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Thread: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

  1. #61

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Every lens is beautiful... in it's own way.
    Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter's day.
    And every camera's beautiful... in its own way.
    Under God's heaven, the photographer's gonna find the way.

  2. #62

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroenbruggeman View Post
    Some people don't want me to say the apparently uncomfortable truth about the difference between analogue and digital prints. I would suggest them to start making analogue prints themselves, and to become happy about the results, or to get over it. But perhaps Ridax is right in saying that this topic should be discussed separately from portrait lenses proper, and should not be mentioned in my lens test article. I have not made up my mind yet.
    I still don't see what this has to do with an article titled "Large Format Lenses for Portraits", unless you want to tell us which lenses make for better anologue prints and which make for better digital prints..

    Your original statement by the way was "negatives make possible breath-taking contact prints on baryte paper, too, far superior to same-sized digital “baryte” prints." Now it seems to have grown to all analogue prints vs. digital prints. Out of curiosity, which is better, an analogue contact print on baryte paper or an analogue same-sized enlarger “baryte” print"?

  3. #63

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
    Your original statement by the way was "negatives make possible breath-taking contact prints on baryte paper, too, far superior to same-sized digital “baryte” prints." Now it seems to have grown to all analogue prints vs. digital prints. Out of curiosity, which is better, an analogue contact print on baryte paper or an analogue same-sized enlarger “baryte” print"?
    In the article there is a photo of a lady being photographed through a window with a Sironar-S on 5x7". One of the best labs in my country scanned the negative and made a digital 5x7" print on their best "baryte" paper, which I then held next to my analogue baryte print. The difference was immense, and the digital one looked crummy indeed; I've even thrown it away, and I still stand behind my initial phrase. The larger the print, however, hence the further away the viewer from the print, the more similar in quality analogue and digital become, which (to my taste at least) happens much faster with color than black and white (but I have a colleague who would disagree and prints analogue up to 3 meters). Contact prints look much better than ones from an enlarger, but both 4x5" and 5x7" b&w negatives enlarged to half a meter still look much better than their digital counterparts.

  4. #64

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroenbruggeman View Post
    Contact prints look much better than ones from an enlarger, but both 4x5" and 5x7" b&w negatives enlarged to half a meter still look much better than their digital counterparts.
    What if the print benefits artistically from extensive dodging and burning, that is not possible to achieve with contrast masks. Is the enlarger print still inferior to the contact print?

  5. #65

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
    What if the print benefits artistically from extensive dodging and burning, that is not possible to achieve with contrast masks. Is the enlarger print still inferior to the contact print?
    Of course digital is then to be preferred, and it can be used for images impossible to achieve analogously. This seemed obvious to me, therefore I didn't consider mentioning it. For photographing the world "as it is", though, a bit of thinking before taking the photo might avoid part of the dodging and burning afterwards.

  6. #66

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroenbruggeman View Post
    Of course digital is then to be preferred, and it can be used for images impossible to achieve analogously. This seemed obvious to me, therefore I didn't consider mentioning it. For photographing the world "as it is", though, a bit of thinking before taking the photo might avoid part of the dodging and burning afterwards.
    Gee, I didn't even mention digital in my question - I was asking about two analog processes. Although I was curious about why you singled out digital when there are so many analog processes that also would not fare well against a contact print using your assumed obvious criteria.

    There are many criteria that can define what "looks better" ranging from the very technical to the very artistic. Not to mention the very subjective tastes that each of us has. And which tool allows the artists to create a piece of art that best matches their vision. As we have learned form all the analog vs. digital threads and even the current thread on what type of metering is best, defining the "best" always comes back to personal taste. Making dogmatic statements like "A" is better than "B" only works in scientific fields where there is actual proof of the fact. Making statements like that with most things photographic will only lead to the typical 'mine is better than yours" battles that happen here all so frequently.

  7. #67
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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    When people use what is an informative article to express opinions, those opinions need to be expressed as such. It's a fact, for example, that a plasmat has six elements, and that it's an air-spaced Dagor design. It's an opinion that it renders beautifully (or not). One might therefore say, "The plasmat, as a derivative of the dagor, seems to me to share some of what I like about the dagor's rendering..." It's quite easy in that sentence to separate what is stated as fact from what is stated as opinion. It is a fact that the plasmat is a derivative of the dagor, but it is an opinion (and one that is easy to challenge) that 1.) it shares the dagor's expressive qualities or 2.) that the dagor's expressive qualities are worth sharing. This distinction is important when writing for information, as opposed to just writing for entertainment. (I purposely selected an example not in the author's article, because it's the point about writing, not anything about plasmats and dagors, that I wish to make.)

    I recommend this principle of writing to the author. Authoritativeness must define itself--credentials are not enough, especially credentials based on experience (which, by definition, can't be written down--doing so makes it knowledge...or opinion based on experience).

    This applies even more importantly to opinions, however well supported by experience, that are not important to the information that is the reason for the writing. It's quite tempting to toss an opinion into non-fiction, using whatever authoritativeness derives from the non-fiction part as a cloak of authority for the opinion. We have movie stars out there expressing opinions about scientific subjects that they only grasp (usually incorrectly) in summary, for example. And then we have politicians purposely politicizing such simplistic assertions. It makes everyone quite sensitive to words that try to establish an opinion as fact through the back door. When when those tactics are exposed, it undermines the value of the more authoritative part that remains.

    It may well be true that contact prints always look better than digital prints at the same size even when both are printed on similar paper, but I would submit that the experience presented to back up that claim is insufficient to support it when it is contested, especially when the debate is coming from people who have more experience than the author with the digital approach. Borrowing the credentials of a lab is to me nearly comical--we all know of general commercial labs who cannot scan or print digitally to save their lives, and those who do it well usually specialize very deeply in just that. And that doesn't even address the issue of what constitutes "better"--my digital prints look different, but they are often closer to my visualization than my darkroom prints ever were. I'm about equally skilled (er...unskilled) in both, and my comparison is based on what I can do, not what can be done, which is not the basis for a sweeping assertion. Again, I'm not arguing the thesis regarding contact prints, because I've not made the comparison myself at any level, but I do believe that should be argued with greater authority than the author has brought to bear.

    So, for the author: How important is making the point that silver-gelatin contact prints on baryta paper are always better than digital prints on baryta paper? You've made a comparison based on one sample from a commercial lab. Are you willing to bring into question the authoritativeness of your central topic of portrait lenses, about which you've gathered your own extensive experience, by insisting on it?

    Rick "wary of weakly supported assertions" Denney

  8. #68

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Rick, your eloquence regarding use of the written word is admirable as is your stark pragmatism. Where has scientific methodology gone?

  9. #69

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    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroenbruggeman View Post
    but both 4x5" and 5x7" b&w negatives enlarged to half a meter still look much better than their digital counterparts.
    Given Tim Parkin's recent tests that show that the 80MP Phase back competes somewhat well with enlarged 8x10 negs, I simply do not believe you have actually done the work to substantiate your claim above. Show me your tests from which you derive this statement of opinion.

  10. #70

    Re: New article: Large format lenses for portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by John NYC View Post
    Show me your tests from which you derive this statement of opinion.
    You know very well that the subtle qualities of analogue prints get lost on the Web, but you're welcome to visit any upcoming exhibition of my work, where I usually have analogue and digital side by side.

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