Monday, March 18, 2013

Why I like a fast lens: f/2.0 and no slower than f/2.8

The skin peels from Bud Gardens, revealing a skater underneath.

The World Figure Skating Competitions were held in London, Ontario, last week. I'd have loved to shoot some of the action on the ice but the ticket costs were out of the reach of this retired photographer.

But outside the arena, on an exterior wall to be exact, there was another event to photograph: The Tree of Light light show. This was one of those 3D projection mapping displays so popular around the world.

The company that produced the one in London was the Moment Factory out of Montreal, Quebec. The Moment Factory has done work across the globe.

These projections are incredibly bright and easily photographed using almost any point-and-shoot camera. Still, having a camera with a fast maximum f/stop at wide angle is still a plus. A fast lens means you are prepared for the worst. You know you will get a picture.

You also know that you may get by very nicely without the use of either a tripod or even something on which to brace your camera.

The fast lens also makes it easier for the camera to focus accurately and quickly. Faced with a choice between a fast lens and a longer zoom range, I'd take the fast lens every time.

But, the advantages of a fast lens are not restricted to rare occasions such as shooting projected displays. A fast lens is called on to provide its magic on almost a daily basis.

When my granddaughter did an impromptu dance, causing her dress to swirl, my Canon S90 with its f/2.0 lens had the lens for the job. It may have been night, the illumination may have been a low wattage fluorescent bulb, but the Canon S90 succeeded where other cameras might well have failed.

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