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?
2

thelenspainter wrote:

I think because (as far as I can tell) English is not your first language, you have missed the tone of sarcasm in my post. It was meant as a goodhearted ribbing, not an attack.

It was played nicely and on the edge, not for the first time. But I simply don’t like the presence of the word there. You could have put there as many grins you liked.

Very well, I'll elaborate. I sometimes take issue with Mike because he magnifies what are in fact almost microscopic differences between already extremely good lenses. I've said this before: 99% of people would not be able to see the differences he detects. Mostly they are differences visible only on D800E, with careful, slow testing in a studio with controlled lighting. In day to day shooting, they simply are not apparent. Further to this, many of these differences are smaller than the manufacturer's assembly tolerances, so something as simple as getting a less than stellar copy of the lens can erase them completely.

I have at various times replicated some of the tests he talks about, where I owned the same lenses. On my equipment, the D600 with 24mp, the differences could not be seen, no matter how carefully I tested. I test software for a living, so I know about testing protocol.

Talking of other people (which I love, not) my experience is different. There is a small area he sometimes gets into within the discussion or assessment where I’d say his passion leads him to exaggerate a little. And I realize that what is completely natural to me can be irritating to someone else. But for the most part and where it really matters his observations are very, I would say unusually well, extracted, put and rational. I also find him biased and passionate towards Nikon in a similar way, that is, rationally. I may repeat that one needs to know what exactly to take from it for one’s own applications, use, ways and requirements. Some may have difficultly. I recommend them less forums and test sites reading and more practice until it becomes really clear. It provides a sound and needed context and makes the distinguishing of what is valuable information for me (or less so) easier and mainly confident.

I'm sure Mike does what he does it because he enjoys it, but it can encourage an unhealthy obsession with perfection which pushes aside all pragmatism. As the saying goes: the perfect is the enemy of the good.

I wouldn't worry, honestly. It's not his problem. I suggest talking to his victims obsessed with perfection which pushes aside all pragmatism directly.

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

thelenspainter wrote:

Having said all that, by no means am I suggesting that Mike should stop - as I said in another post 'keep up the good work'. I have learned a huge amount from his posts since joining this forum

Since joining the forum says little as many are joining several times. So we might have even spoken, say, about nanocoating sort of prior to that.

and very few people take as much time as he does to write extensive posts on various subjects.

Yes, you said it many times.

My main suggestion to Mike would be to post more (yes, more!) background information on the testing conditions he uses so that people who want to replicate it can do so, and people who are reading it can better decide whether those conditions will apply to their shooting.

Well you use the tripod (he uses a big one), shoot with mirror up with still winds (you don’t press the shutter by your finger, stands to reason), you ensure the focus is spot on (it won’t be pdAF) and you repeat. You do comparable samples at specific distance and apply same settings for given tests (WB for example). And then come the observations in various shooting conditions. Nothing very special except that you pay attention to the lens behaviour as well.

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

anotherMike wrote:

Hey Hynek:

A quick word on the Sigma 35 and the highlights. You don't live in the USA so I don't know if you've ever been to Bryce Canyon National Park here, in Utah. This is where I spent the most time with the Sigma and Nikon 35's last spring - 10 days, 10 scenes, lots of parallel shooting as I tried to sort out the differences. The reason I bring up the location is that the color, texture, tonality, and hue of the sand layers in Bryce is very specific. I've been to Bryce a lot, and know the park pretty well. The Sigma was only lens I had with me that *accurately* reproduced the tonality and color subtleties of the sand, which lies in the lighter tones. The Nikon bunched up the tones and put a slight cast on it. The Zeiss 21 also gets the tones right. The 24/1.4G gets the tones pretty much right. The 200/2 and the Zeiss 135/2 certainly do as well. The 28/1.8G doesn't quite nail them, but it does better than the 35/1.8G. This rendition of finely spaced hues and tones in the sand was the primary difference maker for me in determining which lens I preferred - I knew what the real stuff looked like and I knew which lens did a better job of reproducing that. Doesn't of course mean you have to agree - but for me it was actually a very easy decision once I started looking at things on my good monitor back home (forget trying to evaluate anything on the garbage cheap laptop screens, right?).

I'll be curious what you think of the Sigma 50 art. It will be a few weeks before I get a chance to put that lens through the paces as right now I'm working on finishing up some printing jobs before the next phase of my season starts and things get busy again.

Hope you are well...

-m

Hi Mike,

I read you well and saw the same thing, more or less. My work with contrast is what I need to consider. And I have some experience built on this which applies to my way of processing raws and the image as a whole. That makes me look at it my way. Ultimately, I’d have to do some more processing with the 35A to see exactly about the subtleties. I reckon it wouldn’t matter either way - both (the Art and 35G) would be processed slightly differently.

There will be more discussions on 50A I am sure, I mean those less confrontational. Let’s just say that I thought I’d sure keep the little 50/1.8G but saw I wouldn’t use it and have sold it. The Sigma is not just about the resolution I don’t need to tell you. it comes all together there and that term is not the first thing that crosses your mind. At least not as something separate. This FL is pretty special to me so I may focus on this prime a bit more than I would usually do maybe. That said we are all spoilt for choice. But Nikon should produce some mighty nice prime, and that for more reasons. Although releasing a lens sure is not the same as baking the cakes and takes some responsibility. The most respected primes from Nikon as a lens (usual range up to 100) for me are 35/1.4 and 1.8G (each for different use), 85/1.4G, 24G, the 58G is interesting but have seen too little from it obviously. If I had to narrow it more personally it would be both 35s and 24G.

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clarnibass Senior Member • Posts: 2,044
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series
1

draculr wrote:

From what I can see the Nikon 1.8g lenses ain't bad, particularly the 28mm. It just seems like these days no one bothers with these primes and goes for the Sigma so I wouldn't mind some opinions

Everything I write here is just my opinion based on my experience and what I prefer. I know others have other preferences, etc.

I use the 28mm, 50mm and 85mm lenses, all 1.8G. I wouldn't even consider the Sigmas because of their size and weight. I don't have a problem with it or naything like that (FWIW I swim and do some sports), I just like to use light lenses. The sacrifice of 2/3 of a stop is not a huge deal when it is between f/1.8 and f/1.4. The sacrifice of f/2.8 instead of f/1.8 would be huge for me.

In general, I think all of these lenses are excellent. There might be a few things where they are not as good as some other lenses, like the Sigmas or other Nikon models, but it really depends.

I disagree that the bokeh of the 50mm f/1.8G is "nervous". I'd say that overall it is good. It is just not as good as some other lenses.

The violin player photo that was posted at 185mm is hard to compare because of FL...
Most of my photos are of concerts and performances and IMO I don't have an issue with the 50mm 1.8G in these situations.

As far as build quailty, who can really say? I guess Nikon does drop and other tests, but I'm definitely not going to drop mine on purpose
If you do drop it, or it is damaged somehow, who can really say what will happen? Maybe the Sigma 50mm will stop working and will only need a $300 repair... but the 50mm 1.8G can be replaced for less
You can almost get two each of the three of them for approx the same price

All three lenses are not great for manual focusing IMO. They are fine really, but just not as good as some older MF lenses I have, for example. They are in order from best to worst: 85mm, 50mm, 28mm. The 28mm has the longest "dead zone" i.e. when you change direction, nothing happens and the turning is easier. The 85mm has the least "dead zone". The focus ring of the 28mm also feels flimsier, but that's just an impression.
If I was going to use them mainly for video, I probably wouldn't buy them. I would get manual focus lenses, or one with a stabilier for hand holding, etc.

For what I do, these are my three most used lenses.

Stacey_K
Stacey_K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,707
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series
4

clarnibass wrote:


The violin player photo that was posted at 185mm is hard to compare because of FL...
Most of my photos are of concerts and performances and IMO I don't have an issue with the 50mm 1.8G in these situations.

Do you have samples?  I used the violin player shot because it's a good example of smooth transition zone of focus, not for comparing the 80-200 f2.8 to the 50mm f1.8g. I could just as easily posted some shots from the 58g for this purpose.

I know some people like the 50 1.8g lens, but I've just never seen sample images (of my own or from others) of anything but nervous bokeh if the background is busy. Many times it simply ruins the images for me. Plus the transition zone shares this same nervous nature (even if the background is smooth), which is just a deal killer for my style of photography.

Yes this lens is sharp, light and cheap, but all of this still will not win it a place in my bag unless I plan to be shooting at f5.6-f8. And in that case, I might as well leave the bag at home and just carry my 35-70 f2.8 (FX) or sigma 17-70 (DX), both of which have nicer bokeh wide open.

I don't mean to offend anyone but this lens is like the 16-85 was for me. A lens some people love, that I just never could seem to get images I was happy with from. Neither is a lens I would buy into the nikon f mount to be able to use.

It's a shame all these internet test sites have created an environment when lens makers have to focus all their energy into focus plane sharpness at the expense of other optical qualities. And if someone does step outside of this paradigm, like Nikon did with their 58, the lens is considered "a joke".

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Stacey

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Shaun_Nyc
Shaun_Nyc Senior Member • Posts: 2,279
Re: 28, 35 and 85
2

Stacey_K wrote:

But that said, I can't say I've ever captured a "wow" image with it either.

Well that's dependent on the photographer

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a swede Regular Member • Posts: 133
Re: Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

We also have to understand that sharpness is in fact an important aspect for the majority of people (can we call them "the mass"?) and the reviewers know this and has to do it. Sadly bokeh tests doesn't interest, even if (i personally think) most reviewers are quite good at talking about it. It does often get a very small chapter in reviews, sadly. It seems sharpness, ca and purple fringing and such things gets a lot of attention. A lens like the 50 1.8G is not designed for bokeh, its just to darn corrected. Legendary Pentax lens designer Mr Jun Hirakawa (mr pixie dust :D) was some of those lens engineers that choose to not "over-correct", hence great lenses like the FA Ltd trio can produce bad test results by modern standards... but oh my... those lenses sure makes sweet images.

HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

digital ed wrote:

First, this is my opinion and is not meant to denigrate anyone who feels differently.

I have never looked at one of my images and felt "if only the OOF part was better formed the image would be better." Neither has anyone (mostly non photography types) looked at any of my prints and said "that would look much nicer if the blurry stuff was better shaped." Nor have I looked at another person's image and thought that would be better if the bokeh was better. I realize that some would say the poor OOF stuff subconsciously influences the viewer even though they do not know what is bokeh.

I just do not care about bokeh and have never thought about purchasing a lens based upon that criteria. I guess I am looking for different stuff in my images. Or, I am just not that good evaluating the quality of a image or print and need to be better educated.

I tried to arrange a few thoughts that I think touch on some key points about this:

There is the argument that in the past it wasn’t an important element in the photo’s concept. Many things evolve or just change in time and this is one of them, I think there will be more attention given to OOF rendering - drawing gradually.

As example take a long lens image, a bird you can see often here for example. Branches, leaves or fruit that are not in focus have all different blur intensity creating and emphasizing gradual transitions, extra dimension and specific space for the subject where the focus peaks. Sometimes the subject is part of these transitions when only a part of the bird is in focus.

This OOF parts are separated from the subject by which are emphasizing it. Light, colour and the shape in the OOF areas often create and add an attractive part to the subject; they can create visually pleasing, even stunning effect that is also compositionally significant for the subject.

Sometimes there is just a sea of blur, a soft, creamy background out of which the subject is literally popping out as if emerging from the water. The palette of intense, gentle, pastel or otherwise meaningful colours can have clear relation to the subject. Eg., you can see all the colours and lights of the forest melted in the picture and get that all in the image of the bird that lives in it. It comes together and when you point it out to the viewer they might look at the photograph in a different way next time.

There are many, really many unique combinations, infinite number of them, of the subject, composition and the OOF elements. Here the preferences and tendencies of various approaches creating the image can also vary. There is no universal measure - more cream, less cream, more shape, less structure, this distance, that part of the frame or tiger. It's only the result that counts.

And the same for the form of the rendering by the lens itself as each does it differently. What’s busy to one can be excellent or a good fit for the other. Various lenses create different structure in these OOF areas. Very often soft, edgeless cream is preferred, you get it more easily with the long lenses. The subject isolation is the greatest. More complex scenes are created in combination with more structure in the OOF, again, it can relate in infinite ways to the subject. It’s impossible to say it is worse, it is better by a rule. It just depends, it may be, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many subjects, FLs, context possibilities and then personal choices that it is sensible to adopt a broader scope for perception when deciding what is distracting, busy and nervous for all others. These and similar terms are to communicate ideas and it is likely that most of the time the majority will agree in opinion. But majority vs minority doesn’t say very much here, just pointing out the differences in views and an agreement 'is not necessary' here of course.

I think the more it is about the cases where the forms or the quality of the OOF rendering are less apparent the broader scope for judging views should be simply adopted as opposed to strictly definite views applied or forced subjectively as the only right ones or objective. It makes the exchanges of ideas about this notoriously difficult and confusing subject a great deal easier.

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digital ed
digital ed Veteran Member • Posts: 3,539
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

HSway wrote:

digital ed wrote:

First, this is my opinion and is not meant to denigrate anyone who feels differently.

I have never looked at one of my images and felt "if only the OOF part was better formed the image would be better." Neither has anyone (mostly non photography types) looked at any of my prints and said "that would look much nicer if the blurry stuff was better shaped." Nor have I looked at another person's image and thought that would be better if the bokeh was better. I realize that some would say the poor OOF stuff subconsciously influences the viewer even though they do not know what is bokeh.

I just do not care about bokeh and have never thought about purchasing a lens based upon that criteria. I guess I am looking for different stuff in my images. Or, I am just not that good evaluating the quality of a image or print and need to be better educated.

I tried to arrange a few thoughts that I think touch on some key points about this:

There is the argument that in the past it wasn’t an important element in the photo’s concept. Many things evolve or just change in time and this is one of them, I think there will be more attention given to OOF rendering - drawing gradually.

As example take a long lens image, a bird you can see often here for example. Branches, leaves or fruit that are not in focus have all different blur intensity creating and emphasizing gradual transitions, extra dimension and specific space for the subject where the focus peaks. Sometimes the subject is part of these transitions when only a part of the bird is in focus.

This OOF parts are separated from the subject by which are emphasizing it. Light, colour and the shape in the OOF areas often create and add an attractive part to the subject; they can create visually pleasing, even stunning effect that is also compositionally significant for the subject.

Sometimes there is just a sea of blur, a soft, creamy background out of which the subject is literally popping out as if emerging from the water. The palette of intense, gentle, pastel or otherwise meaningful colours can have clear relation to the subject. Eg., you can see all the colours and lights of the forest melted in the picture and get that all in the image of the bird that lives in it. It comes together and when you point it out to the viewer they might look at the photograph in a different way next time.

There are many, really many unique combinations, infinite number of them, of the subject, composition and the OOF elements. Here the preferences and tendencies of various approaches creating the image can also vary. There is no universal measure - more cream, less cream, more shape, less structure, this distance, that part of the frame or tiger. It's only the result that counts.

And the same for the form of the rendering by the lens itself as each does it differently. What’s busy to one can be excellent or a good fit for the other. Various lenses create different structure in these OOF areas. Very often soft, edgeless cream is preferred, you get it more easily with the long lenses. The subject isolation is the greatest. More complex scenes are created in combination with more structure in the OOF, again, it can relate in infinite ways to the subject. It’s impossible to say it is worse, it is better by a rule. It just depends, it may be, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many subjects, FLs, context possibilities and then personal choices that it is sensible to adopt a broader scope for perception when deciding what is distracting, busy and nervous for all others. These and similar terms are to communicate ideas and it is likely that most of the time the majority will agree in opinion. But majority vs minority doesn’t say very much here, just pointing out the differences in views and an agreement 'is not necessary' here of course.

I think the more it is about the cases where the forms or the quality of the OOF rendering are less apparent the broader scope for judging views should be simply adopted as opposed to strictly definite views applied or forced subjectively as the only right ones or objective. It makes the exchanges of ideas about this notoriously difficult and confusing subject a great deal easier.

Thanks Hynek, I appreciate yours and others posting on this subject.

My main lenses for my D800 and D810 are the 14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8. None of these have "terrible" bokeh so I have never been distracted by it. I bought the 50 f/1.8 just to see if I would like using a fixed focal length lens like I started with 60 years ago. OK for the lighter weight but still, at my age, I like to zoom-compose instead of compose with my feet.

I am always open to learning more but, to be honest, I have never felt the bokeh of the 50 f/1.8 has limited the quality of what I have shot and printed using it. This acknowledges that the subject matter (seldom shoot portraits) and f stop that I typically use may not contribute to it being especially noticeable.

Thanks again to all that contributed. This forum can always be a great source of education.

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

Yes thank you for your feedback, and those are the obvious components of thorough testing. What I mean are the things nobody ever talks about: test distances and viewing conditions. How far away is the subject, exactly? Where did you focus? Then when viewing the results, what type of display was used? Was it viewed on Retina at 240 ppi? Regular display 110 ppi? 100% pixel zoom? 200%? How much capture sharpening was used? As you can see there are many variables and these can drastically affect perceived sharpness because of the way the brain processes images.

Anyhow, I am not enjoying your tone and insinuations. Whether that is due to language difficulties I don't know (English is my second language too and I don't use that as an excuse). So I am disengaging from this discussion. Thanks for your time!

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thelenspainter Senior Member • Posts: 1,894
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

My question to you Mike, would be, how much of these differences in rendering you talk about would be obliterated once you start playing with the color temperature and levels sliders in Lightroom. I suspect a very large proportion.

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Selander Forum Member • Posts: 54
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?
2

thelenspainter wrote:

My question to you Mike, would be, how much of these differences in rendering you talk about would be obliterated once you start playing with the color temperature and levels sliders in Lightroom. I suspect a very large proportion.

That is actually a good point. If one doesn't quite like the rendering of a lens, eg. if it's cool or warm, one can easily fix that in PP. Of course it can be interesting to see those differences in testing, but I suspect that it doesn't matter a great deal to most people during normal shooting conditions.

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paulski66
paulski66 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,339
I'm not sure it's test sites driving the need for higher-resolution lenses...
2

...but rather advances in lens design which are allowing affordable, very-fast lenses to be sharp wide open, coupled with the dSLR boom which has opened up a wider market for such lenses.

Whereas in the past, many fast lenses were noticeably less-sharp unless stopped down one or two stops (and even older reviews, written before the "technical review" era would acknowledge this), we're now seeing many fast lenses that are beautifully-sharp wide-open. I don't think this is universally a bad thing.

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?
3

thelenspainter wrote:

Yes thank you for your feedback, and those are the obvious components of thorough testing. What I mean are the things nobody ever talks about: test distances and viewing conditions. How far away is the subject, exactly? Where did you focus? Then when viewing the results, what type of display was used? Was it viewed on Retina at 240 ppi? Regular display 110 ppi? 100% pixel zoom? 200%? How much capture sharpening was used? As you can see there are many variables and these can drastically affect perceived sharpness because of the way the brain processes images.

Anyhow, I am not enjoying your tone and insinuations. Whether that is due to language difficulties I don't know (English is my second language too and I don't use that as an excuse). So I am disengaging from this discussion. Thanks for your time!

Thelenspainter, your English is very good. I sometimes find harder to follow your thoughts rather than language. But that happens all the time, we all are different and think differently of course. If there was anything that could have impacted our and related exchanges I apologize for the tone if that came across harsh or inadequate.

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anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 9,200
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?
1

Good question. First off, I don't use Adobe raw conversions - never really cared for them, although for landscape they are far better than they are for skin, and far better than they used to be - if I get a D810 at some point, I might have to revisit that as Capture NX-D is a UI disaster (although it produces nice conversions), or more likely, switch to Capture One. But I get your question for sure as it stands outside of the type of conversion used.

What I see is one lenses ability to separate hue and tonal differences well and one lens unable to do so as well. While one can go into LAB mode and do the usual tricks to push colors further apart, it's better to have the lens present the variations in tone/color better as the file will contain the data you want as opposed to trying to make up for deficiencies. Again - subtle things.

The next question is whether these differences are seen in print - which is my chosen medium to display work - and the answer is, if you're working with a good printer and a good workflow, yes, they are, although as usual, they are not brick-in-your-head gigantic differences.

-m

Stacey_K
Stacey_K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,707
Re: 28, 35 and 85
1

Shaun_Nyc wrote:

Stacey_K wrote:

But that said, I can't say I've ever captured a "wow" image with it either.

Well that's dependent on the photographer

Interesting I -have- gotten "wow" images with the 58 and also with the 17-70 sigma at 50mm...

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Stacey

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Stacey_K
Stacey_K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,707
Re: I'm not sure it's test sites driving the need for higher-resolution lenses...
1

paulski66 wrote:

...but rather advances in lens design which are allowing affordable, very-fast lenses to be sharp wide open, coupled with the dSLR boom which has opened up a wider market for such lenses.

Whereas in the past, many fast lenses were noticeably less-sharp unless stopped down one or two stops (and even older reviews, written before the "technical review" era would acknowledge this), we're now seeing many fast lenses that are beautifully-sharp wide-open. I don't think this is universally a bad thing.

I don't think it's a bad thing either -if- they aren't giving up something else to get this razor sharpness.

From what I am seeing with these 2 sigma ART lenses, they did give up some -rendering- to get this level of focus plane sharpness. Enough so that I'm not interested in either of these latest sigma primes, in fact I purchased my 58 after I saw the initial round of test shots from the sigma and trust me, I wanted to like this much less expensive lens. For a 35, I ended up buying the MF zeiss when I really would have preferred an AF lens.

My original point was, I am personally OK with a lens not being the sharpest knife in the drawer if it brings other less technical, what I see as positive things, to the table. What I see on the online forums is "the masses" have a tunnel vision focus on sharpness and what it looks like zoomed in at 100%.

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Stacey

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HSway
HSway Veteran Member • Posts: 3,161
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

digital ed wrote:

HSway wrote:

digital ed wrote:

First, this is my opinion and is not meant to denigrate anyone who feels differently.

I have never looked at one of my images and felt "if only the OOF part was better formed the image would be better." Neither has anyone (mostly non photography types) looked at any of my prints and said "that would look much nicer if the blurry stuff was better shaped." Nor have I looked at another person's image and thought that would be better if the bokeh was better. I realize that some would say the poor OOF stuff subconsciously influences the viewer even though they do not know what is bokeh.

I just do not care about bokeh and have never thought about purchasing a lens based upon that criteria. I guess I am looking for different stuff in my images. Or, I am just not that good evaluating the quality of a image or print and need to be better educated.

I tried to arrange a few thoughts that I think touch on some key points about this:

There is the argument that in the past it wasn’t an important element in the photo’s concept. Many things evolve or just change in time and this is one of them, I think there will be more attention given to OOF rendering - drawing gradually.

As example take a long lens image, a bird you can see often here for example. Branches, leaves or fruit that are not in focus have all different blur intensity creating and emphasizing gradual transitions, extra dimension and specific space for the subject where the focus peaks. Sometimes the subject is part of these transitions when only a part of the bird is in focus.

This OOF parts are separated from the subject by which are emphasizing it. Light, colour and the shape in the OOF areas often create and add an attractive part to the subject; they can create visually pleasing, even stunning effect that is also compositionally significant for the subject.

Sometimes there is just a sea of blur, a soft, creamy background out of which the subject is literally popping out as if emerging from the water. The palette of intense, gentle, pastel or otherwise meaningful colours can have clear relation to the subject. Eg., you can see all the colours and lights of the forest melted in the picture and get that all in the image of the bird that lives in it. It comes together and when you point it out to the viewer they might look at the photograph in a different way next time.

There are many, really many unique combinations, infinite number of them, of the subject, composition and the OOF elements. Here the preferences and tendencies of various approaches creating the image can also vary. There is no universal measure - more cream, less cream, more shape, less structure, this distance, that part of the frame or tighter. It's only the result that counts.

And the same for the form of the rendering by the lens itself as each does it differently. What’s busy to one can be excellent or a good fit for the other. Various lenses create different structure in these OOF areas. Very often soft, edgeless cream is preferred, you get it more easily with the long lenses. The subject isolation is the greatest. More complex scenes are created in combination with more structure in the OOF, again, it can relate in infinite ways to the subject. It’s impossible to say it is worse, it is better by a rule. It just depends, it may be, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many subjects, FLs, context possibilities and then personal choices that it is sensible to adopt a broader scope for perception when deciding what is distracting, busy and nervous for all others. These and similar terms are to communicate ideas and it is likely that most of the time the majority will agree in opinion. But majority vs minority doesn’t say very much here, just pointing out the differences in views and an agreement 'is not necessary' here of course.

I think the more it is about the cases where the forms or the quality of the OOF rendering are less apparent the broader scope for judging views should be simply adopted as opposed to strictly definite views applied or forced subjectively as the only right ones or objective. It makes the exchanges of ideas about this notoriously difficult and confusing subject a great deal easier.

Thanks Hynek, I appreciate yours and others posting on this subject.

My main lenses for my D800 and D810 are the 14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8. None of these have "terrible" bokeh so I have never been distracted by it. I bought the 50 f/1.8 just to see if I would like using a fixed focal length lens like I started with 60 years ago. OK for the lighter weight but still, at my age, I like to zoom-compose instead of compose with my feet.

I am always open to learning more but, to be honest, I have never felt the bokeh of the 50 f/1.8 has limited the quality of what I have shot and printed using it. This acknowledges that the subject matter (seldom shoot portraits) and f stop that I typically use may not contribute to it being especially noticeable.

Thanks again to all that contributed. This forum can always be a great source of education.

It is good to have active photographers at your age here.. That is what I appreciate. I consider 50/1.8G a nice lens especially on Fx cameras. Shot wide open it can sometimes get crunchier in OOF areas (nervous bokeh) depending on the scene. It may not bother you and it can bother others. People paying more attention to this can be more critical towards the 50Gs. Best not to take it as a dogma, making your own observations and going by them. Generally getting closer to the subject with the background more distant makes for better results.

I should mention that he 'tiger' in my post before should read 'tighter', fixed in bold.

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