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  1. #31
    Bruce Robbins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings View Post
    Man I had to google the film and dev and came back full circle to that website. What a whacky combo with such a pull. I take back my comment on the proof reading, I should have google researched it a bit before posting. Thanks
    No problem. It's not exactly a mainstream combo - I might be the only person on the planet using it! Firstcall 400S/Rollei Retro 400S is quite contrasty and can lack shadow detail. Using it at 40 ISO and developing in HRX solves both those problems. Plus, Firstcall 400S is the cheapest film in the UK so it's good to find a way of getting the most from it.
    The Online Darkroom
    www.theonlinedarkroom.com

  2. #32
    Bruce Robbins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    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...

    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.
    Just had a look at your gallery, Thomas, and there are some lovely pics there. You're obviously managing to wring every last ounce of quality out of your crappy lenses!
    The Online Darkroom
    www.theonlinedarkroom.com

  3. #33

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    I always enjoy reading lens reviews, whether you worry about them afterwards or not is obviously an issue. On dark winter afternoons I have sometimes done a few lens tests to use up the ends of a film, and have even shot the odd test chart - it's always interesting to know whether the bargain you recently acquired with balsam separation is useful as a lens or a paperweight. I used to crawl all over the MTF charts looking at lp/mm values at centre and edges, worrying about if I might pull more resolution by shooting at f/11 or f/8, but I stopped worrying in the end. The one issue I found from my idle tests is that a shot of a test chart by a lens that shows higher resolution may actually produce a worse negative/chrome as so many other things are at play. Real-world tests out in the field are much more meaningful. In terms of 'sharpness' most of the primes I've used from a range of brands are actually excellent (old zooms are a different matter - some are great, some terrible!), but the issue I have found for my lenses is flare, some flare much more easily than others. It's nice to know what your lenses can, and cannot, do.

  4. #34
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    ... the lens should never be an excuse for making poor photographs.
    Neither should our films, developers, camera bodies, flash units, meters....

    It is almost always us.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #35
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorff View Post
    Yes and no. For some images, resolution is important. It may however not be the kind of image that you would make. So your statement may be perfectly accurate for you, but for someone else it may be top of the list.



    Having used an enormous array of Nikkor and Nikon-mount lenses, the good lenses do tend to stand out over many images and many hours of use. Not every single image and not every single circumstance, but on average, it is much more pleasant to use superb rather than mediocre lenses, both in optics and handling. If you have gear confidence, it frees you to think about the task or motive. There are many other facets that are arguably more important, so that whatever I spend has to be within the context of what improves my photography the most, for example workshops to acquire and hone skills, and trips to good destinations. I don't object to clinical gear comparisons, as they have their uses, but I do object to pretentious babbling about whether gear discussions are prudent or not. It leads nowhere.
    Yes, obviously the lens has to work well and be an item we have confidence in. That's why I mostly retired my Pentax SLRs. Amazing cameras but not as reliable as they once were.

    I think an amateur like I might have a different view than a professional, most likely, and my take is that if the lens works well - go make photographs and pay your attention to what's in front of the lens. In front of the lens is where 99% of the improvements are.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  6. #36
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    . . . So when selecting a lens a balanced approach that combines resolution testing an practical field testing is the most reliable. . .
    Yes, indeed. A quick test for resolution, distortion, and vignetting can warn us of lenses at various apertures to avoid in certain situations. Long ago Leica tested every lens, although not with film. They used an appropriate transilluminated high resolution transparency in the film plane and observed the projected image. I've done this with an improvised test jig. It takes only seconds per lens, and uses no film. The results did affect my choice of lenses for various situations. Such a test does not provide practical information about bokeh or intentionally soft focus lenses. For that we should take photos in realistic conditions. Most of the tests we endured in school are long forgotten; some reenforced knowledge of lasting value.

  7. #37
    Jaf-Photo's Avatar
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    Of course there are visible differences between different lenses. Vignetting and corner sharpness are two obvious examples. Another is bokeh smoothness.

    The variety of film you use can however have a greater impact on the image, for instance when it comes to the finer nuances of contrast and colour.

    Optical differences are much more obvious in digital photography. I obviously use my legacy lenses on digital bodies. Those photos show differences that aren't all that clear on film.

    Obviously

  8. #38

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    This "review" has serious methodology problems. He uses a no name, 400 speed print film that is the "cheapest film in the UK". The he scans it and expect that after all of this to glean some information about lens quality! I have also tested the 50MIJ agains the standard Zuiko 50f1.8 and 50f1.4 using Kodak VS and there is definately a difference when the slides are viewed directly under magnification.

    Also, Zuiko lenses are like sex. Even when they are not very good, they are still pretty good. Back when photo magazines did tests and reviews of lenses, Zuikos consistently came out at the top of the heap.

    I have seen many images blown up to ~4' x 6' (yes, that's feet, not inches). At this size the lens quality is very apparent. Some of this images still retain sharp details while others are so muddy they are painful to look at.

  9. #39

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    If people aren't getting what they need out of their 35mm lenses, chances are something other than sharpness or resolution are the issue. It's usually an inappropriate choice of film and developer, or a change of film format that's needed. Chasing brand magic dust, and the law of diminishing returns that follows such investments, is rarely a wise use funds. The best is a term that should be left on the test bench, and not confused with real photography.

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorff View Post
    Having used an enormous array of Nikkor and Nikon-mount lenses, the good lenses do tend to stand out over many images and many hours of use. Not every single image and not every single circumstance, but on average, it is much more pleasant to use superb rather than mediocre lenses, both in optics and handling.
    Oh, no question there. I just don't see that resolution per se is a critical form of lens quality---for most of us, most of the time.

    I mean, I like lenses, I have a medium-sized zoo of the things, and I have strong personal views on which tools go well with which jobs. (Sometimes they surprise me, like the old rapid rectilinear that turns out to be a pretty good near-macro lens.) But color rendition, contrast, vignetting, bokeh, and so on are all much bigger players in those differences than resolution is.

    I have three different 50mm Canon lenses, and I can't tell the difference except that the 50/2.5 is a touch sharper than the two 50/1.8s (one EF, one FD; might be the same optics). That's measurable in resolution, I expect, and it's noticeable in real-world shooting, so I use that lens preferentially. But in that case it's nearly the *only* difference among very similar lenses, and I think nobody disagrees that all other things being equal you might as well use the sharper lens. At least for conventional "representational" photography.

    (Perceived sharpness and resolution aren't really the same, of course, but they interact. A poorly-resolving lens won't look sharp to the eye.)

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

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