This photo of a street performer in New York was shot with a 50mm lens. That should be fairly obvious from a quick scrutiny - the perspective (which is not wide, and neither tight); and the shallow depth of field. That sort of gives away that a 50mm lens was most likely used for this loosely composed candid portrait.
Now, I have to admit that I have this strange love-disinterest relationship with the 50mm focal length. Not quite love-hate, but more a frustration at times with the 50mm as the main lens to use. It feels like it is either not wide Read more inside...
One of the pieces of photo gear that I have lusted after ever since the first time I saw it, is the Sony Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 ZA lens (B&H / Amazon). That combination of the Zeiss name tag and the sweet f/1.8 aperture on the telephoto lens, predicted this would be a lens to experience. However, since I mostly shoot Nikon (and also have a small Canon system), and this is a Sony mount, it remained an unrequited love.
Then I had a photographer in Germany, Thomas, asked about doing an personal workshop on flash photography Read more inside...
Full-frame vs Crop-sensor comparison : Depth-of-field & Perspective
When the differences between full-frame and crop-sensor cameras are discussed, there is an inevitable question about whether the crop sensor multiplies the focal length. Whether a 50mm lens on a crop-sensor acts like a 75mm lens (on a 1.5x crop sensor) or 80mm lens (on a 1.6x crop sensor).
The answers given on the photography forums are confusing - yes, the focal length effectively increases. No, it doesn't. Two answers that are polar opposites. The discussion (which tend to devolve into arguments) are Read more inside...
In previous articles we could see how a fast 85mm can be used for shallow depth-of-field to shoot nearly anywhere by melting away the background. There's another aspect to this - the bokeh of the lens. The bokeh is a reference to how the quality of the background blur is rendered by a lens. It can be smooth, or have "jittery" patterns to the edges of objects, and the highlights.
Do note though that bokeh and shallow depth-of-field are not quite the same thing. While the DoF / choice of aperture does affect the appearance of the bokeh of Read more inside...
Sony has been on fire recently with their new camera releases. The Sony RX100 is arguably the best point&shoot on the market right now. The full-frame Sony A99 DSLR has been getting great reports ... and then there is the new Sony RX1 (B&H / Amazon) - full-frame goodness in a compact camera with a fixed 35mm f/2 lens.
And just in anyone has missed the crucial news - Sony cameras use Zeiss lenses. The word "legendary" is usually automatically associated with the word Zeiss.
A quick summary of what makes the Sony Read more inside...
photo session using various 85mm lenses (model: Jess B.)
A fast 85mm lens is an essential addition to any camera bag, whether an f1.8 or f1.4 or even an f1.2 aperture. With their shallow depth of field, and the pleasant perspective for portraits (when not used with a super-tight composition), these lenses will have your subject just pop from the background.
Jessica and I are busy with a new project - testing various 85mm lenses - specifically for how their bokeh appears in comparison. It is proving a tad more difficult than I had hoped for to show when poor bokeh is truly Read more inside...
creating a background with narrow depth-of-field & great bokeh
Shooting images for the review of the Nikon 85mm f1.4G AF-S lens, it struck me how truly superb this lens is. It improves on the legendary Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-D lens in some key areas. (For me the updated lens was an immediate upgrade.)
But ultimately, you could get similarly beautiful images with any short portrait lens that gives you a very narrow depth-of-field AND has great bokeh. (Just to reinforce that again .. narrow DoF and bokeh are not the same thing. But I digress.) So, whether you're shooting with a Read more inside...
The way that a specific lens renders the out-of-focus areas in the background (ie, the bokeh of the lens), is always an interesting aspect of any lens' behavior. If the out of focus areas show hard edges, or highlights with a kind of double edge, then the bokeh can appear intrusive. Then it is called harsh bokeh. If the out of focus areas are smooth without the edges being defined, then the bokeh is described as being pleasant. And then on occasion, you get bokeh that is ... well, let's just call it 'interesting'.
I noticed that the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Read more inside...
The first thing you might notice in this image is our super-cute model, Johannie.
Next you will probably notice either:
- the strange background pattern, due to the bokeh of this lens
- or the shallow depth-of-field of the Nikon 50mm f/1.4D used wide open
- or the lighting on her, (a reflector),
These are all inter-related in some way for this photo ... Read more inside...
Bokeh is the term used to describe the quality of background blur in a photo,
i.e. how pleasing the blur looks of the background areas. Since the softness of the background blur is usually more important than how the foreground items are blurred, bokeh usually relates to the background blur.
The bokeh of a lens is influenced by numerous factors, including
- the lens design,
- specifically, how spherical aberrations are corrected,
- the number of blades in the aperture mechanism,
- focusing distance,
- the actual aperture used will also affect Read more inside...