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what lenses for candid photography???
  
 
chiron
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · what lenses for candid photography???


Ok, so I know that the manual focus lenses from Zeiss, Voigtlander, and others are pieces of sculptural and mechanical art, beautiful to hold in the hand, with buttery focus movements and satiny black finishes made of metal. But they don't work terribly well (not nearly as well as MF on the old manual SLRs with split focusing screens) with mirrorless cameras for candid photographs of people (or kids, or animals) when you are trying to catch life on the move.

I am trying out the Voigtlander 40mm 1.2, which is a beautiful lens, but as I try to grab a shot of my wife and daughter-in-law-to-be stuffing wedding invitations at the dining room table, the need to manually focus destroys the opportunity for a relaxed and natural photograph.

If I still had my Canon 50mm 1.2 L, I might have gotten the shot!

So, what are the best native Sony lenses for shooting life as it happens? AF only, please.



Nov 05, 2017 at 07:57 PM
rji2goleez
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · what lenses for candid photography???


At that focal length, you would probably enjoy the Sony/Zeiss 55/1.8. Light, Otus like sharpness, fast to AF.


Nov 05, 2017 at 08:09 PM
virtualrain
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · what lenses for candid photography???


I think the FE 55 f/1.8 is ideal for this kind of interior candid shooting. Compact and light (not intimidating) with fast, accurate, and silent AF. If you want something a bit wider, Iím guessing the FE 35 f/2.8 might work (I have never owned this lens though).

I also use the Batis 85 (but the FE 85 would work similarly) for candid street. You need to be a bit further away on the street for candid work of course hence the longer focal length and Iím even cropping to about 135mm FoV sometimes.



Nov 05, 2017 at 08:14 PM
jgoetz4
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · what lenses for candid photography???


Can't help you with the Sony system, but don't be discouraged with mf glass. I shot this with the Fuji X-E1 and Canon FD 50 1.4 at 1.4. Yeah, it was hard at first, but I got use to it (practiced a lot) and now it stays on that camera 95% of the time. Manual focusing on the Fuji is very effective




  X-E1    50mm    f/0/0    1/350s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  




Nov 05, 2017 at 08:15 PM
Jonathan Brady
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · what lenses for candid photography???


Do you have any specific aperture needs? Seems like you like fast glass (f/1.2-1.4 max aperture) but if it's not necessary for your intended purpose, the field of options really opens up.


Nov 05, 2017 at 08:19 PM
chiron
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · what lenses for candid photography???


jgoetz4 wrote:
Can't help you with the Sony system, but don't be discouraged with mf glass. I shot this with the Fuji X-E1 and Canon FD 50 1.4 at 1.4. Yeah, it was hard at first, but I got use to it (practiced a lot) and now it stays on that camera 95% of the time. Manual focusing on the Fuji is very effective


Gorgeous image. But sometimes pets are actually more cooperative than people, and less self-conscious about waiting for their picture to be taken!



Nov 05, 2017 at 09:13 PM
chiron
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · what lenses for candid photography???


rji2goleez wrote:
At that focal length, you would probably enjoy the Sony/Zeiss 55/1.8. Light, Otus like sharpness, fast to AF.


Yes. I have this lens, and I keep think of it as boring--that thought probably shows my inexperience!



Nov 05, 2017 at 09:15 PM
chiron
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · what lenses for candid photography???


Jonathan Brady wrote:
Do you have any specific aperture needs? Seems like you like fast glass (f/1.2-1.4 max aperture) but if it's not necessary for your intended purpose, the field of options really opens up.


I do like shooting just in room light. I may need to up the iso more than I am used to doing. Then the 35 2.8 could come on line. But those wide apertures are so lovely and soft.




Nov 05, 2017 at 09:18 PM
coase
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · what lenses for candid photography???


If the problem is the 55's field of view, why not try the 28mm FE? It's quite good for its price especially outdoors in good light. And in low light it's -- dare I say -- more than good enough.


Nov 05, 2017 at 09:18 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · what lenses for candid photography???


I do heaps of this kind of photography and find the fe 1.8/55 to be ideal because it is small, relatively inconspicuous and it has very fast and silent AF. I like to shoot wide open so AF can work both for and against you in this kind of photography although i try to use eye-af whenever possible. Struggling to move the focus point to the correct location makes an af lens as slow as a mf lens but this is where the joystick on the a9 and a7r3 should be an advantage (i have an a7r2). My second favourite lens for candids is the leica r 1.4/80 which i find fast to focus wo in most circumstances but never as fast as the fe 1.8/55.


Nov 05, 2017 at 09:24 PM
 

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chiron
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · what lenses for candid photography???


virtualrain wrote:
I think the FE 55 f/1.8 is ideal for this kind of interior candid shooting. Compact and light (not intimidating) with fast, accurate, and silent AF. If you want something a bit wider, Iím guessing the FE 35 f/2.8 might work (I have never owned this lens though).

I also use the Batis 85 (but the FE 85 would work similarly) for candid street. You need to be a bit further away on the street for candid work of course hence the longer focal length and Iím even cropping to about 135mm FoV sometimes.


You are right about the 55 and about the Batis 85. But either would have crowded the shot I wanted of my wife and soon to be daughter in law stuffing the envelopes. I think what is really missing is a small fast 35. Maybe the Batis 25? Or the Sony 28?

The thing about this forum is that it produces acute G.A.S. for exotic and esoteric lenses! I actually have the right lenses for candids. I just need to keep them on the camera more often. Or maybe what I "need" is a second body--maybe an a7II--and then to keep one camera loaded with the exotic lens and the other with the great AF native lenses that are already available among my lens collection.



Nov 05, 2017 at 09:26 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · what lenses for candid photography???




chiron wrote:
Yes. I have this lens, and I keep think of it as boring--that thought probably shows my inexperience!


The 1.8/55 is really a special lens because it is one of relatively few lenses with soft bokeh behind the subject combined with razor sharpness in the plane of focus. Sure plenty of people don't like it, nothing wrong with that, but it does have qualities that allow you to create amazing images, especially wide open.



Nov 05, 2017 at 09:31 PM
jgoetz4
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · what lenses for candid photography???


chiron wrote:
Gorgeous image. But sometimes pets are actually more cooperative than people, and less self-conscious about waiting for their picture to be taken!


Thank you. It took quite a few shots to get that one, as he was active. Pre focusing definitely helps, especially when you come from a canon AE-1. It's what was used long before AF lenses




Nov 05, 2017 at 11:21 PM
genji
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · what lenses for candid photography???


As much as I love the results I can get when taking candid pictures with the Planar G 45/2 and Techart TA-GA3, that combination really struggles once the ight level falls. I reluctantly switched to using the FE 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 lenses and my keeper rate soared. Neither of those lenses has the blend of sharpness and smooth rendition of the G 45/2 that I find so appealing, but both have the more important virtue of providing fast, accurate autofocus in relatively low light. (And there would be few FMers on the Sony board who donít yearn for an AF 35/2 or 35/1.8.)


Nov 05, 2017 at 11:35 PM
realVivek
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · what lenses for candid photography???


Another vote for the Zony 35/2.8; 55/1.8 lenses.


Nov 06, 2017 at 12:04 AM
expwmbat
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · what lenses for candid photography???


MF lenses work just fine for capturing life on the move. But they take time and practice--maybe they aren't right for you to do so. In my experience, AF actually does a worse job for me, because it doesn't focus exactly where I want it to.

Any fast lens will be more of a challenge to shoot wide open because of the very narrow depth of field--there's just less margin of error. That is true whether you are using AF or MF. And there are many lenses (especially older SLR lenses) with soft out of focus combined with razor sharpness in the plane of focus (the Canon FDn 50/1.4 is a good example).

My suggestion is to pick a lens you like the rendering/look/sharpness of, and then find a way to make it work well for you. If it's the Canon you mention, an adapter can make the AF work.

DJK



Nov 06, 2017 at 12:05 AM
chiron
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · what lenses for candid photography???


jgoetz4 wrote:
Thank you. It took quite a few shots to get that one, as he was active. Pre focusing definitely helps, especially when you come from a canon AE-1. It's what was used long before AF lenses



Yes, but the Canon AE-1 had a focusing screen that was designed to help you see when the sharp focus occurred. Mirrorless screens are terrible for manual focusing of live subjects, IMHO. The focus peaking and magnification take you right out of composing and watching faces and into a magnified view that misleads you about what you are shooting--if it is live and changeable. They are great with landscapes or architecture or still lifes, or with autofocus lenses. But the evf is really not designed for live manual focus with live subjects. IMHO.



Nov 06, 2017 at 01:07 AM
chiron
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · what lenses for candid photography???


expwmbat wrote:
MF lenses work just fine for capturing life on the move. But they take time and practice--maybe they aren't right for you to do so. In my experience, AF actually does a worse job for me, because it doesn't focus exactly where I want it to.

Any fast lens will be more of a challenge to shoot wide open because of the very narrow depth of field--there's just less margin of error. That is true whether you are using AF or MF. And there are many lenses (especially older SLR lenses) with soft out of focus combined with razor sharpness in
...Show more

Thank you for your comments, but i disagree. The EVF is not made for quick manual focusing of a changing composition. Either your image is blotted by focus peaking or the magnification misleads you about what is happening in the frame--or both. Fine for still subjects with MF but I think anyone will miss a lot of shots with love subjects, MF and an evf. IMHO.


Edited on Nov 06, 2017 at 01:21 AM · View previous versions



Nov 06, 2017 at 01:10 AM
chiron
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · what lenses for candid photography???


genji wrote:
As much as I love the results I can get when taking candid pictures with the Planar G 45/2 and Techart TA-GA3, that combination really struggles once the ight level falls. I reluctantly switched to using the FE 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 lenses and my keeper rate soared. Neither of those lenses has the blend of sharpness and smooth rendition of the G 45/2 that I find so appealing, but both have the more important virtue of providing fast, accurate autofocus in relatively low light. (And there would be few FMers on the Sony board who donít yearn for an AF
...Show more

Exactly my experience. I would love the Voigtlander 40mm 1.2 if it were AF. I like it a lot as is and may keep it. But I know it is going to frustrate me when I try to use it to shoot people in natural light.



Nov 06, 2017 at 01:13 AM
virtualrain
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · what lenses for candid photography???


expwmbat wrote:
MF lenses work just fine for capturing life on the move. But they take time and practice--maybe they aren't right for you to do so. In my experience, AF actually does a worse job for me, because it doesn't focus exactly where I want it to.

Any fast lens will be more of a challenge to shoot wide open because of the very narrow depth of field--there's just less margin of error. That is true whether you are using AF or MF. And there are many lenses (especially older SLR lenses) with soft out of focus combined with razor sharpness in
...Show more

I donít disagree but I would also assert that AF lenses can focus exactly where you want but it requires practise, and familiarity with the AF system (including the right settings for the shot) and the lens characteristics to get it to do what you want.

With fast glass at normal to telephoto focal lengths thereís no getting around the fact you need some practise and technique regardless if you use MF or AF. Perhaps experienced AF and MF shooters could be equally accurate and fast, but my money would be on the AF shooter - especially if that AF shooter is me since I suck at MF




Nov 06, 2017 at 01:20 AM
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