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Thread: Lens for color

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Collinsville, CT USA
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    1,355

    Re: Lens for color

    In the 1980s (could be wrong on that date, but was around that time), I accepted a job to photograph petrie dishes and enlarge the images to 16x20 inches. My client insisted on the best quality final Cibachrome prints. Initially I planned on using my Nikon Multiphot with its proprietary 120mm Macro Nikkor lens. But I was also able to rent a 120mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar and borrow a 120mm Macro-Symmar HM to compare to my Nikkor. Also used a 150mm G-Claron which I had owned at the time. Shot a series of Chromes with each of the lenses at the same aperture (f/11 but memory could be wrong on that) and compared the resulting 4x5 transparencies. From some notes that I have saved after all these years... When I compared the 4x5 chromes, the 150mm G-Claron distinctly came in last. The images shot with the Apo-Symmar and the Macro-Symmar HM lenses were superb, but the image shot with the 120mm Macro Nikkor lens was indeed the best of the lot, but not by so far as to delegate it the absolutely the "best" of the lot. I'm sure that any of the final 16x20 Cibachrome prints made with the 120mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar, the 120mm Macro-Symmar HM. or the 120mm Macro Nikkor lens would have been completely acceptable to the client. Point here is that "Apo" lenses are not always the best to be used for shooting color film.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Madisonville, LA
    Posts
    2,052

    Re: Lens for color

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro_fiz View Post
    The main use in my case will be for portraits and I am not sure if an APO treatment would be needed or MC could be enough.
    Many thanks
    So you want the sharpest lens on the planet to shoot portraits? Really?

  3. #23

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    4,826

    Re: Lens for color

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    So you want the sharpest lens on the planet to shoot portraits? Really?
    That and a softar... perfect combo!

  4. #24

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    1,744

    Re: Lens for color

    The only time I have SEEN a difference using an apo lens was when shooting micro/macro while focusing wide open, and setting up enlargers for critical alignment...

    Wide open, most lenses might show a very slight color fringe on an edge of grain under high magnification, but turning a precision focusing stage, you can just see the fringe turn blue, to green, and to yellow/red... Stopped down to working aperture, fringe vanishes... Stop down more, edge becomes diffuse due to diffraction...

    Note, this is at high magnification, WAY beyond normal shooting conditions...

    Too sharp of a lens for portraits is a no-no, as invisible facial features can come up like usually invisible ultra fine hair on women, rough skin can look like sandpaper, make-up can look rough etc... And all things can start looking "dirty" as micro details become excessively revealed... Brutal!!!

    Sit close to a large screen 4K tv, and watch a HD broadcast with too many close-ups with skin tone, and you will see what I mean...

    Steve K

  5. #25
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    13,692

    Re: Lens for color

    16X20 is nothing for a 4x5 lens to keep up with. I often made very precise 30X40 inch Cibachromes from 4x5 transparencies taken with a rather garden-variety 210 Symmar S. I later did it even better using 8x10 film and a number of more modern lenses. And unless you've got some old G-Claron which isn't a modern plasmat, I seriously question if the fault lies with the lens itself. For instance, I often use a 240 G-Claron for wide-angle 8x10 usage, and it's quite competent for the task. 20x24 prints exhibit extreme detail and microtonality. No, it's not the ultimate lens for 8x10 format, but if you dial it down a notch for 4x5 usage, it really does shine, despite the single coating. I get awfully skeptical of quite a bit of the blame game over brand name modern lenses based upon unspecified parameters. There could be any number of alternative explanations, all the way from trouble focusing dimmer smaller-aperture lenses in a particular system to darkroom printing issues. Yes, I know the distinction between true apo lenses and ordinary shooting lenses, which seem to have a much less strict definition of apo for sake of marketing purposes, i.e., keeping up with the Jones'. I have all kinds of lenses and know the relevant differences. But often just too much fuss is made over relatively minor issues, and generally by beginners without much if any actual large format experience, which is certainly understandable, but still an unnecessary waste of anxiety.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 15-Jan-2020 at 21:36.

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    81

    Lens for color

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    So you want the sharpest lens on the planet to shoot portraits? Really?
    I am looking for a good color rendition. Sharp is not my goal for portraits.
    After reading the last posts I have a good information to take a decision.
    Thanks for your comment

  7. #27

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    7,554

    Re: Lens for color

    Pedro, in my experience color rendition problems with color reversal film are due to exposure problems and to variations in the light's color, not to lenses' transmission. Over-exposure desaturates and can shift color, under-exposure saturates and can shift color. Out-of-doors, roses may be red but shadows are blue.

    If I were you, I'd put my money into shutter CLA(s) and calibration(s), not in to the latest most best lens.

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,559

    Re: Lens for color

    Far more complex than "lens color". The entire image system has an effect on the color rendition on color transparency film image result.

    Read post# 20.
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ght=elinchrome


    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro_fiz View Post
    I am looking for a good color rendition. Sharp is not my goal for portraits.
    After reading the last posts I have a good information to take a decision.
    Thanks for your comment

  9. #29

    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    81

    Lens for color

    I have tested (portra 160) using one of my lens (Rodenstock Imagon 200) and I am satisfied with the colors. See especially the green of the grass and its tonal range, something imposible for digital.
    Definitely I donít need a new lens.
    Thank you again

  10. #30
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    13,692

    Re: Lens for color

    Nikkor M's were specifically engineered for very accurate hue rendition. Being the apogee of tessar design and multicoated, having used them, I can concur that the only thing better was the MC Kern 14" Dagor, with even less air/glass interfaces. The M's are also extremely sharp. But I don't regard either variety as ideal for portraiture unless you're dealing with very smooth complexions to begin with. The bigger problem is that there's no color film or printing method equal to the lens itself. You're only as good as your weakest link. Inkjet is especially poor at distinguishing subtle hues. But where there's a will there's a way. I even made excellent color portraits on Cibachrome, an infamously stubborn medium to tame when it came to color accuracy. Dye Transfer was still the standard back then, but prohibitively expensive for most. So what I'm implying is that it's a waste of time to obsess about this topic. Find a lens with a perspective and rendering pleasing to you. Almost all modern lenses are going to do a good job with color itself. It's afterwards the real problems begin.

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