Created 10-Feb-07
Modified 7-Jan-13
Visitors 1916
3 photos
While I was having lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, Emily was curious about my 85mm f/1.2 lens. "Why is it so big?" she asked.

The first shot, at f/1.2, shows why it's so big. The large aperture creates a depth of field (zone of apparent sharpness) of only a few millimeters, throwing the background completely out of focus and softening everything in front of the focus point...Emily's eyes. The bright lights of the restaurant in the background are a little distracting, but Emily is clearly the center of attention and looks lovely. I think her look is one of amazement at the huge glass she was looking into.

The second shot, at f/6.3, shows the greater depth of field of the smaller aperture. The background, while out of focus, is still recognizable and thus is very distracting. So distracting that the eye tends to scan the entire background, especially the bright areas, before realizing there is nothing to see and finally settling on the subject. Not good.

Also the smaller aperture required an ISO setting two EV greater resulting in more chroma noise. And, it required a shutter speed two EV slower resulting in some softness from camera shake. Emily still looks lovely in spite of the poor background, but to save the image she would have to be extracted in Photoshop and placed on a better background.

Both were shot in RAW mode on my Canon 5D. The first was developed in Canon Digital Photo Professional and the second in Adobe Camera Raw. Both were transferred to Photoshop CS2 for final editing to create a different look for each.

The second shot was given a more technically "correct" exposure (maybe a bit warm for some tastes), while the first was given a more dramatic treatment. Which shot has the most impact? (If you say the second shot, I will have wasted a boat load of money on the EF 85mm f/1.2 L II).

Thanks to Emily for being such a spontaneous, willing, and beautiful subject.

Categories & Keywords
Category:People
Subcategory:Portraits
Subcategory Detail:Young Women
Keywords:85 f/1.2 L II, Canon 5D, People, Portrait, Young woman

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