Quote Originally Posted by blockend View Post
Can you explain how it's clearly deficient? I agree with the photographer that it lacks shadow detail which may well be a processing problem. On the other hand it handles contrast well at what appears to be a wide aperture in uncompromising lighting conditions, especially skin tone. It certainly doesn't look like a cheap lens image.

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...but I believe the eye is seduced by various issues that it takes for sharpness.

As case in point many years ago I proof printed a shot taken on a 50mm Zuiko lens with 50 ASA film on Agfa Portriga at 5 x 4". A photography tutor disbelieved me that it wasn't a large format contact or at least a medium format image because at that enlargement it was to all intents grain free

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Apologies for banging on but I do believe quality prime lenses of similar focal length are quite hard to tell apart and almost impossible over the internet.
I agree, image quality is conveyed through multiple effects, it's not all just resolution. However, If I view the larger size image on Flickr for your posted example, it already looks a bit "mushy", which (from inspection) apears to be a combination of lower contrast (which had to be added back in in post-processing), poor resolution (in-focus areas should appear pixel-sharp in this small image, which it does not), flare (at high-contrast edges), and perhaps poor focus.

Look, let's drop this. You keep on re-stating things I said in my original review (such as the futility of performing image quality comparison with small online JPEG images).

A 4x5in print is so tiny, that if well done, it can look like a contact print even from a so-so lens, even on ISO 400 film, if processed correctly. It doesn't exactly prove much! Still, you don't need to convince me on anything Zuiko, it's my primary system. When using top-notch lenses, and a really high-resolution film like the defunct Kodak Tech Pan, or Adox CMS (ISO 20), it becomes difficult to believe that certain large prints were made from a 35mm negative.

The best 12x16in print I ever made from a 35mm negative (from a resolution / tonality aspect) was made with a Zuiko 250mm f/2.0 shot wide open - this image:



On the print, every bit of detail in the tyre on the bottom-left is crisply resolved, it looks a bit like my medium format prints (but not quite - no 35mm can).

From what I'm seeing though, the Heliar 50mm f/3.5 likely out-resolves, out-contrasts, out-everythings even this king-of-the-zuikos, which is no mean feat. For a tiny, 5-element lens that takes 27mm filters, that's quite something

For the analogue B&W phtographer travelling light, and photographing in good light, the Heliar is a cut above pretty much anything else. And collapsed on a Leica M3, it's certainly more than pocketable (though it looks so darned good, you rather want to flaunt it like jewelery!).