|EOS 5D, Sigma 50mm f1.4, ISO 1600, -0.5 EV, 1/60 sec., f2.8|
Sure it's a superb lens that opens way up to f1.4 with very little distortion or vignetting, at a very reasonable price (many say it's too expensive). But I was putting way too much faith in the lens, and the EOS 5D (original 2006 version) camera, as great as it is, has a very crappy 2006 era rear screen, so I wasn't seeing how slightly out of focus so many of these shots were. I've learned my lesson - all lenses go soft when opened up, and older cameras don't have quite as good Auto-Focus performance as you'd get today, with the highly tweaked newest cameras.
Let's talk about the above picture first - this one I'm happy with, but as you see right away, it's just not quite right. I'd say this is a bad shot of a great picture. Blurred, but so happy and spontaneous. This girl wasn't posing at all - we were just talking about her dog, Phoebe:
|EOS 5D, Sigma 50mm f1.4, ISO 1600, -0.5 EV, 1/15 sec., f2.8|
But I could've prevented this very easily - by under-exposing by -1.5 EV or even -2.0 EV, instead of -0.5, I could have reduced my Aperture to f4 to give me greater focus depth, or increased my shutter speed enough to stop the motion blur. I already have proven time and time again that the "secret sauce" of the EOS 5D is it's remarkable noise immunity, made possible NOT by aggressive in-camera noise reduction, but because with only 12.8 Mega-Pixels on a 35mm (full-frame) sensor, it has very large picture elements ("pixels") that capture lot's of light without introducing noise. Stated another way, it has an extremely good signal to noise ratio, allowing me to under-expose like crazy, and recover the shadow detail on my computer when working with the Raw Data file. I knew this, but for some reason, this time I didn't make use of it. This is a truly rare camera with which you can easily break the "expose to the right rule" (read: slightly over-expose), and instead when necessary, you can "under-expose like crazy, push it back up when processing, and don't worry about it" much like film.
The golden rule of digital photography - "Really get to know your camera, and use it accordingly". I was shooting this party as if I were using a Canon Digital Rebel instead of the far more capable EOS 5D.
But some of the photos worked, in spite of my big mistake. I really like these -
Here's the whole set.