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Thread: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

  1. #121
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by ridax View Post
    I strongly suspect the problem is just that - taking any word written for an authoritative advice, or even a recipe, not a mere description of the writer's personal style preferences. Yes I would hesitate taking (or giving) that (as well as many other ideas) as an advice. But I would never ever object to sharing this (and the strictly opposite) as anyone's personal way of creative photography.
    I think the problem is that articles on the Reference Page, people should be able to trust that they are getting "authoritative advice" and learning sound, useful principles of working from people with some level of expertise and experience. The article in question gives bad information and teaches sloppy technique.

    Quote Originally Posted by ridax View Post
    The question is, has an article for this website to be constructed of well-proved universal truths only, or may it contain any concepts that some of the other photographers do not accept?
    The question left in my mind is, are there any standards at all for Reference Page articles?

    If Bruggeman is going to pronounce as wrong the working methods and well-proved universal truths from multiple generations of professional portrait photographers and camera makers, he needs to back it up with sound reason and knowledge.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  2. #122

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Each creative act is a sudden cession of stupidity, apparently Edwin Land said that. Go and do something more interesting, like make some mushy portraits with rear movements only. Nobody cares except you.

  3. #123

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    The article in question gives bad information and teaches sloppy technique.
    I would not call it bad/sloppy but I agree the information is incomplete.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    I think the problem is that articles on the Reference Page(...) The question left in my mind is, are there any standards at all for Reference Page articles?
    Good point. Sorry I had paid little attention to this before.

    But what I know for sure from the first-hand experience in the book publishing world is, a quality work of fiction needs at least 2 to 3 editors, along with the author him/herself, editing and re-editing the text at least 2 to 3 times, and any scientific or technical paper surely needs a lot more - even when it is not meant to be a universal reference.

    Setting the standards that high is surely nice but I'm afraid for this topic, a multi-year work of several of the most knowledgeable and experienced authors is needed to make it complete.

    Well, may be that project has just started.... assuming of course the people participating in it exhibit a lot of good will and patience and tolerance.

  4. #124
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by ridax View Post
    I would not call it bad/sloppy but I agree the information is incomplete.
    I suppose we're just choosing different words, but advising people to use narrow-coverage lenses off-axis for no good reason is, for me, bad information. And in an article that dwells so heavily on "bokeh", Bruggeman's statement that if "I want to bet on the safe side, I use f16 or f22," shows sloppy technique. Closing the aperture that much has a significant effect on the image, and to do it "just to be safe" is trading away a lot of aesthetic control.

    Other things, like defining "bokeh" as simply "creaminess" is very incomplete.

    Quote Originally Posted by ridax View Post
    Setting the standards that high is surely nice but I'm afraid for this topic, a multi-year work of several of the most knowledgeable and experienced authors is needed to make it complete.

    Well, may be that project has just started.... assuming of course the people participating in it exhibit a lot of good will and patience and tolerance.
    Now you're teasing us!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #125

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Now you're teasing us!
    Yes I am.

    Because I really wish to see the project completed - up to the very high standards you are advocating here. And also because I realize I would probably never do it myself as I think I do see what an enormous body of work it is. (That month spent on short focal length tessars alone is well enough for me. And please bear in mind that little survey of mine does not even include a single f/6.3 tessar - which are different beasts with similar pictorial properties but with less astigmatism and much better field sharpness.)

    And because of this, I feel a lot of respect to the person who was daring enough to get the work started. And that's why I strongly prefer to be very careful in choosing the words I use to criticize his work.

  6. #126

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    The biggest reason for difference between the photos I see, is the lighting, not the lenses. What I see as outdoor portraits has nicer reflections of the skin than the studio portraits, so the "holy grail of portrait" is not the lens, but the light ;-)

  7. #127
    JBAphoto JBAphoto's Avatar
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Řyvind:D View Post
    The biggest reason for difference between the photos I see, is the lighting, not the lenses. What I see as outdoor portraits has nicer reflections of the skin than the studio portraits, so the "holy grail of portrait" is not the lens, but the light ;-)
    I was about to put in my comment, but with this one already here there is no need apart from the real need to consider the approach the photographer is taking and the subject's personal qualities

  8. #128

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    The second edition of my review of portrait lenses is online. Changes with respect to the first edition are the following, along with a number of minor modifications.

    As promised, a review of a Dagor is added.

    The tea-colored front lens of a Lanthar can be cleaned by sunlight indeed, as Mark pointed out, so my earlier complaint about its color rendition has been deleted.

    At the beginning there is a somewhat more balanced account of in-focus skin tones and out-of focus bokeh (versus a bias towards bokeh at the expense of skin tones in the first edition).

    Also at the beginning there is a treatment of camera movements and image circles.

    The-man-who-calls-himself-Ridax tested a bunch of Tessars (and I tested one more, a 180mm Bausch and Lomb wide open), reconfirming my earlier claim that in general, Tessars have better bokeh than Plasmats.

    Nobody reacted to my proposal in this thread to review a 127mm Ysarex (f4.7), a Tessar attached to a hand-held camera, so I saved myself the trouble of testing it elaborately. What I can say briefly is that apart from its focus and image circle, it performs very similar to the 210mm Ysarex discussed in the review article. Of course wide open, bokeh shows up more clearly with a 210mm than with a 127mm lens. The image circle of the 127mm is tight, and from wide open until f5.6 the corners are mushy. Stopped down further, it performs as well as its big brother.

  9. #129

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Sorry for going a bit off-topic but I just can't resist the temptation to put this in....

    Quote Originally Posted by ridax View Post
    While it is true that there were no non-Apo Ronars, the same is NOT true for Sironar-N's and some other lenses. So it's often really useful to mention not only the EXACT names but also the serial numbers....
    It seems that being positively sure about anything is just enough to get all one's beliefs ruined at once . So, as an extra argument for the pedantic writing style, please meet a 180mm f/6 non-apo Doppel-Anastigmat Ronar, serial #1677, manufactured by G. Rodenstock, München (according to the published numbers/dates, well before 1910).

    Unlike the modern Apo-Ronar, this Ronar is really a double (convertible) anastigmat. It is perfectly symmetrical and has 4 elements in 4 groups, but this is not a common Celor (dialite) type Ronar. It is a double Gauss, with positive menisci outside and negative menisci closer to the diaphragm. At infinity, this strange Ronar covers a field of about 10" in diameter, with excellent sharpness but naturally poor contrast due to the 8 glass-to-air surfaces and the absence of coating. Its foreground blur is nice at full aperture, and its background blur is very good at f/16 (at f/11, both are nothing to write home about). If I had no Symmars that are as sharp but are also coated, I would be very excited about a Ronar like this...

    BTW, I guess this unsung Ronar may well turn out to be the earliest Rodenstock that still survives. Any collectors out there?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #130

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Figure 16, designated Apo Ronar 240 f16, is definetly a mistake. Rules of Optics do not allow a depth of field of 30 or 40cm with a scale down of estimated only 1:4.

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