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Thread: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image making

  1. #31
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    Well, let's see.... digital photography has been around two or three decades. The dinosaurs lasted many millions of years, and turtles and crocodiles were in existence even before them, and are still around. Certain designs just make sense. And art? I'd rather see Lascaux in person (though now that's sealed off from the public, and one has to see it in a faux replication), than every "street art" neo-Phenom splatter in every museum in the world. Some folks got it right the first time, and long before Lascaux itself. Latest/greatest technology is a poor substitute for real home cooking. Choose your kitchen appliances according to your own needs, and use em well. But the gadgetry itself is just the tip of the iceberg. Likewise, fine lenses. I use em, but they don't do the work by themselves.
    I do appreciate that Bosch convection oven behind me, which will do the turkey on Thursday in less than an hour and a half!

    But I do have my own hypocrisies. Responding to Mark, hammer's DON'T drive nails. Not anymore. Nail guns do. I had a lot to do with establishing that trend in the first place, at least here in the Western half of the US. Either adapt or go extinct, financially, if you were a contractor. But I'm not a commercial photographer, so can take my time and still do real-deal home cooking in the darkroom the way I want to. Optimal quality is the incentive, and that's how I do it. No commercial lab can afford the time.

  2. #32
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    Quote Originally Posted by Havoc View Post
    I fear that reality isn't agreeing with you, some lenses are designed so that the last corrections are software inside the camera. The camera has a profile of the lens on board.
    https://www.canon-europe.com/pro/inf...s-corrections/
    https://www.dslrbodies.com/cameras/n...supported.html
    https://www.sony.com/electronics/sup...icles/00018031

    I suppose it depends on your definition: Marketing terminology or what designers identify as reliance on image processing to relieve the burden on the optics. I can tell you as an active, practicing, industry-aware lens designer who knows what would be required to reduce the burden on the optics to deliver performance, these examples aren’t it. Cell phone lenses, yes. Some other specific applications and research, yes. Distortion and vignetting correction, and scaling of the RGB channels downstream of demosaicing, not really, no.


    Regardless, as Corran states above, all that really matters is the final print. Well, aside from how much it cost you to get that print, if you have a budget. Worth mentioning because cost drives everything including modern lens design.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.pictoriographica.com

  3. #33
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    I love large format soft focus, and gentle focus like the tessars and that sort of thing...

    For digital I love the Sigma art lenses.... They are crisp where they are in focus, and buttery smooth (like a 190 optar rb graflex slr but not quite as tasty) when out of focus. The type of thing we like on narrow depth of field LF (but without the movements and such). I actually got my first nicer Sigma lens when my Nikon lens was flaring badly from bright light sources with green reflections. Sigma despite being more complicated had zero flare compared to the otherwise sharp nikon 50mm. They are out to beat camera manufacturers in the lens business, not just get a piece of the pie.

    For less than perfect, the Lenbaby products are pretty great. The Velvet56 is every bit the challenge as a large format soft focus to get the subject matter, aperture, light just right and color even adds more challenge. It's not a substiute for LF soft focus which are much more versatile and subtle, just another tool.

    Regarding the question about digital tinkering with LF image... No problem playing with contrast and color and some tone adjustment in photoshop. These could be done in the darkroom if that were the final product, but a paper print isn't always the final product.

  4. #34
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    You can believe what the marketing fluff says, but I stand by my educated claim.
    I suspect there's some confusion in communication here.

    Just one of many, many examples:

    https://opticallimits.com/m43/840-olympus17f18?start=1

  5. #35
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    The capture information is the real information. One cannot better that, but merely disguise it, like with digital sharpening, for example - you aren't adding information or resolution that isn't there, but merely rearranging it to simulate something else, at some kind of overall penalty, depending on how much you have to begin with. Of course, I'm not stating that in any absolute sense. For quite awhile I've known about cameras capable of splitting apart specific wavelengths and reassembling them with magnetically controlled mirrors to more acute standards than conventional lenses allow by themselves. That's done in high-end light microscopy as well as big budget astronomical applications, and no doubt military applications, all of which Jason is no doubt far more competent to explain that I am.

    But cost and bulk-wise, it's unlikely that kind of thing is going to reach down into conventional photography anytime soon, if ever. Software voodoo is something else, valuable in certain workflows, on-board or not, but very often just a sales gimmick aimed at the "latest and greatest" consumer electronics addicts. I'll take the word of actual engineers over marketing types any day of the week. If one likes that kind of thing, why not? It's your money. I'm pleased to just keep doing what I've been doing for decades with large format film, with lenses already fully adequate for that application, and a well-equipped darkroom.

    The one exception would be the cataloging of my collection digitally, which I'll need to ask some relevant questions about once I reach that point. But the digital camera itself has already been calibrated and lensed for my new deluxe copystand, so I'm 75% there already. Now it's mainly about storage options. But the quality standard is cataloging only, relative to estate planning, not for digital printing applications, so jpeg is fine. And my good ole 55/2.8 macro Nikkor is plenty adequate.

  6. #36

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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    The capture information is the real information. One cannot better that, but merely disguise it, like with digital sharpening, for example - you aren't adding information or resolution that isn't there, but merely rearranging it to simulate something else, at some kind of overall penalty, depending on how much you have to begin with...
    Just like how some people do unsharp masking in the darkroom using registration punches and additional sheets of film.

  7. #37

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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    I can't imagine a world without lens multicoating (love to shoot subjects backlit) and at least aspherical lens elements to correct spherical aberation and astigmatism in camera lenses (and to the extent possible, reduction in field curvature). Don't most of us want lenses where edges, corners and center resolution are comparable so that when we stop down to say F5.6-8 (4x5, F22), most everything in sharp focus assuming adequate DOF? Do we want to see lens distortion greater than say 2% and vignetting at diffraction-limited apertures? And if you shoot color, isn't it better to eliminate longitudinal chromatic aberation as well? Why did Schneider and Rodenstock introduce LF lenses incorporating special glass using the same 6 element plasmat designs, but to improve contrast and line pair definition (though this is perhaps less evident with B&W photography)?

    The referenced Nikon 35mm F2D in the article has most of the aforementioned aberation issues (add coma) which lens manufacturers now mostly mitigate with new tech, while simultaneously reducing size and weight. Intense competition is giving us lenses designers could only have dreamed of before the 1960s. Who would want any of those aberations except someone who has either found ways around the worst of them, using older lens designs and doesn't want to change or can't afford to change, or, one is trying to fight the trend and state that old is better and allow the lens aberations to define their "style", rather than the photographer using lenses to define their vision. Ok, so for some work you prefer retro but for commercial portraits you use a modern Sigma. Does it make you better? Does it matter? No, just a new talking point (it's like listening to Leica photogs comparing various noct lenses).

    I despise wasting time on lenses that can't get me images I have in mind. So I only use lenses that will provide an advantage to realize my objectives. Trial and error. But if you stop down (as do virtually all of the greats - name one famous photog that shot wide open most of the time), lens differences are less obvious. It's all those lens junkies that think they need to shoot wide open that drive me crazy. No bokeh at F22 on a 4x5, sorry.

    I draw the line with lenses like say the Leica Q2 28mm which has upwards of 13% actual distortion which is "corrected" with software and thereby loses acuity on the edges (and beware those corners notwithstanding). Not the best landscape choice for sure. Same is true with the Leica APO 28mm SL. Yet Leica is promulgating shooting wide open (why stop down they say, the lens is sharpest wide open). Crazy.

    But there is no perfect lens (except a few LF choices, but you have to get to F22+ to realize best results).

    But "accurate" color is the continuing issue with digital IMO. Retro lenses don't get us any closer to reality.

  8. #38
    (Shrek)
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    Quote Originally Posted by pdmoylan View Post
    Don't most of us want lenses where edges, corners and center resolution are comparable so that when we stop down to say F5.6-8 (4x5, F22), most everything in sharp focus assuming adequate DOF?

    (...)

    Retro lenses don't get us any closer to reality.
    I'm not trying to reproduce reality. I'm trying to show how I see the world. If all I wanted was the above, I would have given up LF years ago, because digital now has a clear advantage.

  9. #39
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    I’ll take my Sigma 14mm f1.8 for Astro over some less wide/less sharp/slower lens from 1980.

    I’ll take my Nikkor 19mm PC-E over the Nikkor over the 28mm PC.

    And I’ll take all of my other “modern” lenses with their (historically) low comatic and chromatic aberration as well.

    Nostalgic yet crap lenses are not for my SF needs…
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  10. #40

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    Re: The Problem with Modern Lenses.. transfered to those new to view camera image mak

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody_S View Post
    I'm not trying to reproduce reality. I'm trying to show how I see the world. If all I wanted was the above, I would have given up LF years ago, because digital now has a clear advantage.
    But isn’t photography by definition illustrative, not impressionistic? Simply because we ‘tone’ a print or add red filter to taking lens, it doesn’t detract from the image being illustration? As I mentioned before, unless we are choosing to define every centimeter of an image, with photography is not possible unless we are manipulating via PS etc, it still is a snapshot of reality. No way around it. If we want the distortion or flare from a retro lens to affect the image, it does not push the medium to “alt” reality.

    Since I am keenly enamored of the natural landscape in all it’s infinite variety, I have tried to remain faithful to what my eye sees - wyswyg.

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