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  1. #1
    olleorama's Avatar
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    Resolution for 35 mm lenses?

    What is the typical resolution of 35 mm lenses in lp/mm? Will the lenses ever be the limiting factor or is it 'just' the film? Is there any significant difference between modern lenses and older? Is there any differences between really expensive leica lenses and more modestly priced older SLR lenses (think m42, older FDs and AIs).

    This has nothing to do with my photography, just curious.

  2. #2
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olleorama View Post
    What is the typical resolution of 35 mm lenses in lp/mm? Will the lenses ever be the limiting factor or is it 'just' the film? Is there any significant difference between modern lenses and older? Is there any differences between really expensive leica lenses and more modestly priced older SLR lenses (think m42, older FDs and AIs).

    This has nothing to do with my photography, just curious.
    The thing of interest is not the resolution of the lens alone (very high values are quoted but never achieved in practice), but the resolution of the lens and the film as a unit. The attached graph may give you a rough idea. More detail can be obtained from the MTF graphs of individual lenses.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LensResolution.jpg  
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  3. #3
    olleorama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    The thing of interest is not the resolution of the lens alone (very high values are quoted but never achieved in practice), but the resolution of the lens and the film as a unit. The attached graph may give you a rough idea. More detail can be obtained from the MTF graphs of individual lenses.
    Thanks. So am I understanding this right that 6x6 and 4x5 almost always satisfy print requirements? And that 35 mm won't satisfy critical print requirements? From what I've read maximum resolution for Tmax is somewhere around 100-150 lp/mm, so then it's not the film that is limiting. What kind of resolution does modern color neg and color positives have?

    How have you defined the print requirements?

    The problem with MTF plots is that it's hard to find them for older lenses. Might have to dig thru the libraries camera magazine archives (notice the deliberate use of the word camera magazine and not photography magazine, since it is a huge difference).

    It would be fun to see a comparison between older fixed lens rangefinders versus modern slrm compact and rf lenses. Why? I just really like my fixed lens rfs.

    [OT]Jeezuz, I just drew a parallel between fixed gear cyclists and rangefinder users in my head. It isn't even that far fetched. Good one.[/OT]

  4. #4
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olleorama View Post
    What is the typical resolution of 35 mm lenses in lp/mm? Will the lenses ever be the limiting factor or is it 'just' the film? Is there any significant difference between modern lenses and older? Is there any differences between really expensive leica lenses and more modestly priced older SLR lenses (think m42, older FDs and AIs).
    No easy, simple, comprehensive or "right" answer to all that...

    I'll skip the lines/mm question... Just that lenses can be (and often are) the limiting factor.

    Modern/older:
    "On average", lenses have gotten better, though a usual bugbear is just what is meant by "better"?
    I'll use "better" as meaning subjectively sharper, more flare resistant, less disortion and vignetting.
    That doesn't mean all newer lenses are better than older ones, often it is quite the opposite!
    In some brands, the newer lenses tend to be (or might always be) "better" than their older equivalents. Other brands have cut costs, so that often their newer lenses aren't as good as the older versions.
    A number of manufacturers have concentrated on zooms, letting the quality of their prime lenses decline.
    Anyway, I have some Soviet copies of 1930's Zeiss lenses which give first rate results. I've had (and quickly gotten rid of) some modern lenses which were simply awful.
    As I said, no easy answer... ;-)

    Leica lenses.
    More recent Leica lenses are really hard to beat. A few of other manufacturer's lenses might (and they'll probablly be just as expensive), but in general that is true.
    Older Leica lenses, contemporary with M42, Canon FD and Nikon AI lenses, you really have to look at on a case by case basis.
    On average, Leica will still be "better", but several Leica lenses can certainly be found which are no better or worse than their cheaper equivalents. A few will be absolutely stellar, even by current standards.

    Also, while my Leica lenses are generally and objectively technically "better", I often like the look of my Zeiss lenses more.

    Again, the trick is choosing wisely.
    And blanket statements don't work!!
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  5. #5
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olleorama View Post
    Thanks. So am I understanding this right that 6x6 and 4x5 almost always satisfy print requirements? And that 35 mm won't satisfy critical print requirements?...
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by olleorama View Post
    ...How have you defined the print requirements?...
    standard observation: 7 lp/mm at near vision or a viewing angle of 60 arc-seconds
    critical observation : 20 lp/mm at near vision or a viewing angle of 20 arc-seconds
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  6. #6

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    http://www.zeiss.de/c12567a8003b58b9...25711c00693b3f
    gives test results on microfilm.
    The magazine Amateur Photographer used to run lens tests using T-max 100 developed in Acutol, I have some of these but they seem to be partly limited by the film.
    I never saw any tests of old lenses done with microfilm,I just dont think the data is available.

  7. #7
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    All films significantly limit lens resolution, but that's OK, because it's reality. It makes no practical sense to look at lens resolution alone. A practical test includes one's lenses in combination with one's favorite films.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SystemResolution.jpg  
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  8. #8
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    All films significantly limit lens resolution, but that's OK, because it's reality. It makes no practical sense to look at lens resolution alone. A practical test includes one's lenses in combination with one's favorite films.
    Therefore, using lens, film, enlarger lens and paper form what Kodak calls the image chain. As an example using the best lens one can afford will help but the MTF or total resolution will be somewhat worse than the weakest link in the chain. Improve any part of the chain other than the weakest link does not improve the result. Only improving the weakest link will show an improvement.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  9. #9

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    Ok I take it from the graph,and experience, that for real photography it takes the best lenses, perfect conditions, and perfect technique to get the kind of resolution with 35mm that one can get with pretty much any junk in a larger format.

    But just to be obtuse- aren't the best 35 mm lenses like the asph 90 summicron diffraction limited at f/4 or something insane?

    Also it doesn't say anything about tonality etc but according to Kodak's propaganda using the metric of "visual grain" -- shooting with ekar100 in 35mm at 16x20 would be about the same at as portra400 in 120 printed the same size (in theory of course )

  10. #10
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    ...Improve any part of the chain other than the weakest link does not improve the result. Only improving the weakest link will show an improvement.

    Steve
    I think the equation, shown in the attachment to my post above, proves this statement wrong. Improving on any part of the chain will improve the overall performance. No link of the chain is an absolute limiter.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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