Shallow DOF lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jshelto3, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. jshelto3

    jshelto3 TPF Noob!

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    I really enjoy shooting with a very shallow depth of field. I believe this is called macro shooting but, if I am wrong please correct me. I am using a D100 with a 28-100mm F/3.5-5.6G. I have taken several that I have been pleased with but, I have noticed a few problems. What would be a few lenses to look into? I would like to have some type of zoom capability. Since I am not going out to buy this tomorrow price is flexible but I do believe less than a $1,000 is my limit no matter what.
     
  2. Coldow91

    Coldow91 TPF Noob!

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    Macro just is just shooting things that are very small and making them fill a lot of the picture. It is a style of shooting almost like sports photography.


    Depth of field has to do with the aperture of the lens. The wider open the lens the shallower the depth of field. So you would be looking for lens at f/2.8 or f/1.8. There are plenty of zooms that are f/2.8 and I would look at those. if you want macro capabilities as well looks for a macro zoom with around f/2.8
     
  3. jshelto3

    jshelto3 TPF Noob!

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    What exactly is the difference between a "macro" zoom and a regular zoom. I have heard about lenses have macro settings.
     
  4. Coldow91

    Coldow91 TPF Noob!

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    it just means they have the ability to focus closer, a true macro lens gives 1:1 magnification ratio
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shooting with a shallow depth of field is not exclusive to macros.
     
  6. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour TPF Noob!

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    Macro zooms are not true macro lenses zooms with macro ability is usually 1:2 ratio. where a true macro is 1:1
     
  7. jshelto3

    jshelto3 TPF Noob!

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    ok, that does make sense. I am more interested in a shallow DOF than true macro shooting. I can say that now that I know the difference. What are a few good lenses to look into? I am already looking into 35-70 f/2.8.
     
  8. Coldow91

    Coldow91 TPF Noob!

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    that would be a good lens! if you want something faster you could get one or more primes
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Part of a lens' "signature" you should examine when shooting shallow DOF is the smoothness or how visual pleasing the bokeh the lens renders. Is it harsh? Is it silky smooth?

    There are many variables that go into how a shallow DOF photo is rendered. One of those variables is circular shape of the aperture diaphragm. As a Canon shooter, we often compare the 50mm f1.8 versus the more expensive 50mm f1.4. One of the clear differences is the number of aperture blades. The f1.8 has 5 versus 8 in the f1.4 version. Because of the extra blades the shape of the aperture opening is "rounder" in the more expensive version. This allows the 50mm f1.4 to produce smoother bokeh than the 50mm f1.8. The area that is out of focus is much more pleasing to the eye when shot with the 50mm f1.4 and its 8 blade aperture diaphragm. Leica takes it even further with their expensive lenses ... sometimes employing aperture diaphragms with 16 or so blades. The idea is to produce an aperture opening as round as possible.

    There are other more complicated things at work as well. I find it easier just to find samples of photos shot with various lenses and see for myself.
     
  10. jshelto3

    jshelto3 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. The blades do make sense. I just don't know if I would like a prime lens. I have always had some kind of zoom. The Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 and the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR also seems to fit the bill. Are there any opinions on these particular lenses. I still worry about going with an off brand lens though.
     
  11. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    As others have indicated, "macro" means the ability to focus at short distances. DoF is the result of a combination of aperture and/or focusing distance. With a macro, it's the short distance that gives the shallow DoF.

    If you want shallow DoF at "regular" distances, such as eight to ten feet, you need a very large aperture, typically found only on "prime" (non-zoom) lenses. This shot was taken with the Nikon 50 mm f/1.4 wide open on a D80 body. Distance was roughly eight feet.

    http://web.mac.com/george.dick/Photos/Katie.html
     
  12. jshelto3

    jshelto3 TPF Noob!

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    That is the type of shooting I am talking about. I have never used a prime lens before, so I just am unsure about losing the zoom capability. Is it a big change that will take a lot of getting used to? It would be used alot for when I am just walking around. I don't plan to shoot too much wildlife so that won't be too much of a problem.
     

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