What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?

Started Jan 29, 2013 | Discussions
arie
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What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
Jan 29, 2013

There have been a lot of people who comment that some lenses produce images that have a 3 dimensional look, or at least no "flat" looking. Most notable are the older Minolta G lenses, an the CZ lenses.

Does this have to do more with the coatings on the lens or something else?

Use of short DOF also produces a more dynamic image, but there seems to be something more to it.

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dlkeller
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

Increased sharpness and contrast.

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Michael Fritzen
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

Exaggerating a bit but a clearly defined focus point instead of "some mush". And from the sharp plan smooth transitions towards back and front of the main subject. Combine this with high contrast and colour saturation.

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gil
gil
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Since photos interpretation is so subjective, it depends on one's perception and...(more)
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

interpretation of what is a 3D look. To me, I have to perceive some kind of depth on the subject and on its interaction to the foreground and background. Usually when I see good graduation from foreground to smoother (bokeh-filled) background, it is easier for me to believe there is that 3D feeling but then it may not be for others.

This has a bit of 3D feel for me as it blurs better the background and thereby isolating much the subject and related focal plane. I use only the Bigma at 300+mm.

While this is one of my favorite eagle shot and has some depth, the uniform background somehow diminish my perception of my own 3D feel. Also used Bigma.

Although with uniform background and taken with the Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro, the interaction of light, shadow and forms gives me that 3D feeling (but then that is only me).

This was taken with Hasselblad Carl Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4. The lens' quality contributed to the good sharpness and creamy bokeh that gives me that 3D feel (again, my own 3D feel).

In summary, it depends on the perspective, interpretation, tools, etc.

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gil

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arie
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Re: Since photos interpretation is so subjective, it depends on one's perception and...(more)
In reply to gil, Jan 29, 2013

Really nice photos there. Thanks for sharing. So, it's the contrast between the subject focal plane and the fore/background that makes the difference?

I assume that if you're working with a large focal plane with the lens stopped down to F22, it's more difficult to achieve this because everything is in focus.

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paulcraig
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Re: Since photos interpretation is so subjective, it depends on one's perception and...(more)
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

It's also a term called microcontrast that gives these G and Zeiss lenses that 3D "pop." It's the ability to maintain contrast between adjacent dark and light objects even at a very fine level.

I have the 24mm f/1.8 Zeiss for my NEX-7 and it has spectacular "pop" and dimension. It's not the best lens for everything though, but does produce beautiful detail and color.

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William Curtindale
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

Sharpness, contrast and nice bokeh even when slightly shut down.

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alphacam
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

3D to me just means a correct or natural perspective/view.

If it's 3d, a cube looks just like a tall-square which is a cube:)

If the cube suddenly looks like a tall-parallelogram or tall-rhombus then there is front-to-back compression (depth/distance distortion) and now it doesn't look quite 3D or true anymore.

A corner view of a rectangularish building or object with an appropriate front-to-back distance.... that's 3D.

That same rectangularish building now with less front-to-back distance in the picture... not 3D.

A landscape shot that does not have the great/appropriate front-to-back depth... not 3D.

From an angle, a model's face/head that looks like a normal head when we look at this person (not squished front-to-back thru the lens)... that's 3D.

A round ball that looks like a round ball... correct perspective/view... that's 3D.

A bird that looks rounded/well-fed or just like a normal bird... that's 3D.

A spherical moon (or hot model) that looks like a spherical moon (or has defined features).... that's 3D.

A spherical moon that looks flat in the picture... definitely not 3D.

Normally a prime/telephoto lens will be good and pictures will look 3D.  This is why some people use it (others buy it because it has a large aperture).  Zoom lenses are more tricky/difficult and the 3D-ness may vary throughout the mm-range and some lenses do it better sometimes.

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gil
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Except for Bigma which is mostly at f8-f10, all other lenses especially for flower...(more)
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

shots were mostly at wide open or else, it is tough to get good bokeh. Bokeh of course is another aspect which for me, other than lens quality, also depends on focal length, background distance to the subject, background uniformity/pattern/hues, etc.

cheers,

gil

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tbcass
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

arie wrote:

There have been a lot of people who comment that some lenses produce images that have a 3 dimensional look, or at least no "flat" looking. Most notable are the older Minolta G lenses, an the CZ lenses.

Does this have to do more with the coatings on the lens or something else?

Use of short DOF also produces a more dynamic image, but there seems to be something more to it.

Some lenses have more contrast and a "crisper" look but no lens can give a 2D photo a 3D look. Some people call the look 3D but to my eyes it doesn't look 3D at all.

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Equals Nothing
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

Do you mean like this?

No PP at all here, basic raw conversion. It is likely no magic lens, if you can get the edges of an object to all be really sharp, while keeping the background very soft, you will see 3D'ish. It's a shallow DOF and getting the focus just right that is the trick, you gotta get the edges sharp.

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brian14478
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to dlkeller, Jan 29, 2013

dlkeller wrote:

Increased sharpness and contrast.

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Dave

This and a very clear distinction between elements in a scence that are in and out of focus. This was with an a100 and a minolta 100-200 4.5.

Many lenses are capable of the look your talking about..The minolta 70-210 f4. and many other lenses actually. The biggest factor though is a clearly defined sharpness and dof( my opinion)...brian

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matknu
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to brian14478, Jan 29, 2013

Can it be so that the G and CZ lenses are way expensive and mostly used by pros and pros know what they are doing?

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sybersitizen
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to matknu, Jan 29, 2013

matknu wrote:

Can it be so that the G and CZ lenses are way expensive and mostly used by pros and pros know what they are doing?

No. The majority of those lenses are probably owned by enthusiasts who can afford them, and who might or might not know what they're doing.

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arie
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almost looks like a "miniature" scene - how is this done?
In reply to brian14478, Jan 29, 2013

Your photo brings up another question that I've had for a while. I've seen long range photos of houses and so forth that have a very strange, almost toy like quality to them. It was as if someone staged the scene with miniature houses and cars and photographed it. It's a very funny look that must be done with a very specific shooting technique.

What comes to mind is shooting with a long lens as wide open as possible.

brian14478 wrote:

dlkeller wrote:

Increased sharpness and contrast.

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Dave

This and a very clear distinction between elements in a scence that are in and out of focus. This was with an a100 and a minolta 100-200 4.5.

Many lenses are capable of the look your talking about..The minolta 70-210 f4. and many other lenses actually. The biggest factor though is a clearly defined sharpness and dof( my opinion)...brian

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arie
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to Equals Nothing, Jan 29, 2013

Yes, that's the look. So, DOF and defined edges are the key. Though, I think you can also say that even with a large DOF, you could probably still get a feeling of depth even without much. bokeh.

Equals Nothing wrote:

Do you mean like this?

No PP at all here, basic raw conversion. It is likely no magic lens, if you can get the edges of an object to all be really sharp, while keeping the background very soft, you will see 3D'ish. It's a shallow DOF and getting the focus just right that is the trick, you gotta get the edges sharp.

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Glenn
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Re: almost looks like a "miniature" scene - how is this done?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

you are probably thinking of tilt/shift shots. the Whole of the DOF is in the shot like the dog shot above (which is great) but at an angle to the field of view or in a strange place in the frame that looks unnatural.

Look for Vincent LaForet .. his style uses a lot of T/S shots and  probably the shots your thinking of in particular are from him flying around in a helicopter

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Glenn
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to arie, Jan 29, 2013

yes and it doesn't have to be a great lens. here is a 500mm mirror shot that shows what you're asking about. not the sharpest in the world but it pops

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OntarioJohn
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to Glenn, Jan 29, 2013

Oh geez, you shouldn't have shown them our new destroyer.  When we get the money from cutting the subsides for votes we might be able to buy another flag for that one.

But that is a nice flag.  I stood right up and gave it a salute.

Of course the whole issue is DOF related, and sharp edges on the object 'in focus'.

The better the light is managed the more possible it is.  You can always put a ND filter on the lens to allow you to open it up more.  On a very bright sunny day DOF can be pretty deep with most lenses, thus the ND filter.

Circular logic there, without a polarizer.

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cosmonaut
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Re: What's the quality that gives some lenses (like Minolta G) a "3D" look?
In reply to dlkeller, Jan 29, 2013

dlkeller wrote:

Increased sharpness and contrast.

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Dave

What he said ^^^^^^

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