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What is lens character?

Started Jun 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
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What is lens character?
Jun 6, 2013

I've done a search on all the forums, but I didn't see any topics about this. So what is lens character? Are we talking about everything together from colour reproduction, sharpness, bokeh, contrast, flare, etc.

I've heard this expression tossed about most frequently when someone is describing expensive lens like the Zeiss 24mm F1.8 for instance. I do not hear people mention lens character when describing a poor quality lens. So are expensive lens the only ones with character? Is it used by some reviewers to justify paying a higher price for such lenses?

Some other questions I have are:

1) Is having character a good thing?

2) If a lens has a certain character, it should be identifiable from the pictures it takes should it not? Therefore, can someone distinguish the pictures taken from that lens in a series of pictures taken from other lenses?

3) Is lens character consistent across it's entire focal range, or aperture range? Or is image quality differences (i.e. sharpness as an example) a characteristic of lens character?

4) What are desirable lens character?

I think I have some idea of what it is, however, like most abstract terms, it seems vague and hard to pin down to measureable qualities.

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