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Here are three main reasons why you don’t want to shoot wide open

Why would you want a super-fast lens if you can’t shoot at the maximum aperture, right? Well, that’s not really the case. No matter how tempting that shallow depth of field might be, you probably don’t want to use your lens at its widest aperture. In this video, Matt Granger gives you three big reasons why it’s generally a good idea to stop down your lens even just a bit.

Matt shot with several different lenses, both vintage and modern ones. They are all pretty fast, ranging from f/2.5 all the way to f/1. Here are the lenses that Matt uses in the video:

It’s interesting that all these lenses are different – some are old, some are modern. They vary in focal lengths and maximum aperture. Even their bokeh quality and sharpness differ. But they all give the best result when they’re stopped down at least a tiny bit. here are the three main reasons why you want to consider it:

  1. When you shoot portraits at really wide apertures like f/1.4 or under, some parts of the head won’t be in focus: hair, ears, tips of the eyelashes, even cheeks. If this is the look that you’re going after, then we’re cool. But if you want to get everything on the face and the head in focus, you’ll need to step down the lens a bit.
  2. If the model’s head is even slightly turned away from the camera, the eye that’s further away will be blurry. You can especially see this in tight headshots.
  3. The overall image quality changes when the lens is at its maximum aperture. For example, my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 produces a kind of “hazy” photos when I open it all the way to f/1.8. As soon as it’s stopped down to f/2, it looks much better. With most lenses, sharpness, contrast, vignetting and flare are much more obvious when you open the aperture all the way.

As you might have concluded, I always stop down my nifty-fifty at least a bit so I get the best result from it that I can, and still pick up a lot of light. What about you? Do you shoot with your aperture wide open?

[Stop shooting WIDE OPEN! | Matt Granger]