Aperture - the difference between 1.4 and 2.8

June 02, 2015  •  2 Comments

In wedding photography in Toronto, we cover nearly all genres of photography.  That's why when someone asks me for macro work, I'm ready - we take shots of the rings and the shoes and the bouquet.  What if someone calls me for family portraits?  Well we take group shots as well and candid shots, so yes, available as well.  What about maternity and infant?  Well after couples get married, they need those as well - so yes, would you like it in studio or outdoors?  Event photography?  That's what half of the wedding is.

A lot of people who are getting into photography think that a 1.4 is better than 2.8.  That's usually because when you get into full size sensors or pro grade DSLR's or mirrorless, you now have a new found power to blur the background.  The more blurry the background the better.  Or is it?  Not always.  And at an f-stop of 1.4, you have such a thin depth of field that it can be rather difficult to get proper focus.

This picture was taken at 1.4 with the 50mm Sigma Art 1.4 lens.  For me it's beautiful, it's my son and for all other purposes I love the creamy background that the 1.4 gives, but this close up you're getting a bit of distortion which isn't always flattering.  Others won't like the fact that the ears are no longer in focus.  The razor thin depth of field with the 1.4 keeps the eyes in focus, but nothing else.  Some like this effect and others don't.  It all depends on taste and for what purpose you're using such a fast lens for.

In situations where you're caught with  low light, it's great because you can get that extra shutter speed in to freeze shots and let in more light with 1.4, but when you have plenty of light and want the whole face in focus, I prefer using an aperture of 2.8.

This shot is my son during his avocado and cereal meal.

This is taken at ISO 640 at 2.8 1/100sec @ 300mm on my 120-300mm 2.8 Sigma Lens.  I love the compression at 300mm and the background is also screaming, but the face renders very nicely.  I love using my 70-200 2.8 nikkor VR II as well, and weighing in at double of that the 120-300mm isn't the most convenient lens to be lugging around.  I actually bring my luggage when I use that lens.

It all comes down on personal preference.  I love the 1.4, but mostly when the light gets low and I need those extra stops of light to get clean shots with lower ISO.  When using the D750 or the D810 however, you can go to high ISO and still get usable shots.

At the end of the day I love the 1.4 it's my son's pre-avocado face and the 2.8 is my son's post-avocado face and they're beautiful just the same.


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