Re: [OM] New additions to the Living History Farm

Subject: Re: [OM] New additions to the Living History Farm
From: Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2020 13:58:47 -0800
> Simply by framing the shot relative to the background and using a longer 
> lens, subject is isolated well. This probably qualifies as 3Dish, but not 
> 3D-Popish?

One one neat thing that I love about the old OM Zuiko 100/2.8 lens is
an odd trait where there is a very slight dimming of the image beyond
the set focus point. It's not much, but it is there. This dimming
creates a brightness differential which brings the subject forward in
the resulting image. This is a trait that is not discussed around fine
company and is probably best reserved for bar conversation.

I'm thinking through several optical "flaws", ie,
traits/characteristics, that can contribute to the unique way a lens
will "draw" the image onto the sensor or film. I started typing a
bunch of things here, but deleted it and will just summarize by saying
that maximum artistry is achieved through the exploitation of
technological flaws, not through the exploitation of technical
perfection. We CAN achieve perfect DOF that covers an entire image,
front-to-back. But is that desirable if there is no means of creating

Think of the other reflective visual art - Paintings. With paintings,
the artist is not confined to optical characteristics of a lens, only
the visual system of the human eye. Dimensionality is achieved through
brightness changes (subject is lighter than the background). It is
also achieved through texture and surface reflectance, as well as
simulated texture by placing thin highlight and shadow lines on the
subject to give the illusion that it's actually a raised portion of
the surface of the painting. But most telling is that artists pretty
much always paint the background first and then paint the subject on
top of the background. Even if it's only a slight overlap.

> Ken started this line of discussion with his comment on the 14-35/2. Due to 
> his overly developed discipline of budgetary gas self-denial, he does not 
> have the lens in hand to help us work this out. So we suffer from 
> anecdotal-ness.

True dat. The CDFO does a very good job of keeping my GAS under
control. It's a good thing, it really is. My "holy war" against buying
camera stuff is actually based on real financial need. :)  And on a
positive note, I get to be an expert on all things not current.
Selling off the darkroom stuff paid for my Four-Thirds acquisitions
this year. It's all good, wonderful, and all that. However, to be fair
and honest, I'm 100% cutting edge and forward thinking when it comes
to my day job as a Telecom Engineer. I geek out on all things
fiber-optic and design scary-modern stuff. Unfortunately, I can't talk
much about it because of NDAs and security concerns. When it comes to
photography, there is no such issue.

I think the way to generically describe the 14-35/2 is to say that
it's very much like the OM Zuiko 35-80/2.8, but with significantly
less LCA.

Some older lenses have a heavily serrated edge (non-round) shape to
the aperture blades. I think as a general rule, these lenses produce a
more "flawed" image than a rounded aperture, but I think image is more
dimensional because the edge of the in-focus subject is represented by
more than one effective lense characteristic. If, say, the serration
varies across what would be two or three stops of aperture diameter
(but averaged to the chosen aperture), then the image will have the
characteristics of all two or three stops of aperture diameter. Where
the aperture is located within the lens also affects the image.

In the world of macro photography, things sometimes get a bit
different than they do with normal photography. Not all magnifications
are created equal. Take, a 50mm lens on FF 35MM sensor/film, and with
50mm of lens extension we get a 1:1 subject size on sensor. 100mm with
100mm of extension also does, but with greatly increased working
distance. If we take the 50mm lens, extend it 25mm and then mount it
on a 2X teleconverter, we get 1:1. However, the image will NOT look
the same as the 100mm image. It'll look like a 50mm image cropped. But
if we take the 50mm lens, mount it on the 2X teleconverter and then
the pair 100mm out, we get about the same image as the 100mm image.
Just by changing the position of the lens elements and extension, we
achieve two totally different results. Modern lenses with IF (internal
focusing) are doing just this. Most modern lenses have a form of
teleconverter (or diopter group) built in that is behind the focus
mechanism that selects the overall magnification (crop) of the image
being passed onto the film/sensor, but the overall optical look/feel
is achieved in the front portion of the lens.

> I assume that is the Oly 12-60 kit lens, not the PL 12-60?

Yes. My experience with either of the m43 12-60 lenses have been only
in limited store-testing and looking through other people's cameras.

AG Schnozz
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