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Thread: Too Sharp?

  1. #21
    nicefor88's Avatar
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    I think one could find a lens too sharp when portraits show very clearly wrinkles, pimples and other 'undesirable things'. Though they're there, a good photographer should try to erase some... to get lots of positive comments from female models (men would probably also value such improvements but not say it...)

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shangheye View Post
    I do wish people would consider that sharpness in photography has less to do with the lens and everything to do with the mind behind the camera :rolleyes:

    I for one think that the answer of relative sharpness all depends on what you are seeing, and how you wish to communicate it. So the answer is yes, a lens can be too sharp....and the same lens can also be too soft.
    Perfect illustration of the what a lens does vs what you want a lens to do thing.

    A lens that shows most of what there is to show isn't bad because it does.
    It perhaps is because you don't want it to be.

    So a lens is never too sharp.
    But you may find a lens too sharp.
    And when you do, the lens still is not too sharp.


    It boils down to the you can dumb a good lens down, but not 'smarten up' a bad lens thing.

    You can find a good lens too sharp and do something about it.
    You can find a lens not sharp enough and then find you can do nothing about it.

    So a lens is never too sharp.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Layne View Post
    Some 'sharp' lenses have horrid bokeh
    So do some 'unsharp' lenses.

  4. #24
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicefor88 View Post
    I think one could find a lens too sharp when portraits show very clearly wrinkles, pimples and other 'undesirable things'. Though they're there, a good photographer should try to erase some... to get lots of positive comments from female models (men would probably also value such improvements but not say it...)
    If the negs are too sharp, you can desharpen them. It can be done without digital techniques, even.

    If they are not sharp enough... well... sorry.

    You can work around too much sharpness. Too little is incurable.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  5. #25
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Or print it with a stocking folded over several times. You may need a cigarette to burn holes for the eyes. :rolleyes:

    Steve
    The old trick was to use the Cellophane that came on the outside of packs of Galois cigarettes and born holes in the middle with a cigarette before fastening it in front of the camera lens with a rubber band.
    Ben

  6. #26
    naeroscatu's Avatar
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    The old trick was to use the Cellophane that came on the outside of packs of Galois cigarettes and born holes in the middle with a cigarette before fastening it in front of the camera lens with a rubber band.
    You probably mean Gauloises which is a brand of strong stinky French cigarettes. Don't I know about them... Back to the OP no, I don't think a lens can be too sharp. This is a tool like any other, you just need to use the right tool for the job; if you shoot a flattering portrait you stay away from the Micro Mikkor 55mm/ 3.5 which is insanely sharp.
    Mihai Costea

    "There's more to the picture
    Than meets the eye." - Neil Young

    Galleries:My PN & My APUG

  7. #27
    eddym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shangheye View Post
    I have seen plenty Holga images that dispute this statement.
    I have never seen a Holga image that doesn't.
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

  8. #28

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    Many moons ago (1980's) I did weddings om a semi-pro basis - friends, family, friends of family, that sort of thing. I used OM1n and OM2n bodies with Zuiko 28mm/f2.8, 50mm/f1.8 and 85mm/f2 lenses. A friend of mine recommended the new 35-70mm f3.5/4.5 Zuiko which he raved about. He loaned me his and I used it to shoot a wedding.

    When I got the photos processed I was horrified as, compared to my original set up, the results were soft - almost to the point of looking as if they'd had a soft focus filter applied. I daren't have shown them to the 'happy couple' or they'd have instantly become the 'unhappy couple'.

    I went back and had a chat with the processing lab and showed them some of the stuff I'd got back from them using the previous kit. They agreed there was a big difference but they also admitted they'd been trying out some new enlarger lenses and I wasn't the first person who'd returned some of their recent work. Reprinted on their old kit, the prints were exactly as hoped for. However, I showed the couple the first set of prints and they used quite a few as the softness was just what the bride wanted (she was in her 50's and she was delighted that some of her wrinkles had been smoothed away).

    The Zuiko 35-70mm f3.5/4.5 went on to be my default lens of choice for several years. The point I'm trying to make is that the lens on your camera isn't the only lens in the analogue process. Before we commend or condemn a camera lens, it's worth considering whether the enlarger lens is having an effect on the end result.
    Paul Jenkin (a late developer...)

  9. #29

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    I thought long and hard about it, but have decided that i'll let you all in a secret that has been closely guarded within the industry for very long:

    Just like it is not your wife's/girlfriend's fault that she has pores, wrinkles, freckles, and what have you, it is not the lens' fault that it shows those pores, wrinkles, freckles, and what have you.
    The lens is not too sharp, just as little as your wife/girlfriend is too imperfect.

    It's the film ... Film is too sharp.

    You may not believe that at first.
    But think about it. Why do you think that the industry produced 2 to 3 MP digital cameras first, and not the 20 or so MP thingies you could get today (if you were so inclined)?
    Have you never admired the plasticky, perfectly smooth look these machines produced? Or have you forgotten that look already?

    It's film. Way too sharp. So they gave us a much less sharp sensor. Problem solved.


    Things have changed a bit since then though. Soft focus is as outmoded as David Hamilton.
    We now like to see the other half for what it is. Emancipation, and all that. Be yourself, and not how you think others would like you to be. Be wrinkled, and be proud of it!

    So not only are lenses never too sharp (never were), film isn't either.
    Not anymore. Hence the 20+ MP thingies you can get today.

    But it was film, not lenses, that was too sharp.

  10. #30
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    “Can you think of any 35mm lenses that are too sharp?”

    Yes!

    I love to use the 105mm f/2.8 Nikon macro lens for portraits but it is too sharp to use without a softening filter.

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