Fuji Neopan 1600. This is the fastest film I’ve ever shot. I shot this in combination with my Canon SLR 500 and 50mm lens. Shooting wide open at 1.8 and 1600 film means I’m able to photograph in almost any dark situation. I don’t shoot too often in such dark circumstances so it’s usefulness to me is questionable.
These were shot all over Singapore
I don’t know how many people have seen the Kurt Russel classic from the eighties but I went out to Chinatown with the sole purpose to shoot wide open. With my nifty fifty ( which I reviewed here) set at f1.8 I walked around the crowded market through people shopping in preparation for Lunar New Year. Shooting with a large aperture leads to a very shallow depth of field meaning only a small part of the image is in focus.
This musician was playing a traditional instrument and seemed quite happy doing it. I raised my camera and made eye contact asking non-verbally if it was okay to take a portrait and quickly took two shots. Because I was standing in a crowded market I shot quickly and because I was shooting wide open I missed the focus on his eyes. The number one rule I have always heard about portrait photography is to make sure the eyes are sharp.. A persons eyes are the windows to his soul, gateway to the innerbeing, the unwashed mirror gazing deep into the demons of insecurity and shame roaming inside of its human host. Wait, I think I missed the point. I agree with the rule that the eyes should be sharp, unless you want to emphasize other body parts, but then its becomes less of a portrait I would say.
To dismiss the point I just finished making: the number one rule in overall photography is the paradoxical ; there are no rules in photography. But I think I will list the rules of photography in another post.
I did a quick Google search on dried Chinese duck and came back with Wind-dried duck and pressed-salted-duck. I don’t know which one the above picture is of but if you know please leave a note in the comment section.
The atmosphere in Chinatown during the preparation of Lunar New year is pleasantly chaotic. I enjoy the sensory overload of people crowed together and stall owners presenting their wares. Most of the food items are foreign to me and for the most part I am happy to keep that relationship like that.
Shooting wide open with the nifty fifty is tricky and I lost quite some shot due to missed focus because of the very shallow depth of field. The effect is pleasant, but in such a fast paced environment it would be easier to shoot a bit more stopped down.
Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph. If it was, they would have more to say. – Anonymous
When I use my film camera the EOS 500 with the nifty fifty I switch to manual focus. The autofocus doesn’t work well or at all on that camera so I have to work on my manual focus skills. And as you can see by the title of this article I am still not that great with it.
What makes it even more challenging is that I always shoot wide open and at 1.8 you have a very narrow focus depth to deal with. Often I miss and the results aren’t always bad. If I had the perfect focus it often meant another snapshot, but having a blurry subject often leads to something surprising and new.
Sharpness is a bourgeois concept. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
In the end by lacking perfection and having such an obvious flaw it makes these images interesting, challanging. We know the basic rules of photography and what makes an image “right” and by breaking such rules on purpose or by accident we create a reality that was there present at that moment that we may have not have seen, but cannot be denied.
Rookies seeks sharper image.
Pro’s seeks to make money.
Artist seeks light. – Anonymous
The Canon 50mm 1.8 one of my first lenses I ever purchased and one of the most recommended lenses for very good reasons. It’s a great portrait lens on a crop body and a great all around lens on a full frame body. I don’t have a full frame digital body, but I do have a film EOS body which I picked up cheaply a few years ago.
What’s great about it
Price, cheapest canon lens you can pick up for around a $100.
Very shallow depth of field you can achieve shooting wide open at 1.8. Also useful for shooting in low light situations.
Small and light, easy to throw in your camera bag. Make sure you have a good aim. Or have a floor made out of rubber. Or have the common sense to place an expensive and fragile piece of photography equipment in your bag rather than go going full out and knuckle-balling (baseball term for my non-American-continent readers) your precious thrifty-fifty into the nearest wall.
What’s not so great
Many people complain about the build quality. It is made of plastic, but I wonder what people do with lenses that that really matters. I have dropped my nifty fifty various times and it has always kept on ticking. The last time I dropped it, the front element glass popped out and I was holding two pieces of a former one-piece lens.
Immediately I turn to Google and find many other people who have done this. Everybody talks about how easy it was putting it back together even when some of the plastic inner pieces are broken. I like to think of myself of at least being equal to the average net-user and it takes me 15 minutes to put the lens back together which now functions perfectly.
The focus ring is hard to maneuver when handling it manually. This is especially the case when shooting video. But I can’t think of other lenses that handle this well, so it may be not a real piece of criticism.
When shooting wide open it is hard to keep the focus accurately. Focus-Recompose doesn’t always work well when dealing with such a narrow depth of field. But again this is more related to technique rather than characteristics of the lens itself.