Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Variation in character of look from lenses

  1. #1
    Member AreBee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Highlands, Scotland
    Posts
    171
    Post Thanks / Like

    Variation in character of look from lenses

    Folks,

    Jack's post here in a recent thread got me to thinking. I would be very interested to see the variation in character in the look of images shot with different lenses of identical focal length - whatever the focal length may be. As has been pointed out to me, threads exist that discuss "Which 28mm?", "Which 50mm?" etc. However, while such threads contain example images, they normally have been provided by a range of forum members and therefore are of different composition and captured using camera settings that may be dissimilar.

    What I am interested in seeing in this thread is images of identical composition shot with identical camera settings. With all else equal, or as near as damn it, the difference in character in the look of images from equivalent lenses - whether it be large or small - should be more readily apparent and may help to inform others' purchase decisions.

    Now, unfortunately I do not happen to own lenses that are identical or overlap in focal length, so cannot kick start the thread. Therefore, if this thread is to make it past a single post I will need your help, if you are willing.

    I suspect the lens that most own two or more copies of in the same focal length will be 50mm. However, if you own two or more copies of any other focal length then by all means include them. This thread is not about comparing one focal length, but about sets of comparable images for any focal length. Nor is it restricted to primes - if you wish to compare a 50mm prime to a 24-70mm zoom @ 50mm then by all means do. My only request is for the following to be identical for each set of images posted:

    1. Composition. Marginal differences in FOV between prime lenses of stated identical focal length can be ignored

    2. Placement of focus so that if need be we can inspect the identified area knowing that difference in field curvature between lenses will be small

    3. Camera settings, principally aperture but ideally all others

    Finally, a couple of questions:

    I have read several times that the character of a lens is at least in part a function of optical aberations. Hence, given that lens aberations are visible at larger apertures more so than small, I conclude that the character of a lens changes as one stops down the lens. Do you agree? If not, why not?

    In addition, the character of the look from lenses is normally noted when a fast lens is the topic of discussion and it is shot wide open or close to it. Therefore, I conclude that not only does character change as one stops down, as noted above, but that it reduces. Again, do you agree? If not, why not?

    Thanks in advance for posting any sets of images from identical focal length lenses you own.

  2. #2
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: Variation in character of look from lenses

    Rob,

    It's a great idea for a discussion, but I suspect that 1) few of us will own multiple lenses of identical focal to begin with, and then 2) even if we do, we already know the difference and will not be highly motivated to set up the type of situation you desire simply because it's a lot of work.

    Example: I own the 50/1.2, 50/1.4G and actually just got a 50/1.8G as part of a Df kit. I also have an 85PCe and an 85/1.4, but their intended use is pretty divergent to begin with. However I could do those focals and may if I find the time and have the desire. However, those are the only overlaps I have to show as comparisons other than zooms that cover similar ranges. And then how would you know how the older 50/1.4 manual focus compared to those 3 I own? Or how do the 4 different generations of 50/1.2 lenses compare when I only own 1 of them? Finally, I do own zooms that overlap, but I doubt folks would want to see how my 17-35 compares to my 24 PCe or 28/1.4 or my 24-120 compares to my 105DC because they are so divergent.
    ~~~

    2nd point: Yes, the character of character lenses definitely changes with aperture. And this is another aspect that makes your desired comparisons challenging -- I'd have to post a minimum of 24 images and better would be 36 to compare the three 50's I own -- 4 to 6 images at various apertures from each lens and then associated crops from each of those -- a lot of set-up and post processing work, especially when I've already shot example images that are not identical that show *me* a character I like.

    Still it will be cool though if folks do have the time and energy to respond, and would make for a very informative thread.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  3. #3
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denmark, CPH
    Posts
    2,500
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    12

    Variation in character of look from lenses


    I once posted a very specific comparison for a very specific purpose here.
    It was an illustration of what to expect from 4 different 'conventional' 50mm primes at f/1.4 compared to Zeiss' own advertisement illustration of the hyper-expensive 1.4/55mm Otus lens at who knows what aperture.

    I only made it because I found Zeiss' advertisement video exaggerated and misleading and I just wanted to add some realism to the discussion.
    I can easily re-post those images here, though I don't know how much it serves your purpose and intention here ?
    There's no background and thus no bokeh studies, only an illustration of sharpness, color and contrast at f/1.4 on a simulation of the advertisement target (f/1.8 for the slower lens).

    Anyway, just let me know if you want me to re-post that illustration here, it would be easy to do so.

  4. #4
    Member AreBee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Highlands, Scotland
    Posts
    171
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Variation in character of look from lenses

    Jack, Steen,

    Please accept my apology for the delayed response. I have a lot on my plate at present!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    ...I suspect that 1) few of us will own multiple lenses of identical focal to begin with, and then 2) even if we do, we already know the difference and will not be highly motivated to set up the type of situation you desire simply because it's a lot of work.
    Fair point.

    2nd point: Yes, the character of character lenses definitely changes with aperture.
    Perhaps I should clarify why I started this thread, in terms of what I personally had hoped to get out of it.

    I shoot landscape almost exclusively. Consequently, I normally stop down my lens to f/8 or so to shoot. I've conducted my own tests on lenses in order to determine how they perform in terms of sharpness etc. However, I don't give the character of a lens much, if any consideration because, well, I can't honestly say that I see one. Comparisons of lenses shot wide open certainly reveal a difference in bokeh - 'nervous' or 'smooth' for example. However, in the stopped-down world in which I shoot I just don't see a difference in character. Maybe I'm missing the wood for the trees?

    The images Steen linked to were certainly helpful (thank you). I can clearly see a difference in contrast and colour. Unfortunately I see zero difference in character. Now, I appreciate Steen noted that the nature of the test scene did not lend itself to a comparison of the character of each lens. However, my problem is that:

    1. Difference in contrast between lenses, including premium vs budget lenses, converges as the lenses are stopped down to typical landscape apertures. Therefore, in terms of landscape photography, I can't see how contrast really contributes to the character of a lens.

    2. I can appreciate how field curvature could contribute to the character of a lens. However, if memory serves;, field curvature, like contrast, also reduces as a lens is stopped down, albeit may not become planar.

    3. As noted here (and I concur), the colour of an image is influenced significantly by the software used to carry out the RAW conversion. I seriously doubt that those who discuss the character of lenses attribute it to one brand of software or another. To do so implies that character is not an inherent quality of a lens. In any event, for this reason I don't see how colour can be attributed to the character of a lens.

    So, if the character of a lens is not a function of contrast (which by definition includes sharpness), field curvature or colour, then what is it a function of? Or is it simply the case that at typical landscape apertures, the character of the majority of lenses, like contrast, converges?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steen
    I can easily re-post those images here, though I don't know how much it serves your purpose and intention here?
    Thanks, but there's no reason to do so given the provision of the link.
    Last edited by AreBee; 16th January 2014 at 07:51.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •