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Share examples of "Lens character"
  
 
pasblues
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Share examples of "Lens character"


I hear the term "lens character" mentioned here. I feel like I know what you mean but I thought it would be fun to discuss it a bit more in depth. I enjoy some of my Minolta MC/MD lenses for their character but I'm not sure I can articulate what I'm seeing that makes me feel the way I do about them.

So, I wonder if there's a way to compare differences from one vintage 50mm or 35mm or 85mm or zoom to another more modern lens and talk about the term "character" that makes you love a yesteryears lens...



Nov 03, 2017 at 05:18 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Share examples of "Lens character"


These couple of definitions of 'character' describe the way I tend to use the term regarding lenses;

'The distinctive nature of something' and 'The quality of being individual in an interesting or unusual way' (from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/character)

A lenses character often comes from it's faults which may work well in some circumstances whilst they may be ruinous in others. The term also perfectly fits lenses with near perfect optics in that some lenses can have quite a unique look due to their optical quality, such as wide open shots with the Otus 1.4/55. I like my character lenses a lot and probably overuse them but there are certainly times when an optically perfect lens is the best tool for the job too. As always, horses for courses.

Here are a few old shots from one of my favourite lenses, the Leica R 1.4/80, with lots of SA, vignetting, a bit of softness around the edges and some flare too.
































Nov 03, 2017 at 10:06 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Really found love with my cheapest Leica lens I got used - the Leica 90/2.8 Tele-Elmarit version I (Mandler lens design). It is superb in sharpness even wide open, has a beautiful bokeh which especially tends to blur out colors in the background. It competes in sharpness with my 100/2.8 macro lenses and also with the Canon 70-200/4 L IS at 90 mm FL. Especially on film this Tele-Elmarit lens shines - but I also use it on my A7R for digital.

Leica M7, Leica 90/2.8 version I, Kodak Porta 400 NC film





Nov 03, 2017 at 11:08 PM
pasblues
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Haha, your pictures fit right in with "horses for courses"....

JohnJ wrote:
These couple of definitions of 'character' describe the way I tend to use the term regarding lenses;

'The distinctive nature of something' and 'The quality of being individual in an interesting or unusual way' (from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/character)

A lenses character often comes from it's faults which may work well in some circumstances whilst they may be ruinous in others. The term also perfectly fits lenses with near perfect optics in that some lenses can have quite a unique look due to their optical quality, such as wide open shots with the Otus 1.4/55. I like my character lenses a lot and probably
...Show more



Nov 03, 2017 at 11:47 PM
DaveFP
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Short answer-

Character = defective/deficient (but in an aesthetically appealing sort of way).

A scarred face is "defective" but is, at the same time, interesting.

Interesting in a way that a perfect face cannot be interesting.

Make sense?




Nov 04, 2017 at 12:49 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Leica 35mm 1.4 Summilux FLE asph (modern lens)














Nov 04, 2017 at 01:15 AM
rico
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Like others, I define character as optically flawed in an interesting way. Of my several older lenses, the most characterful is the Leitz Telyt-V 280/4.8 which is merely achromatic and moderately sharp: perfect for portraits.



Another Mandler creation.



Nov 04, 2017 at 04:54 AM
pasblues
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Love this stuff.

I wonder if lenses are at all like musical instruments? Is it possible that there are individual *special* lenses that are uniquely and singularly just amazing?



Nov 04, 2017 at 06:36 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Share examples of "Lens character"


I also wonder how much is the processing and how much the lenses

e.g airfrogusmc's heavy use of vignetting (I do like the shots though).



Nov 04, 2017 at 08:46 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Share examples of "Lens character"


There is some vignetting on with the 35Lux wide open. Yes I did add some in different degrees to the images shown. Not so much to #2 and the last one. I use all the tools available to get to where I need to get to. The right camera, the right lens, the right exposure and the right post processing are all part of the process.


Nov 04, 2017 at 10:27 PM
 

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MAubrey
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Share examples of "Lens character"


The Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L continues to be a favorite character lens for me.


Cars in Rock Island by Mike Aubrey, on Flickr



Nov 04, 2017 at 10:37 PM
philip_pj
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Share examples of "Lens character"


I'm as guilty as anyone for using the term, incorrectly of course. All lenses have character, even modern ones. You might not like it, however. So it can mean a lens that has a design that delivers a stronger signature in place of aberration correction. Or, a better use is that a lens produces a drawing style that is out of the mainstream.

Brand is huge in my opinion, re character over the years. TBH my many CZ and Zeiss lenses cover 30-plus years and are closer in draw to each other than any of them is to any Canon lens from any era. Here are a few portraits out of a light lens I bought for landscapes:















Contax 100/3.5




Nov 04, 2017 at 11:44 PM
ZoneV
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Share examples of "Lens character"


The Meyer Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 is my main character lens:

Flowers by Markus, auf Flickr

Trioplan 100 f/2.8 at its best by Markus, auf Flickr

With that lens I have made 1:1 comparison images against the Vivitar 90mm / father of "Bokina" / Tokina to show its character / flaw - but still not online. The veryy differnet bokeh is for me often a very crucial reason to use the Trioplan.



Nov 06, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Share examples of "Lens character"


I don't dispute that process in the slightest, it's mine too - however heavy post processing does not show the inate qualities of that lens.

airfrogusmc wrote:
There is some vignetting on with the 35Lux wide open. Yes I did add some in different degrees to the images shown. Not so much to #2 and the last one. I use all the tools available to get to where I need to get to. The right camera, the right lens, the right exposure and the right post processing are all part of the process.




Nov 06, 2017 at 08:29 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Every image you see on the web has been post processed. Whether it's done by the camera (jpgs) or you shoot raw a convert. As I stated not much on #2 or the last one. Leica M Monochrom so no conversion for color to B&W.


Nov 06, 2017 at 08:35 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Share examples of "Lens character"


airfrogusmc wrote:
Every image you see on the web has been post processed. Whether it's done by the camera (jpgs) or you shoot raw a convert. As I stated not much on #2 or the last one. Leica M Monochrom so no conversion for color to B&W.

Absolutely no argument there, and I'm not trying to single out your work above. I simply stated that 'heavy' processing will not demonstrate the innate qualities of a lens.

Anyway in the spirit of making a contribution to the thread a few lightly processed shots Not great shots, mostly just tests, but they maybe demonstrate something of the nature of the lenses.

Cosina 55/1.2 on a Pentax K5


Cosina 55/1.2 on a Pentax K5


Steinheil AutoCassarit 100mm F3.5 on a Sony A7r


Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50/2.8 on a Sony A7r


Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50/2.8 on a Sony A7r


The more modern rendering of a Batis 85/1.8 on a Sony A7rii


Batis 85/1.8 on a Sony A7rii


and of an FE55/1.8 on a Sony A7rii



Nov 06, 2017 at 09:14 PM
Donzo98
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Share examples of "Lens character"


airfrogusmc wrote:
Every image you see on the web has been post processed. Whether it's done by the camera (jpgs) or you shoot raw a convert. As I stated not much on #2 or the last one. Leica M Monochrom so no conversion for color to B&W.


You make that 35 sing...




Nov 06, 2017 at 09:27 PM
ZoneV
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Share examples of "Lens character"


New Meyer Optik Goerlitz Trimagon 95mm f/2.6
https://www.meyer-optik-goerlitz.com/de/trimagon-95-f2.6

Soap Bubble Bokeh by Markus, auf Flickr



Nov 08, 2017 at 07:20 AM
rsrsrs
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Share examples of "Lens character"


I like the olympus 38mm a lot for its charakter.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1476898/0#13932327



Nov 08, 2017 at 04:56 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Share examples of "Lens character"


Here are a couple of shots with the Leica R 50 f/1.4 E55 that I think nicely show its character. Note its swirly bokeh. These are on the Fuji GFX.












Nov 11, 2017 at 01:53 PM
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