It's a "review", as you put it, of the lenses as I use them. I'm sure you'd agree there's not much point in me testing them according to how you'd use them. From past experience, if it doesn't show up in a 3200dpi scan it certainly won't show up in a 10x12 print which is as big as I'd generally go from a 35mm neg. Might there be differences in a 4'x6' print? Personally, I don't know and I don't care. I would never print anything like as big from 35mm and I don't know anyone who ever has. If I ever had a need for a print that size I'd use large format, certainly not 35mm.
Originally Posted by thuggins
The "no name" film is rebranded Rollei Retro 400s as I said in a reply earlier in this thread which you may have missed. Think Arista Premium 400 which, for those of us in the UK, is a "no name" version of Tri X. Regular readers of my blog are aware of the Firstcall/Rollei thing but you're right: I should have said it again for new readers, particularly those from overseas. I'll amend the post accordingly.
Resolution is one of those things that people don't miss until they need it. What is the point in using a special developer like Neofin Blue if you are not using an excellent lens?
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
You might use Neofin Blue with an average lens to get the benefit of edge effects which don't do much for resolution but certainly might make a print appear sharper. As Anchell and Troop say, "resolution is a poor guide to perceived sharpness". If you're having trouble grasping this then this Zeiss paper might help:
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
To explore the full resolution of a lens you need pristine conditions. You need something like TMax 100 (or sharper), a camera lens at optimum aperture, a very sturdy tripod, mirror lock-up, and a sharp developer.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
I shoot this way - never...
I've seen what large magnification does to my negatives, and 20x24 from 35mm negatives is usually as large as I like them. 16x20 is better. That's from HP5+, Tri-X 400 or TMax 400 in Xtol or D76. The film is definitely the limitation here. It takes TMax 100 / Acros / Delta 100 to have enough resolution in the film where the lens becomes the limiting factor (in 135 format anyway).
There have been times when I've shot on tripod at night, and I have revealed some weaknesses particularly in Cosina Voigtlander lenses. The 35mm f/1.4 Nokton is not a technically good lens, very unsharp at the corners, even at f/4 or f/5.6. But I really don't care. The prints come out wonderful, and that's all that matters.
For somebody more inclined to shoot technical photography, like product photography, catalog stuff like interiors, architecture, or someone who shoots for things to be printed bill board size it's a different story. They might need the best of the best. But for most people I opine they simply will never even get close to making photographs where the lens is the limitation.
"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
35mm has a look and a ratio. All the lenses I've tried - which is a lot - look more like each other than anything else. There's a limit to what a 36 x 24mm negative can resolve. It's simpler to just go larger than bust your head wringing the last ounce out of the small format. Printing 35mm bigger than 16 x 12" is technically difficult.
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I don't think any of us would disagree with that. Apologies Gerald if my previous post seemed to disagree, I was really adding there's other factors like flare etc.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
Aside from the Meyer Domiplan I've never come across an optically poor quality standard lens for a 35mm SLR or Rangefinder camera standard lens of around 50-55mm.
Yes resolution can differ particularly at wider apertures, but micro contrast of a lens can be equally as important. My highest resolution 50-55mm by a long way is an f2 50mm Summicron however with small prints a Japanese lens might initially appear to be sharper due to higher micro contrast.
Perhaps a point that many miss is a good photographer works with the equipment he/she has and make the most of it, chopping and changing equipment in search of better images just doesn't work until you can be 110% sure why you need to make a move.
It's rare for me to use 35mm these days, I've been predominantly a 120 and LF user since 1976 and my 35mm usage reduced significantly over a decade, it then became almost a diary after that. However it had become important to get the best from any format and 35mm was my guinea pig for film & dev testing and that also meant some lens testing. None of my lenses fail me (old and new), some have quirks
Craft is the most important skill in any art form, particularly photography, a good craftsman (or woman) will adapt to get the best from the equipment available.
Back around 1970 I had my first magazine cover my lens was amazingly sharp, a great performer, a Helios on a Zenit E. Later I used a Pancolor (I have one again) and the best 35mm work I've printed was shot with a Pancolor (and Sonnar & Flektagon).
The post is about standard lenses and reality is unless you're using very slow films and a tripod lens quality is not really an issue move to wide angles and telephotos things change.
I'm a bit late and I'm not going to say anything new.
A 3200 dpi scan can be one thing and another. On a relatively cheap flatbed or even a good dedicated film scanner this is roughly twice as much resolution as the scanner is able to provide optically: the 3200 dpi scan won't look significantly sharper, if at all than a 1600 dpi one. A drum scanner kept in good condition is significantly better at the task, but the real, top quality still comes from optical wet-printing.
Originally Posted by Bruce Robbins
It's worth to take a look at Henning Serger's posts on APUG, he's got long experience doing resolution tests in a practical, but objective way.
I took a quick look at the datasheet of Rollei Retro 400s and while its resolution is good, it's not in the same league as the already mentioned 100 (and 400) speed CCG/T-/Sigma-grain films, assuming 1:1000 as the test object contrast.
I don't mean the test is critically flawed, but it only offers value to those who have a similar photographic system.
A neat topic, excellent posts.
So even though the consensus seems to be that it's the photographer, not the lens, I'll bite -- what lens did you use?
Originally Posted by irvd2x
Well, in the hands of David Burnett even a single element plastic 60mm f8 lens can create some interesting results. Actually, I like his Holga results better than his photographs taken with a 4X5 Speed Graphic mounting a Aero Ektar.
For a long time I have read the lens test reviews in "Amateur Photographer" as a lunchtime pastime.
At one time they were done by photographing a test chart on T-Max 100 developed in Acutol and the results given in line-pairs/mm. This was the easiest to understand.Although it had the downside that the best lenses outresolved the film at mid apertures and their true excellence was not recorded it was a good guide to the best that could be done with "ordinary" black and white film.
Later, when Geoffrey Crawley took over he measured a value similar to the mtf, versus f-stop. In theory this this gave more information but I don't think the results were as memorable.
Nowadays the method is different still, it's no wonder the subject is not entirely clear.
I believe that in the US , Pop Photo magazine had a "subjective image quality " they reported.