A Difference of Two Stops

By Cory Disbrow on June 6th, 2013   |    Posted in:  Disney Photo Tips   |    8 Comments

For today’s post, I’d like to share two images. They were taken within seconds of each other, and they were processed literally the same. Exposure, shadows, blacks, sharpening, everything. The only main difference (aside from me moving a tiny bit in between shooting) is that one was shot at f/1.4 and the other was shot at f/2.8, a difference of two stops.

Here is the f/1.4 version:


And now f/2.8:


I’ll start by saying that there are things I like in both photos. In the f/1.4 version, it has a much more dramatic and cinematic look. Minnie has a significantly more “3D look” to here, and I like the natural vignette that the lens adds when shot wide open. The f/2.8 version is sharper on the statue, and the background is less blurred out, making it so that Sleeping Beauty Castle is more recognizable. At the same time, I’m not sure if the background works so well on the f/2.8 version, since the bokeh is a bit distracting and draws the eye away from Minnie. But on the f/1.4 version, you can see focus on Minnie’s eyes, but not on her nose. I think both shots work, and really come down to a matter of preference of the viewer or person taking the photo. Which one do you all like better?

These were both taken with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, both of which are available at Amazon. If you shop at Amazon, please click our links here as anything you buy afterwards will help us out! Thanks for reading!!


  1. Ricky Gomez   |   Jun 6, 2013

    Do any of you guys have an Instagram for your photos?

  2. Rich   |   Jun 6, 2013

    Both very nice Cory. I think I’d lean to the first version shot at f/1.4 as I find the background in the second version a bit of a distraction. I’d sharpen Minnie up a bit in post in the first shot and call it a day.

  3. Amanda   |   Jun 6, 2013

    I like the 2.8 better. Minnie not being center but not really off-center distracts my eye so seeing more the background, grounds her for me in the 2.8 picture.

  4. Gregg L Cooper   |   Jun 6, 2013

    Cory, I really like the artistic look and tight focus of the f/1.4 shot with her eyes sharp and the ear behind out of focus…However, I feel that a vertical portrait crop eliminating the light pole on the right, and Minnies head in the intersection of the Ro3 grid would make a huge difference in the overall composition and look of the scene…

  5. Michael Ball   |   Jun 6, 2013

    I agree with you. Not sure which is better, but I’d be leaning towards the 1.4 mostly because the background is less distracting.

    However, what if you could composite the 2.8 Minnie on the 1.4 background? Hmmm. That might be interesting.

  6. Adam   |   Jun 6, 2013

    For me, I definitely prefer the f/1.4 version. Great idea to show the different results like this, it would be great to see more of these.

  7. natasha   |   Jun 6, 2013

    I like the 1.4 because the background is more distracting to me in the 2.8.

  8. Lance   |   Jun 13, 2013

    There’s a spot in the sky in the upper left on 2.8. I wouldn’t expect to see a dirt spot on the sensor at 2.8, but it does look like something. BTW, can’t go wrong with 1.4.. .mo’ bokeh, mo’ better!



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