The whole question of lens sharpness...

Started Jun 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Detail Man
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Re: Good question, stupid discussion ...
In reply to Jeff, Jun 21, 2013

Jeff wrote:

This thread is frustrating. Sharpness, by itself, doesn't create a good photograph.

There are two separate ideas being discussed and being horribly confused. One is 'imaging science' - the science and technology based capability to accurately capture an image. The other is photography defined as the art of evoking an emotional or intellectual response from a captured image.

Imaging enables photography, so sharper lenses broadens the range of possible photographs. That's good news for photographers interested in styles involving highly detailed images, like some styles of landscape photography.

But sharpness just one quality of an image. A single blob of grey wouldn't be much to look at, but great, powerful images can be made with pretty minimal levels of sharpness. Were any of Robert Capa's shots ever very sharp? Which photographs have made the strongest impression on you? Were they sharp as in current state-of-the-art standards?

Digital media isn't that sharp for the most part. Facebook, phones, ipads, most monitors, HD TV, movies, all do a real number on image resolution. Printing, of course, is a different matter.

So suit yourself with regard to sharpness. I suppose it comes with the territory in a camera gear forum, but to my mind this narrow minded focus on the technology of sharpness misses the core point in the OP's question, which is the utility of sharpness to photographers.

Imho, sharpness is a big deal for some, not so much for others. Depends on the type of photograph you're trying to create. Given good craftsmanship, today's lenses generally are good enough for most styles of photography.

Well said. You differentiate between the very different subjects well. One may be partially reducible to quantitative metrics. The other is implicitly completely subjective, and largely quite mysterious. Discussion of neither of these two subjects is (or should be construed to somehow be) predictive or prescriptive of how visual imagery may possibly be received in the minds' eyes of others.

The mistakes made more often than not in these gear oriented forums is that subjective aesthetics are somehow objectively determinable and transferable truths, and that technical reductionism could or should be proferred as a means to somehow execute and establish such fallacious arguments.

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