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Optics Theory - This forum is aimed towards the TECHNICAL side of photographic OPTICS THEORY. There will be some overlap by camera/manufacturer, but this forum is for the heavy duty tech discussions. This is NOT the place to discuss a specific lens or lens line, do that in the appropriate forum. This is the forum to discuss optics or lenses in general, to learn about the tech behind the lenses and images. IF you have a question about a specific lens, post it in the forum about that type of camera, NOT HERE.

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Old 06-26-2018   #121
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
No, and it's not true anyway. You can't "age" glass to "get rid of bubbles", and the impact of small bubbles on image quality is immeasurably trivial.

Sorry, but not sure about what you mean by REE.

Cheers,

R.
REE stands for rare earth elements. So what does it define a good glass? Does Leica or Zeiss have better formula of glass to give their famous characters or any glass would work because it is all about lens configurations and coatings?
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Old 06-26-2018   #122
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You can't get rid of the bubbles in the glass at least not in your lifetime or your great great grandchildrens lieftime. Zeiss is owned by Schott Schott was and is the premier manufacturer of high quality optical glass. Zeiss had access to the newest glass types long before anyone else this gave them an edge. Minolta also made their own glass btw.


Glass types are important for the correction of some wavelength so they are very important. Even lens designs of the early 1900's used different glass types.

As for the look isn't the Leica look the result of undercorrection of some optical faults. :-)
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Old 06-26-2018   #123
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Back to the 3D or 'pop' look; some really poor lenses are great for this. Curvature of focus, naturally poor lenses quality (edge blur), maybe even (as above say) 'under-correction of some optical faults,' less sophisticated quality of the glass maybe in the end encourage 3D and 'pop.'

This is my worst lens but it intrigues me:

Ektar100 by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 06-26-2018   #124
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Sometimes..the worse lens..is ...the best..
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Old 06-26-2018   #125
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Arent the zeiss lenses especially the m series known for the 3d pop? This thread is overrating that nikkor f1.4
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Old 06-26-2018   #126
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Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
REE stands for rare earth elements. So what does it define a good glass? Does Leica or Zeiss have better formula of glass to give their famous characters or any glass would work because it is all about lens configurations and coatings?
Ah, thanks. Not an abbreviation with which I was familiar. MichaelWJ pretty much answers that point. Not all "trick" glasses use rare earths, though many do.

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R.
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Old 06-26-2018   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
Arent the zeiss lenses especially the m series known for the 3d pop? This thread is overrating that nikkor f1.4
Some of the best 3D pop in photos that I seen are 19th century portraits, on wet plate , usually taken outside with a Petzval lens of various makes, from the high class French or British firms or the cheap priced American brands that came with different house brand labels.

Some early 20th century 5x7 Graflex TLRs produce nice 3D pop, again with various lenses from American lens makers, Graflex, Kodak, Bausch and Lomb , Wollensak and still many others made by well known European lens makers.

The long focal length 1930s Agfa Solinars, although they are Tessar clones, are also noted for their 3D pop.
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Old 06-26-2018   #128
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Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
This thread is overrating that nikkor f1.4
No. Not really:

Photodo MTF score
Nikon 50/1.4 AF-D: 4.2
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0: 4.2
Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4: 4.2

All tied

DXOMark
Carl Zeiss Milvus 1.4/50 ZF.2 Nikon Price $1200 Score: 35
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Price $329 Score: 32 (Same score as newer G series)

Reviews
Image Resources: 4-1/2 stars

Google "Lenses with best micro contrast"
Micro-Contrast, the biggest optical luxury of the world
Nikkor AF 50mm 1.4D.
Nikkor AF 35mm 2D.
Voigtlander SLII 58mm 1.4 Nokton.
Zeiss ZF2 35mm 2.0 Distagon.
https://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/2...y-of-the-world


So, this thread isn't overrating the Nikkor 50/1.4D. It's pointing out how underrated this lens is. Kinda like a Seiko automatic -- it just goes. But neither expensive enough to interest the Veblen watch collectors nor old school cool enough to interest hipsters. Doesn't have the coolness factor of the pre-AI, AI, AI-S klunky metal rabbit ears lenses -- it (shriek!) autofocuses, and (shriek!) is mass produced(!), and (shriek!) has a plastic barrel(!), and (shriek) no exotic glass or aspherical elements(!) -- Just an unassuming, classic 50/1.4 throwback that renders beautifully.
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Old 06-26-2018   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
REE stands for rare earth elements. So what does it define a good glass? Does Leica or Zeiss have better formula of glass to give their famous characters or any glass would work because it is all about lens configurations and coatings?
“Good glass” is glass of the type you want that is uniform in composition and non crystalline, but it’s not always the case wrt bubbles etc.
“Exotic glass” is usually glass where the refraction and dispersion characteristics have been pushed, I.e., low retraction with high dispersion or the other way around.
Then we have coatings, and as Roger correctly pointed out the difference between number of elements and number of groups. Older lenses (pre-coatings) tried to minimise the number of air-glass interfaces, and putting elements in groups was one way to do that.
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Old 06-26-2018   #130
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Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
“Exotic glass” is usually glass where the refraction and dispersion characteristics have been pushed, I.e., low retraction with high dispersion or the other way around.
I'm ignorant on this subject, but I wonder how Thorium lenses (I have two) hold up in your analysis with regards to 3Dpop.

And Nick Trop; my 1971 Seiko still working and used daily (taken with a Thorium lens; no pop here):

TMY-2 HC110h Rodinal by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 06-26-2018   #131
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Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
And Nick Trop; my 1971 Seiko still working and used daily (taken with a Thorium lens; no pop here):
Yay! A Bell-Matic! The 7S26 movement is a real work horse. Love Seiko (and Orient) automatic watches. If interested, a few years ago Seiko came out with their "Recraft" line where they did a real nice job updating the old "groovy" (and sometimes "out there") 70's Seiko designs, keeping their spirit but very wearable today. Well made and cheap (for automatic watch) $100-$150. Here's the one I have -- a brushed gold tonneau:
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Old 06-26-2018   #132
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Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I'm ignorant on this subject, but I wonder how Thorium lenses (I have two) hold up in your analysis with regards to 3Dpop.
I feel I'm just as ignorant on 3D pop as the next person. As you noted before, it is more about things like field curvature and camera-subject-background relationships.

The "exoticness" of the glass just allows simplification of individual elements, rather than any specific ethereal feature like 3D pop. Low dispersion - high refraction glass is really just the chemical version of an aspheric surface.

On a side note, rare earth elements (the lanthanides and a few others - thorium is an actinide and therefore not a REE) are actually very abundant, in fact they are all more abundant that gold, silver, platinum, palladium, mercury and plenty of others. They aren't exotic at all, just hard to isolate form their natural forms.
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Old 06-26-2018   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
Yay! A Bell-Matic! The 7S26 movement is a real work horse. Love Seiko (and Orient) automatic watches. If interested, a few years ago Seiko came out with their "Recraft" line where they did a real nice job updating the old "groovy" (and sometimes "out there") 70's Seiko designs, keeping their spirit but very wearable today. Well made and cheap (for automatic watch) $100-$150. Here's the one I have -- a brushed gold tonneau:
Great photo, maybe I'll pull mine.

And thanks michaelwj, very infomative.
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Old 06-26-2018   #134
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"Pop" is the product of having a subject that is uniformly sharp against a background that is uniformly soft (usually because it is a bit to the rear). Low-element-count lenses tend to give the illusion of more "pop" but not likely the reality. My observations:

- People tend to shoot their "pop" pictures wide-open because they perceive that shallow depth of field provides subject isolation. That's not really how it works; the major determinant is distance to the background. With enough of a distance between foreground and background, the aperture is only really controlling how much of the subject (in the foreground) will be in focus.

- Simpler lenses tend to be slower, which means when shot wide-open, they will have more depth of field at and immediately around the subject. A person's face does not look "poppy" if the eyes are in focus and the focus rolls off elsewhere because it's a large-bore lens.

- Stop your f/1.4 lens down to 2.8, and there is no palpable difference in "pop" from the slower/simpler lens. Maybe a tiny bit of extra flare, theoretically, to lower contrast. But in an apples to apples comparison you likely will be shooting comparisons including the simpler, slower lens in brighter, more contrasty light. That's a place where an f/16 single-element meniscus lens can compete with a complex lens.

Likewise, if you've shot a pre-ASPH Summilux and the ASPH version with almost twice the elements, there is no question that the newer one makes for much crisper, isolated close-up subjects.

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Old 06-27-2018   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
"Pop" is the product of having a subject that is uniformly sharp against a background that is uniformly soft (usually because it is a bit to the rear). Low-element-count lenses tend to give the illusion of more "pop" but not likely the reality. My observations:

- People tend to shoot their "pop" pictures wide-open because they perceive that shallow depth of field provides subject isolation. That's not really how it works; the major determinant is distance to the background. With enough of a distance between foreground and background, the aperture is only really controlling how much of the subject (in the foreground) will be in focus.

- Simpler lenses tend to be slower, which means when shot wide-open, they will have more depth of field at and immediately around the subject. A person's face does not look "poppy" if the eyes are in focus and the focus rolls off elsewhere because it's a large-bore lens.

- Stop your f/1.4 lens down to 2.8, and there is no palpable difference in "pop" from the slower/simpler lens. Maybe a tiny bit of extra flare, theoretically, to lower contrast. But in an apples to apples comparison you likely will be shooting comparisons including the simpler, slower lens in brighter, more contrasty light. That's a place where an f/16 single-element meniscus lens can compete with a complex lens.

Likewise, if you've shot a pre-ASPH Summilux and the ASPH version with almost twice the elements, there is no question that the newer one makes for much crisper, isolated close-up subjects.

Dante
So do you partly agree on OP's point or disagree. I partly agree. It is always good to have fewer elements or glass-air surfaces as in every medium light passes, there is some information lost. However due to technological advances, it is probably compensated by improving on other things like glass composition, coating type and aspherical surfaces etc. Would you agree?

Roger, would you agree to that?
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Old 06-27-2018   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
No. Not really:

Photodo MTF score
Nikon 50/1.4 AF-D: 4.2
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0: 4.2
Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4: 4.2

All tied

DXOMark
Carl Zeiss Milvus 1.4/50 ZF.2 Nikon Price $1200 Score: 35
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Price $329 Score: 32 (Same score as newer G series)

Reviews
Image Resources: 4-1/2 stars

Google "Lenses with best micro contrast"
Micro-Contrast, the biggest optical luxury of the world
Nikkor AF 50mm 1.4D.
Nikkor AF 35mm 2D.
Voigtlander SLII 58mm 1.4 Nokton.
Zeiss ZF2 35mm 2.0 Distagon.
https://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/2...y-of-the-world


So, this thread isn't overrating the Nikkor 50/1.4D. It's pointing out how underrated this lens is. Kinda like a Seiko automatic -- it just goes. But neither expensive enough to interest the Veblen watch collectors nor old school cool enough to interest hipsters. Doesn't have the coolness factor of the pre-AI, AI, AI-S klunky metal rabbit ears lenses -- it (shriek!) autofocuses, and (shriek!) is mass produced(!), and (shriek!) has a plastic barrel(!), and (shriek) no exotic glass or aspherical elements(!) -- Just an unassuming, classic 50/1.4 throwback that renders beautifully.
Ok, my nick is LeicaForever but dont get me wrong I am not a high profile Leica fan but I do think that Leica and Zeiss are specialty products and they know somethings others dont know so that is why they are doing great for so many years. It is not always MTF charts and numbers. Below is my test of 45mm f2 Contax-Zeiss lens (one of the sharpest lenses produced-known so on internet). I put it on a Sony nex and took a shot from my balcony. I didnt know that there are wind turbines on the mountains 36km away from me until I took this photo. Now that is what I call, resolution power.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ac_...ew?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sg8...ew?usp=sharing
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Old 06-27-2018   #137
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The late Dr. Hubert Nasse, lens designer at Zeiss, said "The only way to see how a lens behaves is to make it. You can do all the simulations you like, but you won't know until you build it."

In other words, NOBODY knows.

Cheers,

R
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Old 06-27-2018   #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
The late Dr. Hubert Nasse, lens designer at Zeiss, said "The only way to see how a lens behaves is to make it. You can do all the simulations you like, but you won't know until you build it."

In other words, NOBODY knows.

Cheers,

R
This was said a while ago, and if they can’t already I’d say we’re not too far off where simulations can be done with respect to how the lens will render a scene. It’s not that hard, just computationally very very intensive (it’s just lots of ray tracing with different object distances after all).

But I suppose then we get into highly subjective measures, so we don’t know anything anyway.
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Old 06-27-2018   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
No. Not really:

Photodo MTF score
Nikon 50/1.4 AF-D: 4.2
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0: 4.2
Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4: 4.2

All tied

DXOMark
Carl Zeiss Milvus 1.4/50 ZF.2 Nikon Price $1200 Score: 35
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Price $329 Score: 32 (Same score as newer G series)

Reviews
Image Resources: 4-1/2 stars

Google "Lenses with best micro contrast"
Micro-Contrast, the biggest optical luxury of the world
Nikkor AF 50mm 1.4D.
Nikkor AF 35mm 2D.
Voigtlander SLII 58mm 1.4 Nokton.
Zeiss ZF2 35mm 2.0 Distagon.
https://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/2...y-of-the-world


So, this thread isn't overrating the Nikkor 50/1.4D. It's pointing out how underrated this lens is. Kinda like a Seiko automatic -- it just goes. But neither expensive enough to interest the Veblen watch collectors nor old school cool enough to interest hipsters. Doesn't have the coolness factor of the pre-AI, AI, AI-S klunky metal rabbit ears lenses -- it (shriek!) autofocuses, and (shriek!) is mass produced(!), and (shriek!) has a plastic barrel(!), and (shriek) no exotic glass or aspherical elements(!) -- Just an unassuming, classic 50/1.4 throwback that renders beautifully.
p.s. Milvus 50mm f1.4 scores 41 not 35. And its sharpness is 33 compared to 22 on Nikon. It has got better vignetting too.
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Old 06-27-2018   #140
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This was said a while ago, and if they can’t already I’d say we’re not too far off where simulations can be done with respect to how the lens will render a scene. It’s not that hard, just computationally very very intensive (it’s just lots of ray tracing with different object distances after all).

But I suppose then we get into highly subjective measures, so we don’t know anything anyway.
Dear Michael,

Maybe 3-4 years; that was still his view when I last talked with him shortly before he died, which was in 2016. As for ray tracing, I'd be surprised, as wave-front calculations are to the best of my understanding the main tool nowadays.

As for "highly subjective", yes, well, that's what bokeh and "pop" and "character" are, and exactly what Dr. Nasse was talking about. He said something to the effect that you can calculate all the objective stuff, but not the "look" of the lens.

I shall miss him. He died owing me a lunch, too. The last time we saw him, we spent so much time talking about lens designs that by the rime we went out for lunch all the restaurants were closed and there weren't even any sandwiches left. "Next time", he said...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-27-2018   #141
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Ok, my nick is LeicaForever but dont get me wrong I am not a high profile Leica fan but I do think that Leica and Zeiss are specialty products and they know somethings others dont know
Totally disagree. Primes use the same optical designs going back 100 years. Innovation has occurred in electronics (vibration reduction, autofocus), coating, use of cheaper plastic aspherical elements etc. But they're largely the same. Certainly, Nikon has more money to pump into R&D than either Leica or Zeiss (many of their lenses, my understanding is, are made by Cosina -- which is fine...)

I think Leica and Zeiss are economic Veblen goods, by and large, and don't subscribe to the "special sauce" theory especially when it comes to primes. There is a price differential, however, Nikon excels at mass producing lenses (though they do crank out some specialty glass at times). The price differential has to do with two things in the main:

1. A Toyota Corolla costs -- oh, I dunno, $20 -- US? It's cranked out on an assembly line. But if I made the same Corolla in a garage with 5 guys, hand-made? How much would that cost to build? Small production runs simply cost more. Zeiss and Leica are pert much boutique items.

2. And I hate to say this, but one of the biggest grifts and oldest grifts are wine cheats who pour "Two Buck Chuck" (or similar) into expensive bottles. One guy Netflix did a doc on got away with it for years, made millions, until Interpol finally caught up with him. There has also been psychological testing on this where people perceive a wine to actually taste better based on packaging and cost...

... same applies in certain instances with other Veblen goods. ... like camera lenses. If there is a -real- difference it would likely have more to do with the rear element of a rangefinder lens not having to clear a mirror and being closer to the film plane with rangefinders... To what degree that impacts IQ, if at all, is a matter for debate at another time. However, like wines, I think much of the perceived difference in IQ between high-end and competent mass-produced is perceptual and literally influenced by price paid and good "status". Not a judgement -- just part of the human condtion. Or -- whatever floats your boat. If you think they have special sauce, and you have the means, by all means...
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Old 06-27-2018   #142
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"The late Dr. Hubert Nasse, lens designer at Zeiss, said "The only way to see how a lens behaves is to make it. You can do all the simulations you like, but you won't know until you build it."

That's the long and the short of it. All the computations in the world are no substitute for actually building something and seeing what happens.

This thread is now firmly in the measurebeater category, a term that was possibly coined here I think. Wherever it came from, it fits. Entertaining, but poofy, like eating cotton candy.
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Old 06-27-2018   #143
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I've certainly shot with f2 lenses that gave more 3D and deep images that some f1.4 lenses. Jupiter 8 is a good example. Lovely separation of background/foreground.
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Old 06-27-2018   #144
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Many years ago I bought my first Leica, an M3 with an old 50 DR from the 60's and a 90 Tele Elmerit from the 70's. That was the first time I had seen a 3-D photograph. These are poor drugstore scans from the first roll with no image editing. Other lenses I owned were capable of 3-D photos, some with an even more pronounced 3-D look than the two shots below, but these really got my attention. I don't have any scientific evidence to back it up, but in my experience the amount of elements has nothing to do with whether or not a lens gives a 3-D look. Some do, some don't.



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Old 06-27-2018   #145
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. . . I think Leica and Zeiss are economic Veblen goods, by and large . .
Dear Nick,

Not really. If there were other digital rangefinder cameras on the market you might be able to pin that on Leica, but there aren't, and you can't. Nor are there any real equivalents to (say) the Thambar.

As for Zeiss, you are paying for specialized, small-market designs that no-one else would bother to make, such as to 1,5/50 C-Sonnar or indeed 21/4.5 Biogons. With Zeiss-built Zeiss lenses you are also paying for an unusually high standard of mechanical construction.

Whether you subscribe to "special sauce" or not, it's hard to deny that many (most?) Leica and Zeiss lenses are in the very first rank for resolution, contrast, etc. Are there (for example) Nikkors that are as good? Probably. Who cares? Ultimately, what most of us want from any lens is subjective. As Dr. Nasse pointed out.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-27-2018   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Nick,

Not really. If there were other digital rangefinder cameras on the market you might be able to pin that on Leica, but there aren't, and you can't. Nor are there any real equivalents to (say) the Thambar.

As for Zeiss, you are paying for specialized, small-market designs that no-one else would bother to make, such as to 1,5/50 C-Sonnar or indeed 21/4.5 Biogons. With Zeiss-built Zeiss lenses you are also paying for an unusually high standard of mechanical construction.

Whether you subscribe to "special sauce" or not, it's hard to deny that many (most?) Leica and Zeiss lenses are in the very first rank for resolution, contrast, etc. Are there (for example) Nikkors that are as good? Probably. Who cares? Ultimately, what most of us want from any lens is subjective. As Dr. Nasse pointed out.

Cheers,

R.
As for the Thambar equivalent, you might or might not have heard of the Muichii Hanakage S1 60mm f/2.2, made in small quantities by a Japanese maker since 2014:



http://www.photo-china.net/sinsaku/s1.html
http://hamashun.org/archives/1997492.html
https://www.flickr.com/groups/[email protected]/pool/
http://metalmickey.cocolog-nifty.com...f22/index.html

It retails for 89,500 yen.
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Old 06-27-2018   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Nick,

Not really. If there were other digital rangefinder cameras on the market you might be able to pin that on Leica, but there aren't, and you can't. Nor are there any real equivalents to (say) the Thambar.

As for Zeiss, you are paying for specialized, small-market designs that no-one else would bother to make, such as to 1,5/50 C-Sonnar or indeed 21/4.5 Biogons. With Zeiss-built Zeiss lenses you are also paying for an unusually high standard of mechanical construction.

Whether you subscribe to "special sauce" or not, it's hard to deny that many (most?) Leica and Zeiss lenses are in the very first rank for resolution, contrast, etc. Are there (for example) Nikkors that are as good? Probably. Who cares? Ultimately, what most of us want from any lens is subjective. As Dr. Nasse pointed out.

Cheers,

R.
I always enjoy your insights, Mr Hicks, even when I respectfully partially or in full disagree. It's good to engage with you again, and hope you've been well, sir.
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Old 06-27-2018   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archlich View Post
As for the Thambar equivalent, you might or might not have heard of the Muichii Hanakage S1 60mm f/2.2, made in small quantities by a Japanese maker since 2014: . . . It retails for 89,500 yen.
You're right: I hadn't heard of it. Have you tried it? I have several soft focus lenses and have had others: most are or were single-glass.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-27-2018   #149
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I always enjoy your insights, Mr Hicks, even when I respectfully partially or in full disagree. It's good to engage with you again, and hope you've been well, sir.
Dear Nick,

Thank'ee kindly. Alas, not all that well: a fistula a couple of years ago (now all over) followed, just as I was getting over the second operation, by a resurgence of Frances's breast cancer (also now fully sorted).

I trust you have been in better order!

Cheers,

Roger
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Old 06-27-2018   #150
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Dear Nick,

Thank'ee kindly. Alas, not all that well: a fistula a couple of years ago (now all over) followed, just as I was getting over the second operation, by a resurgence of Frances's breast cancer (also now fully sorted).

I trust you have been in better order!

Cheers,

Roger
I am truly sorry to learn of this, Roger. I am not a prayerful fellow, and there's nothing that I can do to help -- though I wish I could, other than to say you have my genuine empathy and a sincere desire to see these misfortunes you have been experiencing resolve rapidly and favorably.
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Old 06-27-2018   #151
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You're right: I hadn't heard of it. Have you tried it? I have several soft focus lenses and have had others: most are or were single-glass.

Cheers,

R.
I haven't (not my type of photography), but the guy has the diagram on his website:



Looks genuinely Thambar-ish I suppose.
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Old 06-27-2018   #152
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I am truly sorry to learn of this, Roger. I am not a prayerful fellow, and there's nothing that I can do to help -- though I wish I could, other than to say you have my genuine empathy and a sincere desire to see these misfortunes you have been experiencing resolve rapidly and favorably.
Dear Nick,

Thank'ee kindly again.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-27-2018   #153
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I haven't (not my type of photography), but the guy has the diagram on his website:



Looks genuinely Thambar-ish I suppose.
VERY interesting! Essentially a Cooke triplet with the centre glass split into a doublet. Time to hunt out some more lens sections. Thanks!

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-27-2018   #154
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Back to the first post; as a snapshot photographer, I am more interested in the totality than in 3d, nor in where general contrast stops and micro contrast begins. I have however noticed that a lenshood improves contrast and even adding a hand for extra shading seems to make more difference to the result than counting lens elements.

And, welcome back mr. Hicks.

p.
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Old 06-27-2018   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Nick,

Not really. If there were other digital rangefinder cameras on the market you might be able to pin that on Leica, but there aren't, and you can't. Nor are there any real equivalents to (say) the Thambar.

As for Zeiss, you are paying for specialized, small-market designs that no-one else would bother to make, such as to 1,5/50 C-Sonnar or indeed 21/4.5 Biogons. With Zeiss-built Zeiss lenses you are also paying for an unusually high standard of mechanical construction.

Whether you subscribe to "special sauce" or not, it's hard to deny that many (most?) Leica and Zeiss lenses are in the very first rank for resolution, contrast, etc. Are there (for example) Nikkors that are as good? Probably. Who cares? Ultimately, what most of us want from any lens is subjective. As Dr. Nasse pointed out.

Cheers,

R.
I agree to that sir. Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2018   #156
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Back to the first post; as a snapshot photographer, I am more interested in the totality than in 3d, nor in where general contrast stops and micro contrast begins. I have however noticed that a lenshood improves contrast and even adding a hand for extra shading seems to make more difference to the result than counting lens elements.

And, welcome back mr. Hicks.

p.
Thanks for the welcome back,

Yes, I am a great fan of lens hoods, for protection against veiling flare AND for mechanical protection. More on this tomorrow, maybe (it's nearly 10 pm and we both have medical appointments tomorrow).

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-27-2018   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
Totally disagree. Primes use the same optical designs going back 100 years. Innovation has occurred in electronics (vibration reduction, autofocus), coating, use of cheaper plastic aspherical elements etc. But they're largely the same. Certainly, Nikon has more money to pump into R&D than either Leica or Zeiss (many of their lenses, my understanding is, are made by Cosina -- which is fine...)

I think Leica and Zeiss are economic Veblen goods, by and large, and don't subscribe to the "special sauce" theory especially when it comes to primes. There is a price differential, however, Nikon excels at mass producing lenses (though they do crank out some specialty glass at times). The price differential has to do with two things in the main:

1. A Toyota Corolla costs -- oh, I dunno, $20 -- US? It's cranked out on an assembly line. But if I made the same Corolla in a garage with 5 guys, hand-made? How much would that cost to build? Small production runs simply cost more. Zeiss and Leica are pert much boutique items.

2. And I hate to say this, but one of the biggest grifts and oldest grifts are wine cheats who pour "Two Buck Chuck" (or similar) into expensive bottles. One guy Netflix did a doc on got away with it for years, made millions, until Interpol finally caught up with him. There has also been psychological testing on this where people perceive a wine to actually taste better based on packaging and cost...

... same applies in certain instances with other Veblen goods. ... like camera lenses. If there is a -real- difference it would likely have more to do with the rear element of a rangefinder lens not having to clear a mirror and being closer to the film plane with rangefinders... To what degree that impacts IQ, if at all, is a matter for debate at another time. However, like wines, I think much of the perceived difference in IQ between high-end and competent mass-produced is perceptual and literally influenced by price paid and good "status". Not a judgement -- just part of the human condtion. Or -- whatever floats your boat. If you think they have special sauce, and you have the means, by all means...
You are free to disagree sir. I respect that however I am not sure if you realized that I agree most of what you mentioned in your first post. That is also what I learned from my father who is a professional old school photographer. On the other hand I think there is a but. Now that the technology advanced, I think companies overcome the disadvantages of having more elements by using better glasses, coatings, designs etc. How many elements/groups that Otus 55mm f1.4 has for example? It seems like a huge lens for a 55mm but it surpasses your nikkor in every field.

Edit: 12 elements in 10 groups.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Glz4kSycX2A
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Old 06-28-2018   #158
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Here is an interesting article... A couple quotes that supports my original position


"...adding additional elements, each designed to correct for specific aberrations, lens manufacturers can minimise their effects.
[...]
Adding additional elements isn’t a perfect fix. Every time light is transmitted from one lens to another a little bit of light is lost. The more elements in a lens, the more light and colour information that is lost in transmission. There is a trade off between correcting for optical aberrations and preserving information.

[...]

3D Rendition and Micro-Contrast
Older lenses have far fewer elements than modern lenses. These makes them more prone to optical aberrations and, in particular, it means they often have very soft edges. On the other hand, they can have some incredibly pleasing characteristics. Unlike resolution or sharpness, these characteristics are a lot more difficult to measure with a chart. "

Micro-contrast is the small amounts of tonal and colour variance between details on a subject. It’s an incredibly subtle effect but it is often what sets excellent glass—like Leica, Zeiss, Canon L series, medium-format or large-format lenses—apart from cheaper lenses. Micro-contrast is what gives areas of consistent colour a realistic and accurate texture. It is among the first detail to be lost when light passes through too many elements. "

Worth a read
Here Is What to Look For When You Buy Photography Lenses
https://photography.tutsplus.com/tut...ses--cms-27047
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Old 06-28-2018   #159
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This has been a fun read, but I'm not sure I buy it. (I'd like to, the concept has appeals emotionally)

I haven't shot with lenses newer than about mid nineties, so no "modern" aspheric element super corrected lenses. I have shot with some pretty old lenses.

But, IMHO I think depth, 3/d in a photograph is due more to the same thing that makes other 2d artists' work like painters have dimension. Lighting, perspective, and to some extent shallow plane of focus more than the lens.

I used to shoot a lot of large format table top stuff with G Clarons. The "G" is for graphic and these were flat field lenses corrected for "graphic" work from 1:10 to 1:1. Could I make 3d images with G Clarons? Sure. Proper use of lightening and perspective.
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Old 06-28-2018   #160
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Quote:
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Dear Michael,

Maybe 3-4 years; that was still his view when I last talked with him shortly before he died, which was in 2016. As for ray tracing, I'd be surprised, as wave-front calculations are to the best of my understanding the main tool nowadays.

As for "highly subjective", yes, well, that's what bokeh and "pop" and "character" are, and exactly what Dr. Nasse was talking about. He said something to the effect that you can calculate all the objective stuff, but not the "look" of the lens.

I shall miss him. He died owing me a lunch, too. The last time we saw him, we spent so much time talking about lens designs that by the rime we went out for lunch all the restaurants were closed and there weren't even any sandwiches left. "Next time", he said...

Cheers,

R.
Hi Roger,

It is unfortunate when we lose people close to us, especially when they owe a lunch!

Wavefront propagation is a PITA, mainly because analytical solutions don’t exist and it needs to be numerically “solved”. A large part of my PhD involved Gaussian beam propagation through nonlinear photorefractive materials. Through 5mm of material with one wavelength and full coherence it took about 3 days on a supercomputer. That was about 10 years ago. I’d imagine that wavefront propagation through a lens to get an “image” could be done in a month or so on modern GPU enabled clusters. Not fast enough to test everything, and probably still slower than just making it... but give it another decade...

But we digress...
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