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Thread: sharpest lens ever

  1. #171
    come to the dark s(l)ide..... Carsten Wolff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Australia at the moment

    Re: sharpest lens ever

    most lenses are sharper than the person using them "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you are right."

  2. #172

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Re: sharpest lens ever

    According to many, one of the sharpest ever is the Schneider Super Symmar HM 120mm; a pretty odd asymmetrical and very interesting lens (that fortunately I have).
    I have a Nikkor Macro 105mm f 1:4 too, that is super sharp for 35mm. I like very much the Xenotar 150mm f2.8 - that I don't have -
    Most of the process lenses are very sharp, but of course you cannot shot landscapes, unless you are at least 2,000 ft apart.

    But the principal problem, if you don't look at the curves, is the FILM: those lenses coudl be appreciated only with films of 25 ISO down... maybe 12, and developed in a way that will mantain some acutance.

    Now we are all condemned to color about 100, or 165 ISO, and I've seen "lens tests" on Portra 400 !
    Last edited by massimodec; 3-Jun-2013 at 09:36. Reason: some punctuation

  3. #173
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Re: sharpest lense ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Atul Mohidekar View Post
    The digital lenses from Schneider and Rodenstock have amazing MTF curves, but limited ICs. Many years ago when I was doing 6x9 photography, I looked at the Schneider MTF data and found Digitar 120mm had much better MTF charts than 110mm XL. I had also heard that the digital lenses are "optimized" for larger apertures (e.g. f/11). I communicated with a Schneider engineer and was told that the 120mm Digitar at f/22 would be much sharper at the edge of the IC than 110mm XL at the same point in the IC, except the IC of the Digitar is much smaller. I bought the Digitar at that time for 6x9 and have since used it for 4x5. Yes, it does cover 4x5 with small room for movements. It is the sharpest LF lens I have. I have also compared it to Rodenstock Sironar-S 135mm, another very sharp lens. In my subjective, non-scientific tests, the Digitar is sharper than the Sironar. But that is comparing a digital lens with limited IC to an analog lens with much larger IC - the Rodenstock digital lenses should be comparable to the Schneider Digitar lenses.
    Cool, I'm glad to hear from someone who's actually tried this. Understandably the digital lenses won't be useful to most LF photographers. But since the question was "what's the sharpest?" and not "what makes the most sense?" ....

    Some peole on the forum have posted full resolution images and crops from the latest generation schneider and rodenstock digital lenses. Absolutely, eye-poppingly stunning. It only makes sense when you look closely at the MTF charts and see that the line that looks like the 20 p/mm line on the large format lens charts is actually for 80 lp/mm

  4. #174
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Re: sharpest lens ever

    Quote Originally Posted by massimodec View Post
    But the principal problem, if you don't look at the curves, is the FILM: those lenses coudl be appreciated only with films of 25 ISO down... maybe 12, and developed in a way that will mantain some acutance.
    You'll be able to see a difference under the right circumstances. The film won't be a limiting factor. Any ISO 100 film will produce enough MTF to record relevant information at any frequencies that these lenses can record.

    The trouble is that in the real world, we rarely use lenses at their potential. We usually have to stop down farther what's ideal, which introduced diffraction; we rarely have more than a small portion of the frame in perfect focus, even with movements; and we are usually photographing on a planet that is home to wind and vibrations.

    Those MTF charts are made with computer modeling, or else they're made under laboratory conditions. My sharpest real world results are much, much sharper than my typical results. Which tells me that the lenses I'm using are plenty good! A film upgrade wouldn't be the answer either. At least for the work that I do, which is out in the messy world.

  5. #175
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: sharpest lens ever

    I start paying attention to the sharpness business when shooting 6x9 roll film. But even then, my Nikkor M's and Fuji A's are PLENTY sharp, even when I hazard a
    10X enlargement. And once I get into more typical 4x5 and 8x10 work, lens sharpness if basically a non-issue as long as I don't use extremely small f-stops. The
    difference is, that with roll film I'll be a little more conscious of using something closer to optimum openings. So given this practice plus the availability of VC plane of
    focus controls, I still get much better detail than is possible in comparable perspectives with an ordinary MF camera. Yeah, I like a rich print with a lot of detail ....
    but at this point in history, lenses aren't the weak link. So in the real world I'm more concerned about things like image circle, portability, tonal rendering ... the whole MTF thing is way overblown in my opinion. In 35mm it might make more sense, but even there I prefer a lens with a pleasing rendering over a "sharp" one.

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