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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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Old 02-09-2013   #41
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. . . is it necessary to think of "good" or "bad" in the field of photography? why do so many people have this competitive attitude?
I spent my life with engineers. If you tell an engineer about an idea that you have in mind, no matter what it is, he is positively certain to have a better idea than yours.

I'm finding out that photographers can be like that too.
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Old 02-09-2013   #42
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...what opens the door to discussions about life, the universe and everything.

is it necessary to think of "good" or "bad" in the field of photography? why do so many people have this competitive attitude?
No its not necessary at all! If a person is happy with the pictures they're taking and has no desire to improve then they should keeping doing what they're doing.
On the other hand if a person want to become the best photographer they can be then competing/comparing their work with other people's work as well as their own past work is an important part of the process.
Personally I feel that rather then taking away from the experience working to improve adds to the whole experience.
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Old 02-09-2013   #43
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Very few lenses are going to be the quality bottle neck for me so I've decided to stop worrying about them and concentrate on taking more photos.
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Old 02-09-2013   #44
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Originally Posted by sparrow6224 View Post
Re: Cartier-Bresson vs Capa. Capa used better lenses. C-B was a better photographer.

The more interesting question for me has long been, who's better, Henri Cartier-Bresson or Eugene Smith? they were so radically different within a narrow context of mid century b/w 35mm photo-journalism that the question has long intrigued me. I love both of them. Smith was considerably more insane, a mental condition that helped his work.
"Helped" is not a word I would use. :O He did use a lot of different cameras over his career though, which may say something about it being the photographer and not the camera.

While I agree we can objectively judge which equipment is technically superior, it's really up to us an individuals to consider whether or not that is important at all. So if one holds that a person can still take "good photos" with something like a box camera, I don't think I could argue with them. If they're a good photographer, then of course they can. Even pullitzer winners have used box cameras, although that may be because any camera is better than no camera.
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Old 02-09-2013   #45
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Originally Posted by Sejanus.Aelianus View Post
But what is a good photographer? Someone who gets paid a lot? Someone who wins a popularity contest?
Simply somebody who makes interesting photographs. To whom they're interesting is a different issue.
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Old 02-09-2013   #46
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Originally Posted by Sejanus.Aelianus View Post
But what is a good photographer? Someone who gets paid a lot? Someone who wins a popularity contest?
What do you expect anyone to say to this, have you a definition? if you haven't does that mean all photographers are equal in your eyes, that no one can say with any authority that one image is better than another?
Where would you stop, is Predator Vs Alien part 3 equal to Lawrence of Arabia. Obviously not, so what criterion do you use to asses the quality of any non measurable work.
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Old 02-09-2013   #47
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Actually i think you'll find that it's this sort of pedantry that is the threads subject. Where could you begin a discussion with someone unable, or unwilling to make any distinctions.
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Old 02-09-2013   #48
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I think this forum should institute a rule that each time a member makes an “authoritative” post, he must submit a good photo that he has taken. Many “gurus” would be considerably quieter.
Then again, what 'good' photo would illustrate the simple truth that some lenses are sharper, more contrasty, etc., than others? It's comparatively easy to choose a 'good' picture made with an 'inferior' lens:I've attached one of my favourites, made with a 1936 uncoated 5cm Elmar: Hill and Moon, wales, shot almost 40 years ago. But how will a 'good' lens show up on a screen? The other pic, 'Attic', was taken with (as far as I recall) either a 105mm Apo-Lanthar or a 100mm Apo-Symmar on 6x7cm. See a real print and it's both technically 'better' and better suited to the subject matter.

There's also the point that 'good' is subjective. I think I'm a pretty fair photographer, but I have fans who think I'm brilliant (i.e. far better than I think I am) and detractors who think I'm awful (i.e. far worse than I think I am). I have the cynical suspicion that the detractors wouldn't admit to liking my pictures even if they did. If you wish to make up your own mind, take a look at my site. Even the index http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...l%20index.html -- should give you an idea, but there's lots more. On the index page, seven of the pictures are mine (eight if you include the picture of the camera) and four are by my wife Frances.

You might however be amused by "Gurus and why to avoid them," http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...e%20gurus.html

Cheers,

R.
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File Type: jpg Hill and moon, Wales.jpg (8.4 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Attic flip.jpg (63.3 KB, 42 views)
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Old 02-09-2013   #49
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Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Simply somebody who makes interesting photographs. To whom they're interesting is a different issue.
As a definition of a good photographer, this seems unanswerable to me.

There's also the point that a good teacher -- someone who makes you think, helps you learn, challenges your preconceptions, and makes fundamental contributions in other areas -- needn't necessarily be a great photographer: the late Geoffrey Crawley springs to mind.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-09-2013   #50
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Another way of looking at the original post:

When asked to recommend a lens, many will say, in effect, "I have taken at least one good picture with this lens, therefore I recommend it."

There are few if any lenses in the world that are so useless that one photographer, once, somewhere, has not taken a good picture with them. Likewise cameras. But how much use is this to someone who is seeking a reasonably versatile, readily available lens?

At least if someone says "This is a great lens" and then posts a picture of the sort of thing we never shoot, while at the same time underwhelming us with its technical quality, we know what not to buy. Is that the same as saying it's a bad picture? No. just that it is of absolutely no interest to us.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-09-2013   #51
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At least a lens can be tested objectively against measurable standards.

A photographer is appreciated (or not) objectively. A moving target.
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Old 02-09-2013   #52
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Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
I ask: where among us are these fools you speak of that deny the self-evident?

Does this thread really need to exist?
First sentence: to name them would almost certainly lead them to throw tantrums, and to indulge in personal attacks against those who disagree with them. They are not numerous, but nor are they impossible to find.

Second sentence: the thread would not need to exist if they did not.

And the thread has also provoked some interesting reactions. At least, I find them so. I found Godfrey's arguments especially interesting, for example.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-09-2013   #53
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Roger, so very well stated in your original post. Very logical
and reasonable. I enjoy reading your writing and thinking.
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Old 02-09-2013   #54
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Some photographers are better than others. Some cameras and lenses are better than others. Why are some people apparently unable to separate these two simple, non-contradictory statements?

Point out that any given lens is (for example) not very sharp, lacks contrast or suffers from field curvature, and immediately, someone pops up and says, "Yeah, but you can still take great pictures with it."

OF COURSE YOU CAN. Only a fool would deny it. You may even be able to turn these defects to advantage, despite the fact that from the point of view of lens design, they are unquestionably defects. But equally, there will be other pictures, other subjects, other ways of seeing, which will work better with a lens that is sharper or contrastier or otherwise technically better. Again, only a fool would deny it.

Any lens is a compromise on speed, optical quality, size, ergonomics and price. My 50mm C-Sonnar, for example, sacrifices quite a lot to size and contrast; my pre-aspheric 35mm Summilux sacrifices a good deal to speed and size. They're both fine lenses. The compromises they make suit me. But I don't pretend that they are in all ways comparable with the latest Leica aspherics in the same focal lengths. They're smaller and cheaper for a start.

Still less can anyone pretend that a lens from 60 years ago is likely to compare with the best of today's lenses when it comes to technical quality. A few do compare well: 21mm Biogons spring to mind. But most don't. You may love them; you may take great pictures with them, or admire the great pictures that others have taken with them. But you can't realistically deny that technically, most high-end modern lenses are superior to most high-end old ones -- especially when it comes to fast lenses or wide angles.

Whether or not the photographer needs, or can take advantage of, better cameras or lenses, is a separate issue. That's down to the photographer, not the camera or lens. But to deny that some cameras and lenses are better than others is as feeble-minded as denying that some photographers are better than others.

Cheers,

R.
I think you left out one important element "The film" Example by following the same line of thought the one can still take a good picture with older less technically advanced lenses one can take good low light hand held photographs with older ISO 50 or 100 B&W film. I mean what is technically stopping some one from pushing PanF+ to ISO 1600 or 3200? beside the time it takes do some basic math.
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Old 02-09-2013   #55
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I think you left out one important element "The film" Example by following the same line of thought the one can still take a good picture with older less technically advanced lenses one can take good low light hand held photographs with older ISO 50 or 100 B&W film. I mean what is technically stopping some one from pushing PanF+ to ISO 1600 or 3200? beside the time it takes do some basic math.
Highlight: very true indeed, but again, if someone asks for a film recommendation, it probably means that they don't know a vast amount about film. Better, therefore, to recommend HP5 in a mainstream developer than a slow, obscure microfilm (or similar) developed in something you need to compound yourself. Especially if, in doing the latter, you're just trying to look clever.

As for Pan F at EI 1600, well, what stops you is insane contrast and absolute lack of shadow detail. You get about ISO 80 in Microphen.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-09-2013   #56
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Originally Posted by Sejanus.Aelianus View Post
But what is a good photographer? ...
Two definitions:

1- someone who's photographs resonate with you.
2- someone whom you hire for a job that gets the job done to your satisfaction.

There's very little of the "how sharp my lens is" there ...

G
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Old 02-09-2013   #57
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Two definitions:

1- someone who's photographs resonate with you.
2- someone whom you hire for a job that gets the job done to your satisfaction.

There's very little of the "how sharp my lens is" there ...

G
Which is why, indeed, I attempted to clarify the difference between the photographer and the lens in the original post.

And, of course, there sometimes IS a good deal of 'how sharp my lens is'. Certain kinds of food and industrial photography, for example.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-09-2013   #58
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...
And the thread has also provoked some interesting reactions. At least, I find them so. I found Godfrey's arguments especially interesting, for example.
Thank you for the compliment, Roger.

I did load up the Robot II and shoot it this morning. Now to process the film and see what it/I did. The suspense is a thrill.

G

ps: it is one darn neat little camera ... :-)
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Old 02-09-2013   #59
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Thank you for the compliment, Roger.

I did load up the Robot II and shoot it this morning. Now to process the film and see what it/I did. The suspense is a thrill.

G

ps: it is one darn neat little camera ... :-)
They are gorgeous, aren't they? I've had two or three. I've seen it alleged that the main body units were milled from big chunks of stainless steel. It certainly feels and looks like it.

Funny, though: I never got on with the lenses...

Seriously, I prefer the (admittedly overly long and thin) 24x36 format to 24x24 and I always found Robots blocky and heavy to carry as compared with screw mount Leicas or Retinas. Have you ever had a Metz Mecaflex, the improbable 24x24 SLR with the folding clam-shell top plate? I found one at Williamsons on Sauchiehall Street in the 1970s. Kilfitt made it, I suspect.

Were you shooting 'real' pictures or just test shots?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-09-2013   #60
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Very true!

How about all of these soft and underexposed photos

http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?V...RID=24KL53ZTH6
Thanks for these... hadn't seen them in years.
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Old 02-10-2013   #61
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No its not necessary at all! If a person is happy with the pictures they're taking and has no desire to improve then they should keeping doing what they're doing.
On the other hand if a person want to become the best photographer they can be then competing/comparing their work with other people's work as well as their own past work is an important part of the process.
Personally I feel that rather then taking away from the experience working to improve adds to the whole experience.
of course itīs important to improve, otherwise there would be nothing but frustration.
that begins with technical matters (how to expose the film, choice of focal lenghts, drying of fb-papers, etc), which are the easiest problems to handle. after a couple of years, that should be done.
but further on things get difficult. i also have my favourites i admire deeply for their photographic works, but it would not come into my mind to compare (between hcb and capa, between hcb and me,...). all i can learn from them is some inspiration (the contrasts of robert haeusser) for my own work.

each and every moment in our world, in our lives, is a singular occurence, never to be repeated. every picture taken is the same, no second chance! my conclusion is that the only way to improve my pictures is to improve myself, not in a photographic sense, rather in a very universal sense. competition or even comparison is very useless in that sense. becoming the best photographer one can means becoming the best person one can, which in a photographical sense might mean to be completely in the present to get the best capture. buddhistic, maybe...... what do you think?
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Old 02-10-2013   #62
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of course itīs important to improve, otherwise there would be nothing but frustration.
that begins with technical matters (how to expose the film, choice of focal lenghts, drying of fb-papers, etc), which are the easiest problems to handle. after a couple of years, that should be done.
but further on things get difficult. i also have my favourites i admire deeply for their photographic works, but it would not come into my mind to compare (between hcb and capa, between hcb and me,...). all i can learn from them is some inspiration (the contrasts of robert haeussler) for my own work.

each and every moment in our world, in our lives, is a singular occurence, never to be repeated. every picture taken is the same, no second chance! my conclusion is that the only way to improve my pictures is to improve myself, not in a photographic sense, rather in a very universal sense. competition or even comparison is very useless in that sense. becoming the best photographer one can means becoming the best person one can, which in a photographical sense might mean to be completely in the present to get the best capture. buddhistic, maybe...... what do you think?
I think you're absolutely right. It can also be foolish to buy kit before you feel a real need for it. the need my be illusory -- for example, I'd be crazy to buy the new M-mount 50/1.5 Nokton in M-mount, because I would never use it (in place of my 50/1.5 C-Sonnar) to justify it enough, even though it's beautiful and I want it.

But if someone asked what 50/1.5 to buy, I'd recommend one of those two, because I've used 'em both and can explain why I'd choose one over the other. I've also used other fast Leica-fit 50s -- Xenon, Summarit, Summilux, Noctilux, Canon, Sonnar and whatever the Soviet 50/1.5 is called. They all have their advantages, and I'd not deny for a second that great pics can be taken with any of them (even the Russian lens, though it's more difficult), but compared with the Nokton even the C-Sonnar is a bit specialized, and the others are either very specialized (read: limited, old-fashioned or tricky) or very expensive or both.

ALWAYS work on yourself before your equipment.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #63
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Roger, you have a coarse garlic press and a fine garlic press. Which is better?
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Old 02-10-2013   #64
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Lens design is a compromise a superfast lens lacks in other other design departments a slow lens is highly corrected but lacks speed so what is the best lens? One can compare a lens of similar speed but one lens might be sharp at f1.5 but the out of focus area is so distracting that the lens that might be less sharp renders a better photograph because the main subject has better isolation from the Background. A Heliar loved by many LF Photographers is by many standards not a very sharp lens but it wasn't designed for sharpness but for plasticity as have been many older lenses. So what makes a superior lens sharpness as measured by mtf, good plasticity who knows it all depends on what the photographer is after. The quality of a lens or the definition of best can't be answered by technical comparison and is in my opinion a very personal choice.

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Old 02-10-2013   #65
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If there is any 'secret editing' it is not I who did it. I stand wholeheartedly by the passage you quote, without apology. If it has been edited out (and I can't seem to find it) then either I apologize unreservedly for inadvertently deleting it or I would be intrigued to know who did delete it. It is not the only post that disappeared, and as I can't delete others'`posts, I suspect someone else has been in among this thread.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #66
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So what was the ultimate moral of the story again? Lenses matter, but they don't matter, unless we agree they matter?
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Old 02-10-2013   #67
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No, it was don't disagree with Roger or you'll get a vaguely intemperate cyber cuff round the ear.
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Old 02-10-2013   #68
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The best lens is a matter of taste and opinion and you know what they say about opinions. " Opinions are like a***holes everyone has one."

And yes there are lenses that are better suited to general photography, that doesn't make other lenses less good they might beat the better lens in several cases they are just overall not as well suited to all kinds of photography than some other lenses: Specialists vs Universalists.
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Old 02-10-2013   #69
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The best lens is a matter of taste and opinion and you know what they say about opinions. " Opinions are like a***holes everyone has one."

And yes there are lenses that are better suited to general photography, that doesn't make other lenses less good they might beat the better lens in several cases they are just overall not as well suited to all kinds of photography than some other lenses: Specialists vs Universalists.
And whose opinion do you trust better when you are ill? A doctor who has studied the subject, or someone who was ill once? To pretend that all opinions are equal is downright feeble minded. Deciding whose opinions you trust -- whether mine or anyone else's - is far more important than subscribing to the lazy and ultimately meaningless internet 'wisdom' about opinions.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #70
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No, it was don't disagree with Roger or you'll get a vaguely intemperate cyber cuff round the ear.
More, I'd suggest, this: Think before you post. Or at least, think before you post the same opinion several times without further explanation.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #71
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The RH moral is there are fools among us who can't admit to the self-evident fact that some lenses are more equal than others, as are some photographers. And apparently some forum posters.
An excellent summary. Do you disagree?

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R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #72
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So what was the ultimate moral of the story again? Lenses matter, but they don't matter, unless we agree they matter?
That if someone asks "What lens should I buy?", they probably don't know much about which lens to buy, and that often, they will therefore be better served by a good general purpose lens than by one that is highly specialized, antique, ridiculously cheap, or alarmingly expensive.

Cheers,

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Old 02-10-2013   #73
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That if someone asks "What lens should I buy?", they probably don't know much about which lens to buy, and that often, they will therefore be better served by a good general purpose lens than by one that is highly specialized, antique, ridiculously cheap, or alarmingly expensive.

Cheers,

R.
I agree with you a general purpose lens is often if not always the best. Ultra fast lenses are not general purpose lenses and never will be, old style lenses are often not the best choice unless you are after a certain look. Regarding the question if I trust a doctor when I am ill I would say it depends. There are many quacks in this profession, in fact they remind me of so called photography experts R.H. excluded.

99% of the times if someone ask me what lens he/she/it should buy I tell him/her/it to test the lens to see whether they like it's look and feel. As I stated the best lens is lens one feels most comfortable with and is therefore a highly personal choice/opinion.

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Old 02-10-2013   #74
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Originally Posted by DominikDUK View Post
I agree with you a general purpose lens is often if not always the best. Ultra fast lenses are not general purpose lenses and never will be, old style lenses are often not the best choice unless you are after a certain look. Regarding the question if I trust a doctor when I am ill I would say it depends. There are many quacks in this profession, in fact they remind me of so called photography experts R.H. excluded.

99% of the times if someone ask me what lens he/she/it should buy I tell him/her/it to test the lens to see whether they like it's look and feel. As I stated the best lens is lens one feels most comfortable with and is therefore a highly personal choice/opinion.

Dominik
Dear Dominik,

We are in 100% agreement, especially the highlighted portion.The ONLY reason to recommend one lens over another is if the questioner doesn't have the luxury of testing. Then, I'd suggest, buy a 'general purpose' lens and if it doesn't do what you want, ask yourself (a) why not and (b) what might.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #75
Ade-oh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
And whose opinion do you trust better when you are ill? A doctor who has studied the subject, or someone who was ill once? To pretend that all opinions are equal is downright feeble minded. Deciding whose opinions you trust -- whether mine or anyone else's - is far more important than subscribing to the lazy and ultimately meaningless internet 'wisdom' about opinions.
Well, the 'argument from authority' is one of the fallacies of formal logic. In any case, to extend your example, should we trust the authority of a doctor who has actually studied and practised a subject, or a journalist (or someone of the sort) who has mostly just written about it? I have a cousin who is a well known medical malpractice lawyer in the UK who has an astonishingly detailed knowledge of some aspects of medical techniques and practises; I wouldn't want her operating on me.

Going back to the original sense of the thread, I don't imagine anyone would deny that there have been significant advances in lens design and construction over the last fifty years but I think it is legitimate to argue that these newer lenses are only better in certain circumstances. On a specialised forum like this, it is quite easy to imagine someone might be seeking an LTM lens because they want a retro look for their finished photographs.
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Old 02-10-2013   #76
JB-Dancer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
That if someone asks "What lens should I buy?", they probably don't know much about which lens to buy, and that often, they will therefore be better served by a good general purpose lens than by one that is highly specialized, antique, ridiculously cheap, or alarmingly expensive.

Cheers,

R.

Roger,

35MM F3.5 ELMAR (1930 - 1950) Which I read that you consider "Old and Mushy".

With regard to the 35mm f3.5 Elmar lens I cannot put this lens into any of the above (highly specialized,antique,ridiculously cheap or alarmingly expensive) categories that you quote.

It certainly isn't antique having been last produced in 1950.Antique is usually described as being over 100 years old.That category would fit lenses made for use with old plate cameras but not yet for the screw Leica lenses (Leica Ic.standardised 1931 onwards).
One can find a nice clean bright 35mm Elmar uncoated or coated that will certainly fit your description of "a good general purpose [ medium wide angle] lens" and I have seen many fine photo's taken with this lens on this Rangefinder Forum.

Even Ivor Matanle in his book "Collecting and Using Classic Cameras" recommends to the new beginner to Leica screw camera use, the acquisition of a 35mm f3.5 Elmar, for general purpose photography and he has been a very reliable,experienced dealer,photographer,and photographic book author for many years.

I rarely post, as you can see, on this forum but couldn't let this lens be ridiculed on this thread after giving many years of excellent and useful service to Leica screw camera photographers world-wide.
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Old 02-10-2013   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ade-oh View Post
Well, the 'argument from authority' is one of the fallacies of formal logic. In any case, to extend your example, should we trust the authority of a doctor who has actually studied and practised a subject, or a journalist (or someone of the sort) who has mostly just written about it? I have a cousin who is a well known medical malpractice lawyer in the UK who has an astonishingly detailed knowledge of some aspects of medical techniques and practises; I wouldn't want her operating on me.

Going back to the original sense of the thread, I don't imagine anyone would deny that there have been significant advances in lens design and construction over the last fifty years but I think it is legitimate to argue that these newer lenses are only better in certain circumstances. On a specialised forum like this, it is quite easy to imagine someone might be seeking an LTM lens because they want a retro look for their finished photographs.
Eminently true,. But an opinion is not a matter of formal logic. Your point was?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #78
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB-Dancer View Post
Roger,

35MM F3.5 ELMAR (1930 - 1950) Which I read that you consider "Old and Mushy".

With regard to the 35mm f3.5 Elmar lens I cannot put this lens into any of the above (highly specialized,antique,ridiculously cheap or alarmingly expensive) categories that you quote.

It certainly isn't antique having been last produced in 1950.Antique is usually described as being over 100 years old.That category would fit lenses made for use with old plate cameras but not yet for the screw Leica lenses (Leica Ic.standardised 1931 onwards).
One can find a nice clean bright 35mm Elmar uncoated or coated that will certainly fit your description of "a good general purpose [ medium wide angle] lens" and I have seen many fine photo's taken with this lens on this Rangefinder Forum.

Even Ivor Matanle in his book "Collecting and Using Classic Cameras" recommends to the new beginner to Leica screw camera use, the acquisition of a 35mm f3.5 Elmar, for general purpose photography and he has been a very reliable,experienced dealer,photographer,and photographic book author for many years.

I rarely post, as you can see, on this forum but couldn't let this lens be ridiculed on this thread after giving many years of excellent and useful service to Leica screw camera photographers world-wide.
Ridiculed? No. Described as technically inferior (contrast, sharpness, vgnetting, field flatness) as compared with a 35/2.5 Color-Skopar? Yes. I doubt Ivor'd disagree, and I've known him for a third of a century or so.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #79
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Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
No, I am just still curious why something this obvious needs a thread. And I'm curious who you think the fools are.

Well, with 90 posts, far from all of them mine, far from all of them in disagreement with me, there are clearly a few who think it's worth discussing. Including those who disagree with me, or presumably they'd not have bothered to post. Remember: any discussion on the internet is akin to a legal argument. Sometimes it's the criminal standard (beyond reasonable doubt). Sometimes it's the civil standard (balance of probability). If I am persuaded by someone else's argument, I'll cheerfully admit it. But there are an awful lot of feeble arguments on the internet.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-10-2013   #80
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Sorry for the continued digression from more serious ponderings... ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
They are gorgeous, aren't they? I've had two or three. I've seen it alleged that the main body units were milled from big chunks of stainless steel. It certainly feels and looks like it.

Funny, though: I never got on with the lenses...

Seriously, I prefer the (admittedly overly long and thin) 24x36 format to 24x24 and I always found Robots blocky and heavy to carry as compared with screw mount Leicas or Retinas. Have you ever had a Metz Mecaflex, the improbable 24x24 SLR with the folding clam-shell top plate? I found one at Williamsons on Sauchiehall Street in the 1970s. Kilfitt made it, I suspect.

Were you shooting 'real' pictures or just test shots?
Reading up on them, the original models, '34 to '52ish, were heavy steel stampings. The later ones were even more durable castings. Certainly tough and heavy.

I immediately like the Robot II. It feels like my Rollei 35 in the hand but FAR more durable (and certainly far far heavier). The focal length/FoV/square format suits me too. And the big thing about it that I *really* like is the astonishing responsiveness of the shutter and wind: you can make exposures about as fast as you can press the shutter release. For street photography, aside from the "shiirsht" of the advance, this is going to be a kick. It fits in a very small bag. Load it up with a long roll, 50 shots to play with, and concentrate on what you're doing. Use the speed to capture stuff that slower cameras can't get to...

I might look for a later model AR-coated lens for it. There's a Schneider 38-40mm f/1.9 that seems pretty common. This lovely un-coated Zeiss Biotar needs a deep shade and careful management of where the light is to minimize flare and make it sing.

I posted my scan index sheet for the entertainment value...
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...49#post2072049
This roll was mostly a camera test ... Likely the first time the camera's had a roll of film through it in 30-40 years! ... but now that I understand it better I think I'm going to have some real fun. And I think some of these first snaps have some legs and deserve to be rendered.

Fun fun fun!

G
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