Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

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Sergio Subrizi Regular Member • Posts: 244
Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
4

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 12,977
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
11

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

I don't know if you missed something or not.  I don't agree with your view, however.  Despite better quality at higher ISOs on cameras from the last couple of years, and despite VR, you are still going to get better IQ (lower noise, more DR) at lower ISOs.  So having an extra 2 stops of aperture on a fast lens can still bring meaningful improvement.

If you're happy/satisfied with your camera's IQ with slower lenses that's all that matters.

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Nikonland
Nikonland Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
4

michaeladawson wrote:

I don't know if you missed something or not. I don't agree with your view, however. Despite better quality at higher ISOs on cameras from the last couple of years, and despite VR, you are still going to get better IQ (lower noise, more DR) at lower ISOs. So having an extra 2 stops of aperture on a fast lens can still bring meaningful improvement.

If you're happy/satisfied with your camera's IQ with slower lenses that's all that matters.

I totally agree.

I'm literally drooling to get my hands on Nikkor Z 50mm f / 1.2 S

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nigelht Senior Member • Posts: 1,861
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
6

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

Yes.  You missed something.

VR does zero to stop action.

High ISO noise performance doesn't help OSPDAF work in low light.

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OP Sergio Subrizi Regular Member • Posts: 244
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

Well I agree tha 2 stop mean a totally different game ...

I was concerned particulary not on primes but on most used zooms 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 vs f4.

So my question is basically wrong

I would never compare two different category like zooms and primes

nigelht Senior Member • Posts: 1,861
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Well I agree tha 2 stop mean a totally different game ...

I was concerned particulary not on primes but on most used zooms 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 vs f4.

So my question is basically wrong

I would never compare two different category like zooms and primes

You are even more wrong on zooms.   What do you think the 70-200 is used for?

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Aleo Veuliah
Aleo Veuliah Forum Pro • Posts: 14,740
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
1

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

No, pay a lot more for only one stop faster not logic, only if lens have much more IQ.

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,725
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
11

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

I'm on your side. I wrote this three years ago:

"Since the film era, both Canon and Nikon have offered a line of lenses aimed at professional photographers and amateurs with similar intent and deep pockets. One of the hallmarks of those lens lines was a constant (unchanging with focal length in zoom lenses) aperture of f/2.8 or faster. There’s the f/2.8 standard zoom trio: 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm. There are 14mm and 105mm f/2.8s, and 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm f/1.4s. Canon even has some f/1.2s. The big iron 300mm 400mm lenses are f/2.8. For very long teles, where f/2.8 gets to be ridiculous, cooler heads prevail and we have 600mm f/4 and 800mm f/5.6 lenses, plus the 200-400/4 zoom. CaNikon make slower lenses, of course, but, with a couple of notable exceptions like Nikon's line of f.1.8 lenses, they seem to be a couple of notches down in quality from the fast lenses. Tamron and Sigma seem to follow the same speed/quality philosophy as the two big camera makers for their full frame lenses.

Modern full frame sensors, such as those in the Nikon D810 and D4s, or the Sony a7RII, a7R, a7S, and a7SII cameras, have great dynamic range, and can operate superbly where there’s not much light. They are so much better in that regard than film or the old sensors that I question whether most lenses need to be as fast as they are.

I’ll stipulate up front that big apertures mean paper-thin depth of field, and sometimes that’s exactly what the photographer wants and needs to make the shot come out with a creamily out-of-focus background. But not all photographers ever need anything wider than f/4 to get the background separation they desire, and those who do don’t need it for every lens in their arsenal.

The drawbacks of working with lenses that are faster than necessary are manifold: they cost more, are larger and heavier, and are more prone to decentering when handled roughly. They’re more obtrusive in public. Slower lenses work especially well with mirrorless cameras, which, with the exception of the Leica SL, are smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts.

A while back I wrote a paean to the combination of the Sony 70-200/4 and the a7x cameras, comparing the combination to a Nikon kit that was more than twice as heavy, though one stop faster. Last spring I tested the Nikon 300mm f/4 phase Fresnel lens, and found it delightfully small and light, and not a bad performer. I didn’t compare it to the Nikon 300/2.8, but, had I done so, I think I would have found that the 300/4 was not as good a performer at f/4. I don’t think that Nikon was aiming as high with the stop slower lens.

I’ve recently started to use the Nikon 500mm f/4E. At 6.8 lbs, it’s 1.6 lbs lighter than the 400/2.8E, though it is 25% longer. While you’d not consider it a small lens, I think it unlikely that, as long as it’s at my disposal, that I’ll use my old non-VR 400/2.8, which weighs close to 10 pounds.

Since their pro bodies are so heavy, I don’t think it would make much sense for Canon and Nikon to rework their whole lens line with top-notch f/4 lenses in addition to the f/2.8 ones. However, neither do I think Sony would be smart to come out with a set of f/2.8 native FE lenses in addition to the current and future f/4 ones. They might cherry-pick one or two. If I were running product management at Sony, I wouldn't have recommenced they do that ginormous 35/1.4.

When Canon and Nikon finally get around to doing pro-level full frame mirrorless cameras, they should think about a line of great f/4 lenses to go with them."

Jim

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Stacey_K
Stacey_K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,927
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
7

Almost all lenses perform better 1-2 stops from wide open. For an f2.8 lens, that means F4-f5.6. Start at f4 and you are now talking about f5.6 - f8.

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,725
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
16

Stacey_K wrote:

Almost all lenses perform better 1-2 stops from wide open.

Only if they're designed that way. There's no reason a f/1.4 lens should be sharper at f/2.8 than an f/2.8 lens other than the constraints on the designer. If given anywhere near the same budget, the f/2.8 lens will be sharper wide open than the f/1.4 at f/2.8.

For an f2.8 lens, that means F4-f5.6. Start at f4 and you are now talking about f5.6 - f8.

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YRUNVS
YRUNVS Senior Member • Posts: 1,077
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
1

Not every photographer has the same needs, but for me, I use fast aperture to freeze action in low light circumstances.  The ISO range of the D610 wouldn't allow me to capture this picture @F4 w/o pushing in post. I tend to be more limited by subject movement than camera movement, though I welcome VR/IBIS.

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Badwater Senior Member • Posts: 2,095
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

Some need it while others will not.  It all depends on the type of photography you shoot, and what your skill level is.

Some will do night landscape photography with milky way and f/1.7 or f/1.8 is adequate.  wide open depending on the quality of the lens at f/1.7 and f/1.8.  Some will stop down to f/2 or f/2.8 because their primes are not sharp wide open or have funky coma on the edges of the photo while shooting night sky landscapes.

For street photography that extra light at f/1.8 is needed for shooting in conditions for results you just can't get with a slow shutter and f/2.8 or f/3.5.

Thus, it depends on the skill of the photographer, the quality of lens and camera they use, and how far they push their exposures while shooting.

For super telephotos into the 300 to 600mm range, f/4 and f/5.6 is very thin even with MFT cameras.  Thus, any larger aperture of f/2.8 would be difficult to focus or AF for wildlife or small birds in flight.  But for still object that large aperture of f/2.8 will allow more compositional options.

Again, it all depends on the photorapher and if they like to push gear to the limits in conditions that most will never shoot in.

That's the way me and my camera sees it.

scokill
scokill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,563
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
2

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

There is no substitute for light, so yes...but it's about options.

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nigelht Senior Member • Posts: 1,861
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
1

JimKasson wrote:

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Considering we have:

sensors with incredible iso performances compared to films

in camera +- 5 stop VR

Auto gain viewfinder

I can only see a shallower depht of field when used wide open as great advantage

at the expense of weight and $$$ ( for the same level of quality)

Do I miss something ?

I'm on your side. I wrote this three years ago:

"Since the film era, both Canon and Nikon have offered a line of lenses aimed at professional photographers and amateurs with similar intent and deep pockets. One of the hallmarks of those lens lines was a constant (unchanging with focal length in zoom lenses) aperture of f/2.8 or faster. There’s the f/2.8 standard zoom trio: 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm....

100 yards from goal to goal.  Call it 30-40 yards shooting average.

200mm is a bit short to fill the frame and 400mm is what you'd want for most shots but 400mm f2.8 is spendy.

If no night or indoor games then yes f4 works well.  Though shooting 1/1000+ on cloudy afternoons late season pushes ISO up a bit.  Some 4-5pm games are pretty dim on unlit fields.  And the less light you have typically the slower the AF.

But but...few people shoot sports!

Uh, who do y'all think were buying all those Costco DSLRs?  Soccer/Ballet/Football moms and dads.  Sure plenty will be using kit zooms to shoot in daylight but I've seen more than a few 70-200 f2.8 and 85 f1.8.  There's one guy used to I bump into every so often that shoots a 200mm f2.

There's always one guy that likes breaking the curve...

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grannygear
grannygear Regular Member • Posts: 444
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
1

Interesting discussion.

I shoot events ranging from concerts, weddings and corporate conventions and such. Currently with a D600 and D7200. It would be interesting to see how the F4 lenses would work. Even if there was enough light at F4 for the new sensors, subject isolation might be an issue. But maybe not....

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goactive Senior Member • Posts: 1,637
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
1

I shoot portraits the most for a living and I am very happy with 1.8 lenses and even then I almost never shoot at 1.8 as the area is to small many times. I end up shooting at F 2 to 2.5 the most to make sure get sharp in focus images.

I do see many people post photos at 1.4 and I also see the tip of the noise or ears not in focus, not something I will would ever give to a paying customer.

I do like the out of focus bokeh look to the background but also want a very good in-focus subject.

So for me and my plan for using a longer zoom or prime lens works the best like shooting at 2.8 at 150 to 200mm will produce a fantastic out of focus backgrounds but very sharp in focus subject and give you much better background compression than using say a 50mm, 85mm or 105mm lens. It really starts in the 135 range.

Here is an example. This is on a cropped D7500 body this would be much better on FF but the background compression and blur IS 100% better then when I use my 85mm even at 1.8. Due to the zoom reach.

This is the Nikon 180 2.8 lens at 2.8 I love the lens but do not use it much as the zoom on is a little too much at times being that far back,

I would love to use it on my Z6 cameras I have on order but they are not supported for this lens. am going to wait and see what the new Z 70-200 2.8 cost and offers as they would give me a better range as well. And on FF at 180 I would be around 15 or more feet closer to the subject. Or I will end up with a Sigma 135mm on one camera.

Still waiting for more info on the new ZEISS ZX1I may cancel one of the Z6 bodys and get the Zeiss for my group portrait camera as 35mm is what i am at the most for groups. And it has leaf shutter this could be amazing for outdoor portraits giving me flash sync at high speeds like no other digital FF camera on the market that is small and lite, Will have to see on this. It would be worth the cost of a body and 35mm lens.

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nigelht Senior Member • Posts: 1,861
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

Badwater wrote:

For super telephotos into the 300 to 600mm range, f/4 and f/5.6 is very thin even with MFT cameras. Thus, any larger aperture of f/2.8 would be difficult to focus or AF for wildlife or small birds in flight. But for still object that large aperture of f/2.8 will allow more compositional options.

For FF at 300ft the 300mm f2.8 has a 51 ft DoF and the 600mm f2.8 has a 12.9 ft DoF.

For m43 the 300mm f2.8 the DoF is 25 ft.  The 600mm f2.8 is a bit thin at 6.42 ft.

For 300mm equivalent a m43 with a 150mm f1.4 @ 300ft has a DoF of 52ft...which makes sense...

These are all usable.  Well, except for size...a 400mm f2.8 is pretty big but sports shooters use them all the time for major events.  At 90 feet the DoF is only 2.58 ft for the 400mm but not unusably thin for shooting humans.

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,725
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

nigelht wrote:

Badwater wrote:

For super telephotos into the 300 to 600mm range, f/4 and f/5.6 is very thin even with MFT cameras. Thus, any larger aperture of f/2.8 would be difficult to focus or AF for wildlife or small birds in flight. But for still object that large aperture of f/2.8 will allow more compositional options.

For FF at 300ft the 300mm f2.8 has a 51 ft DoF and the 600mm f2.8

What 600/2.8?

has a 12.9 ft DoF.

For m43 the 300mm f2.8 the DoF is 25 ft. The 600mm f2.8 is a bit thin at 6.42 ft.

For 300mm equivalent a m43 with a 150mm f1.4 @ 300ft has a DoF of 52ft...which makes sense...

These are all usable. Well, except for size...a 400mm f2.8 is pretty big but sports shooters use them all the time for major events. At 90 feet the DoF is only 2.58 ft for the 400mm but not unusably thin for shooting humans.

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OP Sergio Subrizi Regular Member • Posts: 244
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?

Thanks Jim,

Although my qustion was badly posed, you nailed exacly what I wanted to say.

I dont't think fast lenses are unusefull I always loved (and owned many) them.

The typical set of zooms (14-24,24-70, 70-200) were the target of my question (although the first two can be considered fast zooms but not fast lenses).

I tested for just few minutes the z7 and love it (although I have a litle doubt), my only concern is on the actual lens lineup and the scheduled Nikon program.

the 24-70 f4 is nice but I much prefer a range like 24-105 or the 24-120 f4 I own, there will be a native 70-200 f2.8 but no lighter and cheeper f4, years ago I would had no doubt on choosing the faster ones. Today I'm not ... the problem is that Nikon won't have the lenses I'd like for some years, and buying F series to mount on The Z7 does not seems the best option ... and being Nikonist for more than 43 years would make difficult to consider Sony ...

JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,725
Re: Do we still "need" fast lenses ?
2

Sergio Subrizi wrote:

Thanks Jim,

Although my qustion was badly posed, you nailed exacly what I wanted to say.

I dont't think fast lenses are unusefull I always loved (and owned many) them.

The typical set of zooms (14-24,24-70, 70-200) were the target of my question (although the first two can be considered fast zooms but not fast lenses).

I tested for just few minutes the z7 and love it (although I have a litle doubt), my only concern is on the actual lens lineup and the scheduled Nikon program.

the 24-70 f4 is nice but I much prefer a range like 24-105 or the 24-120 f4 I own,

I have yet to see a 24-105 or 24-120 that could match the performance of a good 24-70 in the focal lengths that they have in common.

there will be a native 70-200 f2.8 but no lighter and cheaper f4,

I want an f/4 that's lighter and better.

years ago I would had no doubt on choosing the faster ones. Today I'm not ... the problem is that Nikon won't have the lenses I'd like for some years, and buying F series to mount on The Z7 does not seems the best option ... and being Nikonist for more than 43 years would make difficult to consider Sony ...

Jim

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