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09-12-2016, 06:27 PM - 5 Likes   #1
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What's the fuss about lens quality reviews

I find it curious how we photographers fret so much over lens quality or superiority
AND I do understand the difference between precision engineered glass and a soda bottle.
It’s easy to blur/fade an image made from a lens transmitting great IQ but impossible to add detail from an optic that never saw it in the first place.

I was using PF long before I became a member (I know, my bad) because of the wonderful amount of knowledge shared here by fellow Pentaxians.
The lens database is incredible, especially the coverage of vintage and third party lenses.
My ex girlfriend shoots Canon and doing a fair amount of research there, it seems nearly impossible to find any reviews on anything other than the “latest & greatest” (and never so much information in one place.)
I sense PF members seem more concerned with sharing creative process than promoting Market Hype.

I curb myself as much as possible from LBA but do like to keep informed on performance (vintage and modern), especially the diversified hands on experience I find here.
Reading a recent post on Lenses and the K-1, I was very pleased with a response by Noel Porter. “One of the key things with any lens is understanding it's characteristics and using it's strengths or avoiding it's week areas (soft corners wide open etc).
(Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/190-pentax-k-1/329374-my-k-1-wasted-my-le...#ixzz4JuFQw1zm)

I’ve always viewed lenses as paint brushes. An artist may use two different brushes of the same size or shape to achieve different desired effects.
My main workhorse lens is a Sigma 24-60/2.8, it provides consistently good IQ. It will never provide the color and smoothness of my M50/1.7, the sharpness of my A50/2.8 macro or dirty/gritty film feel of my Vivitar 35/2.8.
The Sigma 70-200/2.8 DG OS USM is in no way superior to my old F300/4.5 for IQ, but is the “go-to” lens during low light, nighttime sports events (and yet never finds itself in the vest pocket like the tak-f 70-200 on a day hike.)
They each are what they are. Still, one of my favorite techniques is NO LENS PHOTOGRAPHY (IQ be damned) - images below. Zone Plates on K3

PHOTOGRAPHY: Creating Perfect Pinholes and Zoneplates
Whiz Kid Technomagic Zone Plate Designer

Writing with light,
The brush doesn’t make the painting,
the painting dictates the brush.

I’m consistently impressed while reading an inquiry here on the forums, how often a responding member will ask the inquierer for more information on their shooting style, subject matter, etc. before giving a recommendation.
Sometimes it’s the newest technology when appropriate but often members encourage us to explore the strong characteristics of what we might already have or can easily obtain.
I look forward to reading more “fretting” over lenses, you folks make it an enjoyable treat and me happy to be a member of PF. Thanks again and hope for another 10 years.

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09-12-2016, 06:37 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Because amateurs worry about gear.

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept
– Henri Cartier Bresson
09-12-2016, 06:47 PM   #3
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Welcome to the show! Love the comments. You should check out the group "Single In"

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/26-mini-challenges-games-photo-stories/32...er-2016-a.html

I'm assuming the idea of using a single lens and posting a daily shot from it might appeal to you...
09-12-2016, 06:52 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Because amateurs worry about gear.

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept
– Henri Cartier Bresson
And the more amateur you are, the more you worry about gear.

09-12-2016, 07:16 PM   #5
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I do love how much information is on PF. What a great community! Although I have been paid for my photography and my family and friends would say I'm as good as any pro, I still just have a hard time considering myself anything above an amateur. Probably because I don't do it as a profession but more as a hobby. I have wanted the new and improved gear for IQ and sometimes sit on PF for hours reading all sorts of reviews. In the end though because I don't need the top of the line gear, I end up getting mid-cost lenses and they are amazing! It's true about it's all how you use it. I had wanted the Pentax 150-450mm when it came out and had planned on purchasing it except for that price tag. I ended up getting the HD 55-300 and don't regret it one bit. Because I have a K3 and don't plan on getting a K1 anytime soon, I knew that I could utilize the 55-300 just great. Plus, because I'm an avid climber/adventurer, the weight was a big factor as well.
Amateurs do worry about the gear but we also are blessed to have such a forum to go to that gives us all sorts of information and reviews so that we can make educated decisions.
Cheers!!
09-12-2016, 07:45 PM   #6
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The lens reviews on PF are a gem. I often find folks on other forums (APUG, various other brand forums) referring and linking to PF reviews of third-party vintage lenses.
09-12-2016, 08:20 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcrichmond Quote
I find it curious how we photographers fret so much over lens quality or superiority

AND I do understand the difference between precision engineered glass and a soda bottle.

It’s easy to blur/fade an image made from a lens transmitting great IQ but impossible to add detail from an optic that never saw it in the first place.



I was using PF long before I became a member (I know, my bad) because of the wonderful amount of knowledge shared here by fellow Pentaxians.

The lens database is incredible, especially the coverage of vintage and third party lenses.

My ex girlfriend shoots Canon and doing a fair amount of research there, it seems nearly impossible to find any reviews on anything other than the “latest & greatest” (and never so much information in one place.)

I sense PF members seem more concerned with sharing creative process than promoting Market Hype.



I curb myself as much as possible from LBA but do like to keep informed on performance (vintage and modern), especially the diversified hands on experience I find here.

Reading a recent post on Lenses and the K-1, I was very pleased with a response by Noel Porter. “One of the key things with any lens is understanding it's characteristics and using it's strengths or avoiding it's week areas (soft corners wide open etc).

(Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/190-pentax-k-1/329374-my-k-1-wasted-my-le...#ixzz4JuFQw1zm)



I’ve always viewed lenses as paint brushes. An artist may use two different brushes of the same size or shape to achieve different desired effects.

My main workhorse lens is a Sigma 24-60/2.8, it provides consistently good IQ. It will never provide the color and smoothness of my M50/1.7, the sharpness of my A50/2.8 macro or dirty/gritty film feel of my Vivitar 35/2.8.

The Sigma 70-200/2.8 DG OS USM is in no way superior to my old F300/4.5 for IQ, but is the “go-to” lens during low light, nighttime sports events (and yet never finds itself in the vest pocket like the tak-f 70-200 on a day hike.)

They each are what they are. Still, one of my favorite techniques is NO LENS PHOTOGRAPHY (IQ be damned) - images below. Zone Plates on K3



PHOTOGRAPHY: Creating Perfect Pinholes and Zoneplates

Whiz Kid Technomagic Zone Plate Designer



Writing with light,

The brush doesn’t make the painting,

the painting dictates the brush.



I’m consistently impressed while reading an inquiry here on the forums, how often a responding member will ask the inquierer for more information on their shooting style, subject matter, etc. before giving a recommendation.

Sometimes it’s the newest technology when appropriate but often members encourage us to explore the strong characteristics of what we might already have or can easily obtain.

I look forward to reading more “fretting” over lenses, you folks make it an enjoyable treat and me happy to be a member of PF. Thanks again and hope for another 10 years.


I think i might try that pinhole camera technique.


09-12-2016, 08:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Sharpness is a bourgeois concept
– Henri Cartier Bresson
I love this quote. Cartier-Bresson was born into the bourgeoisie and had some perspective on the matter.


Steve

09-12-2016, 08:50 PM   #9
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I have several friends and acquaintances that do pinhole and zone-plate photography. One of these days I will have to give it a try.


Steve
09-12-2016, 11:19 PM   #10
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Not that I disagree with the premise, but there are times when sufficient sharpness and aperture are required. I recently got back from a comic convention in Atlanta, and with the hotel's god awful lighting, short of bringing around a bulky flash, making do with the available light required at least f/2, and having sufficient sharpness wide open. I'd have felt awful if I took pictures of these gorgeous costumes, only to have the details of their construction bleed into the background. Sometimes, that was okay, because the concept was more important than the construction in the costume, but obviously, not always.

The reviews do help along those lines.
09-12-2016, 11:44 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I have several friends and acquaintances that do pinhole and zone-plate photography. One of these days I will have to give it a try.


Steve
I was once very into pinhole photography - made my own cameras, and participated heavily at f295, the now-defunct pinhole site that was arguably the best site for that sort of thing out there. My favourites were 120 film cameras, especially wide-angle, curved film plane cameras that took 6x18 or 6x17 cm images.

Alas, f295 is now dead. Shame really. It was a treasure trove of pinholiness. Pinhole photographers are kind of like Pentaxians on steroids - really nice people, and all about the craft, not so much the gear. LBA is also a LOT cheaper for the pinholer!

For a time I ran a blog about pinholing so I could document the cameras I built. Lo and behold, it still exists! Amazing. Here's a 6x17 camera, for example. Might have to pick this up again some day.
09-13-2016, 12:01 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Because amateurs worry about gear.

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept
– Henri Cartier Bresson
There is some truth to this, but pros worry and obsess about gear too. They just wonʻt go public on it.

And if sharpness is a bourgeois concept, why did Cartier Bresson shoot almost exclusively with his Leica rangefinder and 50mm prime?

Perhaps he was making a comment about the f/64 group across the pond.
09-13-2016, 02:12 AM - 4 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
There is some truth to this, but pros worry and obsess about gear too..
Around here, real men only worry about their wife finding out how much they spent on their gear.
09-13-2016, 03:04 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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The thing about lens reviews is that if you are planning to spend money on a lens, you would rather have the money be well spent. For awhile, I owned a DA 35 limited, which was a very nice lens, but my wife was shooting weddings and it didn't have a fast enough aperture. So, we sold it and bought a Sigma 30mm f1.4. But that lens had really rough bokeh at times and has really poor corners and so we ended up selling it and buying a FA 31 limited which has worked well since. If I had just purchased the FA 31 at the get-go, I could have saved a couple of hundred dollars.

As for professionals, they worry just as much about gear as anyone else, they just aren't quick to change lenses/camera bodies, because it is an unnecessary expense. There has to be something real that the clients will appreciate or that improves their work flow for them to jump on some new piece of equipment.

The most important things in images are things like subject, light and composition. If those are poorly chosen, no amount of sharpness will make up for it. But it is a lot easier to soften an image you think is too sharp than to sharpen an image where the detail just isn't there.
09-13-2016, 03:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
why did Cartier Bresson shoot almost exclusively with his Leica rangefinder and 50mm prime?
Because he had no choice. Back in the day, the 1950s, if you wanted, by present standards, what would only be considered decent gear you bought Leitz, Zeiss or Nikkor.

For sheer raw optical performance that 1950s f/2 Summicron Bresson used was no better, if as good, as a 100 buck DA 50 is now and he probably would have used it if he had a choice and of course he used a prime - that's all there was ...

...Constant new discoveries in chemistry and optics are widening considerably our field of action. It is up to us to apply them to our technique, to improve ourselves, but there is a whole group of fetishes which have developed on the subject of technique. Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see... The camera for us is a tool, not a pretty mechanical toy. In the precise functioning of the mechanical object perhaps there is an unconscious compensation for the anxieties and uncertainties of daily endeavor. In any case, people think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing.
— Henri Cartier-Bresson (1952). The Decisive Moment

Last edited by wildman; 09-13-2016 at 07:08 AM.
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