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04-26-2011, 04:36 PM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
In my humble opinion, a good lens makes photography fun. It lets you forget about the technical stuff and just shoot great photos. I personally think that functionality trumps IQ to a point. As long as IQ is acceptable, an easy-to-use lens is going to let me take the better photographs.
a "good" lens usually makes photography boring

A "bad" lens makes photography fun, or rather one that is more difficult to use (but could still be good )

Thats partly why I LOVE using old lenses There is just more of a sense of accomplishment getting a great image out of those older pre-AF lenses. Secretly we know there are some real gems optically speaking, but still.


Tell me im not the only one with this type of thinking?
I've even considered have a "fun" setup where I just enjoy the full experience and a "serious" setup where the shots would be for an event or for other people.

ex.
M 85mm F/2 = fun
Sigma 85mm F/1.4 = serious

etc. etc. through the focal lengths


04-26-2011, 07:06 PM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
M 85mm F/2 = fun
Sigma 85mm F/1.4 = serious
Maybe. Unless you get frustrated with green-button metering lag .
04-26-2011, 07:34 PM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
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.
This sounds a bit like the Sigma 30mm f/1.4... a lens many love to criticize and others just love, period. It just goes to show that, beyond good-enough competency in areas of sharpness, color, contrast, bokeh and resistance to CA and flare, it's mostly a matter of taste.
04-26-2011, 08:45 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
This sounds a bit like the Sigma 30mm f/1.4... a lens many love to criticize and others just love, period. It just goes to show that, beyond good-enough competency in areas of sharpness, color, contrast, bokeh and resistance to CA and flare, it's mostly a matter of taste.
Yes, I'm actually really interested in giving the Sigma a spin. I've seen some really beautiful photos taken with it.

04-26-2011, 09:04 PM   #65
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Speed seems to be a key factor for me. It just eliminates the possibility of not being able to capture the moment.

I'm young (25) for having done this for ten years and lucky to have cut my photography teeth on a very primitive, but optically sound, mamiya 1000dtl with it's included 55mm 1.4 champion. I've gone through at least a dozen lenses and none compare.

This thread has made quite a few passionate photographers post about what a good lens is; I ask, is not a good lens just a lens that inspires it's user to go out and capture a slice of time and share it.

Last edited by wtf_cowboy; 04-26-2011 at 09:14 PM.
04-26-2011, 09:08 PM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Maybe. Unless you get frustrated with green-button metering lag .
Or you just get good at metering with your eyes

I've had no issues with green button "lag" either
04-26-2011, 09:17 PM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
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.
Imagine owning a lens that everyone, even photography magazines, say is the greatest lens ever. But it has a mount that doesn't fit any camera you have or want to use. A great lens that doesn't work for you loses a lot of greatness right there.

I have a list of specific qualities I compiled from your original contributions to the thread so far:
- "high optical quality"
- "ergonomics are important"
- not the DA 55-300, not slow or noisy or f5.8, better AF than the DA 55-300, not a zoom
- rated highly by magazines
- not some Zeiss lenses

Want to add any?
04-26-2011, 09:25 PM   #68
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Microcontrast abilities./

04-26-2011, 10:05 PM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
a "good" lens usually makes photography boring

A "bad" lens makes photography fun, or rather one that is more difficult to use (but could still be good )

Thats partly why I LOVE using old lenses There is just more of a sense of accomplishment getting a great image out of those older pre-AF lenses. Secretly we know there are some real gems optically speaking, but still.
I phrase it like this: "Modern AF zooms are good for taking pictures. Old manual primes are good for MAKING pictures." Modern lenses are fine for recording what's around you. Older lenses can be great for expressing your (or their) vision. Yes, 'character' may include character flaws. Yes, modern optics are wonderful. But some slow, funky, weird old glass can capture images that elude slick, corrected wonders. IOW: You'll have to pry my CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 and Enna Tele-Sandmar 100/4.5 (both: aluminium bodies, 12 iris blades, US$8 shipped each) from my cold, dead fingers. No rush now, y'hear?
04-26-2011, 10:13 PM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I phrase it like this: "Modern AF zooms are good for taking pictures. Old manual primes are good for MAKING pictures." Modern lenses are fine for recording what's around you. Older lenses can be great for expressing your (or their) vision. Yes, 'character' may include character flaws. Yes, modern optics are wonderful. But some slow, funky, weird old glass can capture images that elude slick, corrected wonders. IOW: You'll have to pry my CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 and Enna Tele-Sandmar 100/4.5 (both: aluminium bodies, 12 iris blades, US$8 shipped each) from my cold, dead fingers. No rush now, y'hear?
This^


(im gunna be on the lookout for these lenses now by the way! I love lenses like those)
04-26-2011, 11:00 PM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
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.
I think people confuse a lens as an optical tool with a lens as an artistic tool. They are answering the question of "what makes a great lens as an artistic tool" rather than "what makes a great lens purely as an optical instrument".

QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
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".
Even a MF camera doesn't have the DR of a human eye - 13Ev vs 20Ev. No camera produces the result you see with your eyes. And each digital camera does its own PP to produce an image. I am just saying that a fixed set of PP parameters will not be optimal for all the scenes that you will be shooting. You could tweak shooting parameters before each shot, but you get much more flexibility by delaying these to PP using specialized software.

And if you're trying to show the image you had in your mind rather than the one you saw, then no lens can give you that reliably.
04-26-2011, 11:22 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I think people confuse a lens as an optical tool with a lens as an artistic tool. They are answering the question of "what makes a great lens as an artistic tool" rather than "what makes a great lens purely as an optical instrument".
Drawing has been my hobby as far as I remember. But I can tell you more about good pencils than "derp, one that draws good."
04-26-2011, 11:30 PM   #73
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"great"

An unfortunate choice of words when it comes to lens'.

There is great art, great beauty, great leaders etc. Greatness implies that the whole exceeds the sum of it's parts and is ultimately inexplicable.

A lens is a tool. It either accomplishes what the photographer wants to accomplish for a given situation or it does not. To try and go beyond this leads to a sort of optical mysticism that has no objective explanatory value.
04-26-2011, 11:45 PM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
No camera produces the result you see with your eyes. And if you're trying to show the image you had in your mind rather than the one you saw, then no lens can give you that reliably.
I have always found that my best images convey not what I see with my eyes nor what my mind's eye saw, but rather the feelings I had that prompted me to press the shutter release in the first place.

Good photography for me, with the exception of photojournalism, is all about conveying the subjective feelings and emotions of the photographer.

Last edited by wildman; 04-26-2011 at 11:56 PM.
04-27-2011, 03:39 AM   #75
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Even my Leica lenses need some sharpening and general pp work on my M9, and Leica makes arguably some of the greatest lenses in the world.

What makes a lens truly great has little to do with lenses, or even photography - all you need is someone with an interesting, unique idea and the means to capture it.

though there are things that can make a lens special: A unique focal length -E.G, FA31 FA43 FA77 - unusual optical characteristics - E.G, Pentax 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom fisheye - unusually fast aperture E.G, A*135mm f/1.8 - K&A 50mm f/1.2. or simply make the lens accessible to the masses - E.G, every M42 lens ever made - sure they are old that doesn't stop people from making excellent images with them.
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