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Archive 2012 · How much sharpness do you need?
  
 
Bifurcator
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · How much sharpness do you need?


AmbientMike wrote:
If sharpness is that important, you wouldn't want to shoot your 85 1.4 rikenon or most other lenses wide open. Or use zooms much of the time. Many are sharper than primes but I wouldn't say most.

People give up sharpness to improve their photos constantly.

edwardkaraa wrote:
Even when you shoot a lens at f1.2 or f0.95, you still expect a very tiny plane to be sharp, and the sharper the better. Otherwise the photo is a total failure of mush and blur. That is why sharpness WO is very important in a lens. By shooting WO, you are willingly giving up sharpness in a large part of the frame, as you mention, but still the tiny part that is in focus must be very sharp.

Yup! One is very often used purposefully to accentuate the other too.

A really good example of this was posted recently here on page 23, #8: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1016386/22#10896239

In fact if he doesn't mind I'd like to quote it here as well:

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atlantel wrote:
A850 + Sonnar ZA 135/1.8 @1.8

The Autumn gate

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/75491417.jpg
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There's also a lot of it (professionally used) in that "London Olympics" thread I posted too. Showing that it works awesomely for sports and event photography as well.



Aug 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Toothwalker
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · How much sharpness do you need?


Guari wrote:
And you know, Adams did love sharp renderings. He ran away as fast as he could from the pictorialist soft focus nonsense that photographers were doing in order to emulate paintings so that people would accept their prints as "proper" art. There is a reason Ansel Adams was such a strong follower of group F64, a movement defined by bitting-sharp renderings (limited by the time's technology).


I don't know about that time's technology, but in this forum f/64 *is* soft focus.



Aug 21, 2012 at 04:59 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · How much sharpness do you need?


+1




Aug 21, 2012 at 05:10 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · How much sharpness do you need?


My 50/1.4 om probably wasn't that sharp on the small patch. But it was fine which is what I'm saying, you don't need as much sharpness as you think. I doubt many lenses with wide apertures are best wide open.


Aug 21, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Guari
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · How much sharpness do you need?


AmbientMike wrote:
+1



+1 what? f64 being soft focus? You know Ansel Adams shot on a 8x10 for most of his life right?




Aug 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM
mirkoc
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · How much sharpness do you need?


F64 on a large format camera is similar to F16 or even F11 on 36x24mm camera, I am not 100% sure about ratio accuracy.


Aug 21, 2012 at 05:17 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · How much sharpness do you need?


"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it." Edward Weston


Aug 21, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Toothwalker
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · How much sharpness do you need?


Guari wrote:
+1 what? f64 being soft focus? You know Ansel Adams shot on a 8x10 for most of his life right?


Even on 8x10" his images would be sharper at larger apertures.
A large DOF based on acceptable sharpness, now that is something else.






Aug 21, 2012 at 05:33 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · How much sharpness do you need?


"Image quality is not the product of a machine, but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression." Ansel Adams

Holga. Have you seen what they do?



Aug 21, 2012 at 05:36 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · How much sharpness do you need?


I don't agree to this extent completely but what I am talking about is apparently on p 244 of his bio scroll down.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm





Aug 21, 2012 at 05:41 PM
 

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Taylor Sherman
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · How much sharpness do you need?


I don't know about you guys - I'm really impressed with the state of image-making today, but after I spend a few hours looking at the great, wonderful pictures people post here and in other forums, I go outside and I look with my eyes and I say to myself, "we're not even close".

Sharpness, dynamic range, color. We're not even close in these departments to the way things look* with a well-corrected pair of real eyes.

* I realize that our eyes aren't actually as good as they seem, because the brain helps them out significantly. Photos don't get this help because you can inspect any part of them with the center of your vision etc. So, photos and lenses have a higher bar. That's the way it is! :-)



Aug 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
S Dilworth
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · How much sharpness do you need?


An aperture of f/64 on 8 × 10 format is roughly equivalent to f/8 on 135 format, in terms of depth of field (and light transmission), and that's still considered a sharp f-stop today. The fact remains that larger apertures would have been sharper at the plane of focus, but Group f/64 chose its name to emphasise that everything should lie within the depth of field, to satisfy its "straight photography" ethos. Blame Paul Strand.

Of course Group f/64 members didn't shoot only at f/64. Adams himself seemed to favour f/16 or f/22 when given the chance. He also said this, by the way:

"I am well aware of a compelling impulse of photographers to discuss, with collector's dedication, the equipment and materials they and their colleagues use, down to the smallest detail. I have never known painters to debate with such intensity the kind of canvas, paper, brushes, and paints used in their creative work. With photographers, however, such knowledge is traded in a kind of inner language of arcane significance. More meaningful would be discussion of such matters as the shapes, luminance values, and colours of the subjects. To know that an exposure was, say, 1/8 second at f/32 has small meaning unless subject luminances, their placement on the exposure scale of the negative, and negative development are also indicated…"

So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. The man liked a sharp neg, but he was also fussy about shapes, colours, and those infernal zones!

(The Adams quote above is from Schaefer's Ansel Adams Guide: Basic Techniques of Photography, Book 2. They're having a laugh with that title: the back cover boasts it has 352 illustrations and 37 graphs, and 20 pages are given to film testing procedures. It's a book for everyone who thought Adams was a bit light on technical matters.))

Edited on Aug 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM · View previous versions



Aug 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Bifurcator
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · How much sharpness do you need?


AmbientMike wrote:
"Image quality is not the product of a machine, but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression." Ansel Adams

Holga. Have you seen what they do?



That's right after he tried his first marijuana cigarette right?

We're talking about sharpness. It's definitely device related!




Aug 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM
HopeIsEternal
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · How much sharpness do you need?


I think lens Sharpness can be very important for a photographer. It does not *make* a photograph all by itself but is it is definitely correlated with the quality of a lens and how much you have to pay for it. I can understand someone becoming upset at paying a good amount of money for a premium lens and then discovering that the lens is very soft when shot at large apertures.

For me, sharpness is related to detail. If there is not much detail to be observed in the shot then the sharpness of the lens can be discounted a bit. But in the case where you're doing close up photography or macro photos of detailed objects then sharpness is very important and you want the most you can get. Imagine for example, taking close up 2-6x magnification shots of insects. Do you really think that a poor lens (sharpness wise) would do the images any good?

However sharpness is still not everything. I've generally been disappointed more by lenses and how they deal with flare, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

My ideal lens would have almost perfect color, contrast, resolution and illumination across the frame, be immune to flare and internal reflections, have no distortion or purple fringing, have a very large constant maximum aperture and fit in the pocket of my pants. Oh and it would cost under $1,000.

Everything else including softening, vignetting etc.. can be added later in post.



Aug 21, 2012 at 06:32 PM
briantho
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · How much sharpness do you need?


HopeIsEternal wrote:
My ideal lens would have almost perfect color, contrast, resolution and illumination across the frame, be immune to flare and internal reflections, have no distortion or purple fringing, have a very large constant maximum aperture and fit in the pocket of my pants. Oh and it would cost under $1,000.


If that lens existed we could close this forum and throw all our lenses in the trash. Imagine how boring photography would be...



Aug 21, 2012 at 07:29 PM
artd
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · How much sharpness do you need?


I have seen quite a number of Ansel Adams prints in person, and my takeaway is that contrary to popular belief, Mr. Adams was a mere mortal just like the rest of us. While he was very good at his craft, he was not divine or infallible, and as is the case with most photographers he had some prints that were better than others.

Some prints of his I've seen were also printed too big, where they lose that sense of critical sharpness compared to their smaller counterparts....but sometimes the sheer size of a print outweighs critical sharpness in terms of presentation value.






Aug 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · How much sharpness do you need?


Boy, ya got that right! A mortal tinkerer in actuality! Some of his shots suck arse in fact! I think he would have spent an inordinate amount of time chatting on-line and posting in forums had he been born a generation later! And probably not have become famous or popular either.



Aug 21, 2012 at 07:54 PM
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · How much sharpness do you need?


briantho wrote:
If that lens existed we could close this forum and throw all our lenses in the trash. Imagine how boring photography would be...


I think in reality it would increase the traffic of all the other brand's boards talking about how it's actually being done in processing, the images have a plastic look, and the camera that it's mounted to isn't nearly as good as theirs. Not to mention that their own lenses have an indescribable 'something' that they really prefer to that perfect lens, and they really aren't comfortable holding a lens that small anyway, they get better balance with a larger lens.



Aug 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · How much sharpness do you need?


Don't forget the famous HCB quote, "Sharpness is a bourgeois concept", and he wasn't being complimentary. I saw his large travelling exhibit last year at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the man practiced what he preached. Sometimes the subject was out of focus, sometimes blurred from motion of subject or camera. He also left darkroom work to a professional printer. Nonetheless, his images were awesome because of his eye for composition, timing the moment and, most importantly, being there. He had good gear but didn't obsess over accessories and multiple lenses (being a painter may have helped ).


Aug 21, 2012 at 08:59 PM
wfrank
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · How much sharpness do you need?


I have a simple approach and I want it sharp. Rule is to keep a low-enough pixels/sensorsize-quota and nail focus with a recognized high-quality lens and you're home. Nothing gets sharper. Dont need that, too sharp? Use gaussian blur

Or, textures and/or hipstamatic-type actions for "atmosphere". Nothing wrong with that.



Aug 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM
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