Faster lens vs. greater ISO for low light

1 year 6 months ago #623291 by Phyllis Miller
Happy New Year!  

When it comes to value and getting the most for your money, which can you get more for  less?  Is the cost from a f/2.8 to a f/1.4 lens, a better value then going from a camera that performs good at 3200 ISO to a camera that performs good at 1600 ISO?


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1 year 6 months ago #623292 by Phyllis Miller
Actually to take that one step further - 

If you bought the camera that performed good at 3200 ISO, if you bought a lens that was f/1.4, would that level the playing ground and put your set up on par with a camera that is good at 1600 ISO with a lens that is f/2.8?


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1 year 6 months ago #623306 by garyrhook
First off, you're splitting hairs. Trying to ascertain the difference between ISO performance re: 1600 vs. 3200 is a moot point. They won't be that far apart.

Then: you're talking about a single stop difference there. But the lens apertures you mention are two stops apart. So it's an invalid comparison.

IMO There's more to a lens than aperture. There's image quality, rendering, bokeh, and intent. What are you shooting? Shallow DoF portraits, or events, or street? I don't think you can look only a some specs and make a decision on equivalence.

In general, most of use will always say, "glass". Having just sold an 85mm f/1.8 and acquired an 85mm f/1.4 (for twice the price) I can say that I'm happy and it was worth it. But the latter is simply a better lens all around, not just because it has a (slightly) wider aperture (2/3 stop).


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1 year 6 months ago #623310 by fmw
You are comparing apples to oranges.  While both approaches will improve low light performance, the faster lens will affect depth of field while the ISO will a affect noise.  Different legs of the exposure triangle.

Personally I would prefer the faster lens


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1 year 6 months ago #623311 by Nikon Shooter

fmw wrote: Personally I would prefer the faster lens


+1

True, cameras performances are improving constantly but
higher quality lenses are the better investment anytime.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
This person is a posting maniac and deserves a #1 badge!Top Poster
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1 year 6 months ago #623327 by the four vignettes
Gary mentions some good points, but wait.. there's more.

It doesn't matter how fast glass is if you need to stop it down.  Sometimes f/2.8 is even too shallow, so a f/1.4 wouldn't be of much use in those situations (in fact it would just make the camera heavier). Some things like CA, sharpness and other properties can differ at various apertures also.  There's a LOT that goes into a lens and aperture is just a single part of it.

ISO perf in cameras is weird too.   Most higher MP cameras have worst high ISO perf but if you resize the images to something which has really good low light perf (which generally have lower MP),  would the images roughly look the same?  It isn't just the sensor/pixel size but the what the camera does with the RAW sensor data too. 

"I know that I know nothing"


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1 year 6 months ago #623414 by ThatNikonGuy
Getting the faster glass is the better long term bet


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1 year 6 months ago #623627 by tCampbell
When available, I always go for faster glass.  That will benefit any camera you are using.  Making it a better long term investment.  


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1 year 6 months ago #623665 by Moe
+1 glass


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