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Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests

  
 
DavidBM
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p.52 #1 · p.52 #1 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


Jonas B wrote:
I have now read several comments saying this 50mm is good for black and white images. That's puzzling to me. The same has been said about the Sony FE 40/2.5 G.

In my experience it really doesn't matter much which lens I use for B&W. My usual workflow includes custom color profiles for the lens and camera combination used. That's to get a neutral starting point for further processing. After that I do whatever is needed and I can't say I have any lens that is especially suited for color or B&W.

So, what is it making a lens suited for
...Show more

I think the “good for black and white” idea stems from the days when lower contrast produced a little overall haze which I turn effectively pre-exposed film, which people though might help with shadow detail in negative film if you underexposed a bit.
That’s why some folk buy single coated CV lenses nowadays.

Whether that really worked back then I doubt. My best negatives seemed to come from my contrastiest lenses. But regardless of that, it seems to make no sense now on digital. Your best B+W lens is the one you like the most for whatever reason. And those reasons will vary. My guess is that people have (different) associations of focal length or contrast or all kinds of things with their sense of what a B&W image “should” look like. But this will vary hugely so there’s no fact of the matter.



Apr 22, 2024 at 05:12 PM
nehemiahphoto
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p.52 #2 · p.52 #2 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


Jonas B wrote:
I have now read several comments saying this 50mm is good for black and white images. That's puzzling to me. The same has been said about the Sony FE 40/2.5 G.

In my experience it really doesn't matter much which lens I use for B&W. My usual workflow includes custom color profiles for the lens and camera combination used. That's to get a neutral starting point for further processing. After that I do whatever is needed and I can't say I have any lens that is especially suited for color or B&W.

So, what is it making a lens suited for
...Show more

In experience, some lenses are stellar for b/w. I didn’t know the ZA 50/1.4 was considered one, but I found this pretty quickly after shooting it for not long.

I think there is the very high contrast hyper clean looks like I got out of the 35 Lux FLE. The ZM 35/1.4 and Leica Q2 lenses I’d also qualify as being here. That works well with minimal posting, I you don’t need to push files a ton in post to make them pop, and the files don’t get crunchy like when you push a flat lens to look micro-contrary.

Then there is the old school, SA type lenses. I always find the old Mandler lenses produce epic b/w whites for my tastes. My Contarex 85/2 was great for this.

And there’s some lenses that are in between. The Pentax 31 ltd was simply gorgeous. I found the BPM could give a little bleed and SA in b/w in a way that didn’t really work for color. The 35i + BPM gave me results I loved.

My general experience is, lenses that are great in color are great in b/w. No matter what era, maker or rendering style. And I used the same pre-sets across all lenses and bodies. Similar to color, I find it’s usually fine tonal high frequency separation or complimentary palate + SA (vintage glass).

And on film, I find some of my lenses I don’t like as much for b/w on digital are flipped and great. Like my CV’s. But I found my 31 ltd less desirable on b/w film when trying Tri-X400, Across100, Ilford Delta etc.

Every photo below is shot with a different lens









































Edited on Apr 23, 2024 at 02:04 PM · View previous versions



Apr 23, 2024 at 01:47 PM
Jonas B
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p.52 #3 · p.52 #3 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


Grenache wrote:
I agree with you generally that the conversion process is generally the biggest driver of BW quality (assuming the photo itself is worth having in BW in the first place).

However, some lenses have very good transfer of color saturation/intensity. There is likely a more scientific name for this trait. Those lenses tend to produce higher contrast BW images or ones capable of greater tonal separation in BW images. [...]



Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I wonder if that (your description) isn't as simple as "high contrast", in this case meaning low flare makes it possible to distinguish also small steps on a grey (or color) scale. That would, at least in my mind, make for better tonal separation as you write.



Apr 23, 2024 at 01:50 PM
Jonas B
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p.52 #4 · p.52 #4 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


DavidBM wrote:
I think the “good for black and white” idea stems from the days when lower contrast produced a little overall haze which I turn effectively pre-exposed film, which people though might help with shadow detail in negative film if you underexposed a bit.
That’s why some folk buy single coated CV lenses nowadays.

Whether that really worked back then I doubt. My best negatives seemed to come from my contrastiest lenses. But regardless of that, it seems to make no sense now on digital. Your best B+W lens is the one you like the most for whatever reason. And those reasons
...Show more


"My best negatives seemed to come from my contrastiest lenses." Yes, that's my experience as well.
Your last sentence also makes sense. Preferences, ideas, (mis-)conceptions, experience and whatever seems to matter, a lot.



Apr 23, 2024 at 02:00 PM
Jonas B
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p.52 #5 · p.52 #5 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


nehemiahphoto wrote:
In experience, some lenses are stellar for b/w. I didn’t know the ZA 50/1.4 was considered one, but I found this pretty quickly after shooting it for not long.

I think there is the very high contrast hyper clean looks like I got out of the 35 Lux FLE. The ZM 35/1.4 and Leica Q2 lenses I’d also qualify as being here. That works well with minimal posting, I you don’t need to push files a ton in post to make them pop, and the files don’t get crunchy like when you push a flat lens to look micro-contrary.

Then there
...Show more

Thank you for the images and for elaborating on the topic. Fun to see an old Amazon. The kid portrait is processed much in a way i would have done it - i like it when you have the whole grey scale. Contrast but not too much.

I have, or used to have, some of the lenses you mentioned. The Mandler type lenses were great and my favorite was the Lux 80/1.4 R. I had the Summilux-M 35/1.4 (pre FLE) - great images, beautiful but I didn't like the midzone dip and exchanged it for a Voigtländer 35/1.2. The latter was sharp from left to right but the images were bland, kind of boring when compared.
The SMC-P 31 Ltd is great for black and white, too much LoCA and fringe for color images but I like it and still own it.

I agree about the part about a good lens for color is usually a good lens for B&W as well. I guess, again, it has to do with contrast and tonal separation. The Lux 80 did very well stopped down but i also liked it wide open but for other reasons.






Above: 18 years ago with the 31 Ltd. Today i may have processed it just a little differently.



Apr 23, 2024 at 02:43 PM
 


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Jonas B
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p.52 #6 · p.52 #6 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


My conclusion is the same as it used to be: the best lens for B&W is a lens that has good contrast (needed for good tonal separation). No surprise there. Then one can also like a certain character or not.


Apr 23, 2024 at 02:47 PM
nehemiahphoto
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p.52 #7 · p.52 #7 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


Jonas B wrote:
Thank you for the images and for elaborating on the topic. Fun to see an old Amazon. The kid portrait is processed much in a way i would have done it - i like it when you have the whole grey scale. Contrast but not too much.

I have, or used to have, some of the lenses you mentioned. The Mandler type lenses were great and my favorite was the Lux 80/1.4 R. I had the Summilux-M 35/1.4 (pre FLE) - great images, beautiful but I didn't like the midzone dip and exchanged it for a Voigtländer 35/1.2. The
...Show more

You’re welcome. I never used the R 35 Lux—I opted for that CY 35/1.4 cause I liked the images more. But I love the 80 Lux, much more than the CY 85/1.4 planar. All timer! With those older glass, I don’t expect much WO and I usually use the center 1/3 of the frame, so that’s that.

Yes, in harsh light, the 31ltd can have bothersome CA for sure. I tried to shoot around it, mostly successfully.




Apr 23, 2024 at 02:56 PM
Schwarzlicht
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p.52 #8 · p.52 #8 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


f5.6
DSC00248 by stm geist, auf Flickr



Apr 26, 2024 at 07:46 AM
wastedimages
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p.52 #9 · p.52 #9 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests



nehemiahphoto wrote:
Above: 18 years ago with the 31 Ltd. Today i may have processed it just a little differently.


weirdly, I still have both my 31 Ltd and my 43 Ltd despite no longer having my Pentax, they were the 2 lenses I just couldn't part with.




Apr 26, 2024 at 09:30 AM
Jonas B
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p.52 #10 · p.52 #10 · Sony Planar T* FE 50/1.4 ZA tests


wastedimages wrote:
weirdly, I still have both my 31 Ltd and my 43 Ltd despite no longer having my Pentax, they were the 2 lenses I just couldn't part with.



When I took the photo I used the FA31 Ltd together with a Pentax *ist DS. So, it started with a 6MP image. After cropping there wasn't much left to play with. Now I use an A7CR... times have changed. just like you I still have the lens but it doesn't see much use. Together with an adapter it is kind of front heavy and the focusing mechanism isn't really made for MF. But, I've never thought of selling it.

Well, I apologize for hi-jacking the thread. Let's get back to the 5071.4 ZA (which obviously works well for B&W images).



Apr 26, 2024 at 03:30 PM
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