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03-18-2016, 05:04 PM - 10 Likes   #1
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realistic lenses expections?

I really feel that the expections that people expect from a lens are getting extremely out of hand. I keep seeing people talk about corner sharpness with the lens aperture wide open and general softness at low apertures.

From what I gather this is normally how a lens works. Low lens apertures are almost always going to produce a mostly soft image due to shallow depth of field with a small centeral area being the sharp point. If more sharpness is needed the lens can be stepped down to give the desired effect.

this is how I always thought of lenses. When did it become a need for a lens to be pin sharp right from the lowest aperture. maybe Im just sick of hearing about sharpness all the time but it is only part of what makes a lens great.

03-18-2016, 05:14 PM - 6 Likes   #2
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Yes. Ignore those threads.
03-18-2016, 05:21 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Hear hear

Same goes for auto focus. Many (not all) complaints result from using wide open apertures, hand held on complex and moving subjects such as people.
03-18-2016, 05:40 PM   #4
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thank you, sometimes I get confused, I have been happy with my lenses and feel like I am in the wrong not to be worrying about this.

03-18-2016, 06:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by malinku Quote
this is how I always thought of lenses. When did it become a need for a lens to be pin sharp right from the lowest aperture. maybe Im just sick of hearing about sharpness all the time but it is only part of what makes a lens great.
Definitely. I think the main problem are review websites, which measure resolution and CA, but can't truly quantify the "pixie dust" (for lack of a better word) factor, the overall rendering. And of course the fact that digital photos can be easily enlarged to 100% and beyond, so you can literally scrutinize the image at the worst magnification, looking for flaws that don't necessarily affect the beauty, the meaning, the value of the photo

And yeah, possibly the comments that people, we, make about lenses might be part of the problem. We use hyperbole to describe lens performance and often emphasize the wrong properties (like resolution, fast aperture)

Btw, there are plenty of people talking about this topic, its in photography blogs, videos.. maybe there will come a change
03-18-2016, 06:08 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I agree with a lot of what you're saying....but if someone spends $1,500 on a lens, they're probably expecting much more from it than a $50 lens. That's just my opinion. With cameras and their accessories, as in life, expectations are everything.
03-18-2016, 06:15 PM   #7
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The problem is we can measure resolution, then we can quantitatively rank lenses, all in a quest to identify the absolute winner. It's all so scientific and western.

Those of us who consider a lens' rendering and speak in code about pixies are expressing qualitative factors that we understand but tables and charts and short, bloggy reviews on websites can't explain. The only way to understand is to see the images - but, despite all the images in Flickr ( we humans took a trillion images in 2015 I read) - no one looks at an image when deciding on a lens.
03-18-2016, 06:20 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
no one looks at an image when deciding on a lens.
I don't think I've ever looked at a MTF chart when deciding on a lens, it's mostly looking at samples...

03-18-2016, 06:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I don't think I've ever looked at a MTF chart when deciding on a lens, it's mostly looking at samples...
I knew someone would call me on the 'no one.' It's the same problem as arguing about whether the Print tab at DxO means anything.


* I confess I have a 1999 web page of lpmm tables for several Pentax lenses bookmarked.
03-18-2016, 07:14 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Discussing corner sharpness with a fellow photography enthusiast i would compare to talking about the weather with a taxi driver.

The way I see it, the optical characteristics of a lens are indisputably important. All the charts and graphs and measurements help us compare and choose the lens that corresponds our needs. But deciding only on the charts can sometimes bring nervousness and a whole sack of onions and who wants that in their background.

Also, they are completely useless when you are searching for a desired artistic aspect such as glowiness, softness or special characteristics of the out of focus areas. For that, looking for the exemplary photographs is essential, even though, post-processing nowadays can be very misleading.

Regarding the corner sharpness, I mean, whatever I decide to put in the exterior third of the picture, i don't want it all sharp and attention grabbing. I guess that macro photography, wide shots and architecture can be areas where corner sharpness is important.

Well, that's just my two cents.

In the end, knowing your gear and its limits well can bring you more than owning an excellent one.
03-18-2016, 07:20 PM   #11
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If you like the photo that a lens produce , who care about what the purist say about that. A lens is a tool and a tool is use differently by different peoples.
03-18-2016, 07:34 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobmaxja Quote
If you like the photo that a lens produce , who care about what the purist say about that. A lens is a tool and a tool is use differently by different peoples.
+ with Bob.
You are the first judge of your photographs. Do not get peer-pressured.

And remember: it takes a combination of a camera body, a lens and a photographer to take a photograph. A lens is only part of the 'equation'.

For me a great lens is one that gives me a higher keeper rate (than others). For another person, it may be the lens with the greatest value-for-money. and so on....

My 5 cents.
03-18-2016, 09:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Audi 5 cyl Quote
Regarding the corner sharpness, I mean, whatever I decide to put in the exterior third of the picture, i don't want it all sharp and attention grabbing. I guess that macro photography, wide shots and architecture can be areas where corner sharpness is important.
Agreed
And those using tried and proven techniques always get better results than those who won't. As the OP said, people often do not understand the limitations of optics in general. However, I think lots of complaining about general softness at larger apertures results from expecting miracles with AF and SR. There is no chance of maximizing resolution of the finest detail for the discriminating eye if critical, magnified, manual focusing and proper tripod technique are not being used in testing. Also, as already mentioned, MTF charts and the highest resolution don't quantify the artistic rendering a lens produces.
03-18-2016, 11:15 PM   #14
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...as the wise ones have said on this forum:
wide-open, portraits, corner softness is a plus
stopped down, other uses, you get corner sharpness
If you're hard-pressed for light (i.e. pitch black night) you accept compromises, but you don't blame it on the lens... ;-)
03-19-2016, 12:16 AM   #15
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Many people speak from a position of ignorance. Some are even adamant in their ignorance. It's just the nature of forums.
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