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Archive 2011 · Importance of lens in the digital era
  
 
vallejo
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Importance of lens in the digital era


This could also be "Is it the lens or the processing? ".
And yes, I know it's both. And yes, I know some will stone me for that.
The photos below were just taken with an old Canon 20D and a Contax c/y 85mm f2.8 with a cheap ebay adapter. All at f4 (the 20D won't shoot if I set smaller apertures,go figure...).
First look at the monitor, they look...ok. One pass of Tonal Contrast filter from Nik Color Efex Pro and...bam! Great contrast,sharpnes and texture. Photo comes alive.
So my point being: We all spend a lot of money in lenses. I do. I have a bunch of Zeiss ZE lenses that I use in a 5D MKII. But at the end of the day a cheap lens after proper processing may give you the look of a MUCH expensive combo...
And I know we're looking at small sizes.And I know it's not the same look. Processing it's not suppose to blow the laws of physics. Some will talk about fruits (the apples and oranges thing).
But it kinda makes me think about it...

André























Dec 08, 2011 at 04:33 PM
vallejo
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Importance of lens in the digital era


And one more with the Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 @ f4...












Dec 08, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Lotusm50
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Importance of lens in the digital era


...not to open up an old argument around here...


Dec 08, 2011 at 04:38 PM
vallejo
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Importance of lens in the digital era


Maybe it's because I'm getting old...and there is always new people around, and old dogs learning new tricks...
And yes, I know it's not the camera,it's the photographer...it's not the lens, it's the eye...anyway...



Dec 08, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Bernie
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Importance of lens in the digital era


When chromatic aberration can be caught in-camera or in PP, when lens distortion can be fixed in-camera or in PP, when colors & contrast can be adjusted in-camera or in PP, etc. a middle or the road lens goes a lot farther these days than in the past.

Quality is still needed when going to f2.8 and larger aperture, keeping the image sharp. There are other qualities such as bokeh, speed to focus, sharpness throughout the zoom range, micro contrast, etc. that we still want a great lens.



Dec 08, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Zaitz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Importance of lens in the digital era


The tonal contrast filter works great in a lot of situations but I find it easy to overuse. I also never use it on out of focus regions. With an already distracting background I think tonal contrast has exacerbated that. It does a great job at bringing out texture and detail. I prefer to keep my backgrounds and oof regions as silky smooth as I can though. It also introduces quite a bit of noise especially if overused.

I also don't buy lenses for micro-contrast or a Zeiss look or whatever you want to call it. So, for me, lenses are still incredibly important but for other reasons, aperture being one of them. I am not going to buy a consumer zoom and hope to rely on Photoshop for some great bokeh. I am rarely concerned with how a lens renders color and contrast because I am going to manipulate that as I see fit in the end anyway. The subtle differences between lens a and b in perfect 100% crop comparisons is generally irrelevant to me. If a lens is sufficiently sharp and meets my needs otherwise (aperture, AF, size, cost...) then I'll be happy. I do not care about absolute sharpness or which has the most micro-contrast.



Dec 08, 2011 at 04:51 PM
denoir
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Importance of lens in the digital era


Good lens + proper PP will get you better results than poor lens + proper PP And of course there are a bunch of things you can't do with post processing, or at least not in a way that is practical in terms of time that it takes.

By the way, I don't know if you've noticed but you've introduced some rather ugly artifacts in the processed shots - namely the double highlight edges that you get when you do aggressive fill light and/or clarity adjustments. You get sort of a gray border around high contrast transitions. If you look at the last pair of shots you can see it in the upper left corner in the white region...



Dec 08, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Importance of lens in the digital era


denoir wrote:
Good lens + proper PP will get you better results than poor lens + proper PP


+1 That's pretty much what it boils down to. Often, a good lens with no PP is even better than a so so lens with PP.



Dec 08, 2011 at 05:01 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Importance of lens in the digital era


Well, let's face it, software will inevitably take an increasing importance in photography. Lens manufacturers are already relying on software correction as a part of lens design. Who can guess what comes next.


Dec 08, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Smiert Spionam
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Importance of lens in the digital era


I'm still stuck trying to figure out what a "frog fish" is.




Dec 08, 2011 at 05:13 PM
 

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Ariel70
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Importance of lens in the digital era


Thanks Andre, that was very interesting, now I got to give it a try with my ZE lenses.




Dec 08, 2011 at 05:24 PM
redisburning
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Importance of lens in the digital era


FWIW in the OP I liked the first image better in each case.

btw the lens becomes more and more important in the digital age as everyone's pictures start to look more samey. people's clothing, music taste and thinking have become much more generalized overall, too.



Dec 08, 2011 at 05:27 PM
lbloom
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Importance of lens in the digital era


redisburning wrote:
FWIW in the OP I liked the first image better in each case.


+1



Dec 08, 2011 at 05:40 PM
mirkoc
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Importance of lens in the digital era


A topic is relevant, I agree, and I am always open to a discussion or speculation. It just that 'better' (not necessarily more expensive) lenses put a smile to a photographers face more often.
A small methodical remark: although cheaper than modern Zeiss lenses, C/Y 85/2.8 is not really a mediocre lens to start a comparison.



Dec 08, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Importance of lens in the digital era


vallejo wrote:
This could also be "Is it the lens or the processing? ".
And yes, I know it's both. And yes, I know some will stone me for that.
The photos below were just taken with an old Canon 20D and a Contax c/y 85mm f2.8 with a cheap ebay adapter. All at f4 (the 20D won't shoot if I set smaller apertures,go figure...).
First look at the monitor, they look...ok. One pass of Tonal Contrast filter from Nik Color Efex Pro and...bam! Great contrast,sharpnes and texture. Photo comes alive.
So my point being: We all spend a lot of money in lenses.
...Show more


I think it totally depends on the intended audience, the purpose of the image, and the photographer's or artist's, intended style.

For example with me as the audience, the assumed purpose of the image being an FM post showing a few guys on the docs, and the assumed style being what's mostly accepted as good photography on FM:
    Your first unedited images are pretty good while the edits are rather poor.


So in the very case you site software being superior for; the lens won. Yet other shots for other audiences and/or other artistic styles the software will win. It's just case by case and additionally a lot also depends on the talent of the software operator as well as the lens in question.

If you do some searching you'll find this topic has been discussed A LOT here in the Alt forum. It almost always concludes with the majority accepting a simple truth: "A hell of a lot can be accomplished in software but the lens is ever-important!"




Dec 08, 2011 at 05:49 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Importance of lens in the digital era


While I agree with the basic premise, I will argue that the Contax 85/2.8 is not a cheap lens, whatever the price tag on it. This is a very good lens for a very good system, and the price is only due to the discontinuation of the system. If you take a lens which is *actually* no good, it gets harder to add PP to make it look great...


Dec 08, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Importance of lens in the digital era


mirkoc wrote:
A topic is relevant, I agree, and I am always open to a discussion or speculation. It just that 'better' (not necessarily more expensive) lenses put a smile to a photographers face more often.
A small methodical remark: although cheaper than modern Zeiss lenses, C/Y 85/2.8 is not really a mediocre lens to start a comparison.


But no one seems interested in posting or talking about lenses that aren't known or accepted to be special or at least that don't have a reputation for being "special". Case in point:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1047497

Of course it's my opinion that's mainly due to the people here at FM. At sites where people are not as "well read" and don't already hold preconceived notions of what's special and not the images get discussed more than the lenses and interest isn't as one-sided.

So maybe the poster knew that and figured the only way to get a discussion going was to post some images taken with "known" glass that's already considered "special"? I dunno... it's worth a guess.






Dec 08, 2011 at 06:08 PM
vallejo
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Importance of lens in the digital era


I'm enjoying this so far.And yes, I'm aware of many of the issues raised here. It's more about the general felling that we sometimes put a lot more stress on the equipment then we should. I think it's a post effect of the David Alan Harvey WS I just did, something about his zen way of photographing...

Or maybe I'm feeling a little Garfield today!

PS:The first background didn't need the filter...but no way they all look better left alone !!!!
PS2: Bifurcator, I used the Zeiss because I don't by those other crappy ones...!



Dec 08, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Importance of lens in the digital era


vallejo wrote:
we sometimes put a lot more stress on the equipment then we should.

I used Zeiss because I don't by those other crappy ones...!


Doesn't that mean you're an example of your own criticism? Or am I misunderstanding the point?





Dec 08, 2011 at 06:54 PM
vallejo
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Importance of lens in the digital era


No. It means I'm making a joke and taking it lightly...


Dec 08, 2011 at 06:59 PM
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