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Does lens sharpness matter?

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Depends on the sensor size really and the resolution. With higher resolutions the importance of sharpness fades a little.

On cropped sensors they have a more narrow focus, and so exaggerate things like softness and chromatic aberration. 

 

It also depends on pixel size too.

 

But essentially, what we can take away from this is,

 

ONLY BUY L SERIES LENSES FROM CANON.

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Provided your camera system doesn't produce aliasing/moire (and/or the subject matter can handle a sharp lens), using the sharpest lens will give you the most image control in post. Blurring in post looks better than sharpening, for example. For wide, landscape shots, sharper lenses are helpful. For closeups of people, softer lenses and/or using special filters such as Black Pro Mist et al can help skin look better and give the image a more filmic look. In the end, sharpness depends on the intended goal of the shot.

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If you like crunchy chocolate-chip cookies, then yes, if you like 'em soft, then no :)  Most lenses are sharp at the center.  So like JCS says, more important if you're looking for sharpness at the edges.  That's really where lenses get super expensive.  Also, color control, different "color" beams diffract at different amounts to lens coatings, glass, etc., can make a big difference.  Again, $$$s.  Anyway, if your question is, should you shop for lenses based on sharpness I'd say no (unless you're doing architectural photography)

 

A lot of professional photos are out of focus.  However, they nail composition and lighting and post processing.  I LOVE sharp eyes in a portrait, but I doubt most people care or notice that much.

 

Exposure is probably more important.  No matter how sharp your lens is, if you've blown out someone's cheeks, let's say, then the sharpness is lost.  The dynamic range of sensors is never as wide as we'd like.  In other words, sharpness can ONLY be judged if the exposure was nailed.  So you might be better off investing your money in a spot-meter instead of sharp glass.

 

Focus is also important (Duh ;) ).  So the focus breathing of the lens is important.  I just found some Topcor lenses from the 1960s and they have long breaths (or whatever you call it), so I like them better than the focus of some moderns Nikons.  

 

Blur, or bokeh, is determined by the diaphragm and optical construction.  It's subjective, so you might like the blur better in a dull lens.  If you buy Andrew's guides you'll see him talk a lot about old glass and their characteristics.  He believes a lot of things go into the lens quality.  Sometimes sharpness is of no importance.

 

As everyone knows here, many of my favorite photographs were taken with a $30 old video camera lens.  http://maxotics.com/?p=331

 

In short, when you see a photo that you think is really good because it's sharp, there is usually a lot of other things done right that make it so.  Sharpness is just the most obvious aspect.

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@maxotics

I love the look of the  Fujian 35mm 1.7 c-mount,  is there a  similar lens  that will give you the same look for a full frame (5D) ?

As I understand this lens ca be used only on miroless camera. Right?

Thanks!

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resolving power (optical resulution) and contrast are directly related yet can co-exist as a miss matched combination.

 

for example a high resolution, but low contrast lens - one which is designed with a high level of correction to limit the effects of CA and other nasty attributes could be finished in less effective anti reflective coatings and thus be able to resolve detail but yield a lower contrast image.  

 

So..  in LP/mm terms the lens might resolve very clean steps between the black and white lines on a chart, BUT, due to the lower contrast caused by low efficiency AR coatings the black lines might be lifted (to a dark grey) and the whites will be darkened somewhat due to the light transmission losses caused by refections within the lens.   The effect to the eye is a lower perceived sharpness - despite the fact that the detail is there.  

 

Contrast directly affects how sharp an image looks and therefore can be used to fill in the gaps and smooth an image.  a low contrast lens with high resolving power is a very powerful tool - even if you need a sharp looking image since you can apply more sharpening and more of a boost in contrast in post before it starts to look nasty and over processed.

 

If i were shooting buildings I'd be using Schneider Digitars which outresolve pretty much every dslr lens in existence.  But for humans I'd rarely use anything made within the last 20-30 years because they make human beings look like cgi.  

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@maxotics

I love the look of the  Fujian 35mm 1.7 c-mount,  is there a  similar lens  that will give you the same look for a full frame (5D) ?

As I understand this lens ca be used only on miroless camera. Right?

Thanks!

 

I want to know the answer to this too!  Don't remember if I asked Andy.  This is on my "winter" project list.  I'm not sure if the mirror would get in the way of the lens.  I wouldn't think so, but don't know.   

 

Richg101 what lenses do you like best for humans?

 

Here's a shot I took on my full-frame a7 (I thought I had put it on my a6000, was in a rush). 

 

>

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You need to find an APS-C lens that doesn't vignette on Fullframe, the helios gives that kind of effect but on larger than FF, maybe there is some half-frame equivalent.

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I want to know the answer to this too!  Don't remember if I asked Andy.  This is on my "winter" project list.  I'm not sure if the mirror would get in the way of the lens.  I wouldn't think so, but don't know.   

 

Richg101 what lenses do you like best for humans?

 

Here's a shot I took on my full-frame a7 (I thought I had put it on my a6000, was in a rush). 

 

>

It was already troubling with the GH2, you'd rather want to be in EX-TELE. I can not imagine you'd want to use 'em on anything fullframe. I actually have all three of these C-mounts, the 50mm f/1.4, the Fujian 35mm f/1.7 and the 25mm f/1.4. The latter is absolutely the worst to use. The 35mm and 50mm are fine... if you understand that these are 'toy lenses'. I can't take these lenses very seriously, but they're fun in their own funky way, they have some crazy flares and out of focus areas. A nice addition if you're into something like the Lomography M43 Experimental Kit or Lens Baby-stuff for artsy effects. But I wouldn't shoot anything serious with this myself, really.

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Richg101 what lenses do you like best for humans?

 

 

 

My personal favourite is the Noritar 80mm f2 on full frame, wide open.  Or notched down to f2.8 for that slight increase in sharpness on the eyes.  second best is the helios 44.  Both happen to be Double Gauss designs.

 

My personal favourite lens I've used for humans..  An FF58 I wish I'd never let go:( :-

 

 

the description actually talks about some of the points I bring up earlier:) 

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It was already troubling with the GH2, you'd rather want to be in EX-TELE. I can not imagine you'd want to use 'em on anything fullframe. I actually have all three of these C-mounts, the 50mm f/1.4, the Fujian 35mm f/1.7 and the 25mm f/1.4. The latter is absolutely the worst to use. The 35mm and 50mm are fine... if you understand that these are 'toy lenses'. I can't take these lenses very seriously, but they're fun in their own funky way, they have some crazy flares and out of focus areas. A nice addition if you're into something like the Lomography M43 Experimental Kit or Lens Baby-stuff for artsy effects. But I wouldn't shoot anything serious with this myself, really.

 

I beg to differ!  First, yes, the 25mm isn't very good.  I call them "toy" lenses too, but only for shock effect to equipment snobs.  They are anything but toys to me.  I see similar distorted images in many TV/films.  Some cameras have the "miniature" effect built in.  

 

Here's a shot that I can not get with any other lens.  Keep in mind, that only the lens can determine true focal planes.  Anything one does in post is a subjective guess at blur--it's hard to get right, like trying to get focus back after the fact.

 

>

 

Here's another one

 

>

 

These are VERY SERIOUS photos to me (okay I have no taste).  However, the lens looses a fair amount of color detail and resolution on APS-C size sensors.  I'd also like the high light collecting quality of full frame.

 

Thanks the for links you gave!

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My personal favourite is the Noritar 80mm f2 on full frame, wide open.  Or notched down to f2.8 for that slight increase in sharpness on the eyes.  second best is the helios 44.  Both happen to be Double Gauss designs.

 

My personal favourite lens I've used for humans..  An FF58 I wish I'd never let go:( :-

 

 

the description actually talks about some of the points I bring up earlier:) 

Wow lovely dreamy look and great low contrast. Me likey. ^_^

 

 

I beg to differ!  First, yes, the 25mm isn't very good.  I call them "toy" lenses too, but only for shock effect to equipment snobs.  They are anything but toys to me.  I see similar distorted images in many TV/films.  Some cameras have the "miniature" effect built in.  

 

Here's a shot that I can not get with any other lens.  Keep in mind, that only the lens can determine true focal planes.  Anything one does in post is a subjective guess at blur--it's hard to get right, like trying to get focus back after the fact.

 

>

 

Here's another one

 

>

 

These are VERY SERIOUS photos to me (okay I have no taste).  However, the lens looses a fair amount of color detail and resolution on APS-C size sensors.  I'd also like the high light collecting quality of full frame.

 

Thanks the for links you gave!

Yeah, those are some nice shots indeed. But I'm just not that artsy myself. :P

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I want to know the answer to this too!  Don't remember if I asked Andy.  This is on my "winter" project list.  I'm not sure if the mirror would get in the way of the lens.  I wouldn't think so, but don't know.   

 

Richg101 what lenses do you like best for humans?

 

Here's a shot I took on my full-frame a7 (I thought I had put it on my a6000, was in a rush). 

 

>

thank you very much indeed!!

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