Have RF lenses had their day ?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
Tom Caldwell
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Photography will always be a battle between art and science
In reply to blue_skies, 11 months ago

Back to the argument over lenses - "the look" (art) and alternative "perfection" (science). Scientific art can also be good.

But the issue that most interests me at the moment is that with the increasing need to software correct lenses in camera are we heading down another path where only lenses specifically built by a manufacturer for their own mount will amount to "perfection" and therefore photographic scientists have only a one-make everything option, or will those that prefer "the look" and ignore the "imperfections" to get what they consider "a good image" manage to struggle on with non-oem (and by definition "imperfect") lenses on cameras with very large and very scientific (perfect) sensors?

Is there cause enough to get a non-software-corrected camera body to use with well made non-software corrected lenses?

Ricoh did this with their GXR plus LM mount module - thrown precisely at this market. Hopefully they will choose to make a FF version of this module and photographers can wrestle with raw muscle and brains with MF only lenses and no artificial assistance. Real men and women, bred tough and not afraid to make mistakes.

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Lightshow
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Re: Photography will always be a battle between art and science
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 11 months ago

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Back to the argument over lenses - "the look" (art) and alternative "perfection" (science). Scientific art can also be good.

But the issue that most interests me at the moment is that with the increasing need to software correct lenses in camera are we heading down another path where only lenses specifically built by a manufacturer for their own mount will amount to "perfection" and therefore photographic scientists have only a one-make everything option, or will those that prefer "the look" and ignore the "imperfections" to get what they consider "a good image" manage to struggle on with non-oem (and by definition "imperfect") lenses on cameras with very large and very scientific (perfect) sensors?

Is there cause enough to get a non-software-corrected camera body to use with well made non-software corrected lenses?

Ricoh did this with their GXR plus LM mount module - thrown precisely at this market. Hopefully they will choose to make a FF version of this module and photographers can wrestle with raw muscle and brains with MF only lenses and no artificial assistance. Real men and women, bred tough and not afraid to make mistakes.

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Tom Caldwell

Technically perfect lenses bore me, only at infinity do they have any interest to me, but I don't always shoot at infinity, I'd much rather have a lens with some character.

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captura
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Re: Why the giggles?
In reply to JamieTux, 11 months ago

Wishful thinking?

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captura
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Re: Have RF lenses had their day ?
In reply to harold1968, 11 months ago

Kind of hard to believe. There's a big push right now to write spin which will convince people to buy native glass. It's not just Sony who is looking for more increased profits through expensive lens sales.

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JamieTux
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Re: Why the giggles?
In reply to captura, 11 months ago

Wishful thinking?

Maybe, but I probably won't be buying them if/when they do arrive unless it's for the size!
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JamieTux
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Re: For all the happy chatter there are still hurdles to jump over
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 11 months ago
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harold1968
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Re: Have RF lenses had their day ?
In reply to captura, 11 months ago

captura wrote:

Kind of hard to believe. There's a big push right now to write spin which will convince people to buy native glass. It's not just Sony who is looking for more increased profits through expensive lens sales.

Spin from where ?

Sony made a good move making most of its first lenses Zeiss, but this carry's a cost penalty.

Sony has encouraged the use of other lenses verbally and especially by including lens adaptors in many regions.

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JamieTux
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Re: Why the giggles?
In reply to parallaxproblem, 11 months ago

parallaxproblem wrote:

Thank you for your advice and sharing your images, it is very helpful... those are some really beautiful pictures!

Thank you - I try (lots)

The sparrows are nice, and the eagle is really impressive! I like sparrows: sadly they are getting a bit rare in the UK now but there are still plenty in Switzerland

There is a tree full of them a couple of houses away and there are normally a few in our garden so they seem common again to me, but you're right, I don't really see them in very many places any more.

Actually static subjects do fine with what I've got, it's when things start moving that the problems start! Basically I either get a body to make better use of my 70-400 with birds/wildlife (I guess the A77) or sell the 70-400 and get both a dedicated body+lens in another system... from what you say the 7D with either 100-400 or 400/5.6 would probably be the best option in this situation

The other option is to see what the new a-mounts bring - but the reason that A77 is such good value at the moment is that it's about half launch price so I would imagine that the replacement will be back up to around £1200-£1500 when it arrives.  Sony are getting there with the AF but if (erratic) action is the main use I think that they still have catching up to do to get to the top Nikons and Canons.
If you do go down the Canon route make sure you test the lenses if you can.  I went with the 100-400 as it was actually performing better than the 400 at the same apertures on my cameras - the "trombone" zooming can take a bit of getting used to as well although the variable resistance of the slide is a nice to have.

I believe that the front element from that lens is used in some pretty high quality telescopes too from companies like Borg.

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Jay Ell
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Large ***focusing errors*** and misconceptions
In reply to harold1968, 11 months ago

harold1968 wrote:

Leica lenses, as Karbe admitted in a recent interview, follow the same design pattern they always did. This is an uncorrected rear element structure, where correction was not required due to the thickness of film emulsion.

This is a bit confusing use of terminology.

Correction is only needed is aberrations are introduced in the first place. The simpler near symmetric designs cause little aberrations but that does not mean that the design somehow ignores minimizing them. It is much easier to minimize them in such lens than with a complex retrofocus.

The reason why the modern mirrorless lenses tend not to have simple designs in the wide end is indeed due to silicon based sensors. Even with advanced microlenses a modern sensor can not capture non-perpendicular light efficiently, leading to issues like colour vignette and detail smearing.

this has meant that the digital Leica's have to have an extreme combination of angled micro lenses and software fringing correction.

What is "angled micro lens"? The microlenses outside of the center are shifted to guide the light more efficienty to the proper photodiode, and in the case of the most recent Leica M, the microlens design itself also seems quite radical. Also that camera has no AA-filter to cause edge issues and the pixels are very large also to reduce edge issues.

With a fully corrected rear element, as Sony aptly demonstrated in the RX1, corner issues can be eliminated for a flat sensor.

What is a "fully corrected rear element"? I have to ask this because such things do not exist. All elements cause aberrations. To remove aberratiions you need to counter the aberrations created by elements by adding new elements with different aberrations. A good example is a simple close-up lens - a single element close-up lens will always cause pretty significant aberrations no matter how expensive, while a simple doublet (two elements glued) can reduce the total aberrations to very small amount.

And sensor flatness has nothing to do with the issue. The issue is about exit pupil. If the exiit pupil of the objective is close to the sensor, aberrations in the edges are likely. This is mainly an issue with wide angle lenses, thus the wide angles for digital tend to has exit pupil far from the sensor, them being retrofocus.

although the A7(r) does have a combination of software and micro lens adjustment(in the case of the A7R) it seems that correctly designed lenses, like the 55mm, deliver spectacular results.

What is a "correctly designed lens"?

it greatly surprised me to see the Sony Zeiss 55mm easily eclipsing the Leica 50mm Summilux in all aspects:

And if you see such result, you should wonder if the test was done well. It wasn't and it doesn't.

http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=151:adorable-50s-otus-noctilux-summilux-hyperprime-sonnar&catid=40:camerasandlenses&Itemid=2

Massive focus errors. If the focus is 15 cm in front of the eye, the eye is soft. And looking at the full sized images, he seems to have focused manually lots to the front (to the front shoulder).

This is the real advantage of modern lenses - autofocus. While they are not perfect, they're better every year and special things like focusing to the eyes can be achieved very accurately if the firmware allows (assuming contrast detection is used instead of phase detection).

Also the performance of the Otis 55. Not only does this indicate that the modern "digitally designed" lenses are superior, that Zeiss appears to leading he pack of current lens design.

This tests indicates nothing like that. Having to design for digital is a handicap, not an advantage.

given the cost of Leica lenses, the nasty field curvature seems not worth it, especially with FF digital cameras.

There is no such nasty field curvature. Instead the optical stack in front of the digital sensor changes the length of the optical path differently depending on the angle light hits it. This causes slight defocusing in areas. Add the "normal" aberrations of the light hitting the lens non-perpedicular manner and no wonder the performance is reduced when the sensor and it's toppings (the optical stack above it, ie. microlenses, colour filter array and ofen, though not in this case, AA-filters) can't hadle light that is non-perpendicular well. This is where film has a big advantage.

In the future, hopefully, we will be seeing organic image detectors and this issue will go away (or be reduced lots, depending on the colour separation method).

i understand people with collections, and seeing the clarity of these lenses with smaller sensors, like the OM-D , Nex and Fuji series, but I am struggling why I should keep my 50mm Summilux asph ?

If you don't like it, sell it. Or better yet, donate it to me or some other good cause.

Summary: it is the limits of current sensor (and toppings) technology and lack of autofocus which are the issues, not the lens design.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Photography will always be a battle between art and science
In reply to Lightshow, 11 months ago

Lightshow wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Back to the argument over lenses - "the look" (art) and alternative "perfection" (science). Scientific art can also be good.

But the issue that most interests me at the moment is that with the increasing need to software correct lenses in camera are we heading down another path where only lenses specifically built by a manufacturer for their own mount will amount to "perfection" and therefore photographic scientists have only a one-make everything option, or will those that prefer "the look" and ignore the "imperfections" to get what they consider "a good image" manage to struggle on with non-oem (and by definition "imperfect") lenses on cameras with very large and very scientific (perfect) sensors?

Is there cause enough to get a non-software-corrected camera body to use with well made non-software corrected lenses?

Ricoh did this with their GXR plus LM mount module - thrown precisely at this market. Hopefully they will choose to make a FF version of this module and photographers can wrestle with raw muscle and brains with MF only lenses and no artificial assistance. Real men and women, bred tough and not afraid to make mistakes.

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Tom Caldwell

Technically perfect lenses bore me, only at infinity do they have any interest to me, but I don't always shoot at infinity, I'd much rather have a lens with some character.

We agree but most of the chat seems to be the pursuit of photographs as a perfect record = "science".  This has been a divide since the very early days of photography and it shall continue forever.  But many, quite a lot, of memorable photographs would not pass the correct science test and we all know those perfect studio shots that pass into advertising are post processed lies.

I was lured into digital photography by seeing the excellence of shots taken with early 3mp Canon D30 dslr bodies.  How things move on an now nothing short of a FF sensor and 24mp at least is necessary for even everyday captures.

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harold1968
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Re: Photography will always be a battle between art and science
In reply to Tom Caldwell, 11 months ago

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Lightshow wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Back to the argument over lenses - "the look" (art) and alternative "perfection" (science). Scientific art can also be good.

But the issue that most interests me at the moment is that with the increasing need to software correct lenses in camera are we heading down another path where only lenses specifically built by a manufacturer for their own mount will amount to "perfection" and therefore photographic scientists have only a one-make everything option, or will those that prefer "the look" and ignore the "imperfections" to get what they consider "a good image" manage to struggle on with non-oem (and by definition "imperfect") lenses on cameras with very large and very scientific (perfect) sensors?

Is there cause enough to get a non-software-corrected camera body to use with well made non-software corrected lenses?

Ricoh did this with their GXR plus LM mount module - thrown precisely at this market. Hopefully they will choose to make a FF version of this module and photographers can wrestle with raw muscle and brains with MF only lenses and no artificial assistance. Real men and women, bred tough and not afraid to make mistakes.

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Tom Caldwell

Technically perfect lenses bore me, only at infinity do they have any interest to me, but I don't always shoot at infinity, I'd much rather have a lens with some character.

We agree but most of the chat seems to be the pursuit of photographs as a perfect record = "science". This has been a divide since the very early days of photography and it shall continue forever. But many, quite a lot, of memorable photographs would not pass the correct science test and we all know those perfect studio shots that pass into advertising are post processed lies.

I was lured into digital photography by seeing the excellence of shots taken with early 3mp Canon D30 dslr bodies. How things move on an now nothing short of a FF sensor and 24mp at least is necessary for even everyday captures.

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Tom Caldwell

It's funny how people expect things to be done for them these days and therefore don't really keep control of the photo.

the argument on AF "not fast enough for action" always amuses me. In the 70s and before it was all MF .....

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parallaxproblem
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Re: Photography will always be a battle between art and science
In reply to harold1968, 11 months ago

harold1968 wrote:

the argument on AF "not fast enough for action" always amuses me. In the 70s and before it was all MF .....

But haven't you noticed how images seem to be actually getting better now as a result of those improvements in AF?

Here's an example of a photo I saw in The Guardian a few weeks ago:

From 'The Guardian' newspaper

Of course that photo could have been taken using MF, and maybe even using 35mm film, but modern tech certainly increases the possibility of getting such spectacular captures

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harold1968
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Re: Photography will always be a battle between art and science
In reply to parallaxproblem, 11 months ago

parallaxproblem wrote:

harold1968 wrote:

the argument on AF "not fast enough for action" always amuses me. In the 70s and before it was all MF .....

But haven't you noticed how images seem to be actually getting better now as a result of those improvements in AF?

Here's an example of a photo I saw in The Guardian a few weeks ago:

From 'The Guardian' newspaper

Of course that photo could have been taken using MF, and maybe even using 35mm film, but modern tech certainly increases the possibility of getting such spectacular captures

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yes, you are right. Although I find MF with the Leica M9 extremely quick once you are used to it, and also more accurate (no AF system can let you differentiate between, in an instant, whether to focus on the eyeball or the eyelid).

just being fuddy duddy

I think the top cameras today are better then most photographers, so always become amused when people nit pick/complain about the most small things IMHO

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NEXFULLFRAME
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Re: Have RF lenses had their day ?
In reply to harold1968, 11 months ago

No. It's simply the case that big sensor technology has not yet caught up to the lenses yet.

Backside illumination and extremely thin ir filters are the technology direction in cell phone cameras. And the reason is because they allow high-incidence symmetrical lens designs to perform at their best.

High-incidence lenses are favored because they give the highest quality for the smallest size, just like rangefinder lenses.

Give it a year or two and we'll have the perfect mirrorless for RF.

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uhoh07
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Re: Have RF lenses had their day ?
In reply to NEXFULLFRAME, 11 months ago

They had their day and they have today.

The best lenses in the world today are RF.

Their only competition are giant impractical pigs like the OTUS.

The A7r has showed us we are not close exploiting the optics of the 50s RF lenses fully. Too bad the thick sensor cover precludes edge performance.

The A7s will have "had their day" long before the small elegant individually unique RF glass made between 1935 and 2013.

In the real world, the M9 still rules at iso 800 and less. Why? The glass.

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Jeremy Caldwell
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Re: and in the new reality ...
In reply to parallaxproblem, 11 months ago

parallaxproblem wrote:

As it stands, Sony have instead rather stupidly created a 'chasm' in E-mount ownership with two very different types of customers owning NEX and A7/r series, as is very clear in this forum. I hope the new release announcements planned for spring go some way to closing that chasm otherwise we will begin to see an increasing number of NEX customers jumping-ship as the realisation of what has happened sinks-in

And there isn't a 'chasm' between DSLR full frame and APS-c customers?

I haven't found the purchase of my A7R has decreased the usefulness or usage of my APS-C e-mount cameras, and I don't think the scenario is all that different from the Canikon. They have a range of APS-C and full frame cameras and lenses and I haven't heard of users complaining that Rebel cameras are no good because the 5DMkIII exists?

Is the A7r different from the NEX6 yes? But it took me a matter of minutes to familiar myself with the body and start taking IMO good photos.

I also don't think the FE lenses have been all that expensive either compared to equivalent full frame lenses from other manufacturers. Not that I own any as I primarily shoot with manual lenses and I've been very happy with the Sony bodies.

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Lisa O
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Re: Have RF lenses had their day ?
In reply to captura, 11 months ago

Aren't Nikon and Canon the one's who are always offering rebates and big discounts when you buy extra lenses when you buy a body? I think Sony has been fairly innovative and consistent with their lens releases. I think Fujifilm has done a really great job releasing lenses and firmware updates for both cameras and lenses in the less than two years since the X system has been available.

captura wrote:

Kind of hard to believe. There's a big push right now to write spin which will convince people to buy native glass. It's not just Sony who is looking for more increased profits through expensive lens sales.

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