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05-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #211
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Exactly, those are just two quick snapshot with two diff lenses, point is that it's all about lighting, subject than the lens itself or hypothetical 'pixie dust' it has!!!!

05-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #212
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Exactly, those are just two quick snapshot with two diff lenses, point is that it's all about lighting, subject than the lens itself or hypothetical 'pixie dust' it has!!!!
+1!!!

and the shots pretty much proved it. If your lighting is off, focus not there etc.... You can have as "pixie dusted" lens as you wish, it's still be blah kind of shot...

Thanks!
05-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #213
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Just a few from our trip to Fleetwood and Pizza hut. It's with the 43mm 1.9 ltd and I think most are at 1.9
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05-29-2011, 10:41 AM   #214
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Exactly, those are just two quick snapshot with two diff lenses, point is that it's all about lighting, subject than the lens itself or hypothetical 'pixie dust' it has!!!!
It's not about lighting, or about the photographer, subject, or the processing, etc. It's about certain lenses offering a superior aesthetic over other lenses, all other parameters being equal. Equally good, I should say. I don't think anyone's claimed that a superior lens can make a technically poor image less crappy.

05-29-2011, 11:55 AM   #215
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
It's not about lighting, or about the photographer, subject, or the processing, etc. It's about certain lenses offering a superior aesthetic over other lenses, all other parameters being equal. Equally good, I should say. I don't think anyone's claimed that a superior lens can make a technically poor image less crappy.
I think you've defined the two prevailing stances on "pixie dust"; 1) it's in the photographer's eye, 2) it's in the lens. But we've not seen two images that are the same in every way, both excellent photographs, where the one shot with a dusted lens has that "extra something".

This whole thread and exercise seems to indicate to me that pixie dust is completely subjective in nature.

I get your discussion about the relationship between the photographer and the lens, but I think you missed my point. I just got a new Helios 44M (58/2); it's heavy and I hate fighting with the screw mount adapter, and I had to jump through hoops to get it to mount properly and give me infinity focus; the grease in the helical has thickened with age and you can unscrew it trying to focus it. At f2 it has a microscopic DOF that, combined with the thick grease, makes it a BEAR to focus. It flares like mad if there's a light source anywhere NEAR FOV. All of that irritates me. But when I look at the images, I feel like it's worth every second and bit of trouble. So "Love the lens"? NO, but I LOVE the images - even plain old pick-up snapshots like this one:




I'm fairly certain no one will assert that this image has "pixie dust" ( there's no visible bokeh to speak of, after all ) . But this lens grabs *me* because of its sharpness and contrast ( when you control flare ), and I categorically reject the idea that only images with great bokeh are great images, and by correlation, I reject the proposition that only lenses with great bokeh are great lenses.

I think that many of the photographers here - you being one of them; Jay another - by posting these images in this fashion, have convinced me that, whether it exists or not, "pixie dust" is a tempest in a teapot. I think many people use it to justify their LBA... I'm not so proud. I just want all the lenses because I love the mechanics, the hardware - not as much as the product, but nearly as much. And as Jay said, *I* can 'feel' the difference in images after a while of working with a lens - but I think that has more to do with my experience than the final image, as I think it's a rare image that can be identified by lens.
05-29-2011, 12:19 PM   #216
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FWIW, the images I posted were taken with the following lenses:

#1: Kit lens (18-55 II)
#2-3: DA70
#4-7: M120/2.8
#8: DA70

I didn't go out of my way to pick so many images from the 120 & 70; I just picked some of my favorite recent images that came to mind as having the "right" qualities. I think these lenses came up most often in large part because they can get the sort of shallow DOF that seems to be a part of the "pixie dust" perception more easily than any other lens I use regularly, and they are also sharp enough wide open to offer some real "pop". What I can't really say is to what extent the FA77 or some random 135 might have done "better". Obviously, other lenses of similar focal lengths can get shallower DOF still if needed, and would be similarly sharp at the apertures I used. So no doubt I'd be able to get these types of shots at least as often, and with the potentially shallower DOF, other variations on this theme as well. Whether there is anything more to it, I still cannot say.
05-29-2011, 03:35 PM   #217
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Todd your cat looks alot like my wife's cat-
Whoah! Definitely. Great IQ, too, beautiful shot, and you can really see it with the 100% crop.
05-29-2011, 03:37 PM   #218
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeeves2011 Quote
Just a few from our trip to Fleetwood and Pizza hut. It's with the 43mm 1.9 ltd and I think most are at 1.9
These are great shots, and they definitely have a special quality to them IMO. I suppose I'll have to buy that damn lens, eventually.

05-29-2011, 04:20 PM   #219
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Use the Nikon camp's term, if 'Pixie Dust' vexes

.

Interesting that in the Nikon camp, they have recognized and labeled LBA, but they don't call it LBA, they call it Nikon Acquisition Syndrome (NAS.)

They also understand the Pixie Dust concept, but call it, directly, je ne sais quoi, which IMO is a perfect label for it.



QuoteQuote:
je ne sais quoi, literally ‘I don't know what’.

An intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive.
"She has a certain je ne sais quoi about her."

I suspect that if HCB was still around, he'd understand. He used to call a certain Leica 35mm 'shrill', and likened the 90mm to "an old deaf lady's ear trumpet."


.
05-29-2011, 06:14 PM   #220
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Maybe this was mentioned in one or more of the prior 220 messages, not all of which I've read: Pixie dust is attributed to lenses that 'pop' images, which is probably related to dimensionality, a 3D effect. What contributes to that? Microcontrast, and a CURVED FIELD! Here we go looking for lenses with flatfield sharpness -- and they are just the opposite! Some of the lenses we deride for NOT being edge-to-edge sharp, are thus the very glass that will produce very-3D images.

So: How can we identify curved-field lenses?
05-29-2011, 06:50 PM   #221
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
So: How can we identify curved-field lenses?
so *THATS* why my FA 50 makes it so much easier to isolate a subject than my old 50 1.7!

and this is a stretch, but my DA 15 has about as much pop as I could expect to see from a WA, f4 lens (although it's certainly not a dusty lens).

very interesting.

RioRico, I hav no authority on the matter, but your distillation might be the purest one I've read. And it all makes so much sense.... FA ltds in actual use v. test chats... that "pop" factor, etc.
05-29-2011, 07:23 PM   #222
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I'm not exactly an optics genius, but I've been under the impression that microcontrast is what gives us dimensionality, and that field curvature, while certainly providing "character," doesn't have much to do with the 3D effect. Both the Zeiss 100 Makro-Planar and the 35 Distagon have flat fields, and they are by far the most 3D lenses I've ever used.

I should say though, that I feel like I get pretty good 3D from the DA15, too.
05-29-2011, 07:31 PM   #223
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I would also add that Nikon's legendary 85/1.4D, which many would claim has a version of "pixie dust," exhibits a lot of curvature. More than the FA77, I think. I've done a lot of shooting with the 85D, and I feel like the FA77 is better with regard to yielding that "extra" bit of awesomeness.
05-29-2011, 07:57 PM   #224
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M 85 f/2

Yes, the disparity between edge and center sharpness is something I've cited as a contributing factor (for me, my interpretation of it.) Field curvature would add to that effect, but really it doesn't mean much if you don't have really good center sharpness wide open or at the high apertures.

The M 85 f/2 is a dusted lens, IMO. If they made one with AF, it would rival the 77ltd. problem is, it would basically be the 77ltd, so they won't be doing that.


















05-29-2011, 08:00 PM   #225
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
It's not about lighting, or about the photographer, subject, or the processing, etc. It's about certain lenses offering a superior aesthetic over other lenses, all other parameters being equal.
Both are important. And that's where there's some stumbling about this pixie dust notion. The FA ltds are a good example of image quality that goes beyond the numbers and creates pleasing results in more situations than rival lenses. Call it pixie dust or whatever, but the qualities are there, and can be harnessed under the right conditions (i.e. lights, focus, technique, etc... without which you may as well shoot with a kit lens)
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