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Poll! Your favourite focal length, sensor size and aspect ratio ...

Guest 187ddc7787b20f1da7d3db97b0ea00cb

There can be only one!  

41 members have voted

  1. 1. Your favourite focal length (please choose closest)

  2. 2. Favourite sensor size (please choose closest)

    • S16mm
    • BMCC
    • MFT
    • APS-C / S35mm
    • APS-H
    • 35mm / Full Frame
    • Larger than 35mm
  3. 3. Your favourite aspect ratio (please choose closest)

    • 4:3
    • 16:9 / widescreen
    • 2.39:1 / anamorphic widescreen

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IMO, if only say focus length without related to sensor's size, there is no meanings.  Like some one measuring distance to compare by using different rulers, one metric system, and other imperial system.   


Yes, the lens choice needs to be paired directly to the sensor size for the poll to make any sort of logical sense.  For example, I like a 30mm lens on a MFT as an all-around lens, but wouldn't use a 30mm to shoot a head shot with a FF sensor.

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Guest 560a4aedcb80685284629074497fdc75

Yes I realised it was confusing shortly after posting (and was confused myself)!


You can view who voted for what in each category - I assume people have chosen their lens in relation to the sensor they chose, and vice versa.


But I agree it's not ideal.

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I am forced to blow my own trumpet again - and with my back ache, I need to limit how much I do this! :)


I am absolutely certain that there is a difference between rendering of imagery between smaller and larger sensors.  I see a difference, and obviously professionals who spend £80k on a medium format digital back see it as well - otherwise they'd just shoot 36x24 and pocket the difference.



You write that condescendingly but this and this (shot with a phase one) are both examples of shallow DOF. With the latter being more about background separation. If you disagree then there's surely some kind of conflict in our terminology..


What you are disregarding is that dof isnt just about the ratio between the in focus and out of focus blur.  It's about the intimate step between the two.  Generally when comparing a longer and a shorter focal length (both of the same quality), the longer focal length will be higher resolution with less aberrations, distortion, and less vignette wide open.  This is known as a rule which is rarely broken.  a fast 50 will always be better than the same quality fast 35mm.


when you add these apparent strengths of a longer focal length and then obtain a wider fov by increasing the format size you maintain the quality of the longer focal length while gaining the same fov as the wider lens delivers on the smaller format.  This is what makes the difference - the ratio between in focus resolution and the amount of blur is contributing to the clear difference between how different formats render the same fov's.


The reason fast zeisses lenses are known to have their 'zeiss 3d pop' is because they are able to deliver large amounts of defocus blur while also delivering very sharp in focus subjects.  A 50mm 2.8 hasselblad distagon on 6x6 format 50iso will out perform a 25mm f1.4 (if there was such a thing worth mentioning!) on s35mm at 50iso when we consider both will render similar fov and dof ratio but the 50 f2.8 distagon is razor sharp at f2.8 and the 25mm f1.4 will be nasty and need to be closed to f2.8-f4 before it comes close to the resolution of the 50.


the 25mm will be 'in focus' on the subject,  but in comparison to the 50mm lens the in focus area won't look sharp.  

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This reminds me I still have to buy a distagon 50 2.8, I just hate to pay the hasselblad prices.


Anyway, I just want to add that it's not only that these lenses have less aberrations but that the dof area is "denser". A zeiss FF lens might have the pop, but the dof area is still faster fading so you will have trouble getting 3D objects into focus, on larger formats the dof area is thicker, no matter what your dof calculations say.

But remember, this is not something you only need for tiny little dof shots, this is something that comes handy always. For example a 25mm shot at medium distance @ 2.8 on fullframe, the dof is pretty wide, but there is still a gentle background blur. On medium format (50, f1/5.6) you will have very much better contrast on the focused areas, and the slight blur in background and transitions will be very smooth, not nervous. This is something that translates to most common cases you encounter shooting and gives an overall much better look. So it's not about shallow or shallower dof, but about the quality of rendering.


These images are very plastic and lively, opposed to the cheaply fuzzy impression of smaller or much smaller formats. Once you notice it's really a game changer, or how a polish friend says: Once you had a black, there's no way back.


camera porn:



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I mostly use S35 to shoot, so I guess you could say it's my 'favourite.'


If I had to put together my ideal lens set, it would consist of a 20mm, 24mm, 32mm, 40mm, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm


Maybe a 50mm and/or a 60mm, but as a general all-purpose lens set, I'd be quite happy with the above. I much prefer a 40mm to a 50mm, and prefer a 75mm and a 100mm to a straight 85mm.


Aspect ratio wise, I most often shoot 1.85:1 so again I guess you could say it's my 'favourite'


To be totally honest though, it really depends on what I'm shooting. Some stories call for 2.39:1 anamorphic, others are 2.39:1 cropped, others at 1.85:1... Same with lenses and sensor. I tend to choose what's best for the story, rather than what's my 'favourite'

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