Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF bokeh demystified
Sony's new STF (Smooth Trans Focus) 100mm F2.8 GM OSS uses an apodization (APD) filter to create very smooth out-of-focus regions/highlights both in front of, and behind, the focal plane.
But how exactly does it work? Sony has published a video demonstrating the principle, and the effect. Take a look:
The apodization element is a circular graduated neutral density filter that lets in more central light rays than peripheral light rays. This smooths out transitions between out-of-focus elements, leading to quite unique imagery.
What's the real-world impact? Have a look at the image comparison below, which compares the foreground and background bokeh with and without the APD element:
We've had very little time with the lens, but our initial impressions of image quality are extremely positive. If you'd like to learn more about the lens, visit the company's dedicated page on this lens over at Sony Alpha Universe, then take a look at the phenomenal MTF curves on Sony.com's site. Yes, this is a sharp lens, but with beautiful bokeh. And image stabilization, to boot, which, combined with IBIS on most E-mount cameras, will allow you to use slow-ish shutter speeds to maximize light gathering, minimizing noise.
Which you'll need, because wide open, while you have the depth-of-field of F2.8, you have the light transmission of F5.6.
Sony's E-mount system is becoming increasingly hard to ignore for professional results. With the release of the 100mm STF GM and 85/1.8 lenses, Sony is rounding out a format that already accepts arguably the largest lens lineup in history (thanks to its short flange distance). But the importance of a native lineup cannot be over-stressed, as it is native lenses that benefit most from Sony's AF technologies.
A note on autofocus...
Similar STF lenses tend to be manual focus or contrast detect-only, since peripheral light rays - the very ones the filter is designed to block out - are necessary for traditional phase-detect sensors to function. However, since (at least Sony's) on-sensor PDAF sensors can still use more central light rays for focusing, focusing does still work, remarkably well in fact with an a7R II, once you've tempered your expectations for low light performance. That's quite an achievement, in no small part due to the excellent focusing system of the a7R II. What's more, movement of the focus element(s) is incredibly fast, thanks to the excellent Direct Drive SSM mechanism we've seen in blazingly fast-to-focus lenses like the FE 35mm F1.4 and FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM.
"Unlike Sony's recent releases, this lens focuses wide open..."
In other words, I was able to use to the 100mm STF to focus on faces, even using Eye AF, in indoor lighting, despite the T5.6 rating at a F2.8 aperture. This is in no small part due to the fact that this lens, unlike Sony's recent releases, focuses wide open (albeit stopping down after initial acquisition in AF-C). More tests to follow, but simply the fact they got phase-detect AF working, nevermind the AF performance, is nothing short of impressive. That said, in low light indoor conditions, or backlit conditions, the lens does struggle, often misfocusing.
The FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS is already shaping up to be a spectacular lens, adding to an already well-rounded, serious E-mount lens lineup.
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.
A group of thieves has made away with tens of thousands in camera gear through a carefully orchestrated scam through Venmo and Facebook Marketplace.
A portrait lens from 1910 might be coming back to life if two photographers from Germany succeed in a new Kickstarter project—the latest development in the craze to remake vintage optics.
The updated version of Google Glass is called the Enterprise Edition and, as the name suggests, it's not meant for personal use.
Charles Ommanney was once a photographer for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, now he's working for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Image compression software JPEGmini Pro was just updated to handle files up to 128MB. They're calling it "The 1 Feature Hasselblad Owners
Apple was just granted a patent for a camera system that prods, coaxes and manipulates users into taking better group and solo selfies.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a better camera than its predecessor, but how much better? Should you buy one?
The winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards have been announced. Here are the six photographers who took home the top prize in their respective categories.
A NASA study has confirmed what your ears have been telling you: people HATE drone noise. In fact, it was ranked more annoying than that of "any ground vehicle."
This floating bird video isn't edited in post-production. It's the result of the birds wing flap matching the camera's 20fps frame rate.
Adobe released a major update to Lightroom Mobile for both iOS and Android users today.
Could the future of photo and video storage be... alive? Scientists at Harvard have managed to encode a GIF of a galloping horse into a live sample of E. coli.