Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB
GET THE BEST DEALS
Top deals pages updated daily for Sony, Nikon, Canon, Apple, many more!
Instant rebates, Black Friday deals, etc
See also Holiday Head Start Deals and Shop Early Save Early
Shooting in Eastern Sierra ⛰ thru ~Dec 1st
Nov 19, 19:00 PST.
When feasible I descend for internet service most days, but…
Please expect up to 48 hour delay when subscribing.

Fast Lenses—Shutter Speeds / Background Blur (Bokeh)

Last updated 2010-01-10 - Send Feedback
Related: bokeh, howto, shutter

A “fast” lens has a large maximum “f” number (small numerically) eg f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2. A large aperture allows higher shutter speeds because it delivers a much brighter image.

A really fast lens is one like the Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux, reviewed as part of my Leica M9 review in DAP.

Background blur

Blurring the background is a big advantage of a fast lens. It allows the subject to stand out. See this page.

Fast shutter speeds

For the image below, a typical consumer zoom lens would have required 1/5 second at ~f/5 instead of the 1/60 second made possible by f/1.4. That’s one major advantage of a fast lens.

Shooting this scene under heavy foliage late in the day, the “fast” f/1.4 maximum aperture of the Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4 Planar came in handy at (1/60 sec).

Panhandlers
Canon 1Ds Mark III + Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4 Planar @ f/1.4

Depth of field

Of course, there is no free lunch. Using a lens with a f/1.4 aperture at f/1.4 presents certain challenges in getting accurate focus, not to mention subjects moving at the same time. I shot a 2nd frame where I nailed the focus on the gander’s eye at left, and with the head turned just the best angle into the light—but the other ducks did not line up as directed.

Boy, that eagle would enjoy one of those fat city ducks...!


B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 14 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$797 SAVE $350 = 30.0% $59 FREE ITEMS Nikon D5600 DSLR with 18-55mm and 70-300mm Lenses in Cameras: DSLR
$1079 SAVE $320 = 22.0% $249 FREE ITEMS Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM in Lenses: DSLR
$3498 SAVE $1000 = 22.0% Sony a9 Mirrorless in Cameras: Mirrorless

diglloyd Inc. | FTC Disclosure | PRIVACY POLICY | Trademarks | Terms of Use
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2008-2017 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.