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06-01-2011, 01:40 PM   #421
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote

On the assumption you are disagreeing with my assertion that a lens (or speaker cable) can convey and we can detect qualities that are not measurable, I'm sure you are aware that no human can ever know "objective" since all experience is subjective.
This is why we've invented blind tests. To separate out what we *think* we can perceive from what we *can* perceive. $750 Cat5 cables don't meet that standard. There have been things that people could identify that could not be measured. But after a few blind tests, suddenly someone figured out *how* to measure them. In some cases, how to *simulate* them.

QuoteQuote:
Usually we assume most people's senses work the same (or close enough) so that it is possible to reach agreement about that which is externally perceived. So I assume by "subjective" you mean a reaction to sensory perception that is distinct from the actual perception itself.
Mmm... I don't accept the irreducible subjective as a meaningful philosophical concept, if that's what you're getting at - I think Wittgenstein made a good run at it, and modern neurological experiments have confirmed that it's not the state of affairs. I think it's fairly certain that we all have the same sorts of experiences, and that "subjectivity" resides primarily in degree, rather than kind.

QuoteQuote:
Of course there are subjective reactions to our perceptions, but that still doesn't tell us if our measuring devices are able to register some quality that we can nonetheless detect directly with consciousness, or if we would recognize some way that detection machinery actually does detect but we don't know how to read or is buried within another reading, or if all the people who designed the detection machinery were undeveloped consciously when it comes to pixie dust, weren't aware of those qualities and therefore didn't even try to design their detection machinery to look for such qualities.

IOW, your principle that experienced qualities are either measurable or they are subjective cannot be an either-or type of principle . . . . it is just a "sometimes" principle.
Mmm... I can't think of any examples of the condition you present. Can you?

Take bokeh; it got its name recently, in historical terms. People argued about it, and now it's observable, quantifiable, and we even understand the causes of the various 'types'. We can't agree on what's "good" or what's "bad", because those are purely subjective, judgement, preferential... we can absolutely measure the shape and distribution of OOF points, yes?

With the 3D effect, we can put you in a PET scanner, and when you see a 2D image that fools your brain into thinking it's 3D, your brain lights up sections devoted to spatial distances and relationships in 3D. People who don't see the 3D don't light up those areas. Measurable, even though it's perceptual. We argue about images because the same images don't always do it for everyone, and some people almost never have the experience.

And I don't mean, necessarily, that it must be practically measurable. Just measurable in principle.

06-01-2011, 01:44 PM   #422
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Yep, the same sort of fool that buys Limiteds, Voightlanders, Zeiss, etc.

Oh, man, audiophile whackiness is *well documented*. It's not even controversial except to people that don't understand physics. I see them arguing about being able to hear the difference between DIGITAL OPTICAL CABLES, for pete's sake. C'mon.

In the "measurability" column - I used to pull Leitz and Zeiss slides out of piles of slides from all sorts of cameras just by throwing them on a lightbox. I mentioned this already in the thread - I could be fooled by clouds, or polarizers (sometimes), but I had a very high hit rate. It vanished with prints and other second-generation images.
06-01-2011, 01:50 PM   #423
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
LMAO. I can find about 100 people who would argue against this even more vociferously than you argue against pixie dust.
I was just gonna say. '3-d effect' is mocked even more by some angry people, maybe because it's more widely used (and misused, to be fair.)

Come to think of it, though, the '3-D effect' does seem to correlate pretty closely to what we seem to be describing as 'pixie dust'.

Check out this dpreview thread for a chuckle ----? tinyurl link to nasty dpreview article "Your lens does NOT have magical 3-d properties!"

http://forums dpreview com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&thread=36302520&page=1





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06-01-2011, 01:58 PM   #424
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
Nah. ...although, I can't really think of an analogy to stereotypical audiophile wackiness.

My earphones are Sony MDR-V6, btw.
Well, I've tried a lot of cabling (including Radio Shack copper) . . . there is a difference in better cables that my golden ears easily detect. But I've had this debate many, many, many, many (i.e., too many) times, so I understand it can never be solved via intellectual argument. I know makers of exotic cables charge ridiculous amounts for them, but that doesn't mean they are not the best either. MIT cables are labor-intensive and they do research new (and test) their technology, so that is part of it, but I doubt their top of the line Oracle MA-X2 cables cost anywhere near to make as the $40,000 they ask for them! (Of course, I buy all my stuff used, and at least a few generations old.)

But we digress.


Last edited by les3547; 06-02-2011 at 07:38 AM.
06-01-2011, 02:02 PM   #425
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I was just gonna say. '3-d effect' is mocked even more by some angry people, maybe because it's more widely used (and misused, to be fair.)

Come to think of it, though, the '3-D effect' does seem to correlate pretty closely to what we seem to be describing as 'pixie dust'.

Check out this dpreview thread for a chuckle ----? tinyurl link to nasty dpreview article "Your lens does NOT have magical 3-d properties!"

http://forums dpreview com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&thread=36302520&page=1
.
Well, if all the pixie dust advocates agreed that this was the case, i'd say, "Oh, ok. Cool." *shrug*. The fellow who wrote that diatribe obviously doesn't understand visual perception. As I wrote already, it's clearly documentable, measurable, and quantifiable. We might argue about whether a given image *has it* or not, but there's no point in arguing about whether an image *can have it*, if you see what I mean. It's been done, measured, and tested.
06-01-2011, 02:02 PM   #426
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Oh, man, audiophile whackiness is *well documented*. It's not even controversial except to people that don't understand physics.
I knew you'd say that (BTW, I do understand cable physics). But guess who does the documenting? Lead ears.
06-01-2011, 02:07 PM   #427
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
I knew you'd say that (BTW, I do understand cable physics). But guess who does the documenting? Lead ears.
And guess who has systematically, spectacularly, and completely failed to demonstrate the ability to discern most* of the audiophile whackiness? The people who claim they can.

*Some years ago it was demonstrated that certain people could absolutely tell the difference between CDs and vinyl in double-blind tests, regardless of the controls applied. Before the end of the study, quantifiable, measurable numbers were produced that showed exactly why, and this was proven by changing the conditions. At 24 bits, 192khz, *no one* could tell the difference between vinyl and digital recordings of the same event, with each step up from 16/44 dropping out a huge percentage of the cohort.

EDIT: It's worth noting that in every case, almost twice as many people were certain they could tell the difference as actually could
06-01-2011, 02:07 PM   #428
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I was just gonna say. '3-d effect' is mocked even more by some angry people, maybe because it's more widely used (and misused, to be fair.).
That's why I spoke tentatively about what I think I experience from the lenses, I don't actually know if it is 3D, or shadow/highlight balance, lack of edge harshness . . . I was guessing that some elements of 3D might be it. To me, it is like I relax with the image more, it feels more in synch with how I look at things . . . so pretty subtle all in all.

06-01-2011, 02:08 PM - 1 Like   #429
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
Not because there aren't people who fight the concept of PD purely out of insecurity (because I'm sure there are; I know there are those who are that way about "Zeissness")
Amen to that. I quit trying to discuss anything Zeiss-related here a long time ago because it makes people spew forth such hate and vitriol. You don't even have to say anything remotely competitive about them, just expressing an appreciation for them will have folks coming out of the woodwork to call them overpriced and insinuating that you are a buffoon for buying them. I finally just decided that I don't need to discuss them to enjoy the hell out of 'em!
06-01-2011, 02:09 PM   #430
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
And guess who has systematically, spectacularly, and completely failed to demonstrate the ability to discern most* of the audiophile whackiness? The people who claim they can.

*Some years ago it was demonstrated that certain people could absolutely tell the difference between CDs and vinyl in double-blind tests, regardless of the controls applied. Before the end of the study, quantifiable, measurable numbers were produced that showed exactly why, and this was proven by changing the conditions. At 24 bits, 192khz, *no one* could tell the difference between vinyl and digital recordings of the same event, with each step up from 16/44 dropping out a huge percentage of the cohort.
Oh no, I'm not being dragged into this one again . . . no, no, no

So can I assume you won't be buying these:

06-01-2011, 02:11 PM   #431
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Oh no, I'm not being dragged into this one again . . . no, no, no

So can I assume you won't be buying these:
Hey, where'd you get that photo of my speaker cables?
06-01-2011, 02:15 PM   #432
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Oh no, I'm not being dragged into this one again . . . no, no, no

So can I assume you won't be buying these:
LOL! This isn't the time or the place, and I will say only this: If you can't tell whether you're listening to it in a double blind test, it doesn't matter what they say it does.
06-01-2011, 02:17 PM   #433
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Amen to that. I quit trying to discuss anything Zeiss-related here a long time ago because it makes people spew forth such hate and vitriol. You don't even have to say anything remotely competitive about them, just expressing an appreciation for them will have folks coming out of the woodwork to call them overpriced and insinuating that you are a buffoon for buying them. I finally just decided that I don't need to discuss them to enjoy the hell out of 'em!
Getting 6x6 chromes out of my Hassy the first time was nearly a religious experience I've said it before, but I chose Pentax because the Pentax lenses come the closest to Zeiss, Leitz, et al, of all the Asian manufacturers.
06-01-2011, 02:30 PM - 1 Like   #434
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
Nah. ...although, I can't really think of an analogy to stereotypical audiophile wackiness.
Don't even get me started on audiophiles. Before I spent my time learning about photography on forums (amazing how much I have learned from you people in the last year), I spent my time learning about guitars on forums. Guitar audiophiles are *true* emperor's new clothes victims. They're the same people who spend 100s of dollars on oxygen free wires, and buy hand-made amplifiers because "point to point wiring is made with a better type of metal that sounds better".

On guitar forums, I learned something after about a year - it's not the pickups, it's not the amp, it's not the room, it's your fingers. It's all in your fingers. Flash forward 8 years, and I *can* make a bad acoustic sound good. Tone is in the fingers, and I would imagine that pixie dust is as well.

I've really done some thinking about this. I like, but do not love, my FA 77. No question that it's a great lens in a technical sense, but I do not connect with it. Therefore, very few pictures I take with it have any magic. Looking through my library of pictures, other lenses really *do* have magic (at least when compared with my other work).

The one lens that has the most hits is my K55 1.8. There is no good technical reason for this. It's kinda soft wide open, the bokeh is so so stopped down, and it's not exactly a pleasure to work with in an environment where the lights are rapidly changing. I find it flares up too much, not the best for action, etc.

However, for whatever reason, I connect to the world when I'm looking through that lens. I see in a way that makes sense to me, and I'm able to capture the important stuff (subject / light) more naturally when the K55 (and similarly, the FA 50) is attached to my DSLR. I think it's due to the focal length, mostly, but I'm sure rendering comes into play as well.

The point is that a lens *can* have pixie dust... or maybe more accurately, a lens can *pull* pixie dust right out of you. If you connect with the FA 43, the unique way of separating the subject from the background with a very unique mix of sharpness and impressionistic bokeh, the focal length - then you are going to take some magical pictures. And you will attribute that magic to the lens... but really, it's just the relationship you formed with the lens!

This also accounts for the disagreements about the *best* FA ltd (or DA ltd). That's going to vary a lot depending on how *you* see the world through a camera. Some people want the 31, a naturalistic point of view with a very pleasing blur. Other people want the 43, a sharp-as-hell lens with a "sensationalized* rendering that zooms in just enough to isolate an object. Other people want the 77, so they can literally cut an object out of spacetime and present them in an ethereal light.

Clearly we all have different goals. Maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but I liken it to music. Everyone has a natural tempo. Some people are adverse to fast music, they prefer grungy blues, hip hop, or soul at 80 BPM. Others prefer pure stimulation, seeking out music like metal or electronic music in the 140 bpm range. And of course there's the pop fans who like it right in the middle, not to warm and not too cold. No one can convince the other that their feel is the right feel. I know I get bored as hell listening to folk music, but my good friend gets downright irritated when I show him some tech house. I don't think either of us are right.

So this was a very long winded way of saying: I agree with Marc. It's pretty damn subjective, and the elusiveness of pixie dust might be due to the fact that it's contingent on you developing a relationship with your lens, and as we all know, love is a personal thing.
06-01-2011, 02:37 PM   #435
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Don't even get me started on audiophiles. Before I spent my time learning about photography on forums (amazing how much I have learned from you people in the last year), I spent my time learning about guitars on forums. Guitar audiophiles are *true* emperor's new clothes victims. They're the same people who spend 100s of dollars on oxygen free wires, and buy hand-made amplifiers because "point to point wiring is made with a better type of metal that sounds better".

On guitar forums, I learned something after about a year - it's not the pickups, it's not the amp, it's not the room, it's your fingers. It's all in your fingers. Flash forward 8 years, and I *can* make a bad acoustic sound good. Tone is in the fingers, and I would imagine that pixie dust is as well.

I've really done some thinking about this. I like, but do not love, my FA 77. No question that it's a great lens in a technical sense, but I do not connect with it. Therefore, very few pictures I take with it have any magic. Looking through my library of pictures, other lenses really *do* have magic (at least when compared with my other work).

The one lens that has the most hits is my K55 1.8. There is no good technical reason for this. It's kinda soft wide open, the bokeh is so so stopped down, and it's not exactly a pleasure to work with in an environment where the lights are rapidly changing. I find it flares up too much, not the best for action, etc.

However, for whatever reason, I connect to the world when I'm looking through that lens. I see in a way that makes sense to me, and I'm able to capture the important stuff (subject / light) more naturally when the K55 (and similarly, the FA 50) is attached to my DSLR. I think it's due to the focal length, mostly, but I'm sure rendering comes into play as well.

The point is that a lens *can* have pixie dust... or maybe more accurately, a lens can *pull* pixie dust right out of you. If you connect with the FA 43, the unique way of separating the subject from the background with a very unique mix of sharpness and impressionistic bokeh, the focal length - then you are going to take some magical pictures. And you will attribute that magic to the lens... but really, it's just the relationship you formed with the lens!

This also accounts for the disagreements about the *best* FA ltd (or DA ltd). That's going to vary a lot depending on how *you* see the world through a camera. Some people want the 31, a naturalistic point of view with a very pleasing blur. Other people want the 43, a sharp-as-hell lens with a "sensationalized* rendering that zooms in just enough to isolate an object. Other people want the 77, so they can literally cut an object out of spacetime and present them in an ethereal light.

Clearly we all have different goals. Maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but I liken it to music. Everyone has a natural tempo. Some people are adverse to fast music, they prefer grungy blues, hip hop, or soul at 80 BPM. Others prefer pure stimulation, seeking out music like metal or electronic music in the 140 bpm range. And of course there's the pop fans who like it right in the middle, not to warm and not too cold. No one can convince the other that their feel is the right feel. I know I get bored as hell listening to folk music, but my good friend gets downright irritated when I show him some tech house. I don't think either of us are right.

So this was a very long winded way of saying: I agree with Marc. It's pretty damn subjective, and the elusiveness of pixie dust might be due to the fact that it's contingent on you developing a relationship with your lens, and as we all know, love is a personal thing.
I won't say that I buy all of this 100%, but I will admit that there is some truth here. (He says, grudgingly)
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