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Thread: Teach me about Lens Design

  1. #11

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    Seen some prints made from glass plates dating back to about 1900 or just before 1900. These prints have quite remarkable definition, detail, contrast rendition.

    Point being optics or lenses and photographic materials dating back to 1900 can produce rather remarkable image results.


    Bernice

  2. #12

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Seen some prints made from glass plates dating back to about 1900 or just before 1900. These prints have quite remarkable definition, detail, contrast rendition.

    Point being optics or lenses and photographic materials dating back to 1900 can produce rather remarkable image results.


    Bernice
    Bernice, I've been looking at lens articles in the Bulletin of the French Photographic Society. It is clear that from 1855, when the Society started publishing, lens makers and photographers prized coverage, by which they meant the circle covered with good definition, contrast, even illumination and depth of field. The OP has picked up on a modern fad that involves lens abuse in one form or another.

    There's nothing wrong with the fad or joining it. Tastes differ. People should do what pleases them and not worry about what pleases others. But it is completely wrong to assert that old lenses -- the typical faddist is very vague about when old ended and modern began -- were intended to produce what non-faddists see as poor image quality.

  3. #13

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    Hi Bernice --

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    For now, it might be best to spend plenty of time in museums, art exhibits, Foto galleries and such to take in as many images as possible to aid in figuring out what your print image goals are.. then it is time to consider and figure out how to achieve that. Once you're at a place where some of these print image goals are met, ponder how you can impose your own style and personality upon these print image goals.
    I have visited exhibits, museum shows, galleries, studied photography books and artists monographs, light & composition, developed and printed myself for my entire life and I know exactly what I am striving for in my art. My question was more of a practical one, i.e. how vintage lenses render since I don't have one. I do agree with the concept of contrast vs sharpness.

  4. #14

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    Quote Originally Posted by giganova View Post
    Hi Bernice --



    I have visited exhibits, museum shows, galleries, studied photography books and artists monographs, light & composition, developed and printed myself for my entire life and I know exactly what I am striving for in my art. My question was more of a practical one, i.e. how vintage lenses render since I don't have one. I do agree with the concept of contrast vs sharpness.
    I've already told you that you want to practice lens abuse and made practical suggestions that might get you what you want. Old, old fast (f/4.5) Tessar a bit shorter than normal and shot wide open. Try it, you might like it.

    I didn't remark on your goals because they're yours. They're not mine, but that doesn't bother me. You're allowed to have your own objectives, pun intended.

  5. #15

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    Dan,

    This is the first time I've heard of the current fad of abusing lenses by using them in parts or etc.
    Guess this is an extension of GAS? or trying to be creative by imposing experimentation upon image making devices to achieve some unexpected result?

    There is a clip from the Sally Mann documentary where one of her images were of happenstance that became appealing. This reminds me of digital camera folks who zip off a Ga-Zillion digital images with none worthy.

    This creativity, in ways yes, but it appears to be a very iffy way to achieve an expressive image.


    Bernice






    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Bernice, I've been looking at lens articles in the Bulletin of the French Photographic Society. It is clear that from 1855, when the Society started publishing, lens makers and photographers prized coverage, by which they meant the circle covered with good definition, contrast, even illumination and depth of field. The OP has picked up on a modern fad that involves lens abuse in one form or another.

    There's nothing wrong with the fad or joining it. Tastes differ. People should do what pleases them and not worry about what pleases others. But it is completely wrong to assert that old lenses -- the typical faddist is very vague about when old ended and modern began -- were intended to produce what non-faddists see as poor image quality.

  6. #16
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    All is fair in Love and War

    aka laissez faire
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  7. #17
    Drew Saunders drew.saunders's Avatar
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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    Quote Originally Posted by giganova View Post
    Hi all --


    What options do you think I should pursue? Get a vintage brass lens, mount a Packard Shutter behind it, use it wide open and use ND filters to regulate exposure? Maybe a triplet or an old Tessar?
    I have four single-coated "fast" Tessar design lenses:
    A real Zeiss 165/3.5 Tessar T
    Schneider Xenar 180/4.5
    Fujinar 210/4.5
    Fujinar 250/4.7

    They may still be too "modern and sharp" for your needs, but they're reasonably priced, and all of mine are in shutters. The Fujinars are in reasonably modern Copal 3S shutters. You might want to try one of them, worst case, you find another buyer. I would describe them as "gentle focus" not soft focus when wide open, and quite sharp (except the Xenar) when stopped down just a bit.

    I also have a 250 Imagon, and it's quite different, but also worth investigating, and also not obscenely expensive. Mine was a reasonably recent one in a modern Copal 3 shutter.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/drew_saunders/

  8. #18

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    I tested "abusing" lenses by removing the rear groups from symmetrical lenses and liked the outcome quite a bit. This was a quick test and can still be improved substantially by using the camera's movements to put the focal point on the eyes. All tests with lenses fully opened. I particularly like the image at the bottom right, which is a single-coated Schneider 150/265 convertible with the rear element removed. Look at the the softer skin and interesting bokeh:

    Convertible_Lens_Test

  9. #19

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    I like your <1920s f/4.5 Tessar recommendation and will buy one to test it. They are rather cheap ($100-ish) and if I slap a ND filter in front of it, I can easily get 1-sec exposure time at f/4.5 for a "lens cap shutter" and don't have to worry about missing or kaputt shutters.

  10. #20

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    Re: Teach me about Lens Design

    There is only one way to really know if any given lens-optic works for your image making, obtain it, run some very basic test, if these basic test are ok enough, use it LOTs to decided if that specific lens-optic is for you. Once any given lens is a known tool, make it a keeper.

    Difficulty with making film images with older lenses, most are in barrel with no shutter and can be BIG depending on focal length, full aperture and barrel.
    These older or vintage lens realities does not go well with a Linhof Technika as that camera is limited to size of shutter, size of lens, length of bellows (regardless of what some say about the Technika having plenty of bellows). It is really a field folder and might not work at all with some of these older vintage lenses.

    It's much about that saying, "one picture is worth a thousand words." To learn and discover what lenses-optics work for you, trial is a requirement.

    There are some basic generalizations that do apply. Modern multi-coated LF lenses tend to be higher contrast and optimized optical performance around f22. They are more similar than different. Most are in shutter, most work as designed and intended for commercial image work back in the era when LF was the point of reference for high quality photographic images. Or, they can be mostly and generally put into this group-set.

    One generation back brings up lenses like Kodak Ektar, Schneider Xenar, and such. These lenses in shutter often need their shutter serviced in some way due to neglect and age. Many can be had in barrel with lots of iris blades which aid in out of focus rendition. This generation of normal focal length lenses remain favored over modern multi-coated lenses by many LF folks.

    Older yet comes Dagor, Dialyte, Triplets, a long list of Tessar (Kodak commercial Ektar, Schneider Xenar) , Gauss and numerous others that evolved and improved to the generation of lenses above.

    What remains is the reality of obtaining lenses-optics, testing, using and Deciding yes-no. There is no way to effectively escape this fact.


    Bernice






    Quote Originally Posted by giganova View Post

    Hi Bernice --

    I have visited exhibits, museum shows, galleries, studied photography books and artists monographs, light & composition, developed and printed myself for my entire life and I know exactly what I am striving for in my art. My question was more of a practical one, i.e. how vintage lenses render since I don't have one. I do agree with the concept of contrast vs sharpness.

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