Creating Shallow Depth-of-Field With f/1.2 Camera Lenses
The kit lenses that come with a digital SLR camera offer a solid introduction to the camera and its abilities, but you may get to a point where you want your images to have more of a professional touch. One of the most effective ways of doing this, particularly with portrait photography, is by using a lens that has a wide aperture. The shallow depth of field allows you to create those beautiful blurred backgrounds and bokeh effects you see in professional portraiture, while the wider opening enables you to shoot in low-light conditions.
What Are the Advantages of an f/1.2 Camera Lens?
A wide-aperture lens, such as an f/1.2, has a much shallower depth of field than an f/4 lens, resulting in aesthetically pleasing bokeh effects and softly blurred backgrounds. Most f/1.2 lenses are also fixed focal length primes, which means they have fewer moving parts and are generally lighter in weight than normal lens zooms.
- A wider opening allows more light to flow into the camera, helping to reduce the longer shutter speeds that you would otherwise require when shooting in low-light conditions. This means that you can still capture sharply focused portraits at sunset or in dimly-lit churches without unwanted blurriness or camera shake that often results from long shutter opening times.
- A lens with a wide aperture is also favorable when shooting portraits in settings that arent attractive or are bustling with other people. The shallow depth of field means that the background and any people in it are effectively blurred, while still retaining the essence of your setting and the surrounding environment.
- The shallower depth-of-field can also create stunning detail shots, such as wedding rings or macro floral details, by drawing the viewers attention to the subject without being distracted by whats in the background.
What Should You Look for When Buying an f/1.2 Lens?
Wide aperture lenses, such as the f/1.2, come with a range of different focal lengths, although most tend to use the 50mm f/1.2. You can also pair them with neutral density filters to create different lighting effects.
- The "nifty fifty" are well-used wide aperture lenses and offer a similar view to what the human eye actually sees. In addition to 50mm lenses with autofocusing capabilities, you can find manual focus 50mm f/1.2 prime lenses, as well as Nikon auto-indexing (AIS) lenses from the 1980s.
- When purchasing more recent models of Nikon f/1.2 lenses, look for AF-S lenses with autofocus silent motors that boast super-fast focusing with minimal noise.
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