Sat 26-Jan-08 08:45 AM | edited Sat 26-Jan-08 04:35 PM by William Symonds
I have just acquired the sublime 85mm f/1.4. Perhaps even my out of focus photographs can now look good!
I have noticed that when shooting with the lens wide open at f/1.4 the extent of the out of focus rendering in the final shot is even greater than that observed through the viewfinder? I'm hardly disappointed but I would be fascinated to know why this is?
I have checked and the lens is definitely wide open when it should be for focussing and framing.
Sat 26-Jan-08 08:55 AM | edited Sat 26-Jan-08 08:55 AM by ianspector
I must admit I have never noticed this with this lens; but I wonder if it is somehow related to the fact that the eye is seeing a very small image through the viewfinder whereas on the screen it is blown up. Thus the out of focus elements are compressed to look sharper through the viewfinder.
Anyway, just my guess and a wish to say hello to you and congratulate you on this wonderful piece of glass.
Sat 26-Jan-08 09:04 AM | edited Sat 26-Jan-08 09:27 AM by William Symonds
How are you and how is winter back in Blighty?
I rememember well your telling me about the cream from the 85mm. It fell into my hands yesterday lunchtime and what a magnificent piece of glass it is! Mind you it may now replace my 70-200 in my lighter travel kit.
It even makes people look younger too - there is something about eyes in sharp focus and a softer focus to the complexion. I've hardly moved the aperture ring off f/1.4 since I got it.
Back to my question - it really is as I describe. Try shooting something printed out of focus so that you can only just read it through the viewfinder. Then shoot at f/1.4 and not a letter will be legible. At least not with my D200.....
I suppose you get even more creamy bokeh than you expect. Can't be bad and worth knowing!
One effect I love with this lens is to use it wide open but with 1/16 power flash either on or off camera. The opening up of the shadows of the face give an additional softness whilst giving the eyes an additional lift.
It actually felt a little like spring today, but 2 hours standing watching rugby soon put paid to that illusion.
No, almost certainly full automatic. I will set f/1.4 on Aperture priority then dial the flash down to minimum and just keep an eye on the histogram. It is essential that none of the histogram peaks as this ruins the effect so matrix metering tends to be best.
Tue 29-Jan-08 07:51 PM | edited Wed 30-Jan-08 04:17 AM by William Symonds
"The 85 is such a lovely length on the D3......"
I bet but please don't tempt me! Of course you need to get closer with full frame so you get less DOF ergo even more Bokeh! Let's just say that I am looking forward to using it on my F100 though the craving for instantaneous results has so far had me keeping it manicled to my D200...
I like the 70-200 on full frame too (for anything other than sports).
I am finding that people really like photographs of them taken with the 85 Even those taken of the lens' proud owner by his six year old... It's a wonder what a little bokeh will do to erode the ravages of time.
What you are seeing is a characteristic of modern focusing screens. Today's screens tend to be optimised for viewfinder brightness and for AF operation. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that the screen is limited in showing the true DoF effect for faster lenses. I think most Nikon screens bottom out DoF-wise at about f/2.8 or so.
I'm afraid I don't understand the technical reason for this, but I'm sure someone will be along soon with a full explanation...
- dof in a print varies with the print size and viewing distance. Smaller than 6x9 inch prints (from the whole frame) show more dof than assumed in the formula calculations. The formula assumes an 8x12 inch print viewed at roughly the diagonal length of the picture i.e. 12-15 inches with normal eyesight. Going back in time viewfinder screens were ground much coarser, were very good for judging dof but were relatively dark. Then along came the OM1 with new technology and much brighter screens. Since then autofocus and multi spot metering has been invented. To make it work there are tiny slits in the mirror which divert a lot of light via a sub mirror to the AF and auto metering modules. To get round the loss of light screen magnification is smaller than in "OM" days and they are ground finer to transmit more light, making them less suitable for judging dof. The D3 viewfinder is around 2 stops darker than an OM4 with a series 2 bright screen, primarily because a lot of light is diverted for metering and AF before it gets to the viewfinder. Out of interest what print sizes were you viewing and at what distance?
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
I'm comparing what I see in the viewfinder with what I see subsequently on the screen - both camera and PC. I haven't got round to printing yet.
Using 85mm f/1.4 wide open on a D200.
I find that the out of focus appears far sharper in the viewfinder than it does in the output file.
For example letters on a poster in the background that are legible in the viewfinder are a creamy illegible blur in the final photo. Not that it is generally a problem - that's what the lens is meant to do!
I'm just surprised that you don't see that in the viewfinder.
I wonder how this appears with liveview, which of course I do not have. I imagine you really do see what the final (wide open) image will look like....
Depth of field (DOF) is proportional to the f/no. of the optical system, so an f/1.4 lens has less DOF than an f/2.8 lens, all other things (focal length, distance to subject) being equal. My understanding is that even though you have an f/1.4 lens mounted, the viewfinder optical system has a larger f/no so the viewfinder optical system has larger DOF than the lens/sensor optical system.
Thanks for bringing up this oddity. I will have to try it out myself as I have never noticed it.
I have observed the same thing with my 85mm f/1.4 on my D80. I just ignore the apparent DoF through the view finder when shooting wide open, knowing that the background in the image file will be a lot more creamy.