A "film-like" quality : Voigtländer 17.5mm casual portrait

Started May 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
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RoelHendrickx
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A "film-like" quality : Voigtländer 17.5mm casual portrait
May 21, 2013

I realize certain qualities and characteristics are hard to pinpoint and even harder to define, but that does not mean that they are not there, visible for anyone who looks at many images very often.  And especially to anyone who knows the output of his own cameras and lenses very well.

We all know that different lenses can give a different look on one and the same camera (and I don't mean the look defined by perspective and focal length, but the look that is present in how colours are rendered, how nuances ranging from light to dark flow into each other, how dynamic range and contrast are presented (harshly or subdued), how sharp the sharpness is and how soft the softness, how bokeh is rendered, etc.).

I've used the Voigtländer 17.5mm F0.95 for a few things by now, and I really feel like it is a lens with a look of its own (different from my zuikos and rokinons), most noticeably when used very open in low light, but also when stopped down a bit in better light.  The 25mm PL also can have that kind of look.

For lack of a better word, "film-like" really seems to fit the bill: the images from the Voigtländer often have the kind of quality I would associate rather with a lush and deep print from an old diapositive slide, than with digital as we know it.  Very strange and hard to put a finger on.

Here's a quick snap from yesterday.  DOF is pretty shallow, but that is not even really the point.

1/125 at an F-stop between F0.95 and F2 (don't recall exactly, I used anything between those values)

It's not much of a portrait, but it gave me pause about those intangible characteristics of our gear.

I like how that small cellphone light reflects on the face (and on the OOF finger, almost like "ET phone home") and how in the pale face, eyelashes and lips stand out, together with all the little scuffs and bruises that define an active young boy.  They are all visible, but in a soft, understated way.

Please join me and show images with any lens or camera combination in which you feel there is that kind of film-like character.

Or tell me : are we fooling ourselves?

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Roel Hendrickx
lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

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