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Thread: Rollei Bokeh

  1. #1
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    Rollei Bokeh

    Well, kids, I just tried my first studio shoot with the Hy6. Holy crap studio is different!

    Total sidetrack: First of all, let me say 'hats off' to the regular studio shooters around here--the studio is hard work! As a nature photographer, I'm not used to being crowded by cables, power packs, 7-foot umbrellas and more heat than you can shake a stick at all in a cramped space! It was nice to not have a backpack on, though!

    The Hy6/e75LV started off with some hiccups, but I was able to get past most of them to start shooting.

    One of the major reasons I left Hasselblad for Rollei is because of the lens bokeh. Rollei's bokeh is really smooth, while I found the Hasselblad rendering to be "lacking" to say the least (for those not aware, I posted a couple of samples illustrating Zeiss/Hassy V bokeh: http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/...dpost&p=129779. Hassy H with Fuji glass is definitely different, but still has some pretty serious bokeh issues to my eye.)

    A couple of dear friends and I got together to do a few formal portraits and to fool around and "try out this studio thing".

    So how did the Rollei do?



    Smooth disc bokeh, round, gentle and certainly not distracting. Frankly, these optics are amazing--they're everything I hoped for (and more, if you consider how heavy they are! ). These shots were done with the Schneider Xenotar 80/2 at 2.8-5.6 and the Zeiss Planar 110/2 at f8-11. (The shot below is with the 80/2 @ 2.8). I had the 180, but I didn't end up using it, as I spent more time relatively close to my subjects.

    More shots from our little experiment can be found at http://GibsonPhotographic.com/K&M%20Studio.

    P.S. We did have a lot of fun... I think we'll have to do the studio some more!
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 22nd July 2008 at 07:14.

  2. #2
    Theo
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Congratulations with your Hy6 and welcome to the 'club' :-)
    If you get a chance, do try the filmback as well. With good film the lenses and camera are just superb in my opinion.
    Cheers,
    Theo

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Congrats on your new camera. Since you're a nature photographer I have a question for you. Do you think the 40mm lens is wide enough or is there a wider lens on the horizon for hy6??

    Best, Hrannar
    Hrannar Hauksson
    http://www.hauxon.com

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Brad, congrats from me too on your new kit. The two lenses you're using are superb. When you get a chance shoot them wide open as well. The results will impress you. I suspect you will have a bit of "feedback" from our friends using Hasselblad Seriously though, I do recall Marc addressing the question of bokeh with the Hassy lenses and he posted some impressive examples.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Theo: Thanks! I can't see myself going with a 645 film back -- the digital back is just about the same size, and I much prefer the digital workflow. That being said, I am considering the 6x6 film back, once it becomes available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hauxon View Post
    Congrats on your new camera. Since you're a nature photographer I have a question for you. Do you think the 40mm lens is wide enough or is there a wider lens on the horizon for hy6??

    Best, Hrannar
    Thanks, Hrannar! There is a wider AFD-Flektogon 35/3.5 in the works. (There is a manual focus F-Distagon 30mm fisheye, but I assume you mean rectilinear.)

    I have not found a need for wider than 40mm in my work (and that's with a 48x36mm sensor), but it's worth pointing out that I never have been an 'ultra-wide' guy. For those Grand Canyon vista occcasions, I prefer the results of a stitch to that of an ultra-wide lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Brad, congrats from me too on your new kit. The two lenses you're using are superb. When you get a chance shoot them wide open as well. The results will impress you. I suspect you will have a bit of "feedback" from our friends using Hasselblad Seriously though, I do recall Marc addressing the question of bokeh with the Hassy lenses and he posted some impressive examples.
    Thanks, David.

    Honestly, I wouldn't mind 'feedback' at all--I still have my H2, the CFe 40/IF, and a few other lenses--anyone with experience on how to get good bokeh out of the aperture that Hasselblad chose to put into their V-series lenses (other beyond shooting wide open) would be a hero in my books. Nothing is intended as a put-down, just calling things as I saw them.

    I've shot with the lenses wide open--the 80 f/2 @f/2 is extremely astigmatic (think 'diffusion blur')--at first I thought it was a bad lens, and then when I confirmed that this is how they all look, I was sure I was going to sell it. But now, having used it for its intended purpose, it's definitely starting to grow on me.

    The 110/2 wide open is just stupendous. Problem? I couldn't dial the strobes any lower than f/2.8! I could have used different plugs in the power pack to further reduce power, but I realized that focusing would be an even bigger challenge... (I misfocused enough shots already, thank you very much! )

    All in all the studio was a fun time... I don't think I'm the guy to make a go of making a living at it, but it was definitely different, and I did enjoy it. Who knows...

    -Brad
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 22nd July 2008 at 13:09.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo View Post
    Congratulations with your Hy6 and welcome to the 'club' :-)
    If you get a chance, do try the filmback as well. With good film the lenses and camera are just superb in my opinion.
    Cheers,
    Theo
    Theo

    I am still just getting used to H3DII-39 and have found that both the V series CFE IF 40 and the HCD 28 are useful in their own rights. The 40 is wide enough for most applications and is a superb lens (IMHO) but there are those occasions when the wider 28, and with all the DAC corrections that Hassy provides, makes it a real great lens to own.

    Woody

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Brad,
    If you're inclined I'd like to hear more about your experience with the 80 f/2 wide open, in particular the astigmatic issue you refer to above. An example would be nice if it's not too much trouble. I've got both the 80's and am undecided whether to keep both or sell one and if so, which one.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Brad,
    If you're inclined I'd like to hear more about your experience with the 80 f/2 wide open, in particular the astigmatic issue you refer to above. An example would be nice if it's not too much trouble. I've got both the 80's and am undecided whether to keep both or sell one and if so, which one.
    If you take a shot of a contrasty subject at f/2 and look at the result at 100% you'll see a 'haze' or a 'fog' across the details. By looking at the lens' MTF graph, it's clear it wasn't designed to render high-contrast detail at f/2, but I was still a little surprised when I first looked at the result.

    It is a flattering blur for portraiture--it's a diffusion blur, or a classical blur. In the old days it was sometimes achieved with vaseline on the lens or pantyhose over the front optic.

    In my conversations, I've found a few folks who sought the lens out for this reason, so one person's disappointment is another person's delight, I suppose. My thought was that I could pretty easily add this effect in post should I wish, but it's a little bit more difficult to go the other way...

    Shot wide open, what are you seeing with yours?

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    The Rollei bokeh is fantastic. But to be fair, so was the Hasselblad 200 series which shared the Zeiss lenses. The Schneider lenses have some seriously good bokeh as well. Here are a few examples:
    180/2.8 AF





    There is not much bokeh here, but it is just pleasantly soft...it just focuses attention away from the background and onto the subject...this was the 80/2.8 AF:
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    And of course, Bradley, those photos are excellent. How are you liking the Hy6?
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    And of course, Bradley, those photos are excellent. How are you liking the Hy6?
    Thank you Stuart. Your B&W shots really show off the bokeh nicely as well.

    The Hy6 so far has been good, but my expectations were up near "excellent". I'm reserving judgment until some of my older lenses return from their checkup with Rollei service, but I've been having issues with the Hy6 and aperture control on certain lenses.

    On the studio shoot, the back froze several times while being powered by firewire from a Mac Book Pro (but for the record, I've not had any problems powering the back with the same cabling from my desktop Mac, so it's hard to know where the issue lies.)

    And my final issue is around battery life. It seems the camera can go through a fresh battery in about 300 shots while the back can go through a fresh battery in about 400 shots (imagine the battery issues when I'm shooting away from power sources for a week). I'd like to have seen on the order of triple that battery life, and I'd like for the entire camera not to be useless if one of the two batteries dies (two shoots so far have been cut short because one of the two batteries was exhausted, but the other still had plenty of juice--that was frustrating!).

    So, aside from the battery life issues, I suspect all my other concerns will be taken care of by either the lens servicing or by firmware updates. I think once this occurs, the Hy6 should become one of the best solutions available, but for the moment, on the whole, the Hy6 does feel a bit unfinished to me.

    I'm curious to hear more about the bokeh you got with the 200-series Hasselblad. I shot with 500-series lenses, and looked at the 200's but found that FE lenses had the same aperture mechanism (5-bladed straight-edged aperture). I don't know if you had a chance to look at some of the bokeh pictures I posted a link to above, but what I was getting (from multiple lenses) was quite shocking (to me, anyway). Only shooting wide open would alleviate the issue... What lenses did you shoot with?

    -Brad
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 22nd July 2008 at 21:52.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Brad,
    I'm shooting my back with the Contax 645 for a bit. When I switch back to the Hy6 I'll try the 80 f/2 wide open and report back.

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    i can throw in a few samples if it helps:

    80mm f2 lens @ f2.8:



    180mm f2.8 @ f2.8


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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Try the following lens for bokeh:
    1. Hasselblad Tele-Tessar T* 4.0/350 F/FE

    2. Hassebllad Superachromat T* 2.8/300 FE

    3. Hasselblad Sonnar T* 4.0/250 F/FE

    4. Hasselblad Planar T* 2.0/110 F/FE

    5. Hasselblad Distagon T* 2.8/50 F/FE

    In addition, these lens can also focus extremely close as compare to the Rollei lens (except for the 2.0/110), which is part of the bokeh component. I believe when we categorized a whole system we will not be fair unless we have used all of the components within that system. Every system has the jewels within them and thus making it difficult to declare one system as the only system.
    Last edited by PSon; 23rd July 2008 at 04:05.
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Nice shots guys!
    Graham that fist shot is very beautiful - despite the bokeh! (The window verticals dont do it for me..agree? )

    Guys ...

    Seriously ( dont mean to be rude) one person's nice bokeh is another person's yukoramma..this applies across manufacturer types btw..I personally very much dislike the HC 80 bokeh and yet think the Contax 80 is wonderful wide open or not. Similarly i love the bokeh from the HC 100 and the 150. The HC makro bokeh is nice but the Zeiss makro planar is much nicer...etc etc

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    BTW don't forget clarity, colors and flare as well when you evaluate your lens.
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Nice shots guys and an interesting thread. I especially like that Dancer shot Graham. As far as bokeh goes, I've always believed that the background itself, and the distance of that background from the subject were contributors to the look. Certainly the lens and it's speed play a major role. Perhaps I'm less critical than some here but the only bokeh that really bothers me is when it's really harsh... I don't mind the pentagonal (or whatever) highlights as much as Brad seems to. From my non-scientific view I've seen great bokeh from virtually all the different brands of lenses. Also, I think Son's point about the other elements that make for a great lens are well taken.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Certainly, I don't think anyone said that bokeh was all that mattered though either...

    Bradley, in answer to your question, I only had 2 FE lenses -- the 50/2.8 and the 110/2. Both had very different aperture blades than the regular 500 series. Their blades were very rounded down to about 5.6 or f/8. At those apertures they became slightly more pentagonal. Contrast this to the 80mm CFE which was very harshly pentagonal at all apertures other than wide open. Interestingly, the 80mm CT* from the 70s and 80s had much more rounded blades as well, though not as rounded as the FE lenses.

    In terms of bokeh, I found that the FE lenses are just as good as the Rollei lenses -- among the best I have ever used.
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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    People often evaluate the bokeh of a lens with words like creaminess or butter - but I like to look for differences in how the edges of an object is blurred versus the center or finer details of that object. A lot of lenses will render the outlines of objects more heavily than the finer details. Sometimes that rendering can look unreal and be distracting - while for certain effects its cool. In any case most of the rollei/schneider glass I have used have pretty gentle bokeh which in my opin is very natural and believable.

    An underrated facet of the Rollei/schneider glass is that their neutral color rendering. Bokeh is all about smoothness and color. I think the color rendering both in focus and OOF of the rollei glass contributes to the realness or believability of the image.

    Finally flare is another component of bokeh - so many lenses have all kinds of flare from specular lighting (light reflecting off water drops, jewelry or little beads of sweat for example) and I think this kind of flare which shows up as little circles or the shape of the aperture blades is a little discussed but very important component of the bokeh. To me when I see big pentagonal flare it just cries out that the image is a photograph and not real - and the feeling of being there just vaporizes. The same goes for huge big flare circles that cry out to the viewer as organic but unnatural. Again this can be a great effect but its not always wanted.

    So I think while the Rollei glass has another advantage here too as while it still gets some of it, its not as pronounced as with other systems. Specular flare is attenuated or eliminated and when it does occur the shapes are smaller and rounder compared to lenses from other systems. There are exceptional lenses for every system, but on the whole lineup I think the rollei glass fares well in these areas.
    Last edited by EH21; 23rd July 2008 at 08:36.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Very nice shots, Graham!

    Stuart--thank you for the info--I didn't realize Hassy had rectified their "error" with the 500-series aperture mechanisms. I really wish Hassy would get serious with the 200-series and digital backs--given what you say, about the FE lenses, a 203FE or 205FCC integrated (no cables) with a top-of-the line DB would be another killer system.

    Good call, Eric. After talking with you a few months ago, I came to realize that much of what I was seeing might have been 'specular flare'. But even looking at images where flare wasn't an issue, the bokeh was very harsh, and gave a repeating pattern on straight edges which also served to jar me out of the photograph. I posted examples of both in the link above.

    -Brad

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Wow, I am really shocked by this thread. The images being criticized here as being inferior due to the lens aperture designs are actually due to poor lighting control and photographic technique. And, they have nothing to do with bokeh. Bokeh is all about the tonal quality of the out of focus areas. In general, the bokeh from the Zeiss lenses, whether it be from the Hasselblad V or Contax 645, is as good as it gets. Typically, any images containing undesirable specular reflections are from amateur snapshots or photojournalistic situations (like war zone documentary) where lighting control is not possible.

    Photography is all about working with and controlling the light. There are professional photographers all over the world who use lenses with 5-blade iris aperture mechanisms, like the Hasselblad V/500 series lenses. In fact, even the latest Rodenstock APO Sironar/HR and Schneider APO digitar lenses, which are used on a wide range of professional cameras including those from Alpa, Linhof and Sinar (even the new arTech) all depend on shutters with 5-blade iris aperture mechanisms. Yet, you do not see see these professional photographers having issues with hex-shaped specular reflections in their work. Why? Because they have the knowledge, skill and expertise in working with light to create their image.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    I think you underestimate the impact of pentagonal irises on specular highlights. Yes, it is possible to avoid this in certain situations, but not in all. Lenses with circular blades avoid this problem entirely without otherwise changing the optical performance, and thus are preferable. It is a bit simplistic to say that if you get pentagonal specular highlights then you are a bad photographer. The reason that many of the professional lenses have 5 bladed irises is because they are inherently more reliable and quicker to stop down, particularly when the larger barrels of medium format lenses are considered. The 110/2 planar which has the great circular iris also frequently jams. It has happened to mine, and I have read many other cases of it as well. So while you don't have to worry about pentagonal shapes in the bokeh, you have to live with a greater instance of failure.
    And please don't misunderstand us (or at least me) -- I don't think there is anything optically inferior about 500 series Zeiss or Contax 645 lenses, I just think that the choice of pentagonal irises is less than ideal. Rollei has chosen to go with more circular aperture blades and it has a positive effect on the out of focus areas.

    For example, here is a photo taken with the 110/2 at around f/4:

    Notice the tree -- had the blades been more pentagonal, the tree would have had much more pronounced pentagons. Would that make me a bad photographer for taking that image? You are free to think so, but I think it is more fruitful to have a lens that does not create those impressions in the first place, and then you don't have to worry about them. If you shoot frequently outside, this is an advantage. If you are always in the studio, then yes, it is in your power to eliminate the effect. In my mind, it is all about maximizing the positive results of the equipment and minimizing the negative -- if the manufacturers can solve a potential problem simply by changing their iris design, why wouldn't they? It is de rigueur in the better made 35mm lenses -- portrait lenses and fast lenses (for example, almost all Leica, ZM, Canon L and Voigtlander lenses) have rounded blades. For whatever reason, medium format companies have not made it a priority, but that does not mean if you don't like this you are some sort of amateurish hack.
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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Well said Stuart!

    David,
    Actually it is very much a part of the bokeh - object edges that are in the OOF regions will be handled similarly by the lens as flare - its just that you don't see it as clearly as with the specular light which is even higher contrast. A good lens has better coatings to control flare and the optical design can attenuate various kinds of flare as well. However even with good hoods, specular flare coming in at small incident angles from the optical axis will be hard to control because neither the hood, the coatings, or the opto/mechanical designs are working to stop light close to the axis - they are all designed to let that in. Pin point streams of light (such as you'd get from sun light columated through holes in tree cover or reflections from dew drops) coming in close to the optical axis, but originating from areas outside the focal plane will be rendered very large and often will image the aperture blades. btw this is what makes creamy bokeh, the larger rendering of neighboring objects in OOF regions as they overlap each other on the film or sensor and become smooth. How a lens handles low and high frequency contrast will determine how much of an edge of an OOF object you will see in the bokeh.

    I haven't read anywhere about this but its my theory that these types of light which enter the lens at a small angle are also reflected off the sensor much more so than with film so damage the image in a secondary way and the effect is more pronounced with DBs than with film.

    Here we really are talking about how a good lens allows the shooter more freedom to shoot into the light and not have this kind of flare take over the image. What good would it be if you were limited to shooting only certain angles with certain lighting? Besides the optical design and coatings, the shape and number of aperture blades has an important effect. Seems like many of the MF system optics have only 5 blades, but some are straight and some are rounded. The rollei blades are rounded. Zeiss makes lenses for the Rollei too and they get rounded aperture blades for that mount. I wonder if we will see different aperture blades in future lenses?
    Last edited by EH21; 25th July 2008 at 22:34.

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    Wink Re: Rollei Bokeh

    I agree that at times the "Chysler Logos" of 500 series optics all over the background are just not acceptable ... and sometimes unavoidable depending on the need of any given shot. This tends to rear it's head in outdoor situations when shooting close-ups with wider lenses and stopping down ... where the specular highlights peeping through distant trees are sometimes rendered as pentagons.

    We determine the strengths and weakness of each lens system right down to individual lenses with-in a system when considering applications ... and act accordingly.

    For me, most Medium Format portrait work is the domain of either the H system 100/2.2 or 150/3.2 and occasionally the 300/4.5 with their beautiful OOF areas ... and is my choice for candid portrait work because of the H system's swift AF ...

    OR ... the 203FE using the 110/2FE, 150/2.8FE, 250/4FE and ocassionally the close focusing 350/4FE. As a focal plane camera, it offers shutter speeds that allow larger aperture shooting in bright conditions. Prior to that the Contax 645 served that function with it's Zeiss 80/2 and 140/2.8, 350/4 and up to 1/4000th shutter. There is no need to defend the Bokeh of either of these Zeiss lens systems ... they are legendary for that property.

    One thing I DO look for in portrait type work is how the near OOF areas of the main subject are rendered. In Bradley's posted example above, the Bokeh in the background is the least important to my eye, and the distorted rendering of the right eye and cheek of the key subject would be undesirable to me ... strictly my opinion, I'd delete this shot, not publish it as an example of great OOF areas.

    The Dancer shot is really lovely, and I love the natural lighting effect (Bravo!) ... yet, like Peter A, my eye is distracted from all that subtility of tonal rendering of the subject by the double line OOF rendering of the window.

    The babe-a-licious outdoor shot brings up another not often discussed aspect of OOF areas ... the rendering of darks as opposed to lights. "Black holes" with abrupt transitions can clutter the background and be as distracting to the eye as light areas can be.

    Point is, nothing is perfect, and it is only the knowledge of the strengths and weakneses of any given piece of gear which relies on the skill of the user to magnify the strengths while minimizing the weakneses.

    This stuff is not easy, there are so many variables to consider ... and those who consistantly make it look effortless are to be applauded.

    So far, my favorite lens of them for all this sort of stuff is the H/C 100/2.2 ... not perfect for sure ... but it renders specular highlights as soft circles, rarely creates "black Holes" in the background, rarely creates double lined Bokeh ... and most importantly renders the near OOF areas without odd edging or distortions. I've posted plenty of examples shot with the H/C 100/2.2, 150/3.2 and 300/4.5 before (as mentioned by David K.) Here are a few recent ones: Not everyone's cup of tea ... but most certainly is mine
    Last edited by fotografz; 17th August 2008 at 15:35.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Marc

    I just received my 100 2.2 for the H3D and agree completely with your conclusions. I really look forward to getting used to this piece of glass.

    Woody

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Marc,
    I've heard as much about the 100/2.2 lens but never used it. Wasn't clear if the three samples you posted just now were all 100/2.2 or 100,150,300. In any case the first image must be the 100/2.2 and I thought it was curious how the specular flare came through as orange instead of white - made for an interesting effect. This is how the 110/2 draws the flare as well big circles but I haven't seen it hold the color - Guessing you lit the model with different temp lighting?

    Eric

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    I do agree that more circular aperture blades can be helpful when absolute control of lighting is not possible, like some of the outdoor shots posted above.

    However, this thread started as how wonderful the Rollei lenses are in a studio environment. In a studio where one has total control of the lighting, there is no excuse for having undesirable pentagonal shapes in the image, from any lens. In such an environment, any undesirable reflections in the image are not the fault of the lens but of the inexperience of the photographer.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Fascinating discussion... one of the best on the subject I've read. You guys take your bokeh seriously that's for sure.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    I'll admit I was mostly talking about use outside because seriously how many studio shots have bokeh to discuss anyhow? David Klepacki, I'm not familiar with your work but do you only shoot in the studio or what? I know a lot of guys that take their MF outside and do all kinds of adventurous things with them. I certainly don't limit my work to the studio though I have one.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by EH21 View Post
    I'll admit I was mostly talking about use outside because seriously how many studio shots have bokeh to discuss anyhow? ...
    Obviously, the person who started this thread believed it to be important to discuss....it is not my thread. Also, my comments were not directed at your posts.

    My only objection is to the inaccurate, or at least incomplete, depiction of Rollei lens performance in this thread. There are many people who silently read these threads to learn about digital MF, and a thread like this would mislead them into thinking that the Rollei lenses are somehow superior, and due to their bokeh, and in studio conditions. This is simply not true.

    BTW, I happen to also like and use Rollei lenses, as I do the Hasselblad lenses. Like any tool, it is up to the photographer to make the best use of them.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    Obviously, the person who started this thread believed it to be important to discuss....it is not my thread. Also, my comments were not directed at your posts.

    My only objection is to the inaccurate, or at least incomplete, depiction of Rollei lens performance in this thread. There are many people who silently read these threads to learn about digital MF, and a thread like this would mislead them into thinking that the Rollei lenses are somehow superior, and due to their bokeh, and in studio conditions. This is simply not true.

    BTW, I happen to also like and use Rollei lenses, as I do the Hasselblad lenses. Like any tool, it is up to the photographer to make the best use of them.
    Certainly true that all systems have some winners and actually a great lens for one purpose such as portraits doesn't make it great for everything else. That said I found for example that over all the leica lenses were much better than my canons and I think the same thing could be said for Rollei as a whole. If you had to pick one lens system for medium format what would it be?

    I've read time and time again that people consider the Rollei 6000 lenses to be of the best and I have no arguments with that. Of course they don't exactly win on price. However, these are some of the finest optics I have used. I used to think my rodagon 90mm apo, leica 35-70mm elmarit and leica 100 apo were the lenses to beat, but honestly I feel from evaluating my own images that literally 11 of my 12 rollei lenses are at that level or better. I am just so impressed with these optics. No doubt I would be impressed with some of the Hassie optics, the RZ stuff or others too but 11 of 12? That's a pretty nice hit rate don't you think?

    But as you have pointed out, its the photographers skill that matters not the gear. I do credit my Rollei lenses for something though - this year I took 1st place in the Prix de Photography Paris (PX3) in the fine art category using my rollei while only got 3rd the previous year with my leica r8/DMR. Who knows maybe they are all that or maybe I was just happier using them?
    Last edited by EH21; 26th July 2008 at 21:58.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by EH21 View Post
    Certainly true that all systems have some winners and actually a great lens for one purpose such as portraits doesn't make it great for everything else. That said I found for example that over all the leica lenses were much better than my canons and I think the same thing could be said for Rollei as a whole. If you had to pick one lens system for medium format what would it be?

    I've read time and time again that people consider the Rollei 6000 lenses to be of the best and I have no arguments with that. Of course they don't exactly win on price. However, these are some of the finest optics I have used. I used to think my rodagon 90mm apo, leica 35-70mm elmarit and leica 100 apo were the lenses to beat, but honestly I feel from evaluating my own images that literally 11 of my 12 rollei lenses are at that level or better. I am just so impressed with these optics. No doubt I would be impressed with some of the Hassie optics, the RZ stuff or others too but 11 of 12? That's a pretty nice hit rate don't you think?

    But as you have pointed out, its the photographers skill that matters not the gear. I do credit my Rollei lenses for something though - this year I took 1st place in the Prix de Photography Paris (PX3) in the fine art category using my rollei while only got 3rd the previous year with my leica r8/DMR. Who knows maybe they are all that or maybe I was just happier using them?


    If I had to pick one lens system, it'd be the one I DID pick.

    Of the 200 series lenses, my hit rate is 100%.

    I don't need 11 lenses, just those ones.

    This discussion started out informative, and has gotten ridiculous IMO.

    Sorry, but imperical superority arguements concerning subjective things like this are what make it ridiculous.

    -Hope you are kidding about winning something because of the lenses used

    Using this logic, the Mamiya RZ system is the top dog ... 15+ winners ... because Annie Leibowitz is a lot more famous than you or I are, and she used Mamiya MF for a great deal of her work.

    See how ridiculous that sounds. The camera didn't make her famous, she made the camera famous.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    I see now what happens when I post late at night... jeeze, sorry if I came across as a braggart. The intention was to show my enthusiasm for the Rollei optics which I think are awesome as is the platform. I don't intend to keep all of my lenses but wanted to shoot with them all and see which ones were best suited for the kinds of stuff I shoot. Right now I do feel like a lens pig, but I knew the used prices on the rollei stuff would go up once the Hy6 had been delivered in significant quantities.

    But Marc I know you have several camera systems just as I do. And you've sold many more in the last year right here. Come on, you didn't just pick one, and I'll bet you have way more lenses than I do.

    Yeah I've heard the RZ optics are gentle on skin so prob its a better camera for what AL does. But maybe she has more than one too?

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Yep, to many lenses. I'm a pack rat for sure. But I'm working on it ... at least a little bit

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    My friend David at Dale Labs once told me a story of a renowned photographer who only had one lens for his camera, the idea being to master that combination as opposed to spreading yourself too thinly with a lot of lenses. I'm pretty sure he was hinting that I tended towards an excess of lenses. I told him the idea of one lens per camera sounded like a good idea but I couldn't afford the other dozen or so cameras I'd need to buy

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Everyone works differently. Some people really work better by using one or two lenses and one camera. Others find inspiration in using a bunch of different formats and equipment. The most important thing to be aware of is what works for you, and how to be mindful of what helps your photography and what hinders it. Others' experience can help guide you, but ultimately, what works for you is what you decide works for you, not what someone else says.
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    One thing I prefer about the Hassy H system is there are less lenses to choose from . I know i can use a C to H adapter but the only lens I would really love to have is the 40mm IF. However, the cost is prohibitive for what I would gain. Nonetheless, I am learning different things to try with the lenses I have. For example, I have found that the 210mm HC with an extension tube is sometimes better than using a macro. Here is an example I took as an example yesterday. Sharpening was turned to zero in Phocus and other than a very slight curves, I did nothing else to this. This is not a direct comparison but I would be curious what people think of this bokeh. The shot was taken at f6.8.

    In regards to what Marc Williams has echoed, the 100mm 2.2 HC is clearly a great lens for OOF background. I did some direct comparisons with Cannon's best 85mm 1.2. I prefered the 100mm HC bokeh. Not to say the canon was bad -- but different. Of course no intent to go into the MF vs 35mm debate.. It was just something I tried in the past. Anyway, Marc mentioned the 150mm and I just wanted to show the 210mm and the use of 3 different extension tubes allows you to get as close as you need. In the enclosed shot I had the 13 and 26mm extension tubes attached.

    PS i realize the subject of the other shots in this thread are much more pleasing in terms of people...
    Last edited by mark1958; 15th March 2011 at 14:48.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    David Klepacki:
    "However, this thread started as how wonderful the Rollei lenses are in a studio environment."

    After reading this, it puts your other comments into context. Perhaps I should have been clearer, but my purpose was to illustrate Rollei lens bokeh (period), without regard to inside of or outside of the studio.

    I am a nature photographer, and all my professional work is done out of doors, where the "control" of lighting is largely impossible or at least impractical. The images are being posted to show how the respective imaging systems 1) render a pinpoint light source and 2) render other non-specular out-of-focus scene details. Pinpoint light source rendering is an issue one WILL deal with in nature photography, and the "Chrysler logos" as Marc so aptly put it were a Big Deal. These can also illustrate how 2) is being rendered.

    I do know how to eliminate the problem with the Hasselblad Zeiss lenses, but doing so forces other tradeoffs (namely in depth-of-field or resolution, depending on the remedy) that I am not always willing to make. Further, eliminating the issue wasn't the point of the test--revealing it was.

    Knowing the Rollei lenses do not typically force one to make this tradeoff may be valuable information to some (and irrelevant to others), but in either case, this is the purpose of this posting.

    "My only objection is to the inaccurate, or at least incomplete, depiction of Rollei lens performance in this thread."

    I've re-read my postings and I find nothing inaccurate about how I've depicted Rollei lens performance. Nor am I worried about other readers mistaking a bokeh discussion for a "complete" depiction of Rollei lens performance. I don't know where this comment is coming from.

    Stuart, Eric (EH21), Marc (fotografz):

    Really well stated, guys. Couldn't have said so better myself!

    One particular comment (Marc):

    "One thing I DO look for in portrait type work is how the near OOF areas of the main subject are rendered. In Bradley's posted example above, the Bokeh in the background is the least important to my eye, and the distorted rendering of the right eye and cheek of the key subject would be undesirable to me ... strictly my opinion, I'd delete this shot, not publish it as an example of great OOF areas."

    I think this calls up a good point. None of the shots posted are being shown to highlight artistic merit, they are purely a discussion of bokeh (and perhaps specular flare). Despite the fact that the image has flaws (particularly in the too-shallow depth of field, as you point out) I feel it stands just fine as an example of great bokeh, where bokeh is defined as "the quality of rendering of out of focus areas."

    -Brad
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 27th July 2008 at 15:35.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Ok, this is sort of off topic, but I developed my first shots from the Rollei 110/2 today. It seems to be just as great as the 200 series version...here's a quick sample:

    Hipster Love...notice the WNYC public radio tote-bag. This was taken in Williamsburg, down the street from me. Hipster central:



    I shot that at f/2 because the Park Nazi's said that I could not use a tripod.

    This one is not that great, but it is what passes for "the beach" here. One thing I noticed was that I focused on that group of people in the far left, middle distance. The girl's face is very clear and sharp, even at the edge and f/2. Pretty impressive, especially since this is full frame 6x6.
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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    Here is an example I took as an example yesterday. Sharpening was turned to zero in Phocus and other than a very slight curves, I did nothing else to this. This is not a direct comparison but I would be curious what people think of this bokeh.
    Mark, I don't find the bokeh of the posted shot particularly pleasing. It just seems a bit harsh to me. Maybe there's just too much OOF area relative to the sharp foreground subject (which looks superb). I like my bokeh more like that shown in the attached shot of my daughter (which I've posted before). Obviously, what's in the OOF background area affects the look significantly. I've found these kinds of leaves pleasing to my eye and frequently set up my shot to use them. Perhaps some will find the darker areas in this example distracting but they don't bother me.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Nice shot David and congratulations on a beautiful daughter (nice enough to actually pose for you! ) LOL

    I find that any green foliage background to be the most challenging for any lens...I void it as much as possible - that said - I must agree with you that leafage works better than most...

    you guys have sufficiently pricked my interest to investigate a 205 system...I seem to be stuck on hasselblad/Zeiss or Hasselblad Fuji/blad...

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Mark, I don't find the bokeh of the posted shot particularly pleasing. It just seems a bit harsh to me. Maybe there's just too much OOF area relative to the sharp foreground subject (which looks superb). I like my bokeh more like that shown in the attached shot of my daughter (which I've posted before). Obviously, what's in the OOF background area affects the look significantly. I've found these kinds of leaves pleasing to my eye and frequently set up my shot to use them. Perhaps some will find the darker areas in this example distracting but they don't bother me.
    I'd have to agree that I am not a fan of the type of what I like to call "In Between Bokeh" in Mark K's shot.

    However I'd have to also say that the Bokeh behind your lovely daughter looks fake to my eye David ... like an airbrush rendering of plants rather than subtile reality.

    I think it serves to illustrate the degree of subjectivity involved with all this, and how we form our individual preferences ... because it is science in the service of ART.

    Personally, many of my own preferences were formed less from a system of optics and more from specific lenses from various systems including 35mm optics known for their OOF properties: Contax C/Y 55/1.2 85/1.2 & 135/2, Contax 645: 55/3.5, 80/2, 120/4, 150/2.8, 350/4 ... Leica Pre-ASPH M35s, 50/1.4, Noctilux, 75/1.4, Leica R 35/1.4, 80/1.4, 180/2 ... all of the 200 series lenses especially the 110/2FE, 250FE and 350FE ... H/C 100/2.2, 300/4.5 and 150/3.2 with the 1.4X, 300/4.5 ... Canon 85/1.2, 135/2, 200/1.8 and 300/2.8 ... Nikon 28/1.4 at certain distances, 85/1.4 and happily the new 200/2VR ... and I'm still playing with some of the ZF optics on the Nikon to determine preferences.

    Contrasted to that are some of the worst optics I've experienced for OOF areas: the Contax/Zeiss 50/1.4 (God awful), and some longer Nikon lenses which turned any foliage background into a double lined can of worms.

    A few random OOF examples plucked from the Drobo that are from various optical choices:
    Last edited by fotografz; 22nd August 2008 at 14:59.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Agreed--I think this only re-affirms the fact that there is a lot of subjectivity around what good bokeh is.

    Personally, I also feel that the bokeh in Mark's shot is a somewhat harsh, but perhaps a little more blur given the background would have helped.

    The quality of bokeh in both David K's and Marc's examples are exactly what I look for, personally--beautiful examples, guys.

    -Brad

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Marc's shots are better than mine but I attribute that to luck Guys, thanks for the kind words about my daughter but she'd rather take the garbage cans out to the street than sit for a shoot with her father.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Marc's shots are better than mine but I attribute that to luck Guys, thanks for the kind words about my daughter but she'd rather take the garbage cans out to the street than sit for a shoot with her father.
    The more ya shoot, the luckier ya get

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    The 110mm f/2 lens I think has a nice rendering of OOF areas. Its one of the Zeiss lenses that is made both for Hasselblad and Rollei. For a long time it has been one of my favorite lenses. It's very sharp even wide open and focuses closer than many of the other lenses making it very versatile.

    Can't get the image to show - click on link.....
    http://bp2.blogger.com/_oDqvXhp9BvE/...003758-web.jpg
    Last edited by EH21; 28th July 2008 at 10:39.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    I appreciate all the points made here and appreciate that all can express their likes and dislikes openly. I really like the bokeh in most of the shots. I like David K's daughter. Marc W. I really love the examples you posted except the last one. Maybe it is just me but the harsh blurred light seems somewhat distracting.

    As Bradley mentioned, I had actually tried to do some blur in the background of the example I posted. I am not sure what people think. I realize the image per se is nothing but just was supposed to be an example. the second image was taken the same way with the 210mm and extension tubes. THere was a brown fence and dirt in the background but cannot really see it here.
    Last edited by mark1958; 15th March 2011 at 14:48.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Mark, on a scale of one to ten the blue flowers are an eleven. Beautiful in every way...really special.

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    David .. thanks.. i like this one but not sure it is that special. I did make a print of this one yesterday though and liked it.. Just need more wall space to hang all these images..

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    Re: Rollei Bokeh

    Mark,

    I think you are dealing with a tough background there! But I think the 210 with extension tubes is doing a better job of it...

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Brad

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