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Used as a creative tool, a wide aperture can make compelling images, revealing the flaw in the “sharpness is everything” approach. Perception and a pleasing image are much more complicated than sharpness.

Over time, I plan to update this guide will be updated with further examples and insights from other lenses.

Lens choices

Note that an 85mm f/1.2 lens has about the same amount of blur as a 50mm f/0.95 lens, though perspective will change. In other words, you do not need a Leica M9 and a 50mm f/0.95 lens to see similar effects.

Most everyone can afford an f/1.4 lens, which is a good place to start; a 50mm f/1.4 is readily available at modest cost, and on the used market, it’s even cheaper.

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.

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