3D Pop Lenses - Are Older Better?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
absquatulate Senior Member • Posts: 9,329
Re: Interesting, but nope.

em jo photo wrote:

You suggest a very interesting theory, but . . .

At least in the Nikon world, nearly all of the lenses reputed to project "3D Pop" have tiny front elements. And many of them aren't all that fast.

The 35mm f/2D, which is the poster child of the 3D-poppers: 52mm front element. And again, not the fastest--f/2.

The 28mm f/2.8D? 52mm front element. Definitely not the fastest--f/2.8.

The 85mm f/1.8D? 62mm front element. Not huge.

Even the 50mm f/1.4D? Well, you finally get the wide f/1.4 aperture, but it's still only a 52mm front element.

The "3D Pop" business has been debated a thousand times in the Nikon forums, and the only consistent thing I note is the inconsistency of the "3D Pop" club. They say its about lens designs with fewer elements . . . but then you see their rigs and they're all adding glass with UV filters. Or they say it's all about designs that don't use aspherical shapes, but then they bumble into gushing about the "Pop" they get from lenses like Nikon 28mm f/1.4D, one of Nikon's premier polished aspheric designs.

The whole "3D Pop" thing really is nothing more than a few loud ignoramuses indulging wish-fulfillment fantasies about being smarter, more discerning photographers than they are, or about cheap or old lenses being better than they are.

It's a dodge against learning real things about photography. Why go through the hard work of setting up shoots, working with talent or waiting out locations, cultivating complicated ideas, enduring failures, checking your ego, and trying again, when you can just pretend you've already arrived, and you're already so fantastic that you discern a "dimensionality" from some equipment that actual, better photographers do not?

Give me a break.

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

This is just an idea - nothing else. This effect may contribute to what is perceived as "3-D effect" or "pop" in images.

When you use different binoculars, you notice that 3-d effect depends on the distance between the objectives (lenses): larger distance (stereo base) produces more distinctive stereo effect.

Similar, but not the same effect (because there is only one, not two images) can be related to the photo lens diameter, especially when shooting at short distances (portraits, macro, etc.). Larger lens can "see" more of your subject. Therefore, faster lenses with larger front elements, in combination with shallow DOF, can produce better "pop" effect. The picture below is grossly exaggerated to illustrate the effect:

There is an extra dimensionality with some shots, there's no doubt about it, sometimes it's to do with dof, sometimes flash, sometimes contrast, usually a combination of all three. Some lenses are better for displaying it, and that's usually to do with dof and they way out of focus areas are rendered, two lenses that spring to mind are the Canon 135mm F2 and the Takumar (67) 105mm F2.4.

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