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