Jump to content

Great Modern Lens Article!


Henry Gentles
 Share

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, araucaria said:

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

As much as conciseness is appreciated, we would simply like him to share some of his insight (instead of a dismissal), especially those of us who aren't as experienced with lenses. I think that much is fair in a forum, isn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, jcs said:

This is a case of Not Even Wrong. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

Just another way of saying the argument is flawed. Which doesn't do anything for clarification. But ok, I'll take your word for it, since dismissal seems to be the standard clincher.

Still, I am interested to understand why does certain glasses have 3D contrasty images. Any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, SR said:

Just another way of saying the argument is flawed. Which doesn't do anything for clarification. But ok, I'll take your word for it, since dismissal seems to be the standard clincher.

Still, I am interested to understand why does certain glasses have 3D contrasty images. Any thoughts?

First, we'd need a side-by-side same-light-scene comparison where A has one effect and B has another. Then we can try to understand the differences. Hurlbut's Lieca vs. Cooke example showed that a particular softness and distortion was a look he and his team preferred (Cooke over Leica).

As for how does a lens produce a more contrasty, 3D look, I'm not a lens designer like Caldwell, however intuitively it would seem a lens design that prevents photon spill/spray such that while local contrast (sharpness) may not be particularly affected, overall contrast is reduced as what should be a very dark area is brighter, those lowering dynamic range, contrast, and '3D-ness'.

An experiment one could do is take a very "3D" image and see what it takes to make it look "flat" in Photoshop (lowering contrast, increasing "Haze", blurring/sharpening areas, etc.). The experiment could be repeated by reversing the process starting with a "flat" image.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, DPStewart said:

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.

My apologies then - I don't know what I'm looking for here and any guidance you give will not be taken as flaming, thanks for the info!

He did do a controlled test with the Nikkor 35 f2 vs sigma 35 f1.4, here: http://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/3/7/sigma-art-vs-nikkor-afd-part-1

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On March 5, 2016 at 6:11 AM, Henry Gentles said:

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 

I honestly think that article is bullshit on soooooo many levels. Completely subjective. Was his point that modern lenses render flat noses ? Wtf ? Was i the only one who read that and went ".....wtf ?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The article is written in a techincal fashion by someone with no technical knowledge.  But the points he's making I think on the whole are valid.

 

Mathematics aside,  old lenses provide a 'look' that's more appealing.  not to tech heads or spec sheet readers, but to real people who actually take pictures and use their equipment.  A 24bit/96khz uncompressed audio file should sound better than a 12" vinyl single, but it doesn't to my ears.

 

Transformers movies on paper are shot with cameras and lenses that far outdo those used for The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, etc.  Which look more appealing?  The older films.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@richg101 it all comes down to preference. The look of blade runner & the professional are amazing yet some of the other movies in their time suck aesthetically. Now we have shows like Daredevil shot on 6k cams and red dragons with high end lenses and not only do they look great the aesthetic is completely different. Its all a matter of preference. 

I def do agree that some of the vintage lenses look way better than modern ones imo. They were built with aesthetic in mind...now they build lenses based on computer calculations with only sharpness in mind

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's quite a lot bs in that article indeed. By the way, many people rant quite a lot about micro contrast and some sort of "magic" etc in their reviews. Well, lenses as well as sensors have gotten really, really good nowadays and as it has become difficult to differentiate stuff on such a high level, people start finding things which are not objective or not even measurable at all.

I thing Thom Hogan has put it quite nicely in one of his most recent articles:

http://www.dslrbodies.com/lenses/lens-articles/what-is-micro-contrast.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's a social experiment to see who's sensitive to suggestion... it's kind of a placebo effect. You kinda want to see it work, so you do.

Sure there are some truths here and there. But they're greatly exaggerated and most comes across as hipster talk to me.

- Sorta reminds me of the mocking that Chris did in that A6300 video:

Quote

So what I'm trying to capture here is the juxtaposition between old and new and the duality that is present in all of us... ... or some shih like that.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, jcs said:

An experiment one could do is take a very "3D" image and see what it takes to make it look "flat" in Photoshop (lowering contrast, increasing "Haze", blurring/sharpening areas, etc.). The experiment could be repeated by reversing the process starting with a "flat" image.

Thanks, will give this a shot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sharpness / resolution / microcontrast / local contrast / global contrast are all the same thing at different frequences. Resolution/sharpness represent the highest frequencies up through larger scale contrast at lower frequencies. An image is a composite of all the frequencies, from lowest to highest. This can be visualized by looking at the discrete cosine transform (used in JPEG, H264 etc.):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_cosine_transform

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_cosine_transform#/media/File:Dct-table.png

The MTF is one form of lens performance measurement: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/lens-quality-mtf-resolution.htm

I noticed in the Nikkor vs. Sigma examples, the Nikkor lost a lot of detail in the shadows, and the shadows were also blurrier (less fine detail, along with an overall lower detail image. Less detail/sharpness can help make images look more organic (digitally sharp images look less real)). To generate a similar look in post, we could write code to blur pixels based on luminance level.

If one prefers the look of, for example, a particular Nikkor over a Sigma, comparing their MTF charts might be helpful in understanding why. Not all frequencies are captured the same, and performance variation through the spectrum can explain why one lens is preferred over another, for a particular use. If "imperfect" lenses have desired character, these imperfections can be measured, and then used in marketing material to help people get a desired, and known look. Without hand-waving, internet arguing, and pseudoscience ;)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/12/2016 at 7:23 PM, SR said:

As much as conciseness is appreciated, we would simply like him to share some of his insight (instead of a dismissal), especially those of us who aren't as experienced with lenses. I think that much is fair in a forum, isn't it?

I probably should have stayed away from this topic, but I found the article so utterly revolting that I just couldn't help myself.  Its difficult to even begin a thorough critique, and I'm not going to do it here.  Suffice to say that he relies almost entirely on non-standard,  non-optical terminology (e.g., 3D, tonality, micro contrast, flat), and he never bothers to define these terms in a precise and unambiguous way.  Lenses can be fully characterized by things that are well-defined and can actually be measured, such as MTF, veiling glare, distortion, transmission vs. wavelength, etc..  Why rely on pseudo-scientific nonsense when proper characterization methods are well established?  He then goes on to show images that supposedly illustrate his points, but none of the images are actually carefully done comparisons under fixed lighting conditions, post processing,  etc., so they are absolutely worthless as far as I'm concerned.  He also makes a bunch of ternary diagrams that make absolutely no sense at all - "line of realism"??? WTF???  And his obsession with the number of elements in a design is absolutely bizzare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what the Article says is fantastic and the image examples says it all if your actually a Photographer!! Inspires me to use my eyes more carefully, more than anything else! There are a lot of Pro Photographers who think exactly the same he does and have dared to compare new Lens Technology with the old, I try to keep an open mind. I've been taking photos for 40 years and your always looking for that image to pop. When you master exposure, it's your eyes that tell you everything you need to know about a Lens and not the orthodoxy of your numbers and formulas!! Some of you need to take a chill pill?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Brian Caldwell said:

I probably should have stayed away from this topic, but I found the article so utterly revolting that I just couldn't help myself.  Its difficult to even begin a thorough critique, and I'm not going to do it here.  Suffice to say that he relies almost entirely on non-standard,  non-optical terminology (e.g., 3D, tonality, micro contrast, flat), and he never bothers to define these terms in a precise and unambiguous way.  Lenses can be fully characterized by things that are well-defined and can actually be measured, such as MTF, veiling glare, distortion, transmission vs. wavelength, etc..  Why rely on pseudo-scientific nonsense when proper characterization methods are well established?  He then goes on to show images that supposedly illustrate his points, but none of the images are actually carefully done comparisons under fixed lighting conditions, post processing,  etc., so they are absolutely worthless as far as I'm concerned.  He also makes a bunch of ternary diagrams that make absolutely no sense at all - "line of realism"??? WTF???  And his obsession with the number of elements in a design is absolutely bizzare.

He pulled that article out of the deepest,darker,corner of his ass. Not only was it extremely opinionated, his many examples showed nothing. Nothing of value at all

1 hour ago, Henry Gentles said:

I think what the Article says is fantastic and the image examples says it all if your actually a Photographer!! Inspires me to use my eyes more carefully, more than anything else! There are a lot of Pro Photographers who think exactly the same he does and have dared to compare new Lens Technology with the old, I try to keep an open mind. I've been taking photos for 40 years and your always looking for that image to pop. When you master exposure, it's your eyes that tell you everything you need to know about a Lens and not the orthodoxy of your numbers and formulas!! Some of you need to take a chill pill?

I started off as a photographer and have done it for a couple of years in the military and I still think what your saying and what he's saying...just isn't real. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am also a professional photographer with a complete studio with both strobes and continuous lights: I pay very careful attention to lighting and 'pop' (can do quite a lot in Photoshop too- way beyond what is possible with just lenses and light). I've written software to do complete 3D rendering from scratch. I studied human perception in college (cognitive science). I'm now focused on emotion, communication, and storytelling for both stills and video. This kind of article is fine to help start an interesting discussion on old vs. new lenses. However, since he didn't use any scientific principles, such as the scientific method, there's no way to actually know if anything he says is real. How can one apply any principles presented and use for our own works of art if no real, repeatable principles were provided?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, jcs said:

I am also a professional photographer with a complete studio with both strobes and continuous lights: I pay very careful attention to lighting and 'pop' (can do quite a lot in Photoshop too- way beyond what is possible with just lenses and light). I've written software to do complete 3D rendering from scratch. I studied human perception in college (cognitive science). I'm now focused on emotion, communication, and storytelling for both stills and video. This kind of article is fine to help start an interesting discussion on old vs. new lenses. However, since he didn't use any scientific principles, such as the scientific method, there's no way to actually know if anything he says is real. How can one apply any principles presented and use for our own works of art if no real, repeatable principles were provided?

Look the Article is about depth rendition through the lens!! He's saying less glass equals more gain, more glass equals less gain and compression!!  You know I actually looked up a friend of mine who has a Youtube channel who understands Lens manufacturing and has made countless Tutorials about Lens construction and philosophy of lens design etc and to my surprise he has actually made a Video in response to support Yannick's Article!! He knows more about Lenses than all of you put together I'd imagine and he says Yannick is correct! That's good enough for me! I only say this not to try to correct any of you, I'm not that stupid, but just to say sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one!! Less glass = more light and less compression, it sounds right because it is right! I'm not gonna post it here because I don't care if anyone agrees or not! Use your eyes, they will tell you everything you need to know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just read the article once again.  And only wish he'd written it a little more concisely.  We don't need mtf charts within a debate of this kind.  it's not about science.  It's about preference.  I prefer lenses designed and made before the digital era since they have been used to capture what I consider the best material.  i see most of what has been produced in the digital age to be far inferior to what was produced before.

One thing i do know is that if you take a picture of someone with a helios 44 or any 6 element 50mm prime from before the 1990's, then the same picture with the sigma art 50/1.4, the person will prefer the image taken with the older lens.  A Sigma Art lens is like the hobbit being filmed/delivered in 48fps.  Both defy a convention that's been built over decades.  24fps look like cinema.  older lenses render an image closer to the look of the proper hollywood days.

 

          

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While there is a real rendering difference between the Sigma and Nikkor, there's a lack of logic in the conclusions. The difference in rendering could be due to the low lens count, or maybe the coatings or lens curvature changed between the designs. There are multiple factors and # of lens counts just a coincidence. 

This is like observing birds migrating in the south during seasons and then concluding that the birds bring with them the heat. 

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...