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The lack of 3D information in modern corrected lenses?
Old 10-04-2015   #1
Redseele
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The lack of 3D information in modern corrected lenses?

Just saw this article about how modern lenses (highly corrected with many elements) flatten images, and how older ones (with low count of elements) are able to reproduce 3d better precisely because of the lack of such corrections (which make modern lenses lose visual information).

His examples (some of them at least) show his point very well, but I was wondering what you guys think. I do think that older lenses (like my former Summaron 3.5 or my Summicron 50 collapsible) have a very nice "rendering" that makes things appear more "real" than, say, a Voigtlander Nokton classic 40mm (which I used to own but for some reason I never really liked it that much) or very modern lenses for SLRs (some of which produce really sharp but "inert" images in my opinion).

What do you guys think? I don't know very much about optics theory, but I'm very curious to hear what some people who know a lot more have to say on this topic. Here's the link to the original article.

http://yannickkhong.com/blog/2015/10...eath-of-3d-pop
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Old 10-04-2015   #2
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That is only part of the story. The other part regards the coatings. In fact, Zeiss non aspherical lenses tend to be among the most 3D also because Zeiss has been a pioneer in modern coatings. Modern Tessar type 4 element lenses are probably among the obvious examples of 3d rendering:
Zeiss Contax 45/2.8 Tessar
Nikkor 45/2.8 P
Elmar M 50/2.8 v2

The shot below was made with the Elmar.

201211121 by marek fogiel, on Flickr
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Old 10-04-2015   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redseele View Post
What do you guys think?
Plain nonsense.
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Old 10-04-2015   #4
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Quote:
His examples (some of them at least) show his point very well
Until proof of the contrary, I think this guy is self-deluding. Comparing different lenses with different scenes (except the Mickey Mouse)! What can you conclude?

I would be convinced if the "true believers" would pick the correct type of lens 80% of the time from randomized pairs of pics of the same scene taken with both lenses. All the rest is just an experiment in psychology.

Make an experiment: print the two Mickey pics. Trim both in the same way, to remove text at top and bottom. Shuffle them, or, better, have someone shuffle them while you look away. NOW, can you pick out the one that has that obvious 3D look?

And the pseudo-scientific "explanation"!
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Old 10-04-2015   #5
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There was some recent contentious discussion about this, but the Angry Photographer withdrew his posts, so the thread now has conspicuous gaps.

Though the "scientific" evidence presented strikes me as incomplete or not entirely convincing, the idea resonates with me on intuitive and personal aesthetic levels. I have always had the thought in the back of my head that the simpler the lens that can do the job, the "purer" the image. (Please note that I do not present this thought as fact.)

It was with this idea in mind that I bought a Yashica D TLR with the three-element Yashikor lens, feeling that a slightly softer lens that vignettes more than others would be a good starting point for portraits. I'm also fond of Tessar and Tessar-type lenses in medium format.

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Old 10-05-2015   #6
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I don't think I could tell what lens took what picture but I know what I like. I can see a big difference with my Elmar-m compared to any other lens I've used, but that could just be because it's the best quality lens I have?
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Old 10-05-2015   #7
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Two out of three examples are utterly besides the point - different subjects in different lighting - and the trailing ones don't even attempt a comparison. The Mickey Mouse one is the only example which might perhaps be relevant - but I can't tell whether its obvious focus difference is due to a slight front focus on the Sigma or whether the field curvature of the (simpler) Nikkor turns into an advantage on this particular (convex) subject. But even the latter, while a lens artefact, is not "3D", and would turn into a disadvantage on a flat or concave subject.

And besides being unable to demonstrate the proposed phenomenon, the presented theory is painfully, ridiculously wrong. "Light adopts a spiral behavior that spins into the lens. That’s where manufacturers use special compound glass elements (Nikon ED glass per example) to homogenize the light faster in order to save on size." is beyond embarrassing. Whoever wrote that is utterly ignorant regarding optics. Welcome to the temple of esoteric photography...
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Old 10-05-2015   #8
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Stopped reading when I saw who the author was.
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Old 10-05-2015   #9
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Rofl :d 12345
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Old 10-05-2015   #10
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Over the last 50 years or so, I've shot just about every variety of lens out there, from cheap to very expensive. Apart from CA issues with some and SA issues with others, I've not noticed much difference among them in the final photos. There are just too many other factors that can alter "rendering" between the lens and a finished photo.

I've never fretted about the "rendering" of a lens.
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Old 10-05-2015   #11
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Wow I never knew that different colored lights travel at different speeds...
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Old 10-05-2015   #12
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Nor did I. C as far as I remember is constant, however frequency differs with changes in wavelength.
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Old 10-05-2015   #13
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Total BS - it's all confirmation bias.

The most important part for the "3D" look to a photograph is the aperture and the focus distance, but bokeh and sharpness also play into it. If you get the right aperture and focus distance, the whole subject will be in focus and the background smoothly melts away, giving that "cutout" look. Sharpness helps, to make the focus plane stand out more, and bokeh is also important for that smooth background - busy bokeh makes it less obvious and detracts from the 3D "pop."

Here's an example - this one from a Sonnar lens:



And another, this one from a modern lens, the 50mm f/1.1 Nokton:



These both exhibit it I think - one modern, one not, which therefore makes the theory pretty much null and void.
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Old 10-05-2015   #14
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At this point in time all photography media are two-dimensional (stereo cameras excepted). Lenses can not alter this.

Lenses with modern coatings and highly corrected optical designs do render differently than lenses based on older technologies. Human visual perception expects 3D, so it is possible to create an illusion of another dimension. The 3D look is a complicated combination of optical rendering, post-production rendering and human perception. I suggest a scene's lighting is also an important factor.

Lens rendering is a highly subjective topic. Preferring the rendering of older lenses is common and expected. It's wonderful to have choices.
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Old 10-05-2015   #15
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To date all speed of light measurements indicate light speed is frequency independent.

However some aspects quantum electrodynamic theory and quantum gravity theory predict otherwise. Perhaps those theories are wrong or we just haven't performed the right experiments yet.
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Old 10-05-2015   #16
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If one really wants to learn about 3D images, start by watching a these two 3D movies in 2D and see how the cinematographers create 3D.

First the classic Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder," which was released in 3D in 1954, and now is mostly seen on the small screen in 2D.

Vim Wenders' "Everything Will Be Fine" (2015) was another intimate movie which was shot in 3D, and is available online in 2D.

When you watch these films, there are numerous obvious examples of what causes a 3D effect, and many more subtle ones.

Position of objects,
Sharp delineations of in focus, and out of focus, large objects,
Light and Shadow,
Intense side lighting,
Etc

One can quickly learn why these 3D movies retain most of their 3D quality, even when watched in 2D!

Obviously "Dial M for Murder" uses much older lenses than Wenders did in 2015, but the films are surprisingly similar. Although Wenders uses zoom to create 3D, obviously not available in still images.

The examples by "Corran" on this thread really are pretty clear examples of what we perceive as 3D.

Watch the films, especially "Dial M for Murder." Hitchcock set up one shot after another, to make the best use of 3D.

One can learn from Robert Burks and Benoît Debie, or from ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
However some aspects quantum electrodynamic theory and quantum gravity theory predict otherwise. Perhaps those theories are wrong or we just haven't performed the right experiments yet.
Or you can just put a lens on your camera, and take some photos. That's what I do.
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Old 10-05-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
Stopped reading when I saw who the author was.
My first thought, without even opening the link, was "AngryPhotographer".

And then I open the link and the first name I see is... Ken Wheeler.

(Will RFF ever recover from the embarrassment of letting this joker run it's own subforum here?)
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Old 10-05-2015   #18
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Joker or no joker, but the 3d effect is our there. Anyone who has used a Hasselblad SWC will know what I mean. And it has nothing to do with DOF.

DROPLETS ON CABBAGE, MANOIR DE LA BRUNIE by marek fogiel, on Flickr
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Old 10-05-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Joker or no joker, but the 3d effect is our there. Anyone who has used a Hasselblad SWC will know what I mean. And it has nothing to do with DOF.
Then just insert a quote from the OP's "article". There's a marvelous "explanation" of it (and it even doesn't have anything to do with DOF). Really, I dare you. Quote it here. With a straight face.

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Old 10-05-2015   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Joker or no joker, but the 3d effect is our there. Anyone who has used a Hasselblad SWC will know what I mean. And it has nothing to do with DOF.
And yet you show as an example, an image which depends totally on light, shadow, and a soft focus background for its 3D effect?
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Old 10-05-2015   #21
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I have shot quite a lot with my Mamiya 7ii and the 80mm F4. Never have I managed to get anything close to what I from time to time see in photographs made by other people with a Hasselblad. I don't really feel I need any scientific proof telling me things I can see with my bare eyes.
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Old 10-05-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikard View Post
I have shot quite a lot with my Mamiya 7ii and the 80mm F4. Never have I managed to get anything close to what I from time to time see in photographs made by other people with a Hasselblad. I don't really feel I need any scientific proof telling me things I can see with my bare eyes.
Maybe Hasselblad users use faster than f4 lenses from time to time? Or longer len. Or get closer to subject. Or place the subject in a certain way...
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Old 10-05-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
Maybe Hasselblad users use faster than f4 lenses from time to time? Or longer len. Or get closer to subject. Or place the subject in a certain way...
Most of the lenses commonly identified with Hasselblads are f/3.5 or slower, for mechanical reasons - it was pretty late in the game that they managed to design faster leaf shutter lenses, and the FP shutter versions of the 'Blad never caught on.

And no, there was nothing that special or unique about Hasselblad lenses, as evident in that Zeiss supplied the Rollei SLRs with the same lens set - the SL66 or SLX never received the same credit for image quality as the Hasselblad. The reputation of the latter presumably was more due to the fact that it was a known brand among the great unwashed, while all other pro cameras were essentially anonymous...
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Old 10-05-2015   #24
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There's nothing special about the Hasselblad lenses. The Mamiya 80/4 I am sure is perfectly capable of rendering in a "3D" way.

I've found that stopping down a bit more than you might think is key. And using the proper focal length for a given subject/background relationship. To me all portraits made with a longer lens where the background is just a total wash of color might have "smooth" bokeh but is still a rather flat look (really good lighting can fix that though. I'd post an example but I don't want to put client work here).
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Old 10-05-2015   #25
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If the wavelength was shorter for the same amplitude, wouldn't the speed be greater for half the cycle?
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Old 10-05-2015   #26
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For who gets really excited about this story, there is an old thread on Fredmiranda:http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/530337
As far as I can remember, they've figured out that the 3d effect of some lenses is caused mainly by the way they reproduce light on the contours of objects, making them stand out more against the background.
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Old 10-05-2015   #27
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Learning to control light and focus requires observation and persistence, no one will find a magic 3D lens.
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Old 10-05-2015   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griffin View Post
Wow I never knew that different colored lights travel at different speeds...
That is how a prism works, actually. It's fundamental physics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prism

The speed of light is constant IN A VACUUM, but not when changing from air to glass, or glass to glass. Otherwise, a lens wouldn't bend light at all and we'd only have pinhole cameras to argue about.

Edited to add: And we wouldn't have red sunsets, either.
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Old 10-11-2015   #29
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Just a note: so-called 3D movies are not really 3D: if they were, you'd be able to lean over in your theater seat and see behind the charcter in the shot.
They are stereography: two 2D images presented in a controlled relationship that mimics some properties of 3D vision. The so-called 3D movies, from 'Dial M' to 'Tron Legacy' look exactly GAF Viewmaster slides to me, because they use the same effect. The actors and sets and objects in the shots look like two flat cardboard cutouts viewed through separate eyeholes.
Oh, and for the record, there is no 3D effect created or transmitted by a single conventional lens, merely an illusion of the feeling of 3D created...you're not gonna like this---mainly by the lighting of the subject.
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Old 10-12-2015   #30
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From my trip to Lisbon, I feel this image has a lot of 3D pop, taken with my most modern lens (Leica 35/1.4 FLE). I think 3D pop depends more on depth of field, sharpness of the infocus area, and lighting.

00120 by Pete, on Flickr

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Old 10-12-2015   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
If the wavelength was shorter for the same amplitude, wouldn't the speed be greater for half the cycle?
Very funny. What about the other half?
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Old 10-12-2015   #32
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Let's get something straight.
No old nor modern lenses 'reproduce 3D" on film or sensor.
They can only FAKE it.
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Old 10-12-2015   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sreed2006 View Post
That is how a prism works, actually. It's fundamental physics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prism

The speed of light is constant IN A VACUUM, but not when changing from air to glass, or glass to glass. Otherwise, a lens wouldn't bend light at all and we'd only have pinhole cameras to argue about.

Edited to add: And we wouldn't have red sunsets, either.
It's speed is frequency independent for any particular medium. Light only bends near extraordinarily strong gravitational fields.

The prism effect (angle) is freq. dependent, but all the freqs. arrive (someplace) at the same time after they exit the prism.

Trying to understand how light works and just enjoying making photographs are not mutually exclusive.
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Old 10-12-2015   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griffin View Post
Wow I never knew that different colored lights travel at different speeds...
actually, THAT part is true
In vacuum c is c but in any other material, speed of light <c and it depends on the color (the frequency, the wavelength..whatever).
Violet light travels a bit slower than red light through glass. Not much tho, maybe some 1-2% slower depending on glass type.
Index of refraction is what gives the "light slowing down" effect of a transparent material and IoR is different for different colors.

So
Light sent into glass -> blue component slows down more than red -> dispersion -> prism effect, rainbow, color fringing, chromatic aberration, whatever.
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Old 10-12-2015   #35
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Quote:
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Nor did I. C as far as I remember is constant, however frequency differs with changes in wavelength.
c is defined as constant so of course it is constant
but c is only the speed of light in vacuum, i.e. not very realistic for any sort of photography ( except maybe Man Ray in space )

frequency differs with changes in wavelength - of course, since freq and WL is tied together by a constant (the speed of light in vacuum ) wavelength times frequency is = speed of light.
It's as simple as saying, that the time you need to travel from Los Angeles to San Diego with a certain speed is different if you wanna go to New York instead
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Old 10-12-2015   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Total BS - it's all confirmation bias.

The most important part for the "3D" look to a photograph is the aperture and the focus distance, but bokeh and sharpness also play into it. If you get the right aperture and focus distance, the whole subject will be in focus and the background smoothly melts away, giving that "cutout" look. Sharpness helps, to make the focus plane stand out more, and bokeh is also important for that smooth background - busy bokeh makes it less obvious and detracts from the 3D "pop."
Agree, but also COLOR makes a huge difference. Depending on the foreground - background color difference, foreground in-focus subject can stand out more or less as well.
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Old 10-12-2015   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
To date all speed of light measurements indicate light speed is frequency independent.

However some aspects quantum electrodynamic theory and quantum gravity theory predict otherwise. Perhaps those theories are wrong or we just haven't performed the right experiments yet.
only true for vacuum (i.e. as the "constant" c is defined).
So again, not very relevant for photography.

I thoroughly believe that QGT is in fact predicting the compression/dilution of TIME, not the change in speed of light itself (in vacuum).
It's similar to saying, your running speed is slower than mine while in fact it's just my clock ticking slower than yours
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Old 10-12-2015   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluton View Post

Oh, and for the record, there is no 3D effect created or transmitted by a single conventional lens, merely an illusion of the feeling of 3D created...you're not gonna like this---mainly by the lighting of the subject.
I am sorely tempted to write nothing at all. Temptation has passed.

I agree with the first part of that sentence, we are talking about the illusion or feeling of 3D when we talk about a photo taken with one lens. Some also call it the plasticity of the image.

I do not agree that the impression is created mainly by lighting. It is true that lighting can contribute much to the feeling, some lenses seem to create this effect more than others.

Every time this topic comes up we have difficulties discussing it because all the comments made in this thread are made --
a) no two dimensional object (the photograph) can be three dimensional
b) no monocular (taken with one lens) image can create three dimensions
c) the illusion is largely the result of the subject, its placement relative to the other objects in the frame, and the lighting.

IMO:
a) is correct but misses the point
b) is correct and also misses the point
c) is correct in that the aspects mentioned can enhance the effect/feeling/illusion, but incorrect in attributing the whole effect to that.

In addition, our discussions of the topic are hampered because different people have different referents when we talk about the 3D effect. When examples are posted, many involve a foreground subject with san out of focus background which is seen to have "pop". These photos do, indeed, have pop, and that pop is enhanced by the differential focus, but that is not what I understand to be the 3D effect. The 3D effect I understand many, but not all people, to be referring to, manifest in photos where (nearly) everything is in focus.

My belief that some significant part of this effect is generated by the lens itself is supported by several points:
1) we talk about some lenses being "flat" -- that is, again in my understanding, as not producing any 3-dimensionality
2) by the fact that I perceived this illusion with some lenses and subjects when the lighting did not conform to the kind of lighting usually tied to the effect (cross lighting of some sort) but was, rather, uniform top lighting
3) folks more experienced (i.e. with exposure to more photographs and more lenses) than I refer to this property in some lenses and not in others.

I think if we want to break out of this cycle, and we may not, it would be helpful to view a number of photographs and agree on which ones exhibit the effect, and then examine the lenses involved. To gild the lily we could then shoot the same scene (same sensor, same lighting, etc) with the same lens and other lenses commonly taken to be "flat" and do a blind viewing (no pun intended) to see a) if most people discern such an effect and b) consistently attribute it to the "correct" lens.

End of rant, with added apologies for length.

Giorgio
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Old 10-12-2015   #39
Corran
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The 3D effect I understand many, but not all people, to be referring to, manifest in photos where (nearly) everything is in focus.
Mind posting an example? I can't think of anytime this has happened for me. I find the 3D-ness to be almost entirely a product of DOF/sharpness of a subject in front of a blurry (if even slightly) OOF background (such as the photos I posted).
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Old 10-12-2015   #40
charjohncarter
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Mind posting an example? I can't think of anytime this has happened for me. I find the 3D-ness to be almost entirely a product of DOF/sharpness of a subject in front of a blurry (if even slightly) OOF background (such as the photos I posted).
Or with that corny 'beating the sun' (flash) technique so popular among techy digital camera users.
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