First off, thank you all f


First off, thank you all for the kind words. I actually expected vitriol and argument since I was debunking some long-held beliefs.

To address some of the comments and questions, David, I agree that not all lenses give good bokeh. I remember a Hasselblad lens which I think was 150mm that was incredible at middle apertures and I also believe that there is/was an 80mm Nikkor that’s generally regarded as wonderful. The Hass is a Zeiss lens so that sort of confirms your findings. For the youngsters in the gallery, these are all still camera lenses and some cost well over $1000 so they ought to be good.

In my opinion great bokeh is art, it is hard to describe, but you know it when you see it and not everybody will agree on what is “good”.

Reynand, I don’t know if sensors age, that is, deteriorate over time and/or with use and I am not sure what you mean by “better”. You CCD sensor probably is noisier than an equivalent CMOS sensor in low light, all other things being equal – which they seldom are. I have both CCD and CMOS video cameras and it seems that CMOS is about one f-stop more sensitive than CCD, but that is only a guess on my part. I use them interchangeably.

The f1.2 lens will provide a brighter image than an f1.4 lens simply because it admits about 36% more light. Putting more light on the sensor will raise its signal-to-noise ratio which will be perceived as a “better” image.

Unfortunately, newer often means better because technology is always advancing. Generally speaking in this business you get what you pay for and “killer” images – moving or still – cost a lot, but not always. Since you are never going to have the “best”, whatever that is, You use what you’ve got.

Toby, everything you learned about still photography technology applies to video. A good picture is based more on how you treat the subject using light and shadow, focus, background etc than anything related to technology. A really good movie scene and a good still are visually the same thing. Of course, the goals are different – a still captures a moment and a movie captures an event. But they both must look good.

The camcorder lenses have short focal lengths because the sensors are so small. A 1/3″ standard 4:3 DV sensor is about 0.2″ high and 0.264″ wide. That means to fill the screen top to bottom with the image of a 6′ (72″) man 10′ (120″) from the camera, the lens must project a image only 0.2″ high onto the sensor. The focal length required to do that is;

Fl=(image height)(distance)/(subject height)

Fl=(0.2)(120)/(72)=0.33″ which equals about 8mm. 8mm is a pretty short lens with a lot of DoF.

Good luck! Personally, I believe it is better to concentrate on shooting to please your client, which may well be yourself, with your unique and personal treatment of the subject rather than worrying that there is some better equipment out there – there always is. Jaimie

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