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04-25-2011, 06:15 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
You're missing the point I was trying to make. Hound Tooth called someone a measurbator for mentioning basic lens qualities that would've been sought by any member of group f/64. I suppose a mountain peak in the Sierra Nevada is named after a measurbator.
nope, I was pointing out that the mathematical aspects of a lens are not the ultimate defining qualities that makes a lens "good". "Good" is completely dependent on the user's perspective. What may be a "good" lens for one photographer could be catastrophically bad for another, regardless of its optical characteristics. There are many, many more qualities to a lens which could make it a "good" lens for someone.

This is why some photographers take award-winning pictures with lenses that are considered door-stops, while you take no award-winning pictures.

Feel free to throw in some random food comparison in your next reply. Or if you've run out of arguments already, just resort to calling me "crazy"... oops, wait, that already happened. Guess I win.

04-25-2011, 06:17 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hound Tooth Quote
inane ramblings
I'm not sure why all you are capable of contributing to this thread is drunken vitriol.
04-25-2011, 06:24 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I decided it was safe to come back when I realized you had taken over my position of forum dickhead.
I doubt Reverend Weckend would condone that kind of language.
04-25-2011, 06:37 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hound Tooth Quote
Sure! And I've got another answer: pixie dust
I was going to post that last night but I fell asleep. Yup, pixie dust it is!

ObTopic: A great lens, hmmmm... A bad lens that you have is better than a great lens you don't have. And, the best lens is one you use, while the worst lens is one you DON'T use. My most expensive lens (Lil'Bigma 170-500, US$1k) is hardly ever used, duh. One of my cheapest (Tomioka 55/1.4, $2.25) is one of my most-used. Which is better?

Others of my most-used cost me US$10 or less (I got lucky!) and are usually acknowledged as pretty damn good: Yashica ML 50/1.4 (Planar clone, $10); CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (aluminium, 12 iris blades, $7); SuperTak 55/1.8 ($7.50); Nikkor 85/2 ($9); Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 Macro ($3); etc.

I could list others, but enough already! Different lenses are good/great/whatever for different purposes. A great 28mm macro lens probably isn't a great headshot portrait lens. A great expensive lens might not be one you want to haul into risky situations. All of which boils down to: Greatness is in the eye of the user. If it does what you want, and you actually use it, it's great for you, maybe not so great for someone else. Yes, optical relativism rears its ungainly head...

04-25-2011, 07:08 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

Others of my most-used cost me US$10 or less (I got lucky!) and are usually acknowledged as pretty damn good: Yashica ML 50/1.4 (Planar clone, $10); CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (aluminium, 12 iris blades, $7); SuperTak 55/1.8 ($7.50); Nikkor 85/2 ($9); Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 Macro ($3); etc.
Where the hell did you score those deals? Ignorant pawnshops?
04-25-2011, 08:39 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hound Tooth Quote
I've seen award-winning pictures taken with lenses that are considered door-stops by members of this forum. Each lens has its own qualities, and what some consider "glaring flaws", others call "unique flavor".
You can take great photos with a pinhole camera but at that point, we're talking about a great photographer, not about a great lens.
04-26-2011, 03:09 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
Where the hell did you score those deals? Ignorant pawnshops?
Just ordinary eBay sales. Some were in batch-lots, but the Yashica and SuperTak were just straight-up auctions.

ObTopic: READ THIS [ LensRentals.com - Fun with Thumbtacks for Advanced Photogeeks ] wherein the proprietor of LensRentals.Com writes,

QuoteQuote:
I also know that really great photographers usually comment on how a lens draws or renders rather than the absolute resolution or MTF chart. They didnít get to be great without learning something so I pay attention to what they say. Even I, a mediocre photographer, often find myself absolutely knowing that a certain lens makes images that I find much more pleasing than another lens that on paper has better numbers.
04-26-2011, 03:55 AM   #53
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I think mixed into the back and forth discussion are the main ingredients. Bokeh isn't really at the top of my list. Sharpness, contrast, and colors are some of the most important things. I personally also prefer auto focus lenses (sacrilege!) and so many of the options that may be awesome for others to use drop off of the list for me.

04-26-2011, 09:23 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I also know that really great photographers usually comment on how a lens draws or renders rather than the absolute resolution or MTF chart. They didn’t get to be great without learning something so I pay attention to what they say. Even I, a mediocre photographer, often find myself absolutely knowing that a certain lens makes images that I find much more pleasing than another lens that on paper has better numbers.
This is exactly why I love the FA 50 1.4 so much. I know that it's not as sharp as many other lenses, corner sharpness is abysmal, etc., but the soft dreamyness of it, the way it deals with edges (edge-blur) make it a really fun lens to take pictures with.
04-26-2011, 09:51 AM   #55
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IQ, CA and also the number of shutter blades.
04-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by manishved Quote
IQ, CA and also the number of shutter blades.
IQ can be subjective, and is trumped by content.
CA is irrelevant to shoot B&W; ditto on content.

Ah, number of shutter blades! I prize my many-bladed lenses! Isco Westron 35/2.8 and Kilfitt Makro-Kilar 40/3.5 (13 blades); Meyer Helioplan 40/4.5 and CZJ Tessar (alu, 12 blades); Jupiter-9 85/2 and Meyer Trioplan 100/2.8 (alu, 15 blades); Vivitar Tele 200/3.5 (19 blades). Et al. But my Schneider Betavaron 50-125/4-5.6 only has 5 blades, making a very pointy star-shaped aperture, yet it gives smooth creamy bokeh with no iris artifacts. Maybe its 800g+ of glass has something to do with that.
04-26-2011, 03:53 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
...In any event, if you want to go back to the main topic: if you read a photography magazine, a lens is rated based on its optical qualities, mechanical qualities, practical performance and price relative to these qualities. This is nothing revolutionary.
Yeah, but do they really get down to identifying greatness? I think it'll only pick out good lenses, most of the time. That kind of clinical analysis will weed out the losers and give everyone some numbers to base buying decisions on. It will not say much about how the lens works for you. Great lenses work for you.
04-26-2011, 04:08 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Yeah, but do they really get down to identifying greatness? I think it'll only pick out good lenses, most of the time. That kind of clinical analysis will weed out the losers and give everyone some numbers to base buying decisions on. It will not say much about how the lens works for you. Great lenses work for you.
The statement "it's great if it works for you" has no content. It's like saying, "it's great if it's great." The original poster asked "beside bokeh, what makes a great lens?" He mentioned a specific quality, i.e., "bokeh". So he probably expects other specific qualities.
04-26-2011, 04:21 PM   #59
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I think it's mostly down to what lens suits you. A great suit isn't the one that looks best in the shop, it's the one that (excuse the pun) suits you. For example- A friend of mine can really look good in a black suit with a red shirt. I look like a fool in a black suit with a red shirt. It's a great suit FOR HIM. Now, I could admire the technical finery of it, the precise tailoring or the quality of the textile, but it wouldn't look any better on me for it.

Lenses are the same way. I have a friend who can shoot beautifully with wide angle and fisheye glass. She's not much good with my prized 135mm, and to me a 21mm would be a glorified paperweight. It's not a question of the technical qualities of the lens, they're about equal in most technical aspects (I'm not going to name brands here, they're both older manual lenses, and I'll leave it at that), but they're only good to the right user. A lens that suits one's style and choice of format (Digital, MF, 35mm, ad naseum) is a great lens TO THEM. I wouldn't trade my 135mm for all the equipment the photo gods could tempt me with, but others would tire of it and trade it within the week.

If your lens is helping you make great work, it's a great lens. That's a very intangible and hard to quantify answer, I admit, but it means that a lens that needs a bit of PP correction for colour or chroma isn't necessarily a bad lens, and the sharpest, most beautifully rendering 1200$ Zeiss isn't automatically a great lens. Certainly I can admire and respect the technical aspects, I'd love to be able to put a brand new 85mm in my arsenal, but it's possible to think that a lens is very fine technically without believing it would suit me or my work. And if it doesn't fit my style, it's not great, TO ME.

I know that this is the sort of equal-but-opposite to the guys who photograph newspapers and brick walls all day every day to test lenses, and that the final result is more important than the lens idea is repeated as endlessly and is as cliche as sharpness and colour tests, BUT I do believe there is a middle ground. I'm trying to find it. Please don't take offense as I blindly stumble towards it.


QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
There is no such lens. You can always get better results with PP. It's not the lens that is the problem here, but the DR limitations of the sensor.
Depends. I doubt that a hasselblad or a 645D has very much limitation, but the influence of properties of film type (or digital sensors) on the final image is very important and often overlooked, especially in regards to colour images. I challenge you- Define "Better Results".
04-26-2011, 04:33 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
I think it's mostly down to what lens suits you. A great suit isn't the one that looks best in the shop, it's the one that (excuse the pun) suits you. For example- A friend of mine can really look good in a black suit with a red shirt. I look like a fool in a black suit with a red shirt. It's a great suit FOR HIM. Now, I could admire the technical finery of it, the precise tailoring or the quality of the textile, but it wouldn't look any better on me for it.

Lenses are the same way. I have a friend who can shoot beautifully with wide angle and fisheye glass. She's not much good with my prized 135mm, and to me a 21mm would be a glorified paperweight. It's not a question of the technical qualities of the lens, they're about equal in most technical aspects (I'm not going to name brands here, they're both older manual lenses, and I'll leave it at that), but they're only good to the right user. A lens that suits one's style and choice of format (Digital, MF, 35mm, ad naseum) is a great lens TO THEM. I wouldn't trade my 135mm for all the equipment the photo gods could tempt me with, but others would tire of it and trade it within the week.

If your lens is helping you make great work, it's a great lens. That's a very intangible and hard to quantify answer, I admit, but it means that a lens that needs a bit of PP correction for colour or chroma isn't necessarily a bad lens, and the sharpest, most beautifully rendering 1200$ Zeiss isn't automatically a great lens. Certainly I can admire and respect the technical aspects, I'd love to be able to put a brand new 85mm in my arsenal, but it's possible to think that a lens is very fine technically without believing it would suit me or my work. And if it doesn't fit my style, it's not great, TO ME.

I know that this is the sort of equal-but-opposite to the guys who photograph newspapers and brick walls all day every day to test lenses, and that the final result is more important than the lens idea is repeated as endlessly and is as cliche as sharpness and colour tests, BUT I do believe there is a middle ground. I'm trying to find it. Please don't take offense as I blindly stumble towards it.




Depends. I doubt that a hasselblad or a 645D has very much limitation, but the influence of properties of film type (or digital sensors) on the final image is very important and often overlooked, especially in regards to colour images. I challenge you- Define "Better Results".
You're answering the question "what makes a great focal length?"

" I wouldn't trade my 135mm for all the equipment the photo gods could tempt me with, but others would tire of it and trade it within the week. " Hyperbole much?

"the sharpest, most beautifully rendering 1200$ Zeiss isn't automatically a great lens." That's true. From what I've seen, some Zeiss lenses are susceptible to flare.
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