Angry Photographer proves the 105/1.4E isn't "flat"

Started Oct 4, 2016 | Discussions thread
fPrime Senior Member • Posts: 2,927
Re: TAP's 105/1.4E review remains invalid

Marianne Oelund wrote:

fPrime wrote:

Hope you got what you wanted out of the perception experiment, Marianne, but I believe the case can now be closed on TAP's review of the 105E. In retrospect the evidence shown here makes it is clear that his review was 100% right. Recall that he basically postulated three things:

  • Color shift vs. the 105 DC - Confirmed. When shot side by side in numerous, independent comparisons the 105E has been consistently yellower. The debate over if blue light absorption by the 105E is the cause can continue, but the fact that this lens renders more yellow than the 105DC is incontrovertible.

This is correct, and in accordance with the numbers that I've already given you. If the 105 DC is slightly better than the 135 DC due to having one less element, it should fall just under a 2% red shift. The 105/1.4E is at 6% red shift, but this is almost the same as the AFS 20/1.8G which Ken has endorsed as excellent.

Also, the new 105 actually has 2 less groups which means 4 fewer air-glass interfaces than the 20/1.8G! How is it that removing 4 coatings from the system suddenly brings on such condemnations regarding color shift/saturation, microcontrast issues and supposed flare? Ken has it completely backwards, and it's high time that people changed to another channel.

By the way, the magenta shift he has tried to show in green hues, has nothing to do with a little more red shift from the lens. That problem arises from issues with light sources that have low CRI (and lenses do not reduce CRI).

I think TAP endorses the 20 1.8G because it resolves some of the specific afflictions of the older 20 D lens design without a comparative loss of contrast and color pop. Same could be said for his endorsement of the 28 G versus the 28 D. Like primeshooter has already mentioned, he's not an anti-modernist if he sees true improvement in modern design. In fact, he has openly acknowledged that wide angle lens designs as a category have seen some of the greatest improvement in the last dozen years.

He's not even a "low element count" guy unless it is with regards to normal primes (35mm-400mm). I just watched his video today where he segments wide angle lenses under 35mm and zoom lenses as inherently needing more elements than a normal prime. Hence his ability to also endorse the twenty element 200-500 5.6G in the "zoom lens" category.

Anyway, the only point I wanted to make here is that independent of the cause of the shift, he was right about the presence of the color shift.

Cats-eye bokeh is an issue with any f/1.4 lens. There's no point in getting excited about an issue that's been with us for decades.

Yes, yes, I already acknowledged cats-eye bokeh is a common problem when Hogne brought that up. The Petzvahl-like swirly bokeh, however, is unique and was correctly identified first by TAP. We ought to give him credit for this.

  • Flat images - Confirmed. First by numerous flat 105E examples from Art Jacks and Fotoinfo which originally raised the rendering concern, secondly by you when you adjusted the exposure on the resurrection plant photos showing the 105E as dead flat next to the 3D pop of the 105DC, lastly by Derek Z once again in string of nicely composed but utterly flat examples here:

How can something which isn't defined, be confirmed? None of the TAP lackeys in your camp have come up with any kind of unambiguous, objective criterion to use. But that is exactly what I am trying to get to, and I will have more examples for the 2D depth impressionists to gawk at, to rule out various potential mechanisms.

I don't know if we can all ever agree to a common definition of 3D pop, nor quantify it, as the perception of it resides entirely in the brain. To me it is simply one or more depth cues acting alone or multiplicatively in a 2D image that become strong enough to create the perception of three dimensional depth within a 2D medium. As the process of depth perception requires the brain to cognitively recognize and correlate various combinations of flat depth cues instantly on viewing, it does not surprise me at all that not everyone has 3D pop perception ability. It's kind of like how I can't cross my eyes to merge a side by side stereo image. I do think one can train the brain to better recognize the lens related depth cues.

The main issue that I have with Ken's bleating, is that he has extrapolated his perceptions of "flatness" to infer that the new 105 brings losses in contrast and color saturation - and exhibits flare issues ("lens milk") which he tries to suggest are absent from the classic lenses. All of those assertions are completely absurd, as I proved on my "Maligned Modernity" thread and elsewhere.

All I can say is that when you adjusted his resurrection plant photos below for exposure you accidentally brought out the flatter rendition of the 105 E. And Like I mentioned in my first impression... I did truly see better inter-tonal contrast and richer blacks in the 105 DC image on the right. The 105 E looks milkier just as postulated by TAP.

Finally, as to whether or not the 105/1.4E is truly responsible for any "flatness" as reported by a limited number of observers, the jury is still out - at least mine is.

Sure, the lens is still relatively new to market. I probably reacted a little strongly this morning as I woke up to Derek Z's photos which became the flat icing on the cake for me. I'm now more than ever convinced that the 105E has both a flat rendering of the subject on the focus plane and behind that it casts a relatively flat bokeh background (at least at f/1.4). To get 3D pop out of this lens one might well have to stack as many other, non-lens related depth cues together in the image and then post-process the file heavily like that Romanian Nikon Ambassador did.

Against the stark review accuracy by TAP,

That's a new low for you - calling outright lies, distortions, fabrications, misrepresentations and invalid extrapolations "stark accuracy." Ken has the worst reporting accuracy of any reviewer that I know. If you still think he's accurate, I'll enumerate a list of outright lies he spouted on his video that was directed at me personally (his forum "warriors" video, which seems to have been taken down very recently).

Sorry, I only meant his accuracy with regard to those 3 correct findings he made about the 105E. This wasn't a blanket endorsement of anything and everything TAP has said. Like I acknowledged... he's a vulgar shock jock and, as such, given to some melodrama. I watch his videos with serious scrutiny but also can't throw the baby out with the bathwater if he's right.


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