Re: [OM] lens "contrast"; keystoning; SCSI card

Subject: Re: [OM] lens "contrast"; keystoning; SCSI card
From: "Giles" <cnocbui@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 00:14:21 +0000
*- DORIS - give me a lomo any day - FANG -* wrote:

> ranges when there's nothing on the negative. Look back at the images that
> have made  photographic history, and what you're looking at are "muddy
> shadows" and degraded images. There's more to it than mere contrast, too.
> The correction of spherical aberration has a marked effect on the quality
> of the images it produces.

This is certainly true, however, had those images been made with modern, 
high contrast lenses, we would likely still hold the resulting images in 
awe.  I think we are usually more struck by the artistry of these images 
and their historical perspective, in many cases, than their technical 

>   Ever look at Weston's prints ? The main portion of his work was
> done with a decidedly 'inferior' lens for its day. If you read Ansel
> Adams he was mortified that Edward Weston continued to use the lens and
> even offered him a better one (EW refused).

Now this is a bit of red herring, isn't it? ;-)

I can't obviously read Weston's mind but a little observation of human 
nature leads me to suspect that his eschewing of the proffered lens may 
have as easily had something to do with ego as a perception that his own 
lens gave him preferred results.

Imagine he had accepted the offer.  Adams might have been able to claim 
credit for showing him the way to 'improved' images.  If Adams had 
declared them to be 'improved' then that is how others probably would have 
perceived them.

I am not for a second trying to say that I think this would or might have 
happened or that Adams was anything but a generous bloke, just that non 
Weston might have had aspects of the offer to consider other than the 
qualities of the lenses in question.

Putting that aside, is there anything wrong with Adams' own work given 
he used better lenses?

What we are admiring is the vision and artistry of the practitioners, not 
their gear.  Had Weston used Adams' 'better' lens, I doubt we would be 
shaking our heads in dismay saying the resulting images sucked.

Give these guys a Fuji disposable wide angle 35mm and they would probably 
still blow us away.

With OMs, we are talking about 35mm, not MF or LF.  'We' need all the help 
we can get ;-)

> towards William's ideal ? How many OM designs are post-1990 ? 
>                          Ahem.

Law of diminishing returns.  How much have cars improved in their 
technical capabilities since the mid seventies?  Aside from safety 
features, not a whole lot IMO.  (no OT thread please - flame me 

Any lens designed with the aid of a computer should probably be 
considered modern and down right state of the art if it has a variety of 
glass types used in its construction.  Many Zuikos meet these criteria.  
This might sound woefully chauvinistic but I think we would likely see 
only very small improvements in post-1990 designs due to the law of 
diminishing returns.  Canon are doing some interesting things (IS, 
diffraction gratings) but these are more to do with usability factors 
rather than improvements in the optics.

When one looks at the last few lenses Olympus did produce they are all 
pretty high contrast lenses - 35-80/2.8, 90/2, 100/2, 180/2, 250/2, 350/2. 
Even the 500/8 is high contrast for its type.

>   Besides, are we to think that Our Father Maitani made INFERIOR lenses ?
> Wash your keyboard with soap ! The range of OM optics offers variety for
> a reason.  There is beauty in designs that offer something for everyone.

I think the variety, in terms of their being lower contrast Zuikos, is a 
historical side effect rather than a grand plan by Maitani (genuflect, 
genuflect...all hail!).  I don't think any of the lenes we have identified 
as having lower contrast are available new, or have been for some time.  I 
think they were mostly replaced with higher contrast successors.

My personal preference is to have high contrast lenses and then do 
contrast adjustment via the type of film I use.

I recently came in from the cold outside with my 35-80/2.8 and took some 
photos of my daughter.  The resulting photos have an appealing soft and 
low contrast look to them, reminiscent of a 50/1.4.  Can you guess why?


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