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05-24-2010, 04:48 PM   #1
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perfection?

Human beings seem obsessed with perfection and I assume that the need to apply corrective software to the deficiencies found in lenses is driven by this inherent trait. The deficiencies and aberrations found in lenses might give them characteristics which mark them as recognisable and individual pieces. Are we losing something?

05-24-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
mel
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I have an old lens that gives everything sort of a blue-violet cast, another that gives sort of a dark reddish one, another that gives smokey tones, and another that kind of desaturates a bit. I love the differences and use them when I want that particular kind of an effect.
05-24-2010, 04:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Anson Quote
Human beings seem obsessed with perfection
I kind of dispute the premise, and my shots will attest to this. If perfection was my goal, I would have to quit photography, guitar, making ventriloquist dummies, and writing.

Some people are maniacs about it, but I think most of us just enjoy the ride.
05-24-2010, 05:24 PM   #4
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Computers and digital imaging have done more to ruin photography than help it in many regards.
Digital photography has allowed an entire group of people who would normally just have a bunch of pencils in their breast pocket become instant experts in photography be means of their inherent geekiness and their access to computers, the internet and a technology that they have very little interest in beyond the fact they have something to "test" and find fault with.
Ricehigh is a classic example of this.
The ability to "pixel peep" and pick out every single deficiency in a lens has forced manufacturers to remove much of their personality in the name of making sure they don't have any optical aberrations that a person might see and whine about on some forum.
While some may see this as a good thing, and it is hard to argue, it has taken a lot of the personality out of individual lenses.
It has certainly increased the price of glass though.

05-24-2010, 06:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Anson Quote
Human beings seem obsessed with perfection and I assume that the need to apply corrective software to the deficiencies found in lenses is driven by this inherent trait. The deficiencies and aberrations found in lenses might give them characteristics which mark them as recognisable and individual pieces. Are we losing something?
If we're not careful, this is going to devolve into one of those "stone age vs computer age" threads.

Well I'll argue the other side of it, just because I'm in the mood: To me, a camera(+ lens) is an electromechanical device. Nothing more. It transmits the light from the subject to my sensor, which records it. I find no romance nor nostalgia for devices that modify what I see in some "characteristic" way. To me, that is a flawed device that can be simply improved with technology. A camera and lens is just supposed to quickly and accurately record what I see. What is the difference between choosing a lens because it has a "characteristic," or postprocessing an image to give it a different "characteristic?" In both cases you are doing the exact same thing using different means.

To me, the art is in the framing, it is in the composition, it is in the lighting, the postprocessing, etc. If optics can be improved through computer design, CNC grinding, polishing, etc. Why not embrace it?

OK, queue the "vinyl vs digital" war...
05-25-2010, 02:35 AM   #6
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Maybe some people are driven to what they think are "perfect" lenses, and they pay a high pricefor them and look down on capable lenses that cost less than their glass.

I am not one of them.

For example, when assembling my M42 kit I have in several cases stayed away from smc taks because I wanted to look for lenses that had some different personalities .

I now own several preset m42 lenses with 16-18 blade apertures and while they have some defficiencies that other later lenses don't they offer something different that can't be added in pp
05-25-2010, 05:54 AM   #7
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The Micro 4/3rds cameras are famous for that--with the G1 and the 14-45 kit lens, you get images that are sharp, free of artifacts and free of distortion. If that's what you're looking for, it's nice to be able to do it.

The "character" of a lens isn't really getting affected in most cases. I don't complain when it's distortion and CA that get fixed (even though the in-camera CA correction leads to its own issues). But many debates about which lens is better descend into pixel peeping and photozone wall charts. Not my thing.

I'd say we're missing something by having a crop sensor--the edges of the photo. We're using lenses that are intended to be used on one medium on another, which forces us to use them in different ways. Not a crime though.
05-25-2010, 06:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
A camera and lens is just supposed to quickly and accurately record what I see. What is the difference between choosing a lens because it has a "characteristic," or postprocessing an image to give it a different "characteristic?"

OK, queue the "vinyl vs digital" war...
HAH! Great point on the music!

But that's just it--there IS a difference which makes each format better than the other, depending on the criteria used:

We started our digital video imaging evolution with videotape, but why were movies still made using film? Because film was still better in so many ways. Even as HDR video cams have evolved...able to more realistically catch detail...film was still the preferred format.

It wasn't until the HDR cams evolved to supply the CHARACTERISTIC of film, that movies starting to get done digitally on a wide-scale basis.

The equipment exists to capture every hair on someone's arm and eyelash on their head--but for artistic/performing arts purposes, that can be a distraction.

05-25-2010, 07:06 AM   #9
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This brings to mind the comments that pop up whenever someone starts a thread concerning soft focus lenses. I'm not sure if a lens manufacturer these days could get away with building one. When I look through all of my old albums, many of my favorite shots are a little off in some respect. Sometimes that lens flare we all try to avoid ends up adding a nice touch to an otherwise plain shot. One of my favorite lenses is the 10-17 fisheye. I bring it everywhere.
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