Fast and heavy or poor and light

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Siddhartha Jain, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Most fast variable focal length lens with fixed aperture are heavy and
    expensive. The lighter variable focal length aren't great performers
    but are cheap. Why is this so? I understand that good performance means
    glass, special elements and metallic body but in the future can we
    expect a fast and light variable focal length lens if not cheap? Any
    new material or technology on the horizon to make such lens?

    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Apr 26, 2005
    #1
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  2. Most fast variable focal length lens with fixed aperture are heavy and
    It's a question of how much light you let in via the lens. If you
    have an enormous lens, you can let in a lot of light (faster lens),
    and get a higher quality picture (less noise). But it costs more to
    make a good lens, and the extra glass makes it heavier.

    By contrast, a small lens is less expensive to manufacture and ends up
    weighing less, but it lets in less light (= slower, lower quality).

    Ironically, a smaller sensor with denser pixels can often make better
    use of a smaller lens, which is why many of the current mid-range P&S
    models with their inexpensive, small, lenses give fbetter results than
    higher-priced lenses on dSLR's. (But good lenses on dSLR's are still
    much better!)

    -Joel
     
    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Apr 26, 2005
    #2
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  3. Siddhartha Jain

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Yes. Some progress seems to be coming in liquid lens technology. This
    could simplify all aspects of lens operation.
     
    Ron Hunter, Apr 26, 2005
    #3
  4. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    Most fast variable focal length lens with fixed aperture are heavy and
    When I was in the army I had to carry both the M-60 and my personal M-16 AND
    my tool box every time we trudged the normally half a mile hike from the
    tent to the aircraft located on the site perimeter. Yes, I bitched about it
    incessantly. But now I can't understand why photographers always worry
    about a few ounces here and there. Yeah, my kit bag can get a little heavy
    when fully loaded, but it's not like being loaded down with 90 pounds of
    combat gear every time I have to fix a helicopter.

    The way I see it, heavy is better in photography because it adds stability.
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #4
  5. Mark Lauter wrote:
    []
    Heavy for me means that the kit gets left at home, so I get fewer photos.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Apr 26, 2005
    #5
  6. Siddhartha Jain

    Alan Browne Guest

    Mark Lauter wrote:

    A somehwat false notion. Try accurate fire at 100 yards standing with
    your M-16. After 30 minutes you're not getting those center shots. (Or
    less if you're not in good shape). Try the same with a sidearm at 25
    feet. 50 rounds. Okay. 100 rounds ... oh sh*t...

    Try shooting standing without a monopod and an 80-200 f/2.8 at low
    shutter speeds (1/125). Same thing. Blurry images getting more blurry
    as time goes on.

    If you're relatively steady, you will have the most control with the
    lightest equipment... esp. after 10 ... 20 ... 40 ... 80 minutes.

    Having said all that, my equipment is not in the 'light' category at all.

    Heavy *is* good for tripods holding heavy loads, but you need the
    stiffness to go with it in the head assembly as well.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Apr 26, 2005
    #6
  7. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    The way I see it, heavy is better in photography because it adds
    I need a work out buddy. Let's go to the gymn together. :)
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #7
  8. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    The way I see it, heavy is better in photography because it adds
    stability.
    First, if a guy is only 100 meters away I could kill him with a rock.
    Second, if the firefight lasts over 30 minutes I'd say I wasn't getting
    center shots in the first place. ;)
    Time to work out. <g>
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #8
  9. Siddhartha Jain

    Scott W Guest

    I don't know about guns but I know bow shooter add a lot of weights
    to their bow it make them more stable. I think you would find that a
    1/4 pound gun would be very hard to shoot straight. I don't know for
    sure but I do get the feel that a heavy camera is more stable.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Apr 26, 2005
    #9
  10. Siddhartha Jain

    Alan Browne Guest

    Très drôle.

    Of course the only marksmanship medal that matters (in the US Army) is
    the CIB. You get that when the targets are shooting back.
     
    Alan Browne, Apr 26, 2005
    #10
  11. Siddhartha Jain

    paul Guest


    I think it's just a matter of geometry. Fast lens just means large
    aperture opening which is... large... and therefore harder to make
    acceptable quality. I guess the odds are good that full frame sensors
    will never be affordable and the crop frame DSLR's will continue to be
    relevant in which case more DX (smaller) lenses will be made. Corrrently
    there aren't any fast crop frame lenses because people looking for fast
    don't want to chance spending on a crop frame lens they think won't be
    usable on future full frame cameras but it seems likely that won't be a
    problem.

    <http://www.outbackphoto.com/dp_essentials/dp_essentials_01/field_size_3-2.gif>
    <http://www.outbackphoto.com/dp_essentials/dp_essentials_01/essay.html>
    shows relationship of cost and sensor size due to quality control for
    number of defects.
     
    paul, Apr 26, 2005
    #11
  12. Siddhartha Jain

    Alan Browne Guest

    They add weights to _balance_ the arrangement to reduce pitch control
    needs, not with a goal of making it heavier. Note the weights are out
    there on shafts. They may also (depending on arrangement) lower
    vibration after release while the notch is still being pushed by the
    string and while parts of the shaft are in contact with the bow.

    Some competitions, notably longbow, prohibit any counterweights,
    balancers, stabilizers. (If you've ever shot longbow after shooting
    compound it can be a humbling experience.)
    Get a light camera and heavy camera with the same FL and aperture shoot
    each in marginal conditions of shutter speed.

    Cheers,
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Apr 26, 2005
    #12
  13. <blink>

    You, sir, are good with a rock. Do you plan on using a sling, tossing
    it overhand, or clubbing him?
    Post Korea, perhaps. But it assumes you have a target. Neither the
    M-16 nor the M-60 we designed with the notion you had a target easily
    in sight.
    Or put things down and take a break. If I have been taking a picture
    (we were talking about photography, right, not armed combat) I
    probably have a Very Annoyed Spouse (tm). A Very Annoyed Spouse (tm)
    is much heavier than just about any camera lens.


    --
    Matt Silberstein

    All in all, if I could be any animal, I would want to be
    a duck or a goose. They can fly, walk, and swim. Plus,
    there there is a certain satisfaction knowing that at the
    end of your life you will taste good with an orange sauce
    or, in the case of a goose, a chestnut stuffing.
     
    Matt Silberstein, Apr 26, 2005
    #13
  14. With a bow one hand is pulling back against the weight. It makes sense
    that a heavier bow could help stability in that case. It could help a
    bit with a gun to keep it from jerking during the shoot, but not as
    much as with a bow. With a camera having some weight probably helps,
    but the affect would decrease very quickly as the camera got heavier.


    --
    Matt Silberstein

    All in all, if I could be any animal, I would want to be
    a duck or a goose. They can fly, walk, and swim. Plus,
    there there is a certain satisfaction knowing that at the
    end of your life you will taste good with an orange sauce
    or, in the case of a goose, a chestnut stuffing.
     
    Matt Silberstein, Apr 26, 2005
    #14
  15. Siddhartha Jain

    Scott W Guest

    I will give this a try and let you know. I have a Nikon 995, which is
    pretty light and a Canon 20D, which it not so light, I will use a heavy
    zoom lens on the Canon.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Apr 26, 2005
    #15
  16. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    Of course the only marksmanship medal that matters (in the US Army) is
    Roger that.
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #16
  17. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    I'm going to run up to him with a rock and hit him in the head with it.
    Sounds silly, but he won't believe it's really happening until it's too
    All those days were wasted in BRM then.. :(
    VAS could be the heaviest material known to man. :)

    I've never gotten tired holding a still camera - you shoot, then it hangs
    around the neck for a bit, shoot some more, etc.. But I tried filming with
    a small video camera for 20 minutes once.. OMG! My arm wanted to fall off.
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #17
  18. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    With a camera having some weight probably helps,
    I guess I just don't think of even a heavy camera as heavy. It's not like
    10 pounds or something.
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #18
  19. Siddhartha Jain

    Alan Meyer Guest

    Lens Speed vs. Quality
    ----------------------

    I think this is exactly right. Here's why:

    Fast lenses require a larger diameter. A larger diameter means
    more glass has to be precisely milled to the correct shape.

    More importantly, with a larger diameter there is also a
    smaller depth of field. As the depth of field becomes smaller,
    minor errors in the shape or surface of the glass become more
    apparent in the transmitted image. Hence the shaping of the
    lens must be more precise to achieve the same quality.

    Remember also that a modern lens is composed of multiple lens
    components, each of which corrects for possible errors in the
    others or provides other focal lengths and features. With
    faster lenses that are more sensitive to imperfections, the
    design and shaping of all the components becomes more critical.
    There may even be a need for more internal components. The
    movement of the internal components in focusing becomes more
    critical too.

    So the design and manufacturing are both more expensive.

    Camera Weight
    -------------

    Heavy cameras are more stable than light ones. It's a simple
    matter of physics. It takes more energy to move or vibrate a
    heavy object than a light one. The heavy camera therefore
    doesn't move as much given the same inputs from the
    photographer's hands.

    Since guns have been used by analogy here, we should note that
    target rifles and pistols use heavier barrels than military or
    sporting weapons. It's for the same reason. The barrel
    doesn't move as much given the input from the shooter's hands,
    trigger finger, etc. or from the recoil of the cartridge or the
    explosion of the gas.

    It may be true that if your hands and arms are tired you don't
    hold the camera as steadily. But most photographers use a
    camera strap to hold the camera when they're not actually
    shooting. Even at the end of a day's shooting, I bet most
    photographers would get steadier photos with a 2-3 pound camera
    than with a 6 ounce camera.

    Personally, I much prefer carrying a 6 ounce camera. But I
    know I need faster shutter speeds to get sharp results.

    Alan
     
    Alan Meyer, Apr 26, 2005
    #19
  20. Siddhartha Jain

    Mark Lauter Guest

    In which part of the image - the focused or unfocused bits?
    Easy to see why the cost curve is so steep.
    Heh heh.. I'm sure not going to go buy lead weights to add to the camera,
    but I don't see why such a big deal is made about trimming a few ounces off
    last years model... then again I complained about the weight of my kit bag
    on my last trip that involved public airports. Maybe I'm a hypocrite. :)
     
    Mark Lauter, Apr 26, 2005
    #20
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