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Thread: The Look, Feel, Drawing, and Texture of MF Lenses and Backs

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    The Look, Feel, Drawing, and Texture of MF Lenses and Backs

    Today, Marc posted some mighty fine images in his "CFV...Sheep's Clothing" thread (if you haven't had a chance to look at them, do yourself a favor)

    Aside from all of the "photograher's variables" including focus, composition, angle, framing, exposure, lighting, etc., that are so excellent in these photographs, I think that these particular images illustrate the signature or drawing of a particular lens. In my view, these photos have a luxurious film-like texture to them, a smooth-sharp look. BUT along with the lens, I would think there's also a role played by the particular back. Is it the back, is it the pixel size, is it the combination of back and lens? What gives these photographs this kind of exceptional "mojo?"

    And, of course, which are your favorite lenses for that exceptional look; which back do you like to use best with your favorite special lenses? Which backs do you feel help you derive the most of what your particular lens is designed to give you best?

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    Re: The Look, Feel, Drawing, and Texture of MF Lenses and Backs

    I see ....lots of FAT light and bright colours complemented by a MFD back that likes FAT light - and they all do.

    Combining fat megapixels and more megapixels with bright light delivers nice sparkiling ( think slide/transparency) type results - evidencing nice dynamic range and high resolution.

    thats why we buy the backs - yeah?

    the digital workflow also allows the photographer who cares - the ability to change the canned look straight out of the camera into any kind of look they like - think change film types if you like.

    So get your file which was made with FAT light and play with brightness/contrast/saturation ( and/OR all the derivative controls in the various raw processors ) and bingo - Sparkle galor with nice highlights as well as preserved shadow detail.

    You can get the same effect with 35mm DSLR - but not quite the same dynamic range and certainly not the resolution.

    Test for yourself via an M8 - same kind of look.

    I love it!

    dont really 'get' lens draw and all that mumbo jumbo - or mojo as you call it. Cad manufacturing and nice optic design software has improved ability of manufacturers to design lenses with less technical flaws - not being allowed ot use lead and other stuff in glass is a bummer

    all these variables mean that you have teh bi-modal distribuiton of internet puppy commentary - either MTF charts blah blah blah or lens draw commentary..self propogating noise.

    now brace myself for the inevitable snark - but we dont live in an emprical age anymore do we.

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    Re: The Look, Feel, Drawing, and Texture of MF Lenses and Backs

    I think you're absolutely right, Peter, it's why I'm buying a MFDB. My own experience is that some lenses just look more magical to me, these are the lenses that I can't wait to use again and again. And that "fat light" phenomenon that you describe, yes, it's certainly one of those factors that come together with the others: great light, sparkle, the lens, the back, the photographer, and of course, the post-shot artistry, and ultimately the print. When it all comes together, it's a wonderful thing, and I can't wait to figure it all out for myself.

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    Re: The Look, Feel, Drawing, and Texture of MF Lenses and Backs

    All things being equal... and of course they aren't... I'm in the camp that says it's the glass. My personal favorites include the legendary CZ 21 2.8 Distagon, the Hasselblad (or Rollei) 110 2.0 FE, the Hasselblad 40 CFE IF and 50 2.8, the Hasselblad 250 5.6 and 350 5.6 Superacromats, the Leica luxes, and the Leica M 28 2.0 to name a few. There are others, of course, but I haven't had the pleasure of using them. I know Marc has a few favorites with his system as do Jack and Guy with theirs. One of our forum members, David from Dale labs, told me that, back in the day, Leica used to put weights on the glass that they used for lenses and leave them there for years before using them. Kind of like aging a fine scotch. Lead and other rare earth elements which are not readily available are also credited with providing "mojo" to some lenses. Having said this, the single most important thing is the one you carved out in your question, i.e. the photographer's variables

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    Re: The Look, Feel, Drawing, and Texture of MF Lenses and Backs

    Thanks David, I have and or have used a few of the 35mm lenses you mention, and they really are wonderful. I'm looking forward to testing out my Contax lenses when my back is delivered, can't wait. And, you're absolutely right, the photographer puts it altogether.

    PS Great story about "aging the glass!"

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