LENSES...LENSES...LENSES!!! Zoom, kit, tilt-shift, vintage, prime... get the most from any lens.

LENSES...LENSES...LENSES!!! Zoom, kit, tilt-shift, vintage, prime... get the most from any lens.

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Coming up on this special lens  episode of Photography Online:   We show you how to deal with flare.  We see how far lenses have come   in the past 50 years. And we look at  the control a tilt-shift lens offers… Welcome to another commercial-free episode of  Photography Online and a special lens themed   show. Now lenses are probably the most important  part of any camera kit, regardless of what format   and medium you shoot. We'll be looking at all the  options throughout the show and also showing you  

how you can get the best from any lens regardless  of how good it is. Before all that though,   here's a quick photography question just  for fun. Which of these exposures would   give the brightest image at ISO 100? A: 160th  at f/16, B: 1/30th at f/8, C: 1/500 f/1.4 or D:  

1/250th at f/5.6? I'll give you the answer later  in the show. So let's get things underway with a   look at how to control one of the most common  lens problems - flare. If you're shooting into   the light then this can often be a problem  so here's Nick to give us a few tricks… As photographers we're usually looking for  good light. More often than not, especially for   landscape photographers, this is sunlight. However  sunlight can cause a few issues with one of these   being lens flare. There are a couple of types  of lens flare. Specular lens flare is what we   probably imagine when we think of flare. This is  not always a bad thing and believe it or not, many  

photographers and filmmakers actually add false  flair in post. However, specular flair can ruin a   shot when it is not desired or intended so knowing  how to control this can be a useful skill to have.   The other kind of flair is ghost flare. Yes,  okay, I just made that name up but it describes   the effect perfectly. Ghost flare is where you  have excessive light bouncing around inside the   lens which causes a loss of contrast in some or  all areas of the image. One thing to understand   is that lens flare will only happen if you're  shooting into the light. If the sun is to the  

side of you or behind of you then this won't  cause any problems but if the sun is shining   onto your lens then you will have lens flare to  some degree, even if it's too subtle to notice.   So what can we do to eliminate or reduce flare  in our shots when it is not wanted? The best and   easiest way by far is to simply shield the lens  by casting a shadow over it as you take a photo.   This can be done with a hat, a filter case or even  your hand or your head. This is easier if you're  

using a tripod as you can come around to the front  of the camera and see where the shadow is falling.   You want it just covering the front element of the  lens. If you go too close then you might run the   risk of encroaching into the frame, especially  when using a wide angle lens so pay attention   to this. If you hand hold the camera then it's  a little more difficult yet no major problem.   Simply use your free hand to shield the sun from  the lens. As you won't be able to see the shadow,   look through the viewfinder and move your hand  into the shot until you can just see it at the   edge of the frame then move it back a little until  it's not been included in the photo. You'll be   able to see the flare disappear from the image as  you prevent the sun from shining onto the lens.  

Lens hoods are designed to shield the lens for us  and are one of the most underrated pieces of photo   equipment. Too many photographers don't use the  lens hoods so don't leave these at home or in your   bag. There's no downside whatsoever to using your  lens hood, only positives. Firstly, they reduce   peripheral light from entering the lens. This  will reduce the chance of lens flare, particularly   ghost flare, by rendering deeper and richer  shadows. Basically you'll get better contrast with   a lens hood than the same photo taken without a  lens hood, even when not shooting into the light. Secondly, these are the best protector for  your lens. Many people use UV or sunlight  

screw-in filters for protection but these are  far better. If I drop my lens or camera without   a lens hood attached, it's not going to end well  when it hits the rock at my feet. If I have a UV   filter in place, this will most likely be smashed  and dented meaning I can't get it off the lens so   the lens is effectively useless. The very thing  that we use to protect the lens is now causing  

the problem. I've seen this so many times. If  I drop my camera with a lens hood attached,   the hood will take the impact and will probably  break but the camera will most likely be okay.   It's cheap to replace a lens hood so these are  by far the best protection for most lenses.   Obviously we can't shield the sun from our photo  if the sun is within our frame so what can we do?   The first thing is to make sure that  the front element of our lens is clean.   Any dirt or greasy fingerprints will show up  like a neon sign when shooting into the light so   keep your glass clean. I can highly recommend the  Photography Online lens cloth available from our  

online store - link in the description below. We  should also avoid filters where possible. The more   glass we have in front of the camera, the more  surfaces there are for light to bounce between.   Remove any unnecessary filters including UV and  sunlight ones. Obviously if you need to use an   ND grad or a polariser to get the desired  result then you just have to accept that   these will be increasing your chances of flare.  A polariser won't have any effect when shooting   into the light anyway so unless you're reducing  reflections from the foreground, take it off.  

Some lenses are better than others at coping with  flare and this has very little to do with the   quality of the lens. I've had kit lenses which  have coped with flare very well but I've also   had very high-end lenses which seem to attract  flare as if it's a special feature of the lens. If you have a lens which tends to be prone to  flare then you may be able to control this to   some degree by experimenting with the aperture  size. Depending on where in the lens the flare is   being caused, changing the size of the aperture  opening may reduce the size of the flare.  

Hopefully armed with this knowledge the  only flares in your life will be the ones   around your ankles. Ruth's been seen wearing them  recently so they must be coming back into fashion. So hopefully that was useful and hopefully  we can encourage Nick to actually come back   from Utah soon. Okay, well in just a moment we'll  be looking at the extra control a specialist   tilt-shift lens provides but before that we want  to say a big thank you to all of our Photography   Online supporters. Their support means we don't  have to put those annoying adverts everywhere.  

Making this show is a full-time job and requires  a lot of resources so if you appreciate what we do   or want to help improve the show and enable  us to do more elaborate things in the future   check out all the supporter options which start at  only £2.99 per month. You probably wouldn't think   twice at paying that for a photo magazine which  is pretty much exactly what Photography Online is   except we read it to you. All supporter funds  get invested straight back into the show and   get you access to extra features such as our  PO LIVE show. We'll also soon be announcing a   new monthly show - In the Spotlight - where we  chat with a pro photographer about their work,   something that will be available to all of our  supporters so now is a great time to support us   to make better content for you  and all photographers out there.   All right, well, if you sometimes struggle  with depth of field or getting everything   sharp in your photos this next  feature will hopefully be of help… A few months ago I did a feature all about  lens movements on a large format film camera   to show how much control this gives  us when it comes to getting as much   of our scene sharp or as out of focus as we like. Many of you asked if the same control was possible  with a digital camera and the short answer   is, mmm, well, mmm, kind of. To show you what is  and isn't possible I need to use both cameras to  

show you how they compare. Now I've chosen this  scene here because it typifies what most of us are   going to experience in a landscape situation where  we have the foreground at the bottom of the frame,   our middle distance in the centre of the frame  and our background, which in this case is our   mountains but is often the sky, at the top of  the frame. Now, set up as they are, both of these   lenses are replicating what we would normally  experience with a non-tilt-shift lens. One that   99% of us will find ourselves using most of the  time. The limitation with this is that the plane  

of focus is always parallel to the sensor meaning  that as we adjust the focus, all we do is move   that plane of focus closer and further away from  the camera. The closer to the camera, the thinner   the plane of focus. But as we move this further  away it automatically becomes thicker. Everything   that comes into contact with our plane of focus  will be technically sharp although not necessarily   optically sharp. There are a number of reasons  why something that's technically sharp might   not be optically sharp such as diffraction caused  by the use of a small aperture, camera movement,   subject movement or even atmospheric conditions.  We'll do a feature about getting things optically   sharp another time but today we're focusing - pun  intended - on getting things technically sharp.  

Lens movements give us amazing control over focus  by allowing us to tilt or twist the plane of focus   so that rather than always being parallel  to the sensor and therefore potentially only   covering a small portion of our scene, we can  lay it at an angle so that it covers far more   or even all of our scene. When we use a standard  lens, and by standard I mean one that doesn't   have any movements on it, we tend to have to use a  very small aperture in order to give the illusion   that everything from front to back is pin sharp  but there are a couple of problems with this.   Firstly, when we use such small apertures  we experience something called diffraction   which takes the edge off of the entire photo.  Secondly, by closing down the aperture we're not   actually making the outer focus areas technically  sharp. We’re just making them less out of focus.  

Only objects in contact with our plane  of focus will ever be technically sharp.   This can become evident if we enlarge an image  to a great degree, print it big or view it from   an extreme close distance. In essence, it may  appear optically sharp at lower magnifications   but if it's not technically sharp, this will  become obvious as we enlarge the photo. By   using lens movements to lay the plane of  focus over all the key areas in our scene,   we can potentially get everything technically  sharp from about a metre in front of the camera,   right up to infinity, maybe many miles  away. Even if we're using a wide aperture.   This then allows us to use an aperture where  the lens is working at its absolute best   meaning that we avoid diffraction  and end up with a much sharper image.  

So let's look at this in practice and see  how a digital camera with a tilt-shift lens   compares to a large format camera which has both  front and back movements. Now it should be said   that different tilt-shift lenses from different  manufacturers will all operate in a slightly   different manner. This one here is a Canon 24mm  Mark II which gives amazing control over all the   various movements. For reasons which we'll see in  a moment, many people think of tilt-shift lenses   as something architectural photographers use and  although they do, they would only typically make   use of the shift element, not the tilt element,  which is the part which gives us control over   focus. The shift element is where we move the lens  left or right. On this large format camera it's   actually the back which has the shift movement.  On the digital tilt-shift lens it looks like   this. Basically the same thing which will achieve  the same result. The image moves left and right.  

On a large format camera we can also move the lens  up and down, something known as rise and fall.   But this too can be achieved with a tilt-shift  lens on a digital camera simply by rotating the   lens through 90 degrees and applying the same  movement we did when we moved it left and right.   The image now moves up and down without having  to move the camera, ensuring the building remains   undistorted. Compare this to how it would look  if I had to tilt the camera up rather than the   lens. The building now appears to be falling over  backwards. With a large format camera we can apply   both shift and rise or fall at the same time.  With some tilt-shift lenses we can do this also  

by rotating the lens so that is partially between  the horizontal and vertical positions. The more   towards the horizontal we move it, the larger  the proportion of shift compared to rise we get.   So far this can do everything that this can do  but let's continue and look at the tilt aspect.   As mentioned earlier, tilting the lens downwards  simply allows us to lay the plane of focus   over more of our scene, allowing us to get near  and far subjects on the same plane - something   which just isn't possible on a standard lens.  Using a tilt-shift lens to focus is really   quite simple as far as I know they're  all manual focus - this one certainly is.  

So you need to activate the live view and  use the screen on the back of the camera.   It's probably not going to work if  you try and use the viewfinder. So   what we're going to do is we're going to  magnify the centre, very centre of the image,   doesn't matter whether that's where your subject  is or not. So I'm going to place the magnifying   box over the centre of the image and zoom in. Now  all I need to do is focus the middle of the image.  

And if I come down to the bottom of the image  we can see that that's very, very out of focus   but I don't want to touch the focus point now  because we're focused on the middle of the scene.   In order to focus the bottom I'm going to apply  some forward tilt. So I'm just going to tilt the   lens until that bottom bit becomes sharp. There  we go. So now if we zoom back to the middle,   that's still perfectly sharp where  we were. And if we go up to the top   you can see that that's also sharp. So what  we've essentially done is we've achieved   front to back sharpness by laying the plane of  focus forward so it covers the entire landscape   even though we're at f/3.5. In addition to tilting  the lens forwards and backwards we can also swing  

it left and right which on a large format camera  looks like this. We can do exactly the same with   our tilt-shift lens. All we need to do is twist it  through 90 degrees and what was tilting forwards   and backwards is now swinging left and right. Now  this is really useful if you want to shoot down a   wall and align the plane of focus so it goes  right down the wall to get everything sharp.   If we already have some rise, fall or shift  dialled in, when we rotate the lens to change   the tilt into swing, you would think that we  would also have to rotate the shift element,   therefore upsetting whatever effect it was  achieving. But this particular tilt-shift lens   allows each control to be rotated independently.  Something which many others do not allow.  

So be aware of this before making any purchases.  The real beneficiary of the tilt element is the   landscape photographer. So it's surprising  that more landscapers don't have one of these   in their bag. Many large format cameras also  have rear standard movements which allow even  

more control over both focus and perspective. So  if you see me using a large format camera on a   future episode of Photography Online, and believe  me you will, then don't think that any of the   lens movements that I'm showing you don't apply  to you just because you have a digital camera.   Get yourself a tilt-shift lens and you can join  in the fun and get control over your photography   that you never knew was possible. No longer will  you be limited with your depth of field and you'll  

never have buildings falling over backwards or  lampposts leaning into frame. A tilt-shift lens is   a great addition to any landscape or architectural  photographer's bag so check out what's available   for your branded camera. You'll soon be able  to control depth of field like never before   ensuring your entire scene from front to back is  pin sharp, even when using your widest apertures.   Now there are caveats to this and it's dependent  on the scene that you're shooting and we'll   be looking at those on future large format  features so make sure you join me for that. Thanks Marcus, but don't go too far as we'll  be needing you again later on in the show.   Now another way to increase your depth of  field is to focus stack. We'll be looking  

at how to do this as well as how not to do  it in our next show so watch out for that.   If you saw our previous show I was in an  amazing medieval town in the heart of Spain   co-leading our annual trip there. Many of  you have been in touch to request details   of next year's trip so we hope to see some of you  then. If you want details of that trip as well as   all the others we do, along with a few  articles on photography written by the team   and a couple of our regular customers, then  I can highly recommend our annual magazine,   Off the Beaten Track. Priced at only £2.50, it's  available in both hard copy or a PDF version.   Obviously you don't need to pay for postage on the  PDF version but personally I enjoy having physical   pages to turn and there is a link to both in the  usual place. Okay, well, one of the areas that   we know you're really interested in is how to get  the best quality images. Lenses are a key part of  

this but regardless of the standard of lens you  use, there are a few tips that you can apply to   ensure it's performing at its very best, even on  a budget kit lens. Here's Harry to tell us more… When it comes to the quality of our images  there are a number of factors which can have   an influence but none more so than with our  lens. Lenses come in all shapes and sizes with   focal length being the main difference but other  variables would include aperture range and closest   focus distance. Regardless of what lens you have,  whether it be an entry level zoom or a pro-spec  

prime, there are certain things we can do to  make sure we're getting the very best out of   our lenses. While we would expect a pro lens used  at its optimum settings to be better than a kit   lens used at its optimum settings, it would be  perfectly possible for a kit lens to outperform   a pro lens if the pro lens was used poorly and the  kit lens used wisely. But what do I mean by used   poorly and wisely? Well let's start by looking  at a zoom lens as this is probably the most   common type of lens used. Zoom lenses have two  variables: focal length and aperture. Within each  

of these variables there will be areas where the  lens performs at its very best and others where   it performs less favourably. If we combine two  of the poorer settings we will get a noticeable   degradation in the resulting image. Let's do  some tests to see how this plays out in reality.   The further from the centre of the lens, the  weaker the image, so I'm going to position   this stone tower right in the corner where any  difference in a lens will be more noticeable.   Starting with my 24-105mm lens in the sweet  spot of its focal range and its aperture range,   the cross on the tower looks like this.  Pretty good considering we are only looking   at a tiny area of the photo. Now let's  open up the aperture to the maximum  

of this lens, f/4, and as we would expect  there's a subtle drop-off in sharpness.   And the same shot but this time at  the smallest aperture of f/22, where   diffraction is noticeable but not horrendous. Here are all three versions to compare. Now let's do the same again but at the lenses  shortest focal length. Immediately we can see  

these are not as good as they were in the middle  of the focal range but as expected the f/8 version   is the cleanest. And finally the long end, which  shows a massive difference between f/4 and f/8.   But unsurprisingly this shot, taken at the lens's  sweet spot, is the best of the bunch. Here are all   nine versions with the corner ones being where  the lens was used at two of its weaker settings   where sharpness and contrast are suffering. So if  you have a zoom lens, I'm not saying never use it   at the extreme focal lengths, but if you do, try  not to use it along with an extreme aperture as   the two together will be quite noticeable. If you  have more than one lens then they may overlap in   their focal ranges. For example, if you have a  24-105 and a 70-200 then these overlap in the  

70-105mm regions. If they're of the same quality  however, then rather than using the 24-105 right   at this extreme long end. we'd be better off using  the 70- 200 at 105mm as this is more likely to be   working optimally at that range. When it comes to  prime lenses, these are always working at their   optimum focal length as this is fixed. The only  variable is the aperture range. So while it's more  

difficult to use a prime lens poorly, you're still  going to get better results if you use the lens   at its sweet spot. This is usually two to three  stops down from a lenses maximum aperture. So   for example, for an f/1.4 lens, it's likely to be  singing in the region of f/2.8 to f 4. If however   you've got an f/5.6 lens, it's more likely to be  dancing at f/11. Regardless of whether we use a   zoom lens or a prime lens, we experience different  problems depending on which end of the aperture   range we use the lenses at. For example, if we use  them at the widest end of the aperture range then  

we should expect to see the edges of the image  suffer a little with both detail and luminance.   This is often seen as a drop-off in brightness  in the corners of the shot. However if you are   taking portraits then the edges of your photo  probably aren't going to be sharp anyway and you   could argue that the natural vignetting actually  helps the shot. So in this example don't be afraid   to use your lens wide open. Where you don't want  to use it wide open is in a landscape situation   where you want corner to corner sharpness as this  won't give you the results you are hoping for. If   we use a lens at the smallest end of the aperture  range then we enter the world of diffraction. We  

did a feature on this in this show here so check  that out if you'd like to know more. Diffraction   will take the sharpness off the entire image,  not just at the edges so this is something you   really should avoid. Unless you have a very good  reason to use the lens at its smallest aperture   this will never give you the best results. Another  way to make sure your lens is performing optimally   is to make sure that you haven't got any filters  attached to the front of it unnecessarily. Many   people have skylight or UV filters permanently  fitted to their lens under the pretence that it   protects the front element. In reality a  lens hood will provide far more protection  

so use this rather than adding an extra piece of  glass for the light to have to travel through.   Only use a filter such as a  polariser or a neutral density   if the effect it gives you outweighs the quality  it's going to remove from the resulting image. If   you use the highest quality filters then  degradation is unlikely to be noticeable   but making lots of small changes like  cleaning the front and rear elements,   not using unnecessary filters and trying  to use the optimum settings where possible   and you should find that your photos are  slapping you around the face with sharpness,   contrast and detail. If not, then it's probably  time to upgrade your lens. Sorry about that. If you'd like access to more information like  that then check out these two volumes of Essential   Camera Skills containing everything that we  covered on the show during the first couple   of years. They provide all the details  about everything you're likely to need to  

know in order to get great photos. Priced at just  £12.50, there's a link in the usual place below.   Now, photography has been around for a long  time and in some areas it has changed enormously   but in other areas it is still similar to how it  was during the last century. As this is a lens   themed show we thought we'd compare a vintage lens  with a modern day equivalent to see just how far   lens performance has come. Get ready because  we're about to time travel back to the 70s… We all know how far technology has come over the  past 50 years and most of these advancements,   certainly in terms of photography, has been in  the camera bodies with things like digital capture   and autofocus being the obvious ones which  wouldn't have been around when this lens was   made. So what is this lens? Well, it's a Minolta  Rokkor 58mm f/1.2. This one is from the same year   that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and it was  considered at the time to be one of the very best   optics on the market. But how does it stand up  to an equivalent lens of today? We're about to   find out. This lens is a bit of a rarity in that  it's a 50 year old Minolta lens in great condition  

which has been modified with a Canon EF mount,  meaning that it will fit almost any Canon camera.   But why have I gone out and bought one of  these when I've already got a high quality   modern day equivalent? It's a good question and  one I hope to answer in the next few minutes.   I'm going to shoot this scene here with  both lenses at f/2, f/5.6 and f/11 to see  

what difference there is. Now I'm expecting the  Sigma to walk all over this but we shall see.   There are two main purposes for a lens of  this focal length: landscapes and portraits.   Landscapes would typically require the use of  small apertures to increase the depth of field   so a super fast prime like this is a bit of an  overkill in this area, so it's really a portrait   lens with the standard focal length giving us  a very natural perspective and an area where we   can utilise the fast apertures. So this is where  we'll spend most of our time on this comparison.  

But first, let's just go and take a landscape  shot and get it out of our system. Because this   is a very contrasty scene looking into the sun,  I'm not sure how much detail we're going to be   able to compare apart from the very edges of  all the rocks. So I'm just going to swing around   and use the old hotel down here which is obviously  going to have a lot more detail to pull out.  

So I'm manually focusing both lenses because  obviously the other one is only manual focus. So here's the full scene taken on the Sigma lens  at f/5.6. As you can see there's a small specular   flare here but other than this it's a very clean  and sharp image. And here's the f/5.6 version from   the Minolta lens. The immediate observation  is that this shot instantly looks retro.  

We have a much larger area of flare going on  here and the colours seem to be much warmer in   that style which only the 1970s could provide.  The sharpness looks good at this resolution   but let's zoom in to 10%0 on each of the three  versions to see exactly what difference there is.   With the Minolta being 8mm longer in focal length  it obviously provides a larger magnification.   But the other obvious difference is that shift  in colour balance with the Sigma being more   neutral. Although you could easily put a case  forward for the warmer colours of the Minolta   being more desirable in this situation. The Sigma  does have more contrast in all three versions   due to the lack of flare which the Minolta is  having by shooting directly into the light.  

In terms of sharpness, to my eyes at least, I  would say the Sigma appears slightly sharper at   f/2, then there's nothing between them at f/5.6,  and then the Sigma just edges it again at f/11.   But there really isn't much in it and I'm having  to look really hard to find the differences.   Something which is surprising to me. Taking a  quick look at the hotel photos where we are no   longer shooting into the light once again the  Sigma looks sharper at f/2 but I really can't   split them at f/5.6 or f/11. The contrast of the  Minolta is better than it was but still not as  

good as the Sigma and the overall exposures are  very slightly darker. This may be to do with a   slight misalignment between the apertures on the  lenses or it could be that the Minolta shots were   taken after the Sigma ones in fading light. So  far it's a point, albeit a minor one, in favour   of the modern lens. But let's use these lenses for  what they were really designed for - portraits. So  

after we've done the landscapes I'm now going to  do the portraits. So we have our beautiful model   here, Cleodie, and we've got her sitting in the  shade. And then you can't probably can't see it   on camera but we've got a reflector way over there  in the sunlight. So it's bouncing light back onto   Cleodie here so you can see that she's got this  nice directional light. Now that's completely   irrelevant to the task at hand but just in case  you're wondering. So I'm going to take some  

portrait shots using the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art  lens to start with. I'm going to use it at f/2.   I'm going to use the other lens f/2 just so it's  a fairly good comparison but I might shoot some   wide open on this which is f/1.4 and shoot some  wide open on that which is f/1.2 just to see what   the results are like but it's not fair to compare  them at 1.2 to 1.4. So we'll just start by taking  

some nice kind of head and shoulder portraits  here. The beauty of this lens is obviously I've   got auto focus whereas with the other lens it's  purely manual focus so it'll be much easier to do   everything on this lens than it will on the  other lens but that's my problem not yours. So as always with portraits,  always get down to eye level.  

So I'm just gonna lower myself there. Focusing  on the eye and just going to take a couple of   test shots just to make sure my exposure's okay.  Now I'm blowing out the background because that's   bright sunlight but that's obviously not a  problem. Just going to come a tiny bit closer.  

Okay, eyes back towards the camera. So I've just softened the light a little  bit because the first ones were like this,   so just a bit too harsh and a bit shiny, so we've  softened the light so just so you know that that's   with zero reflector. That's how we've just had  it and that's how it was before. So that's too   much there. That's not enough and that's  pretty good. So it looks nice and natural.   So all we're going to do now is just pick one  at random and go in and check the sharpness.   But because this is an autofocus lens  you can see that it's nice and sharp.   It's not going to be that easy with the manual  focus so I'm going to have to adopt a few   focusing techniques. So you can see the size  comparison. The old lens is much smaller but  

although it's also lighter, it's not as light  as it looks because this is pretty much solid   glass. So that will fit onto there. Because we're  working at f/2 here and this is a slightly longer   focal length than the other lens so our depth of  field is going to be literally a couple of mm. So   I can't possibly see that much detail through  the viewfinder. I could set the camera up on a   tripod and magnify the live view and focus it  manually there but that assumes that Cleodie   is not going to be moving as well which she  probably is so that's not going to work. So   what I'm going to do is once I've once I think  I've got the right focus point, I'm just going   to take a burst of photos and just gently bracket  the distance between the camera and then hopefully   we'll get one that's sharp. So let's just try  that. So exactly the same as we were before.

So another method I can do is I can do  exactly the same but I can keep still   and I can just rock the lens barrel  very slightly backwards and forwards.   So we just try that technique in  case it's any better. So same again. We've got some nice little breeze blowing now  and it's just taking the hair off the shoulders   which is always a bonus. Nothing to do with the lens of course but… So with this lens I'm having to  take a lot more photos because   I just have to accept that because I'm  working with such a shallow depth of field,   80% of them are probably not going to be sharp  so I really need to take five times the amount   of photos on this lens as with the other lens.  So that's definitely a tick in the box for   modern technology. So let's just check those  and check the sharpness. So I'm just flicking  

through some here. You see that's obviously well  out of focus. That's a blink and out of focus.   That's a little bit sharper but still  not sharp. That's pin sharp there.   So you're not going to get it any better  than that I don't think and that one as well.   So obviously as I've bracketed I've gone  through the plane of focus perfectly there   so these ones are all well out of focus and  you can see it's getting sharper, sharper,   that’s sharp, that's sharp and then we start  losing it again on the other side. So we've got  

a good example now of this lens at f/2 and the  other lens at f/2. So what I'm going to do now   is I'm just going to change this lens to 1.2.  Obviously we can't do that on the Sigma but we   shot the Sigma at 1.4 wide open so we're going to  shoot this at wide open as well, just to see what  

the difference is. So now I'm at f/1.2 which  means an even shallower depth of field so it   makes my job even more difficult. So we'll  just go for it and see what happens I think.   I've got 50 years of technology working against  me here so just need to be a bit patient. There's one there that's absolutely pin sharp and  you're blinking. It's because you knew. If you   look at the out of focus areas, I’ll bring  it up on the screen here, it's unbeatable. What you want to try and do is get  one where your hair's lifted up,   you've got a good expression, and I've  managed to get it sharp. Light's good.

Just need that little bit of breeze  to lift the hair off your face now. Right. Let's have a go, look at that. How does the light look on me at the  moment? Is it okay? See this eye’s in   shadow at the moment but then as soon as you  look back towards the light it comes alive.  

Because if you're looking straight at the camera,  if one eye is sharp the other one should be   should be sharp. See that eye is very slightly  soft and that eye? That shows you how shallow   the depth of field is because if you look there  you're looking almost directly at the camera.   Unless you've got one eye further  back into your head than the other. I don't think so! It's a sign of local inbreeding.  

So these are the two shots taken at f/2 side by  side. Nothing has been done to these apart from   a slight lifting of the shadows and a reduction  of the highlights to flatten them out a little.   But the same adjustments have been applied to  both. At this magnification the winner in my eyes  

is the Minolta all day long. Its warmer tones and  softer feel make it ideal for close-up portraits   like this. But let's zoom in to a hundred percent  to see how they differ on a pixel level. For me   there's no change. I still prefer the Minolta  lens for the Sigma is just too sharp and shows   every pore in the model's face. Something we  will then have to soften in post-production.  

The 1960s have done this naturally with the  Minolta lens, providing a much more pleasant   result. Now let's look at both lenses wide  open. As I mentioned, this is not really a fair   comparison as the Minolta is f/1.2 and the Sigma  is f/1.4. But the big difference is in the bokeh   of the background, with the Minolta walking all  over the Sigma. One of the reasons it's also   known as the Bokeh Beast. Zooming into a hundred  percent shows that the Sigma doesn't really lose   any of its sharpness wide open whereas the Minolta  does have a noticeable fall-off from what it was   at f/2. But it's still working favourably for  this kind of close-up portrait. So there you   have it. The answer to the question, how far have  lenses come in the past 50 years? Not that far.  

While the Sigma is definitely sharper, there  really isn't that much in it. The vintage lens   unsurprisingly gives that vintage feel. So if you  don't want your photos to look super clinical and,   dare I say it, digital, this could be the answer.  Plus if you use one of these you look super cool. What? Why are you laughing? We often use that lens for recording my  sections of the show, including this one   that you're watching now as it's compact, super  fast and manual focus meaning it never tries to   hunt when I turn away for example. It is amazing  to think that with all the modern technology that  

we have that we're still using something made in  the 1960s because there's nothing better available   for a comparable price. So if you think  I look a bit rough on this lens then you   should see me on a modern one! Also rumour has  it that the lens that you just saw Marcus using   is actually radioactive. Apparently Minolta used  thorium dioxide for the rear element coating which   might explain why Marcus looks the way he does!  If you're interested in that, google “radioactive   lens” to find out more. Okay, so at the beginning  of the show I asked which of these exposures would   give the brightest image at ISO 100? A: 1/60th at  f/16, B: 1/30th at f/8, C: 1/500th at f/1.4 or D:   1/250th at f/5.6? If you said B then you  were wrong! The correct answer was in fact C:  

1/500th at f/1.4 which is 5 stops brighter than A,  1 stop brighter than B and 3 stops brighter than D   so well done if you worked that out correctly.  So sadly we're out of time again but don't go   quite yet because I want to tell you what  you can look forward to on the next show.   Marcus is still exploring gear from 50 years  ago, this time its film which expired in 1975.   Does it still work and how will the results look?  Find out next time along with how to shoot great   dolphin photos if you don't like going on  boats. And we'll be giving you our start   to finish guide to focus stacking. That's  all coming up in just a couple of weeks so  

make sure that you join me for that. Until then,  take good care but most of all take good photos. …as a large format camera would. But it's still really, really good. No. Really,  really good. What am I talking about? I've forgotten the start… …No…Take 2… the more surfaces there are for…  surfaces… surfaces there are… rather than using the 24-105  why does it… god's sake! …which has been modified to have a Canon… can't even turn the thing off… for an f/1.4 lens it's going  to be singing? Dancing?…

which seemed to attract flare as if it's  a special feature of the *&@*! lens! …I’ve forgotten the start again, for god's sake. What is it about this  paragraph? …the only variable… with this lens we can control  tilt, swing, rise and… shift. …2 to 3 stops down from its maximum aperture…   I forgot the rest… it's a good  answer and one I hope to answer… I actually look quite good like this you know.

2022-06-28 02:21

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