Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => The Coffee Corner => Topic started by: dreed on March 19, 2013, 01:32:49 AM

Title: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: dreed on March 19, 2013, 01:32:49 AM
Reading DxO's latest review of the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 on the Nikon D800, it would seem that Sigma have really hit the mark with what appears to be a very superb lens. Looking at this as yet another example of where 3rd party manufacturers are upping the ante in terms of lens quality, I'm wondering if this is really the beginning of a period during which we see a significant upturn in lens performance & quality, especially now that there are companies/websites such as DxO that are putting lenses under the microscope and their flaws being bared for all to see.

Are we thus past the point where sensor changes and improvements (at least so far as megapixels goes) are they key determining factor in resulting IQ and into a phase where it is improvements in lens quality that will be dominant?
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: RFPhotography on March 19, 2013, 09:38:28 AM
Have sensors stabilised?  It was only a year ago that we got the 36MP D800.  And now the new D7100. 
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 19, 2013, 10:14:48 AM
I'd say, not. Even before Canon released its first DSLR over 11 years ago, the Swedish magazine, Photodo, published detailed MTF results of lenses alone, without their being attached to a camera body. Such results were an excellent guide for choosing a lens.

We've now regressed to the point where lens tests are never separated from the performance of a particular model of camera, except for the manufacturers' theoretical MTF charts which rarely go beyond 30 lp/mm.

I find the Photozone Imatest MTF 50 results quite useful, but they have warnings on their site against comparing lenses tested on different cameras, for the obvious reasons that different sensors have different pixel counts, different strengths of AA filter, and the processed RAW images may have been subjected to different qualities of processing according to the age and sophistication of the RAW converter used.

The lens tests at Photozone and DXO are not really lens tests but system tests which always include sensor performance.

If we want to 'up the ante' on lens development, I think we should start doing Photodo-style MTF tests again, but at higher resolutions, up to 80 or 100 lp/mm. As pixel density increases, there should never be a need for an AA filter and the pixel density alone should be a sufficient indication of the resolving power of a sensor.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: RFPhotography on March 19, 2013, 10:49:41 AM

As pixel density increases, there should never be a need for an AA filter and the pixel density alone should be a sufficient indication of the resolving power of a sensor.


It will be interesting to see if the D7100 is any better in that regard to the D800e.  The D800e is still prone to moiré and aliasing.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on March 19, 2013, 02:36:26 PM
As pixel density increases, there should never be a need for an AA filter and the pixel density alone should be a sufficient indication of the resolving power of a sensor.

Hi Ray,

That's correct, but it would require something like a sensel pitch of 1 - 1.1 micron to have diffraction dictate the resolution even at wide apertures. Also the different sampling densities for Red/Blue versus Green require very dense sampling to avoid all False Color artifacts. We're not quite there yet, and a good AA-filter is more effective than diffraction.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: hjulenissen on March 19, 2013, 04:56:45 PM
We've now regressed to the point where lens tests are never separated from the performance of a particular model of camera, except for the manufacturers' theoretical MTF charts which rarely go beyond 30 lp/mm.

I find the Photozone Imatest MTF 50 results quite useful, but they have warnings on their site against comparing lenses tested on different cameras, for the obvious reasons that different sensors have different pixel counts, different strengths of AA filter, and the processed RAW images may have been subjected to different qualities of processing according to the age and sophistication of the RAW converter used.
If you are interested in the MTF of a lense at really high spatial frequencies, you might want to use a test-chart of e.g. a slowly swept sinoid, meaning that you know what (single) frequency is fed into the system at a particular spot. If you then use something like the D800E (or the D7100) without a AA-filter, you know that the camera sensor has a wider frequency response (even to aliasing frequencies).

Presence of significant energy aliased onto lower frequencies might be used a robust measure of the lenses MTF at frequencies higher than a Nyquist-adhering sensor is normally able to peer into.

Poor fill-factor might give even better measurements, but I think the combination of poor fill factor, high sensel density and no OLPF is  unheard of?

-h
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 19, 2013, 05:38:08 PM
Hi,

I just looked at two lenses on two cameras, a Minolta 100/2.8 macro and a Sony 24-70/2.8ZA , on 24 MP APS-C (Sony SLT 77) and on a 24 MP FF (Sony SLT 99). Both lenses at f/5.6 on axis manually focused with live view. The image were processed in LR 4.3 with no sharpening and analyzed for MTF using Imatest. Plotting was MTF vs. lp/mm.

The better of the two lenses (centrally) was the 24-70/2.8 ZA. Nyquist is at around 125 lp/mm on A77 and at 83 lp/mm on the A99.

Plots below.

Best regards
Erik


Reading DxO's latest review of the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 on the Nikon D800, it would seem that Sigma have really hit the mark with what appears to be a very superb lens. Looking at this as yet another example of where 3rd party manufacturers are upping the ante in terms of lens quality, I'm wondering if this is really the beginning of a period during which we see a significant upturn in lens performance & quality, especially now that there are companies/websites such as DxO that are putting lenses under the microscope and their flaws being bared for all to see.

Are we thus past the point where sensor changes and improvements (at least so far as megapixels goes) are they key determining factor in resulting IQ and into a phase where it is improvements in lens quality that will be dominant?
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rhossydd on March 19, 2013, 06:50:17 PM
especially now that there are companies/websites such as DxO that are putting lenses under the microscope and their flaws being bared for all to see.
It's nothing new. UK photo magazines were publishing MTF charts in lens reviews back in the 1970s.
If you really cared about lens performance back then you bought from RG Lewis in High Holborn who individually MTF tested every lens they sold and supplied the chart with the lens. Sadly they're now long gone and I suspect were the only photo dealer anywhere to offer such a service.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 20, 2013, 08:01:07 PM
Hi Ray,

That's correct, but it would require something like a sensel pitch of 1 - 1.1 micron to have diffraction dictate the resolution even at wide apertures. Also the different sampling densities for Red/Blue versus Green require very dense sampling to avoid all False Color artifacts. We're not quite there yet, and a good AA-filter is more effective than diffraction.

Cheers,
Bart

Hi Bart,
Clearly the problem of aliasing is on a sliding scale, as with most things. The higher the pixel density, the less significant the problem of aliasing becomes. It may not completely disappear in all circumstances until the pixel pitch on the sensor has become as small as 1 micron, as you claim, but surely only those who take photographs for scientific purposes would be concerned about such perfection.

I can't help recalling in this context my comparisons of the Canon 40D and 50D when photographing the Australian $50 bill, using LiveView, tripod and the same Canon 50/1.4 lens on each camera. Although the 50D, with a 50% greater pixel count, provided more detail at all apertures down to and including F16, the most glaring differences between the images, particularly at F5.6 and F8, were the very obvious aliasing and color moire in the 40D shots, and the relative absence of it in the 50D shots.

Both cameras have an AA filter, thus demonstrating the principle that having an AA filter in front of the sensor does not guarantee the complete avoidance of all aliasing artifacts. To do that, the AA filter would have to be so strong that customers would complain about the soft images the camera produced.

It would be interesting to repeat the experiment with the $50 bill and include the D7100 in the test. My guess is that the D7100 would produce noticeably more detailed results than the 50D, but without any increase in aliasing artifacts compared with the 50D, which produced only minor aliasing on this particular target. We would then have a situation whereby a camera without an AA filter produces less aliasing than another model, the Canon 40D, which does have an AA filter.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 20, 2013, 08:12:21 PM
If you are interested in the MTF of a lense at really high spatial frequencies, you might want to use a test-chart of e.g. a slowly swept sinoid, meaning that you know what (single) frequency is fed into the system at a particular spot. If you then use something like the D800E (or the D7100) without a AA-filter, you know that the camera sensor has a wider frequency response (even to aliasing frequencies).

Hi h,
I'm mainly interested in the MTF results of lenses for purchasing decisions. Those Photodo MTF results were a great buying guide. If I already own and use the lenses, I know their strengths and weaknesses.
My main concern when I buy a new lens is that I can expect it to be better than what I already have, at least in some respects.

For example, ever since buying a Nikon D7000 about 18 months ago I've been searching for a telephoto zoom with Nikon mount and VR (OS or VC) that at least matches the performance of my Canon 100-400. The three main contenders were the old Nikkor 80-400 VR, the Sigma 150-500 OS and the latest version of the Sigma 55-500 which now has OS.

I find it somewhat ridiculous that in this modern age of sophisticated technological development I can't find any reliable MTF results that compare all four lenses, including the Canon 100-400 which is my benchmark.
I can eliminate the old Nikkor 80-400 because there's so much anecdotal evidence that the Canon is the better lens. Both lenses have been around for a long time.
I can eliminate the Sigma 150-500 OS, but with less confidence because there are no comparisons at either Photozone or DXO. That leaves the Sigma 55-500 OS which, anecdotally, seems to be more highly regarded than the 150-500 and is also more expensive than the 150-500, which tends to imply it should be sharper.

Of course, now that Nikon has upgraded its 80-400, that would seem to be the logical choice for me. However, the Sigma 55-500 is about $1,000 cheaper and has a more useful range of focal lengths. I'd really like to know, for example, whether the new Nikkor at 400mm can produce the same or better detail than the Sigma at 500mm. If it can, and is also sharper than the Sigma at other focal lengths down to 80mm, then the matter is settled. I'd be prepared to pay the extra $1,000 and save a few hundred grams in weight, which is also a consideration for me.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 21, 2013, 05:10:25 PM
now that there are companies/websites such as DxO that are putting lenses under the microscope and their flaws being bared for all to see.

If you have to put a lens under the "microscope" before you can "see" the flaws what real world practical relevance does such a test have for most photographers?
Perhaps any difference that makes no real world practical difference, at least to most photographers, is no difference.

Here's a novel idea - snap on a lens take some pictures and see if you are satisfied with the results.

Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: dreed on March 22, 2013, 02:12:52 AM
If you have to put a lens under the "microscope" before you can "see" the flaws what real world practical relevance does such a test have for most photographers?
Perhaps any difference that makes no real world practical difference, at least to most photographers, is no difference.

If all lenses were the same and they all resolved at say 1lpmm and vignetted the same then your level of expectation would be that and you would not think that anything else could be better.

But that's not the case as there are many different lenses.

So what lens testing does is give us a quantifiable and objective way to explain what we can often see with our eyes but only use subjective words to describe. Quite possibly past a certain point it becomes hard to pick the difference with your eyes except that with digital photography and 1 to 1 display of pixels, what was not visible becomes visible. This then forms the foundation for knowing that what we've got could be better...
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 22, 2013, 02:37:26 AM
Hi,

Nice to know the flaws before you buy the lens. It may also take a long time until flaws are found.

Best regards
Erik

If you have to put a lens under the "microscope" before you can "see" the flaws what real world practical relevance does such a test have for most photographers?
Perhaps any difference that makes no real world practical difference, at least to most photographers, is no difference.

Here's a novel idea - snap on a lens take some pictures and see if you are satisfied with the results.


Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 22, 2013, 02:57:48 AM
Maybe.

Considering the rumored performance of the new Nikon 800mm f5.6, Zeiss 55mm f1.4,... it feels like some breakthroughs are being made in lens design when cost is not an issue.

Now, Leica's latest R lenses, like the 180 f2.8 APO, were already at that level of performance almost 10 years ago. So it may just be that companies not interested in the past in the very high end segment are simply now trying to address it also.

Simulation software and computational resources have made huge progress these past few years and those are probably the main reasons for the progress we can now witness. Complex optimization problems can now be solved and large virtual test matrix can be run realistically.

The Sigma 35mm f1.4 is in my view a breakthrough from a cost standpoint. Its performance is remarkable, but in the end pretty similar to that of the Nikkor 35mm f1.4. As far as I am concerned I'll wait a few more months to see whether Nikon releases a more compact 35mm f1.8. My main usage for these lenses is street shooting and I find both the Nikkor and the Sigma just too large/heavy.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 22, 2013, 05:21:31 AM
No disrespect, but I sometimes wonder if any of this has a heap to do with photography in the sense of pictures.

I look at a helluva lot of pictures on the web and in various newspapers and magazines that lie around Spanish bars. Just yesterday afternoon I was having a coffee and reading a fairly thick fashion magazine called Woman-something, and though the images were all very nice, it didn't escape me that despite being totally up-to-date, the photographic styles were hardly changed from the 70s; in fact, one of the fashion features was all about current references to the period. To be brutally honest, I don't think any of it has changed very much since the 70s/80s other than that the new kids on the block seem perfectly happy to show more tit and then disguise it as further plastic to match the faces. A tit doth not a fashion image make. And it's deception to pretend that it does. I'm no monk, but I have yet to see women sitting in bars and restaurants with a tit on display. Or even a matched pair. So the big stride ahead comes down to Photoshop and the loss of skin textures. (Making me question again the use of very young models: if you are going to PS everything, what's the point of starting off with younger skin?)

But cameras? Lenses? From the evidence of the printed work, we might as well still be using TXP or Kodachrome.

All this stuff is so damned academic that it's almost a joke. Where do I get to see the photographs that show the value of all this technical jargon and manufacturing 'progress' that's being bandied about? I see very few impressive new images but reams and reams of crap about bokeh, various curves and that's about it. The new photography, then, the beneficiary of all this stuff? The thrill is in the measurements? It's in the buying of something theoretically 'better' than what one already owns? It sure ain't in the printed pix.

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on March 22, 2013, 06:15:06 AM
All this stuff is so damned academic that it's almost a joke. Where do I get to see the photographs that show the value of all this technical jargon and manufacturing 'progress' that's being bandied about? I see very few impressive new images but reams and reams of crap about bokeh, various curves and that's about it. The new photography, then, the beneficiary of all this stuff? The thrill is in the measurements? It's in the buying of something theoretically 'better' than what one already owns? It sure ain't in the printed pix.

Hi Rob,

Maybe the print quality requirements are low enough to not challenge the input quality?
Did you ever compare modern large format output quality with some of the stuff from yonder years, and the relative ease to achieve it.

We no longer need something like this to produce posters, do we?
(http://bvdwolf.home.xs4all.nl/temp/mammoth-camera.jpg)

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 22, 2013, 06:27:31 AM
you would not think that anything else could be better.

I think the use of the relative term "better", rather than an absolute term, goes to the heart of the problem.

I have a modest little 300 buck 35mm lens that gives me excellent optical performance. So much so that I would be satisfied if all my lenses, of whatever focal length gave me comparable optical performance. At some absolute point of optical performance enough is enough. My pictures may have problems but they are not problems that will be solved by the latest $2000 super lens. Is a car that can cruise all day at 160 miles per hour twice as good as a car that can cruise all day at 80 mph - given the real world constraints of how we actually use a car?

On the other hand - I have a camera that now gives me excellent results at an ISO of 1600. Give me the same identical camera but with a high ISO performance at, say, an ISO of 12000 that I now get at 1600 and I would buy it in a heartbeat. The absolute level of sensor performance is still not good enough for my purposes while at least some of my lens' are.

Speaking only for myself - decent glass is critical but not all that hard to obtain while there are much more important practical needs that are still not being met.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 22, 2013, 06:48:51 AM
I see very few impressive new images but reams and reams of crap about bokeh, various curves and that's about it. The new photography, then, the beneficiary of all this stuff? The thrill is in the measurements? It's in the buying of something theoretically 'better' than what one already owns? It sure ain't in the printed pix.

Yep
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 22, 2013, 07:27:29 AM
All this stuff is so damned academic that it's almost a joke. Where do I get to see the photographs that show the value of all this technical jargon and manufacturing 'progress' that's being bandied about? I see very few impressive new images but reams and reams of crap about bokeh, various curves and that's about it. The new photography, then, the beneficiary of all this stuff? The thrill is in the measurements? It's in the buying of something theoretically 'better' than what one already owns? It sure ain't in the printed pix.

Agreed overall, but how about large prints?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: hjulenissen on March 22, 2013, 09:35:13 AM
If you have to put a lens under the "microscope" before you can "see" the flaws what real world practical relevance does such a test have for most photographers?
Perhaps any difference that makes no real world practical difference, at least to most photographers, is no difference.

Here's a novel idea - snap on a lens take some pictures and see if you are satisfied with the results.
I expect my lenses to last 10 years +. I expect my cameras to "last" less than 5 years. Therefore it is relevant to have some insight into how any given lens will perform on the kind of cameras that is on the market 5-10 years from now.

-h
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 22, 2013, 11:14:03 AM
Ray,

Interesting read: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/03/quick-take-on-the-new-nikon-80-400-vr

Best regards
Erik


Hi h,
I'm mainly interested in the MTF results of lenses for purchasing decisions. Those Photodo MTF results were a great buying guide. If I already own and use the lenses, I know their strengths and weaknesses.
My main concern when I buy a new lens is that I can expect it to be better than what I already have, at least in some respects.

For example, ever since buying a Nikon D7000 about 18 months ago I've been searching for a telephoto zoom with Nikon mount and VR (OS or VC) that at least matches the performance of my Canon 100-400. The three main contenders were the old Nikkor 80-400 VR, the Sigma 150-500 OS and the latest version of the Sigma 55-500 which now has OS.

I find it somewhat ridiculous that in this modern age of sophisticated technological development I can't find any reliable MTF results that compare all four lenses, including the Canon 100-400 which is my benchmark.
I can eliminate the old Nikkor 80-400 because there's so much anecdotal evidence that the Canon is the better lens. Both lenses have been around for a long time.
I can eliminate the Sigma 150-500 OS, but with less confidence because there are no comparisons at either Photozone or DXO. That leaves the Sigma 55-500 OS which, anecdotally, seems to be more highly regarded than the 150-500 and is also more expensive than the 150-500, which tends to imply it should be sharper.

Of course, now that Nikon has upgraded its 80-400, that would seem to be the logical choice for me. However, the Sigma 55-500 is about $1,000 cheaper and has a more useful range of focal lengths. I'd really like to know, for example, whether the new Nikkor at 400mm can produce the same or better detail than the Sigma at 500mm. If it can, and is also sharper than the Sigma at other focal lengths down to 80mm, then the matter is settled. I'd be prepared to pay the extra $1,000 and save a few hundred grams in weight, which is also a consideration for me.

Cheers!

Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 22, 2013, 01:04:28 PM
I hear so many tales of product variation, folk having to buy multiple lenses in order to get anything like a decent copy. Seems particularly prevalent for the 135 format.

Perhaps the next area of focus should be quality control?
 



+100% !

That's become such a real fear to me, living out in the island boondocks and having experienced the expensive horror of trying to rid myself of a lousy, new 2.8/24mm-70mm G Nikkor that all I've bought since has been second-hand AIS lenses from a period when Nikkor was a guarantee of professional quality.

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: louoates on March 22, 2013, 01:19:22 PM
I'm looking forward to the world of glassless lenses. What we have now is so analog.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on March 22, 2013, 01:32:31 PM
I hear so many tales of product variation, folk having to buy multiple lenses in order to get anything like a decent copy. Seems particularly prevalent for the 135 format.

Because pixel peeping at such small feature sizes will reveal even the slightest deviation.

Quote
Perhaps the next area of focus should be quality control?

That would be nice, but even nicer is self calibrating equipment because that could avoid price increases caused by tighter QC limits.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: hjulenissen on March 22, 2013, 03:33:39 PM
That would be nice, but even nicer is self calibrating equipment because that could avoid price increases caused by tighter QC limits.
I agree that in-camera corrections are economic solutions for some problems, and that they should be less tedious (and error-prone) for the user. But I think that such solutions will only ever cover a minor subset of the QC-issues that can affect lenses. If a lense is either sharp on the right-hand side or the left-hand side but not both at the same time, no camera correction will fix it.

-h
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 22, 2013, 04:22:20 PM
I agree that in-camera corrections are economic solutions for some problems, and that they should be less tedious (and error-prone) for the user. But I think that such solutions will only ever cover a minor subset of the QC-issues that can affect lenses. If a lense is either sharp on the right-hand side or the left-hand side but not both at the same time, no camera correction will fix it.

-h


Absolutely; there are no cheap solutions, just cheap patches.

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 23, 2013, 02:21:16 AM
Ray,

Interesting read: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/03/quick-take-on-the-new-nikon-80-400-vr

Best regards
Erik


Hi Erik,
Thanks a lot for that link to a comparison amongst the old Nikkor 80-400, the new Nikkor 80-400, and the Sigma 50-500.

Not only is the new Nikkor AF-S shown as being significantly better than the Sigma at 400mm, one can see the consistently downward trend in the Sigma's MTF response between 80mm and 400mm, a downward trend which one presumes would contine to 500mm and which would therefore tend to indicate that the Sigma at 500mm would have an even more significantly lower MTF than the AF-S Nikkor at 400mm.

Although Lensrentals haven't shown the results for the Sigma at 500mm, I wouldn't be surprised if the image from new Nikkor at 400mm, when cropped and interpolated to a 500mm equivalent FoV, were at least as detailed as the Sigma at 500mm.

Nor would I be surprised if the Nikkor AF-S 80-400 with 1.4x converter were to produce a noticeably more detailed result than the Sigma at 500mm.

Interestingly, both lenses are about equal at 200mm. In fact the Sigma's edge performance is slightly better than the AF-S Nikkor at 200mm, but I suppose QC variations amongst different copies of the lenses could change that outcome.

If these results are typical of what one can expect, I won't bother checking out the Sigma. Thanks again.

Cheers!

Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rhossydd on March 23, 2013, 04:43:47 AM
Where do I get to see the photographs that show the value of all this technical jargon and manufacturing 'progress' that's being bandied about?
Try getting off the bar stool and going to see some proper work, not just cheap fashion magazines.

The technical standard of prints at last year's landscape photographer of the year in the UK was outstanding. The very few shots from film were pretty obvious from their lower quality.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 23, 2013, 05:25:09 AM
Try getting off the bar stool and going to see some proper work, not just cheap fashion magazines.

The technical standard of prints at last year's landscape photographer of the year in the UK was outstanding. The very few shots from film were pretty obvious from their lower quality.



a. I don't use the stools, if at all avoidable, but do enjoy the outdoor tables if it's warm;

b. I do visit shows - if they happen locally - and have yet to be thrilled by one. I have no intention of flying off to the UK to see anything. I have already seen too many giant enlargements of landscapes in too many hospital corridors in my life to want to see more. Photographs are never worth the trouble unless you are a groupie/'collector', but that's a whole different thing;

c. you opine that the film shots were inferior - that may well be the case, and then again not: film and digital are different and I'd rather see grain than squares.

d. I had imagined this thread was a debate about something other than film v. digital capture;

e. in case you missed my point, it was that some of the people who obsess about the technicalities of equipment are often the very same people who fail to post anything remotely interesting by way of illustration of the product of all that wondrous gear...

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rhossydd on March 23, 2013, 06:22:27 AM
e. in case you missed my point, it was that some of the people who obsess about the technicalities of equipment are often the very same people who fail to post anything remotely interesting by way of illustration of the product of all that wondrous gear...
You said "Where do I get to see the photographs that show the value of all this technical jargon and manufacturing 'progress' that's being bandied about?".
The photos are out there, but you might have to get off your backside to see them.

I don't see 'squares' on the sort of prints I'm talking about, but at the same size I do see grain and unpleasant colour rendition from film prints.

The real point here is that photographers caring about the quality of their kit is nothing new, but it drives the advance of performance and that IS seen on photographer's work.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 23, 2013, 08:06:54 AM

e. in case you missed my point, it was that some of the people who obsess about the technicalities of equipment are often the very same people who fail to post anything remotely interesting by way of illustration of the product of all that wondrous gear...


That may be true, Rob, but we should not forget that the development of camera technology over the past century and more has taken place only as a result of people obsessing about the technicalities of the results.

We all know that a camera by itself, no matter how high its resolution, does not make a work of art. However, cameras are not primarily tools for art, depending on  how you define the word 'art'. They are mostly used for recording personal events (snapshots), entertainment, special interests such as mushrooms or wildlife or travelling or advertising, fashion, pornography etc, reporting news, and for forensic and scientific purposes. Where would astronomy be without the power of modern imaging devices?

I would say that a major part of the fascination of hi tech, high resolution cameras, is simply the fact they can record in such fine detail what the eye can at best barely discern, and what the mind can poorly remember. This applies particularly to macro photography and the telephoto shots people take of birds and wildlife.

The power of a good lens in combination with a high-resolving sensor is a wonderful thing, Rob.  ;D
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 23, 2013, 01:16:13 PM
Indeed.



And here I was, thinking it was all about money and market share!

Silly me - it was all altruistic all the time! I should have realised that the moment I observed so many people writing about having to return so many duff bits of equipment: it's just an illlustration of how much they care about us in those boardrooms: they want the buying experience to continue and continue, just like in the Barabarella movie mentioned in another thread... why make one purchase when you can keep on rebuying the same thing over and over again? Spread the joy!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 23, 2013, 10:24:49 PM


And here I was, thinking it was all about money and market share!

Silly me - it was all altruistic all the time! I should have realised that the moment I observed so many people writing about having to return so many duff bits of equipment: it's just an illlustration of how much they care about us in those boardrooms: they want the buying experience to continue and continue, just like in the Barabarella movie mentioned in another thread... why make one purchase when you can keep on rebuying the same thing over and over again? Spread the joy!

;-)

Rob C

Speaking for myself, I only ever buy the same thing after having consumed it or used it, or after giving it as a present, or sometimes after selling it. Everything else I buy is always different, like a D800E is different from a D700, and a D7100 is different from a D7000.
Now where would we be without consumerism, Rob? May I suggest, the simple, but awful life of the hunter/gatherer. Would you prefer that, Rob?  ;D
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 24, 2013, 06:43:32 AM
Speaking for myself, I only ever buy the same thing after having consumed it or used it, or after giving it as a present, or sometimes after selling it. Everything else I buy is always different, like a D800E is different from a D700, and a D7100 is different from a D7000.
Now where would we be without consumerism, Rob? May I suggest, the simple, but awful life of the hunter/gatherer. Would you prefer that, Rob?  ;D



Ray, there is nothing in my makeup that indicates I could thrive or survive in such a milieu. What there is in my makeup is a desire for what I buy to be what is says on the box. Now that's neither a revolutionary nor reactionary view: for those who doubt it or simply know no better, that's how it actually used to be, just a few years ago.

And insofar as the buying of equipment is concerned, I never bought what didn't have a real, immediate purpose. Doing otherwise would have made no sense. Clearly, the idea of things making sense is now an anachronism, as is the concept of need.

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 24, 2013, 08:29:01 AM
Now where would we be without consumerism ;D

Well, we may have a planet we are not eventually turning into a gigantic strip mine
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 24, 2013, 09:27:53 PM
Well, we may have a planet we are not eventually turning into a gigantic strip mine

Not even nearly close! This is an excellent example of how emotional impressions of a situation gained through sensationalised news reporting and documentaries, are at odds with the facts.

Here's an extract from the following site: http://www.miningfacts.org/Economy/How-Does-Large-Scale-Mining-Affect-Agriculture/

"The total amount of land used in mining is relatively small compared with agriculture. For example, in the United States, agriculture uses 52% of land area whereas mining disturbs 0.02-0.1% of land. In Canada, 0.01% of land has been used for mining compared with 7% of land used for agriculture. In Peru, although 12% of the total land is under mining concessions, only 0.08% of the country’s total land is being mined. In Brazil, less than 0.45% of the total land is under mining concessions (Geologist Paulo Riveiro de Santana, Ombudsman, Department Nacional de Produção Mineral, personal communication December, 2011) and in Australia mining sites disturbed less than 0.26% of total land mass."

What's perhaps surprising here is that in Australia, which relies upon mining activities for a good proportion if its wealth, exporting billions of tons of iron ore and coal, and other minerals to China and other parts of the world, the total area of our land surface taken up by mining activities is a mere 0.26%.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 25, 2013, 03:48:02 AM
"Not even nearly close!"

I assumed "strip mining" would be understood metaphorically not literally - apparently not.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 25, 2013, 05:21:04 AM
"Not even nearly close!"

I assumed "strip mining" would be understood metaphorically not literally - apparently not.




Welcome to Internetsville!

What's understood and what's subverted are two vastly different things; without a little subversion folks would realise that they are often broadly in agreement, and what fun would it be to write about that? +1 would then become an emotive, provocative statement.

And where more strongly than in photography, where the reality is that a photograph is either good or it sucks; there is no middle ground. But, if you accept that truth, then what's left to say about the thing, and when the saying becomes the point of the interchange of opinions, the truth, the worth of the picture becomes secondary.

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 25, 2013, 11:47:33 AM
"Not even nearly close!"

I assumed "strip mining" would be understood metaphorically not literally - apparently not.

Quite right. I do not understand your metaphorical use of strip mining. Why don't you enlighten me. I'm here to learn. Are you using it perhaps as a metaphor for general environmental degradation?

I live in a country where pollution is taken seriously and many proposed projects do not get the go-ahead for environmental reasons. Strip mining is an eyesore, but the fact that it takes up such a tiny percentage of the surface area of the country helps get things into perspective.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 25, 2013, 04:44:17 PM
Why don't you enlighten me.

"strip mining" was a metaphor for this...

...we learn daily of the collapse of fisheries; the depletion of soils; the
contamination of groundwater, freshwater and soils; the death of lakes;
the destruction of Earth's ozone shield; the slow poisoning of entire
landscapes by chemicals produced through research; the acceleration of
deforestation; the extinction of thousands of species; global warming;
the increasing misery of people in impoverished countries; the dramatic
increase in ecological refugees fleeing ravaged lands.

With the full knowledge of influential governments and corporations,
millions of species, natural ecosystems and dozens of the planet's
ecological processes are being degraded, weakened or eliminated.

Novel chemicals such as hormones and pesticides are being deliberately
added to the human and pet food supply. Genetically modified foods are
widely used in food production without public consent.

"Changes to Earth's biodiversity have occurred more rapidly in the past
50 years than at any time in human history, creating a species loss
greater than anything since a major asteroid impact wiped out the
dinosaurs."

That's the conclusion of Global Biodiversity Outlook a report released
by the US CIA on Biological Diversity.

"In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction
event in the history of the Earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs
disappeared, 65 million years ago," the report states.

THE WIDE-RANGING REPORT CONCLUDES THAT DEMAND FOR RESOURCES GLOBALLY
EXCEEDS THE BIOLOGICAL CAPACITY OF THE EARTH BY SOME 20 PERCENT.

Among the findings:

The average abundance of species declined 40 percent between 1970 and
2000 while species in rivers, lakes and marshlands have declined by 50
percent.

52 percent of species within well-studied higher taxa including birds,
mammals and amphibians are threatened with extinction.

In the North Atlantic, populations of large fish have declined 66
percent in the last 50 years.

Since 2000, 6 million
hectares of primary forest have been lost annually.

In the Caribbean,
average hard coral cover declined from 50 percent in the last
three decades.

35 percent of the world's mangroves have been lost in
the last two decades.

If you haven't noticed this then you are not been paying attention.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Ray on March 25, 2013, 11:17:20 PM
Corvus,
That's an excellent example of the sensationalised reporting that I mentioned in my previous post. It's alarmist to the point where one cannot separate the metaphor and rethtoric from the facts. The following BBC News item gives some insight into the problem. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17826898

It's a great pity really that such major issues are treated in such a sensationalized manner, because what then tends to happen is that those who have some understanding of scientific processes become skeptical, and the people promoting the issues tend to lose credibility.

The current fiasco with regard to human induced global warming is a great example. It seems, in my opinion, that in order to get public acceptance of a possible problem, distortions, inaccuracies and sensationalism have prevailed. I get a sense of a significant 'selection bias' occurring in the reportage, which of course all good scientists should be fine-tuned to detect.
An example of 'selection bias' would be the initial graphs of global warming that were presented in such a way as to obscure the fact that around a 1,000 years ago we had a similar period of warming known as the Medieval Warming Period. The graph has become notoriously known as the Hockey Stick, which I suspect may be just one glaring example like the tip of the iceberg, to use a metaphor.

I've heard claims from certain Climate Scientists that it is not known whether the MWP was a global phenomenon, or mainly a regional phenomenon. Other scientists claim that the current warming is more rapid than at any time during the past 20 million years.

Do you see the problem? If we are not sure to what extent the MWP was a global phenomenon, then are we not likely to be even less sure how our current warming period stacks up against the 200,000 segments of 100 year periods stretching back into the past?

If we are to solve a problem, it must be clearly defined in an unbiased way. Confusion reigns when people are the subject of a natural disaster, such as a major flood or cyclone, and are told that such disasters can be blamed on global warming. The real reaon why people lose their houses in floods is because the house was unwittingly built in a flood plain, and the authorities who approved the plans, no doubt in the interests of economic development, were perhaps not even aware of the history of flooding in the area.

I'm led to believe that a far greater number of species exist below the the soil surface than above it. I've heard reports that a mere handful of good soil contains more DNA than the entire human body.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 26, 2013, 03:52:35 AM
"That's an excellent example of sensationalised reporting "

Clearly we hold radically different value systems with very different perceptions of reality.
Let's leave it at that and spare ourselves and others on the forum all the sturm und drang of yet another long, extended, sterile debate that will go nowhere.

Let's get back to discussing something we are, apparently, good at like how many pixels can dance on the head of a pin?

 
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Corvus on March 26, 2013, 04:28:46 AM
"And where more strongly than in photography, where the reality is that a photograph is either good or it sucks; there is no middle ground. But, if you accept that truth, then what's left to say about the thing, and when the saying becomes the point of the interchange of opinions, the truth, the worth of the picture becomes secondary.

Rob C"

Sounds like you are talking more about opinion than criticism.
Good thoughtful criticism can be an art form in it's own right getting close to that middle ground where the "truth and worth" of a image is found.
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 26, 2013, 05:46:26 AM
"And where more strongly than in photography, where the reality is that a photograph is either good or it sucks; there is no middle ground. But, if you accept that truth, then what's left to say about the thing, and when the saying becomes the point of the interchange of opinions, the truth, the worth of the picture becomes secondary.

Rob C"

Sounds like you are talking more about opinion than criticism.
Good thoughtful criticism can be an art form in it's own right getting close to that middle ground where the "truth and worth" of a image is found.



Can't buy into that, I'm afraid. "Good, thoughtful criticism" is opinion - it can't be anything else because it stems from the mind of someone who thinks he knows better than the person who made the image. At best, it's second-guessing, pure and simple, and any fool can do it, even I. In some other applications than in art it's known as being wise after the event.

If anything, the professional sayer of sooths, the critique-monger, is but another hurdle in the way of the struggling artist. But, could that same person be brought on-side, he becomes a great selling aid to the 'artist'...

Were Jesus walking the streets today, I think he'd throw them all into the pit along with the money-changers.

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: dreed on March 27, 2013, 10:25:02 PM
And the question that is now popping up in my head is what will Leica and the makers of other "premium" lens brands do to counter the increase in IQ from Sigma/Tamron?

Some of the newer Sigma/Tamron lenses are proving to deliver higher IQ than Zeiss, etc, so while there is still a certain amount of cachet with those premium brands, is that all that they have going for them considering that they pretty much never do auto-focus and a lack of new models with competitive IQ?
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 28, 2013, 04:24:51 AM
And the question that is now popping up in my head is what will Leica and the makers of other "premium" lens brands do to counter the increase in IQ from Sigma/Tamron?

Some of the newer Sigma/Tamron lenses are proving to deliver higher IQ than Zeiss, etc, so while there is still a certain amount of cachet with those premium brands, is that all that they have going for them considering that they pretty much never do auto-focus and a lack of new models with competitive IQ?


I, for one, studiously avoid 'auto' anything that I can, other than two 'autos' that are wonderful: auto ISO and auto diaphragm.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: dreed on March 28, 2013, 11:23:09 AM

I, for one, studiously avoid 'auto' anything that I can, other than two 'autos' that are wonderful: auto ISO and auto diaphragm.

;-)

What about auto-beating? ;)
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 28, 2013, 12:01:04 PM
What about auto-beating? ;)


Must be something I eat: right over my head.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: Rob C on March 28, 2013, 12:51:07 PM
Auto-beating

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeEHQzyUdC0&playnext=1&list=PLB8BCBE8957E817F3&feature=results_main (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeEHQzyUdC0&playnext=1&list=PLB8BCBE8957E817F3&feature=results_main)


That poor guy always had my deepest sympathy! Imagine waking up to this: BASIL!!! shrieked into your ear... Shit, imagine being called Basil!

Rob C
Title: Re: Now that sensors have stabilised, will lenses be the next area of focus?
Post by: dreed on March 28, 2013, 11:01:57 PM

Must be something I eat: right over my head.

;-)

diaphragm = lungs
beating = heart

don't know if you meant diaphragm in that context but having an automatic one definitely helps :)