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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 05 Aug 2011 (Friday) 10:19
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Too sharp

 
edge100
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Aug 05, 2011 13:55 |  #31

absplastic wrote in post #12883176 (external link)
Photoshop has made things like the 135mm soft-focus lens into interesting historical curiosity pieces. Even more specifically, the Presence->Clarity slider in Lightroom (try it on a portrait if you haven't). The "soft focus" wasn't out-of-focus softness, it was deliberately introduced spherical aberration. Before this neat lens existed, there were filters and even just the old pantyhose over the lens trick...

Yep.

The question remains, why would you want to carry a lens that captured anything less than the maximum achievable amount of detail? There are tricks to throwing away detail, if you'd like, including, but not limited to, post production...which, to me, seems like the easiest way to go, though apparently some people puke at the very sight of the Photoshop flash screen.

Get one sharp lens at your desired focal length(s), and use it, then decide, on a per photo basis, what detail is wanted/needed. I can't for the life of me see why you'd want to do anything else.


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bohdank
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Aug 05, 2011 14:42 |  #32

The soft focus lenses are remnants of film days where most people did not or could not do their own printing, especially color. There really was no possible way for most people to get a "soft" look other than using certain filters. I doubt these lenses sold in any quantity for this feature. They were also relatively inexpensive.

I see no reason for these lenses to exist in the digital age.


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edge100
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Aug 05, 2011 14:51 |  #33

bohdank wrote in post #12883485 (external link)
The soft focus lenses...{snip}

I see no reason for these lenses to exist in the digital age.

You're forgetting about that entire cohort of photographers who are so allergic to post processing that they can't selectively blur their image. :rolleyes:


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Aug 05, 2011 14:55 |  #34

I didn't expect this discussion to get so heated, but that seems to always the case on potn when persons are passionate about their point. With everything that has been said especially after seeing the example of the Zeiss 100 @ f2.0 by IvanKutsarov I can say personally that I like to know my lens are very sharp and that I can soften afterwards were necessary in PS. Granted you generally want a sharp image unless but not to sharp especially when it come to portraits.


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TheBurningCrown
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Aug 05, 2011 15:12 |  #35

I haven't heard anyone mention this, so I'll be the one to say it. There is a big difference between "detail" and "false detail," and in some cases what we call "sharpness" can simply be the latter.

edge100 wrote in post #12883531 (external link)
You're forgetting about that entire cohort of photographers who are so allergic to post processing that they can't selectively blur their image.

Ever heard of a photojournalist?


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edge100
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Aug 05, 2011 15:15 |  #36

TheBurningCrown wrote in post #12883638 (external link)
Ever heard of a photojournalist?

Sure have. Well done taking my point completely out of its intended (and only relevant) context.

I get that photojournalists can't do extensive editing to images, but tell me, where are these photojournalists who need to have un-sharp photos? Are there thousands of PJs running around with jars of vaseline to spread over their UV filters? Is the EF 135 soft focus lens selling like crazy to photo departments around the world? :rolleyes:

The point is that I'm not sure what photographer (a) can't edit in post and (b) needs to have un-sharp photos. These would be people for whom a lens could, indeed, be too sharp. However, I'm not sure these people exist.


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TheBurningCrown
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Aug 05, 2011 15:26 |  #37

edge100 wrote in post #12883657 (external link)
Sure have. Well done taking my point completely out of its intended (and only relevant) context.
...
The point is that I'm not sure what photographer (a) can't edit in post and (b) needs to have un-sharp photos. These would be people for whom a lens could, indeed, be too sharp. However, I'm not sure these people exist.

I don't believe I have. Photojournalists in some cases do need to take portraits, and based on their profession and code of ethics which dictates that they not edit, could result in an image that may in fact be too "sharp" to a point where it is unflattering towards the subject.

Though I do understand your point.


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edge100
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Aug 05, 2011 15:31 |  #38

TheBurningCrown wrote in post #12883718 (external link)
I don't believe I have. Photojournalists in some cases do need to take portraits, and based on their profession and code of ethics which dictates that they not edit, could result in an image that may in fact be too "sharp" to a point where it is unflattering towards the subject.

Though I do understand your point.

Yeah, the point is that this is a very, very limited set of photographers.

For virtually everyone else, capturing as much sharpness as possible is almost always preferable.


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TheBurningCrown
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Aug 05, 2011 15:33 |  #39

edge100 wrote in post #12883744 (external link)
Yeah, the point is that this is a very, very limited set of photographers.

I'm not sure I agree on that. Nearly every photojournalist I've talked to has had to do something like that at least once.

Film photographers (of which there are still quite a few!) also don't have that luxury.

edge100 wrote in post #12883744 (external link)
For virtually everyone else, capturing as much sharpness as possible is almost always preferable.

How much of that "sharpness" is actually false detail, however, has yet to be discussed.


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IvanKutsarov
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Aug 05, 2011 15:36 |  #40

Guys, my English is pretty bad somehow ,but, its not always about sharpness, yes i do like my Ziess sharpness, but as i said its not always about sharpness, there are ofcourse another charachteristicks like boken, OOF rendering and colors, my Zeiss is excellent in every one of these, but first off, its about a composition, photography view, and ofc a subject! Its not always about lens, you can deliver exceptional restults even by using a kit 18-55 lens, its about your viewing of interesting right moment + composition sense, there is no lns + camera cobination that woult made you a professional photographer, its all about a personal sense!


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TheBurningCrown
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Aug 05, 2011 15:38 |  #41

Very true Ivan - but I think this topic is supposed to be solely about measuring how much sharpness we like :lol:.


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Aug 05, 2011 16:10 |  #42

I don't get how intentionally choosing a lens that's soft is ethically different than doing it post.

Maybe the last generation of photogs needs to retire or something, but I simply don't get how lines can be drawn so arbitrarily in the world of photojournalism.


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TheBurningCrown
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Aug 05, 2011 16:24 |  #43

Sp1207 wrote in post #12883976 (external link)
I don't get how intentionally choosing a lens that's soft is ethically different than doing it post.

The former is the camera influencing the scene, the latter is the photographer influencing the image. So to speak.

Point being: photojournalists understand that the camera necessarily impacts the scene and manipulates how it is portrayed. Because changing the image in post that way is ethically gray, it isn't allowed. In my experience, anything more than dodging/burning (and digitally THAT can be a stretch) is unethical. The camera NEEDS to be at the scene and influence it, so why not make the most of it that you can?

You don't have to understand the philosophy to realize that it exists.


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Aug 05, 2011 16:44 as a reply to  @ TheBurningCrown's post |  #44

Point being: photojournalists understand that the camera necessarily impacts the scene and manipulates how it is portrayed. Because changing the image in post that way is ethically gray, it isn't allowed. In my experience, anything more than dodging/burning (and digitally THAT can be a stretch) is unethical. The camera NEEDS to be at the scene and influence it, so why not make the most of it that you can?

So what's the problem? There are plenty of cheap soft lenses for them to choose from:)

But I don't see that your point about pping applies to anyone other than photojournalists. Plus I've never seen a news photo - web - television or print that I thought was too sharp


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Aug 05, 2011 17:20 as a reply to  @ Frugal's post |  #45

My lens ain't that sharp; it's old. So what. People who have a problem with this aren't my target audience.

Now, on a fundamental level, if one is trying to suck up every bit of detail possible, then I agree, get as much as you can, and then let post processing blur out what you want. This is particularly true if you are talking about resolution…a sharpening filter cannot sharpen what is not there.

My point, however, is that some folks aren't bent on extracting every little bit of detail that is out there. And this is OK.

Anyway, with HDR and other effects, it won't be long before photographers start killing themselves because reality is no longer sharp enough.


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