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Author Topic: Understanding Perceived Sharpness  (Read 15764 times)

Jeremy Payne

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Understanding Perceived Sharpness
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2009, 03:45:12 pm »

Quote from: Playdo
You'd think you'd know that certain equipment would more easily produce certain results by now.

Oh, I've become familiar with lots of different pieces of equipment over the years ... enough to know that there is nothing 'shared' across 'Nikon' equipment that would explain this illusory 'Nikon Pop'.

Quote from: Playdo
Anyway, just letting you know, I'll be sure to skip over your future posts.

Sure you will ... everyone always says that ... and they never do ... so I'll see you around!

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Slough

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Understanding Perceived Sharpness
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2009, 04:05:48 pm »

Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Ok, fair enough.  I have not performed extensive tests.

BUT ... I have seen enough images shot with enough lenses and cameras over the last 30 years to know in my gut that there is nothing shared across ALL nikon equipment that is somehow recognizably "nikon" and that it is this ephemeral aspect of the equipment that makes it "better" at producing "good" images than any other serious system.

There are differences between lenses and cameras ... but I'll stick by my 'nonsense' characterization until I see some evidence of this 'shared' aspect that cuts across all Nikon-branded equipment.

I'm not making the extraordinary claim that there is some Nikon magic that is better than the Canon magic ... I'm just the skeptic.  

Like I said, there are differences is equipment ... but to then infer from that that 'Nikon' is better than 'Canon' simply because not all cameras and lenses are alike is nonsense.

There's a few points in your post.

Regarding the claim that Nikon has a certain magic that Canon doesn't, and hence they are better, I think most of us will agree that that is not true. And as you have said, post processing and in camera settings will make a huge difference to the final output. There is also a variation within each manufacturers lenses, some gems, some dogs, some in between.

Regarding the notion that in general manufacturers have their own style, that is hard to prove, or disprove. I use neither Zeiss nor Leica, but people who uses those brands often comment that there is a consistent difference in rendition betwen the two and also between Leica and Nikon. Is that bullshit based on "my brand is better than your brand"? Perhaps, but I hear it from some sane people. I have no direct experience of those brands so cannot comment directly. However, Canon use Flourite in many lenses, and that has particular transmission characteristics including of course a colour cast that must be balanced by careful choice of the other glass used, and coatings. Nikon will also have their own glass, with its characteristics, and their own coatings. Will that influence the result? I would expect so. To a noticeable degree? It is possible. Will some manufacturers choose glass and coatings to for example favour contrast at mid spatial frequencies? Again, it is possible.

As I have said a few times, I see obvious differences between two third party lenses I have owned, and the Nikon ones I own. Are these consistent trends? I don't know. (It is one reason I prefer to avoid third party lenses.)

But I do recall one good example that optical equipment can have a consistent 'feel' to the image. If you look at some of the old Soviet binoculars and monoculars, you will see images with a strong yellow cast, due no doubt to the choice of coatings and glass. (I suspect they were single coated with MgFl.) That is of course an extreme example, but it does show that a lens is not just transparent glass with a flat transmission spectrum in the visible wavelengths. The truth is that optical designers have a tough job to correct for the various aberrations and maintain the required colour rendition and contrast levels.
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Slough

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Understanding Perceived Sharpness
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2009, 04:13:19 pm »

Regarding the little squabble that has erupted, unfortunately this issue is something that is not easily characterised. From time to time I read people commenting on Nikon's contrasty rendering. I've even read comments from people trained in optical design. Some dislike it. Others don't. The problem here is that none of us it seems to have extensive experience of using a number of systems e.g. Leica and Nikon, or Nikon and Canon, and hence we are not qualified to make a definitive subjective comment.

By the way, people often tell me they see obvious colour casts when using particular high end binoculars. I don't and have to work very hard to figure out the colour cast, which I can do with practice. And yet I see chromatic aberration that most other people miss. Some of this issue is possibly about educating the eye (i.e. the brain) to perceive something that exists, but which is often ignored. The eye (i.e. brain) readily accommodates itself to the current situation.
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Slough

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Understanding Perceived Sharpness
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2009, 04:44:47 pm »

Out of curiosity I picked up one of my old books, by someone called Boyd Norton. He used Nikon and Leica. Almost all the time I can pick which photos are taken with Nikon and which not. The Nikon ones have a noticeably more contrasty rendition. Notice I don't say better. Just different. Choice of film seems not to explain this. The book is 15 years old though.
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Playdo

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Understanding Perceived Sharpness
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2009, 09:57:36 pm »

Thanks Slough
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