Why do we talk such rubbish about lenses?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Bruce Robbins, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I don't talk rubbish about lenses, I believe that the majority of lenses are better lenses than the majority of people are photographers, and what you point your lenses at is more important than it's absolute optical quality.
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Most lenses are perfectly fine, and the lens should never be an excuse for making poor photographs. The more I photograph, the more I want to get away from lens talk, which is a distraction at best.
     
  4. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Most prime lenses from makes you've heard of are very good. Don't shoot brick walls, and you'll never know the difference between a £30 and a £300 one. At f8 all primes lenses are as damn near equal as makes no difference.
     
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I agree with all that's said above, more or less, but I'm not sure a set of modern SLR primes from the same manufacturer is the best place to make such comparisons. I'm certainly not an expert on these newfangled SLR thingummies, but aren't those lenses likely to represent variations on a common basic design, rather than entirely different designs as one might see in the rangefinder world? (To say nothing of large format, but I realize we're in the 35mm forum here.)

    -NT
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The article is drivel because it is subjective and not based on careful resolution tests. There is a difference between lenses which is usually reflected in their relative costs. Years ago photographic magazine routinely published useful tests making it easy for people to determine whether a lens would be of value to them. BTW, this is something that each person must decide for themselves.

    This is the second time that someone has published an article from this source. The author typically goes for shock value. Ignore him.
     
  7. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Any photography blogger knows that if you want to increase short term traffic to your website/blog, just do a gear review. Drooling over gear is the crack of photographers. Or at least most of them that have time to spend on the internet rather than out actually making photographs. I do it myself on my blog. The last blog I did on pixel peeping got me hammered with traffic. Blog postings on technique or art appreciation don't do as well. Just my 2 cents.
     
  8. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Sorry to have disappointed you, Gerald.
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I've looked a plenty of resolution tests and sample images intended to show the relative merits of one lens or another.
    I'd say that it's probably the least useful way to determine whether or not a given lens is valuable.

    Go out and make your own pictures with a lens, then decide. Or else just make pictures and adapt your vision to what the lens can do well, and forget about what a given pixel or film grain looks like.

    As for the article, after reading it, I'm not sure what the core point was supposed to be, but the usual bokeh, pincushion this, resolution that, and creamy highlight talk makes me want to scream sometimes. And I agree with him that it's too easy to obsess over what are often very subtle differences.
     
  10. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The blogger says Geoffrey Crawley would be turning in his grave at the review, so it clearly isn't aimed at lines per millimetre addicts or corner definition fundamentalists. The problem with those 'serious' reviews were they were so uninspiring, with images of such singular dullness that one didn't care how sharp the thing was.
     
  11. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    I don't waste my time reading articles like that.
     
  12. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Absolutely correct. Each lens has its own character and way of resolving reality. Go with it and the lens will reward you.
     
  13. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    Yeah... I wish more would echo the fact that, with a few exceptions, any modern camera system with a modern prime lens is going to be sharp enough and give good results. The man behind the camera is the most important part of the equation.

    Just like in music-- B B King will sound fantastic whether he's playing a crappy Harmony guitar or a vintage Gibson. Yes, the Gibson would sound better, but it would take a hell of an ear to tell the difference. He would sound better on that crappy guitar, and almost anyone else playing the vintage Gibson.

    Basically, cameras and lenses are just tools. Use whatever allows you to achieve the result you're looking for with the most transparency and stop worrying about tiny little details that won't even be noticed by 99% of the consumers.

    I spent way too much time and money worrying about lenses, sharpness, and covering every focal length. For the most part, money is better spent on film, paper, and chemistry, and time is better spent taking photos or working in the darkroom.
     
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  15. fstop

    fstop Member

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    The instructor of the photography course I took 40 years :blink: ago offered some good advice.

    Composition is everything thing.
    You can make award winning photographs with an Instamatic and take a pile of garbage with a top of the line SLR.
     
  16. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    We all know that lens tests can be a bit boring at times, but I do admit that I liked this one...good light reading and a useful real world test of those lenses. Any good journalist know that you need a good lead in line, nothing wrong with that.
     
  17. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    The 50mm f1.8 Zuiko Auto-S is 6 elements in 5 Groups and was first introduced in 1974.

    The 50mm f2.0 Zuiko Auto-Macro is 9 elements in 7 groups and was from approximately 1982.

    As far as 50mm lenses go, these are radically different designs, IMO.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I just try to avoid lens bores the way I also avoid self styled "photographic artists".
     
  19. momus

    momus Member

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    "The author typically goes for shock value. Ignore him".

    It is I who is disappointed....I was hoping for some Ken Rockwell rage! Turns out it's the other guy.

    Actually I like Ken. I'd probably enjoy having a beer with him. But then I'd enjoy having a beer with anyone who is buying. I do generally ignore him. Funny guy though, not so much the online photographer.
     
  20. irvd2x

    irvd2x Member

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    Some of my favorite photographs that I have taken over the years was with a lens that is deemed a mediocre lens with as many weeknesses as strengths according to the experts.It is my favorite lens over 25 years and has a feel to it ergonomically that I like.Also..it probably is the right match for its owner,who also has been deemed a mediocre performer with as many weaknesses as strengths.This entire book was shot with it.
    [​IMG]

    Sent from my LG-P509 using Tapatalk 2
     
  21. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Find any hobby which requires cool equipment, and you can find people to bullsh*t about it.
     
  22. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Lens manufactures release resolution data on their lenses. If I am going to spend my hard earned money then I want to make the best decision. Published lens resolution charts give the buyer that information.
     
  23. jerrybro

    jerrybro Subscriber

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    Why do we talk such rubbish about lenses?

    Because mine are clearly better than yours.
     
  24. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Pointless article, and not even proof read (unless he really did shoot 400 speed film the odd film speed of 40). The macro lens is specialized for macro why shoot at infinity for comparison?
     
  25. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Only if you think the resolution of the lens is a meaningful variable in your results, and I read the thesis of the article to be that, most of the time and for most of us, it isn't. Especially when you're comparing competent modern lens designs in something reasonably close to apples-to-apples.

    I'd tend to agree. I've taken plenty of bad photographs; sometimes they're technical failures of exposure or focus, sometimes they're compositionally terrible, sometimes there's the proverbial tree growing out of the subject's head. I can't think of a time when the problem with one of them has been "not enough lens resolution", though.

    To be fair, that may just mean I'm not good enough at the *other* things for resolution to become a limiting factor.

    -NT
     
  26. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Lens resolution is so far down the list of things I care about that it doesn't even register.
    I'd have to become a much better photographer first to do my crappy lenses justice... :smile:

    Some people really get into test charts and data. I'm sure at 20X one can easily see a difference. But I still don't care. Photography is too much about expressing an emotion for me to have time and patience to even worry about technical stuff.