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06-29-2011, 11:24 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by yyyzzz Quote
Two lenses have very different purposes. Macro lens tend to provide flat field if that is what you are looking for. Flat field is critical for taking pictures of documents. If not taking macro photos or recording documents, a regular 50mm is what you should be looking for.
Why? Is there something wrong with a flat field for non-macro or non-copy images?

06-30-2011, 01:57 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by civiletti Quote
Why? Is there something wrong with a flat field for non-macro or non-copy images?
Not at all, usually. I use 80mm+ enlarger lenses on bellows for non-macro shooting because of their edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness. But macro lenses *require* such quality. Producing it costs more. Non-macro lenses can be optimized for other qualities, such as dimensionality and rendering, that may not be tolerated in flat-copy work. And a macro lens used for portraits can reveal every flawed detail. This is not always appreciated.

Then too, some macro lenses are built to best work close only; images of distant shots may not be as pleasing, optically. Especially troublesome is focus throw -- my Super Takumar 50/1.4 takes 1/4 turn to go from 1m to infinity, while my Macro Takumar 50/4 (1:1) only has about 1/20 turn for that. So fine focusing of subjects beyond 1m can be very difficult.

Flattening a lens' field can be helpful for non-macro shooting. My favorite example is the terrible A35-80 lens. Reverse it, an you get a SHARP lens that can focus down to ~5cm at 35mm, and out to infinity at 75-80mm. But I'm not sure that I'd want to use it for portraits, not of people that I might have to relate to later. Portraits of cats and flowers and sculptures etc are fine, they won't complain that all their warts show.
06-30-2011, 05:49 AM   #18
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I'm very happy with the 50/2.8 for the uses for which it was intended. I'd rather have a faster, shorter-throw 50 for general use. I don't own the FA50/1.4, but the noisy, slow, grinding focus of the macro model has me reaching for one of my manual focus 50s.
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