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Old 05-01-2012, 05:00 PM
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I thought some of you might be interested in this article.

BBC News - In praise of bokeh: the dilemmas of TV filming

"Put on your shades and pull the high collar of your black robe high like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix - we are going to be talking about reality, and its depiction on film. Or on digital video to be precise. We are going to be talking about bokeh.
Bokeh is a Japanese term used by photographers to describe that pleasing effect where the background of a photo is defocused, often into blobs or hexagons, while the subject is razor sharp. It's what you need a real lens for, and it's produced by the effect of the little blades that open and close the aperture, letting the light onto the sensor."
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:40 AM
Location: Dallas, TX
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There is some truth in the article, but a lot of what was said does not make sense. First addressing the former, I had a discussion along the lines in a Sony forum where it appears that Sony is making an attempt to unify its relatively new E-mount for both, digital photography (Sony NEX-series photo cameras) and digital videography (Sony NEX-series video cameras, such as NEX-FS100 mentioned in the article). With even Hollywood making a gradual move towards digital, a more widespread use of SLR lenses is inevitable.

Where the article leaves a lot to be desired is this discussion on bokeh. The assumption made is that large aperture lenses, which can create some interesting bokeh, are something new to TV world. They aren’t. Since Sony NEX-3 can use lenses from pretty much any mount, including the tiny C-mount, I decided to give a TV lens a try to see if it works for photography. There are interesting TV lenses available for use on Sony NEX, including SLR Magic’s 50mm f/0.95! I would love to try that lens someday.

But, for now, I settled for an unmodified, inexpensive C-mount TV lens, a Canon 18-108mm/f1.6 that I found on local CL. That it was a zoom lens, and afforded a large f/1.6 aperture at max zoom was key. If it worked, I would have a good lens to take for low-light action photography. But I was also aware that there will be vignette issues since Sony NEX-series uses a large APS-C size sensor (1.52x crop from full frame) whereas C-mount lenses have smaller image circle. Interchangeable lens cameras like the Micro-Four Thirds from Panasonic and Olympus, with their smaller sensor (2x crop) would work better.

Well, I discovered that with this lens, I got only about a half of the sensor covered. The image was still usable after cropping, and surprisingly sharp. The bokeh was very interesting, as I expected with a large aperture lens (f/1.6) at a focal length with full frame equivalent of 164mm. So, it wasn’t that the bokeh was previously missing, but TV crew likely didn’t investigate larger apertures. If anything, there are plenty of very fast TV lenses out there. Now only if I can find one that can respect the larger APS-C sensor.

Speaking of which, did the article also mention NEX-FS100 as a full frame (35mm sensor)? I think it uses the same sensor size (APS-C) as NEX-series cameras, as I doubt that Sony’s E-mount lenses are currently designed for full frame coverage. However, the next Sony full frame DSLR (or SLT) is rumored to have a hybrid mount, which would allow it to use both, A-mount and E-mount lenses. And this will be yet another step in that direction, of merging videography with photography, not only consolidating lens lineups and mounts, but also minimizing equipment to carry.
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