Jump to content

Great Modern Lens Article!


Henry Gentles
 Share

Recommended Posts

Did a shoot with a mate and we had identical cameras but he was using a really old beat up Nikon 50 1.4 and I was using the Canon 50 1.8 II. The difference was shocking, the Nikon just popped and looked cinematic and the canon just looked flat, ok colours maybe but no pop and no wow, flat and dead when compared side by side! Made me realise, had I not seen the Nikon side by side, I would not have seen how bad some lenses really are. Not that I was expecting miracles from canon's nifty fifty, but I've taken a lot of sharp photos with that lens and it has never let me down but dome designs are just in another class!! http://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/2/23/the-problem-with-modern-optics 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read that, he says it's because the lenses have fewer elements, I think that is at best only a secondary reason. I suppose that back in the day they tuned lenses for aparent sharpness (50% MTF), and less for fine detail (10%MTF). For example, the nikkor 50 1.4 pre-ai, first version, at f2 looses all the spherical aberration glow but still isn't sharp on fine detail, but it looks way better than the 50 1.2 ai-s with is very sharp at f2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've been pursuing this issue with my lenses quite a bit recently.

I don't yet fully understand all of the optical science being discussed but the common factor of fewer elements seems to hold true, and is useful as a general guideline considering that we're looking at a lens that is well designed optically in all the other important areas.

Basically I look for the following: Lenses that are widely reviewed to be very good, but also happen to have as few elements as possible within them. So far the author's claim that this will be a lens with better 3D characteristics has held true in my experience.

To what extent the camera is playing a role I don't know - but I suspect it's at least a bit. 
To my eye ALL Nikon Digitals seem to suffer enormously from the "flat" effect compared to Canons. To the point that despite owning a lot of Nikon glass (all of it falling into the fewer elements older design category) I feel I would never buy a Nikon camera.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have 4 Zeiss lenses, 3 are vintage and a Planar 85 1.4 ZE and I love them because of the 3D and the bokeh also they are as sharp as any modern lens! My Sigma 18 -35mm is a little sharper and it's not flat, it has good dimension but it doesn't have nearly the pop the Zeiss lenses have! That Nikkor 50 1.4 pre ai is a stellar lens and I've used it before, I believe the ai and ais is basically the same except for the newer lenses have multi coatings but physically the same design, I either read that or heard that? There are other lens articles there worth reading, with concrete examples of way better micro contrast in the older designed lenses!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Brian Caldwell said:

Sorry, but somebody's got to say it.  This has to be the worst piece of trash writing ever done about lenses.  The author has absolutely no clue what he is talking about, and should be ignored.

I've heard some really respected people say much the same thing about lenses, Hurlbut in particular keeps talking about how some lenses have a great pop, and seperation from the background and something about how the focus drops away - I've never really seen it myself, but so many people go on about it, there must be some truth in it? On that website, I thought I saw it in the examples he posted, but since he made a new blog post on the subject, I really can't see any difference in his controlled scenario.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And another one, from The Online Photographer. http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2014/06/a-little-lens-tale.html

Another example is tyre Nikon 58mm f/1.4, which was designed with the express purpose of maximising these now subtle qualities at the expense of absolute performance.

While the details of the OP's article do indeed seem really bullshit-y, there's definitely something to the trade off between character/depth/3D and raw sharpness. One is just easier to measure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Brian Caldwell said:

Sorry, but somebody's got to say it.  This has to be the worst piece of trash writing ever done about lenses.  The author has absolutely no clue what he is talking about, and should be ignored.

Really?

And what specific and exact information are you basing such a strong statement on? You'll need to provide some if you're going to make a heavy attack statement like that. Otherwise it appears that you are just yelling "Poo-Poo-head!" and then running away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, DPStewart said:

Really?

And what specific and exact information are you basing such a strong statement on? You'll need to provide some if you're going to make a heavy attack statement like that. Otherwise it appears that you are just yelling "Poo-Poo-head!" and then running away.

Well, for one everything looks made up, with no math or science-based tests showing the statements are true. First, you cannot compare two completely different shots for "3D pop" etc. For example, I debunked the 'full frame look" using exactly the same scene and the math of equivalence: http://brightland.com/w/the-full-frame-look-is-a-myth-heres-how-to-prove-it-for-yourself/ , along with the necessary instructions for anyone else to verify the results. So while Brian's comment is perhaps a bit harsh, it's valid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, jcs said:

Well, for one everything looks made up, with no math or science-based tests showing the statements are true. First, you cannot compare two completely different shots for "3D pop" etc. For example, I debunked the 'full frame look" using exactly the same scene and the math of equivalence: http://brightland.com/w/the-full-frame-look-is-a-myth-heres-how-to-prove-it-for-yourself/ , along with the necessary instructions for anyone else to verify the results. So while Brian's comment is perhaps a bit harsh, it's valid.

It kinda sorta sounds a little like maybe you didn't read the article's words very closely because your choice of words here about the "myth of the full frame look" and the article you linked discuss the term "3D" a a function of subject relative to background.  i.e. the whole "full frame" shallow depth of field discussion.

But the article here is not talking about that at all.
Am I choosing words that are clear here? The term "3D" in the Original Post here is not referring to the subject standing out from the background. The term "pop" is very frequently used BUT NOT ALWAYS USED to describe the subject having a lot of separation from the background.

The Article in the O.P. is talking about an optical flattening of aspects of the image that should not appear flattened - like someone's nose vs. their ears of the rest of their face and hair EVEN WHEN ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE WITHIN THE FOCAL PLANE.

Some people simply don't see the difference. Many do. I surely do
It's like the motion cadence of video cameras issue.  Most experienced people can see a difference between the motion cadence rendering of footage from different camera makers (with Panasonic's GH series consistently ranking among the worst and Canon and BMD often ranking among the best) yet many people just are not able to see the difference and will say "it's B.S. 24p is 24p. You're imagining it". No, we're not. They just aren't able to recognize it.

Again - 3D in the O.P. article is NOT referring to the subject having separation from the background.

Then again - it is ENTIRELY OKAY for some individuals to PREFER an optical flattening of the in-focus elements of an image.
But that's very different from saying it's not happening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, jcs said:

Well, for one everything looks made up, with no math or science-based tests showing the statements are true. First, you cannot compare two completely different shots for "3D pop" etc. For example, I debunked the 'full frame look" using exactly the same scene and the math of equivalence: http://brightland.com/w/the-full-frame-look-is-a-myth-heres-how-to-prove-it-for-yourself/ , along with the necessary instructions for anyone else to verify the results. So while Brian's comment is perhaps a bit harsh, it's valid.

You didn't debunker it :p I even picked out the fullframe sample for you. I finally went through the math thing and there is actually a difference between formats, I will eventually post the demonstration.

As for Brian's comment, I think he doesn't have to waste his time, as he knows a thing or two about lenses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, DayRaven said:

I've heard some really respected people say much the same thing about lenses, Hurlbut in particular keeps talking about how some lenses have a great pop, and seperation from the background and something about how the focus drops away - I've never really seen it myself, but so many people go on about it, there must be some truth in it? On that website, I thought I saw it in the examples he posted, but since he made a new blog post on the subject, I really can't see any difference in his controlled scenario.

Hello DayRaven,
I wanted to point out that the Article in the Original Post is not at all talking about subject separation from the background. 
What the article is talking about really has nothing to do with that at all.
Not trying to flame you or anything I promise. Just trying to help keep the meaning of the O.P.'s article from being confused with an entirely separate topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, DPStewart said:

It kinda sorta sounds a little like maybe you didn't read the article's words very closely because your choice of words here about the "myth of the full frame look" and the article you linked discuss the term "3D" a a function of subject relative to background.  i.e. the whole "full frame" shallow depth of field discussion.

But the article here is not talking about that at all.

That was not the point. The point was the method of showing an effect as something real vs. made up. 3D is more lighting and perspective than DOF. Without repeatable, same-conditions, side-by-side comparisons and (mostly) non-subjective evaluation, there's no way to know if an effect is real or not.

27 minutes ago, araucaria said:

You didn't debunker it :p I even picked out the fullframe sample for you. I finally went through the math thing and there is actually a difference between formats, I will eventually post the demonstration.

As for Brian's comment, I think he doesn't have to waste his time, as he knows a thing or two about lenses.

Lol didn't you 'pick out the full frame sample' by examining the file name? :)

Look forward to seeing your demonstration debunking my debunking ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, jcs said:

That was not the point. The point was the method of showing an effect as something real vs. made up. 3D is more lighting and perspective than DOF. Without repeatable, same-conditions, side-by-side comparisons and (mostly) non-subjective evaluation, there's no way to know if an effect is real or not.

Well...yeah... 
That point is true of course.
But that in and of itself doesn't mean the OP is not still correct.
Some things are pretty clear right there when you look at them.
The example photos provided and the exact points in each that the author is asking the reader to look at are pretty clear. And it's also reasonably clear from the chosen examples that significant variations in lighting are not occurring - you'd see that right there on the faces.
The "3D" effects of lighting almost never operate at the miniscule distances of someone's nose to their ears in a shot composed as all the examples are - especially when you can see clearly that the light AND THE FOCAL PLANE are reasonably even over the areas in question.

As I originally stated in my first comment on this topic - I've been looking at this phenomenon for a couple of years and this is in no way the first I've heard of this subject.
To be clear - the article DOES NOT say; "Lenses with many elements are bad", "Lenses with fewer elements are superior", or "this is a guaranteed effect inescapable by any lens no matter what." So anyone's reaction to this article should not lead them to conclusions such as those.

I strongly urge anyone reading to just take note of it. 
Take note and stay aware of it - and see if you don't begin noticing the phenomenon more frequently once you know what you're looking for.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, DPStewart said:

The example photos provided and the exact points in each that the author is asking the reader to look at are pretty clear. And it's also reasonably clear from the chosen examples that significant variations in lighting are not occurring - you'd see that right there on the faces.
The "3D" effects of lighting almost never operate at the miniscule distances of someone's nose to their ears in a shot composed as all the examples are - especially when you can see clearly that the light AND THE FOCAL PLANE are reasonably even over the areas in question.
 

It's necessary to shoot in the same conditions for any test of this nature to be taken seriously. I could make such a test completely non-subjective by writing an image cross-correlation algorithm comparison (statistical or neural network) to show exactly where pixel differences are happening and thus the cause of any human-perceived visual effects. This article is completely descriptive and subjective with no math, science, or means to independently test and verify to back up their statements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...