What's your fastest lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by jkruppa, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. jkruppa

    jkruppa TPF Noob!

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    I was watching a documentary on Stanley Kubrick over the weekend and there was a discussion of the lens he used to shoot the indoor scenes (by candlelight!) in the film Barry Lyndon (1975). The lens was made in Russia, I believe, and could open all the way to f0.7.

    That got me thinking about still lenses. My 50mm and 85mm are both f1.7, and I love the effect both give when I shoot outside at the lowest aperture setting -- the subject just pops out from the out-of-focus background. For shooting indoors with natural light or lots of candles, I've thought it might be good to get a faster lens, maybe a 1.4 or even a 1.2, which I saw recently for the first time.

    I'm just curious what everyone's thoughts are on using these lenses and what applications come to mind.

    Jason
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Low light (hand held), shallow DOF (& hopefully nice Bokeh) and faster shutter speeds...that's what I think of when I think really wide apertures.

    Also, most lenses are best when stopped down a few stops. So an F1.7 lens will probably look really good at F2.8 while and F2.8 lens will probably be better at F4 than it is at F2.8.
     
  3. jkruppa

    jkruppa TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I've noticed that when I stop down even just one stop I get a more pleasing image. Mainly, the details are sharper. At 1.7, everything's a little too soft (unless that's the effect you're going for), and it doesn't work well for a crisp headshot.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's pretty much true of most lenses. I recently did a quick test of my 50mm F1.8...and it was quite poor at F1.8 but much better when stopped down.
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I love shooting with fast primes.. this is especially true in low light. 50 f1.4, 85 f1.8 are most used primes for indoor. In my opinion, there's not much difference between f1.7, f1.8 and f1.4. If you do decide on a new lens to replace your f1.7 with something else (assuming more expensive too), it should bring to the table other advantages. For me, I went from a Canon 50mm f1.8 to the 50 f1.4 lens because of the more pleasant bokeh the f1.4 produced. It is a very subtle difference. Whether or not it is worth the extra cost is really up to each person to decide.. .for me .. .it is a bit of luxury but I was willing to spend the extra. Besides, my cousin has been wanting that 50mm f1.8 lens for some time.... so I sold it to him. :)
     
  6. molested_cow

    molested_cow No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've got a 50mm F1.2.
     
  7. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    All i got is f/1.8 :(
    But one is a 20mm f/1.8 so it's sort of nice :)
     
  8. 964

    964 TPF Noob!

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    the 50mm f1.4 in my sig is really nice. I use it mainly for portraits and also to force myself to use a prime once in a while. I become lazy with all the zooms...:)
     
  9. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I also have the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. It's a very nice lens, and I use it probably 90% of the time. The next fastest is the EF 24mm f/2.8, which I don't use anywhere near as much as I used to.

    For my Mamiya 645, I have the 80mm f/2.8. It's actually the only one I have for that system, so it's cool.

    For the Canon AE-1P, I have a 28mm f/2.8, which is also a pretty nice lens. I use it most often on that camera, because the next one up is the 80-200mm, which just isn't practical for me.

    The slowest lens I have is the 150mm f/294 in my pinhole camera. Not really a lens, and has nothing to do with fast lenses, but I thought it was interesting. :lol:
     
  10. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    A 50MM F1.4 and a 35MM F2.0 in manual focus. In AF it's a 50MM F1.8. In medium format it's an 80MM F2.8. In a telescope it's a 1000MM F10.0.

    LWW
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Pentax Takumar f/1.4 (thanks Jon!) and a Russian 85mm f/2.0. Neither are 'extreme' wide apertures but about as fast as I could need or want. There must be a point at which the glass becomes too big. As others have said though, those kind of lenses are often best stopped down a bit.
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Canon EOS 50mm f1 is a prime example. Extremely fast aperture but produced results often regarded as inferior to that of the significantly cheaper 50mm f1.8.
     

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