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For automotive, the 85 working distance is pretty difficult in a lot of situations, but sure, you can use it. But by that logic you can use any lens.

For short shots the 35 is going to give you the best of all worlds, meaning working distance, hand-holding capabilities, depth of field, and the least distortion.

This might be a good example, as it's hand-held. No way you could do this with an 85, not on distance, or light, the ISO would have been off the charts.


Darker. (Explore)
by Andrew Thompson, on Flickr

On the other end of the spectrum you're going to want at least 105mm, preferably 135. I use a 200. Nothing can compete with the clarity, dof, and look of the long lens IMO.

This might be a good example.


And Fall Returns. (Explore)
by Andrew Thompson, on Flickr

Yes, you can use the 85, but neither shot (and most shots IMO) would be as effective.
 

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This might be a good example, as it's hand-held. No way you could do this with an 85, not on distance, or light, the ISO would have been off the charts.
I'm curious why you say that the ISO/gain would be high for what I assume to be an equivalent aperture 85mm (given that f-stop is function of lens focal length and diameter, so the lens should be physically different but the light gathered should remain constant).
 

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I'm curious why you say that the ISO/gain would be high for what I assume to be an equivalent aperture 85mm (given that f-stop is function of lens focal length and diameter, so the lens should be physically different but the light gathered should remain constant).
Put your thinking cap down, it's clouding you.

As a rule, when hand-holding, you're going to need a shutter speed of double that of the FL. So with a 35 you can use a slower shutter speed, and less ISO than you can with an 85. It's no more difficult to understand than that.
 

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I'm curious why you say that the ISO/gain would be high for what I assume to be an equivalent aperture 85mm (given that f-stop is function of lens focal length and diameter, so the lens should be physically different but the light gathered should remain constant).
Remember that he said hand held, so a shutter speed of at least 2x focal length to keep things crisp and avoid blur (unless you have a camera with an IBIS system, then you can usually cheat on this, sometimes by quite a lot).
 

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Time to liven this thread up a bit.

I'll give you guys some pointers by example.

Let's start with the photo below. List everything this shooter did WRONG. I'll then list all the things you guys miss.

 

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List everything this shooter did WRONG. I'll then list all the things you guys miss.
I'm certainly no expert, but here's a couple things that look off to my eye.
  1. The rear end of the car, which seems to be the focal point of this shot, doesn't look fully in focus. Maybe he's too close or the aperture is just too wide, but the focus feels weird.
  2. I don't love all the foreground that's slapping me in the face. Perhaps it's because the cement edge is there, but I think eliminating that edge or raising the photo angle would be a positive change.
 

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Discussion Starter #89
Time to liven this thread up a bit.

I'll give you guys some pointers by example.

Let's start with the photo below. List everything this shooter did WRONG. I'll then list all the things you guys miss.
Interesting question. This should be fun. Good idea.

1- Shot composition/framing isn't great. Car is centered in the shot with no interesting reason for it to be.
2- Background is very distracting (roped off trees in the background)
3- If I had a CP on there, I'd probably wipe of the reflection down the side of the car.
4- I agree the shot does look a little out of focus
5- Not 100% sure on this one, but looks like the lighting conditions aren't great either. Bright light from the behind the car. Or maybe the shot is a little underexposed? I guess overall the lighting looks off, but I can't put my finger on why.

Looking forward to hearing what else is off. Or more likely, what I was wrong about...
 

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The shot I posted is an auction shot, so it needed to be centered, and there wasn't much control over the background or light.

Look deeper guys. It's obvious, and once I point it out you're all going to be like "wow, I could have had a V8!"

:D
 

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Been experimenting with effects in PS as well.
That last pic you posted of the fake blur, please, don't ever do that. It literally never ends well. It takes much more skill to fake lens blur than you'd imagine, and if it's not done well it just looks fantastically terrible (no disrespect intended, I have done the same thing years ago).

I sometimes fake depth of field myself, rarely, but I do it in a very subtle, and organic way.

The thing to note about faking DOF is that you can't let it touch your subject, as it will be spotted immediately.

If you look at the picture below you'll see that the background is ultra soft, yet the entire car is in focus. I shot this with my 200mm at f2, f4.5, then de-focused just a little (in reality it was probably f1.0 or something).

I used the standard f2 shot for the overall feel, then used the f4.5 shot for the side/top of the car, to get a little more detail, then used the slightly de-focused f1.0 shot for the very back. The combination probably took an hour to merge properly.
 

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Time to liven this thread up a bit.

I'll give you guys some pointers by example.

Let's start with the photo below. List everything this shooter did WRONG. I'll then list all the things you guys miss.

Apart from the stuff others have already mentioned - the reflections bother me a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #93
The shot I posted is an auction shot, so it needed to be centered, and there wasn't much control over the background or light.

Look deeper guys. It's obvious, and once I point it out you're all going to be like "wow, I could have had a V8!"

:D
Uh oh, this will be good. I've stared at this picture longer than I'd like to admit, but I still don't see anything else hugely wrong. It's going to be something hilarious like "he accidentally photoshopped in 5 wheels" or something like that...
 

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Discussion Starter #94
I tried out all 3 of my lenses tonight (Sigma 50mm 1.4, Sigma 50mm-500mm, and Canon 16mm-35mm 2.8).

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv-QuB5lGm2/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
@VisualEchos I have a new appreciation for you shooting with the 200mm lens for cars. I tried that focal length tonight and I didn't realize the working distance needed between you and the car (I was back aimlessly wandering thought fields trying to frame shots at that distance). Must take a fair bit of planning on your part.
 

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List everything this shooter did WRONG. I'll then list all the things you guys miss.
Wow, that's funny. Everybody noticed stuff like foreground and shot angle, but missed something really basic to me:

Why is the gas tank in view at all? You can take the low angle shot too far. I generally like to find the hip line of the car and try not to go lower than that unless I'm trying to do something artsy. In this case, the hip line is at the headlight centerline. The lowest I'd go with the camera would be the bumper centerline.

About half of the problems with this picture stem from the basic fact that the camera is just too low for this car. I agree that it's also poorly cropped, that the background is too busy, that the reflections in the bodywork are too busy, that there are focus problems, etc.

But at a more basic level, this isn't a flattering angle for a '62 Chevy 409(?) bubble top coupe, which is actually a fairly interesting car to look at for that era. You can crop out the pavement edge in the foreground, you can blur and mute the color in the noisy background, but you can't fix the weak focus and you can't fix the unflattering angle.

Here are a couple of pics taken of other '62 bubble tops for comparison. Neither is perfectly executed (background clutter in #1 is actually worse than the given example), but both are a lot better than this great view of vehicle undercarriage.



 

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What is causing front end to appear larger than rear end? That along with low shot would be my two picks as to what's wrong.
And we have a winner! Well done sir!

If the wheels and tires of the car are nearly the same size front to rear, NEVER shoot the rear 3/4 with a long lens (anything over 85mm).

This is because when you use long focal lengths, the further the object is away, the larger it gets. And if you follow the basic automotive photography rule of "front wheel face always towards the viewer", then you will always see the front wheel/tire look HUGE compared to the rear. Same with the front fender, which looks bigger than the quarter panel.

35mm is your best bet for a rear 3/4 99.9% of the time. As I said, the exception might be a car with huge wheels and tires in the rear.

This is a rear 3/4 I took for Mecum with the same type of car, at a low angle. The difference is pretty obvious.
 

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