15K lens vs Human eye

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by hjoseph7, Jan 1, 2022.

  1. No matter how sophisticated and expensive these camera lenses get, they just can't match the human eye when it comes to sophistication. At first I thought it was mostly 'Dynamic Range' that was lagging in camera/lenses, which we all know is a huge issue in photography, but now that I'm delving into Real Estate photography where angles, perspective and lighting are very important, I'm starting to learn about the limitations of these lenses.

    Of course our eyes can't see things like far-off planets in the night sky, Nebula and distant Galaxies. Our eyes cannot see the sweat running from an athletes forehead 300 yards away, our eyes can't see the hairs on a spiders legs, or the various microscopic bacteria and fungi that inhabit our world, but when it comes to everyday things, there is NO match between what we can see and what the camera sees.

    When it comes to dynamic range, which is the range between light and dark in a scene, the camera and lens seem to over emphasize whichever is the strongest light or dark ? When it comes to 3D it is very difficult to try to display something that is 3 dimensional on a flat 2 dimensional surface without going through all types of mental gymnastics and skillful manipulations. Artists and painters have been dealing with this problem for ages. Our eyes have no problems with these things.

    Suppose I see a lamp which is about 5 feet from me in my living room, behind the lamp is a couch which is about 7 feet from me, next to me is my cup of coffee which is about 1 foot from me, my eyes have no problems with this scene. Everything is in perfect focus and with 3 dimensional clarity ! Now if I tried to take a picture of this scene, (my lamp, my couch, my cup off coffee), I would have all kinds of distortions and focusing problems without the use of skillful lighting effects, sophisticated software, expensive lenses, photo experience, whatever, it just would not be easy.

    Our eyes have the ability to seamlessly go from wide angle to Tele focus in the blink of an eye without any bizarre distortions. There are no 'Blinkies' when we come across a scene with high dynamic range ! I can look up at a tall building without the bottom jutting out and the top shrinking. Of course our eyes are limited to certain things. My eyes need the help of a magnifying glass to read certain things... yet they still outmatch any lens that has ever been built so far, even if that lens cost 15K or more!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
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  2. I was in the dark standing round at 2 am at a Bikers' Mardi Gras celebration. A couple came to stand near me. I could not see them well. The gal squatted down which looked kinda odd. Could not see much, thought she was peeing. I had my infrared camera with IR flash...so I took a photo to see what they were doing. No pee, just squat.

    IR flash let me see in the dark where my eyes could not see.
  3. Every reason why a photographer most often interprets a scene rather than precisely recreating it. It’s up to photographers to work with the tools they’ve got to convey what they need or want to convey. Thought, skill, and creative adaptability are consistently helpful in order to provide the viewer with something of value.
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  4. As for the couch and coffee, that's not really true. Behind the eye is the brain, which is very good at blending multiple glances into what you think is a wonderful image. There's an awful lot of image processing going on, probably optimized for survival over the last how many years.
  5. Our eyes are tele, wide angle and macro all in one ... and swivel to view panoramas ... All in 3D. Can't beat that. One day the scientists might find a way to implant a sensor behind the eyes then we can download the images via a plug socket in the side of our temple. You never know!
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  6. Cameras probably will catch up to dynamic range, w/ an organic flexible lens, computing power to do the required brains involvement in eyesight, w/prints that fill our field of vision, etc. but there will still? be one characteristic that elevates and sets the camera apart from our eyesight. It has captivated & often amazed us from the beginning.... the ability to still & capture & save a moment. Using to remember, admire, inform or express ourselves creatively. And share.
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  7. Any reduction in complexity (from 3D -> 2D, say) is, paradoxically, gonna lead to hard stuff. Google “map projections” for examples. But, as Sam says, photography makes it easier for us and puts the onus on the photographer.
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  8. Simple would you sell your eye for 15K? Of course not so how can you even compare?
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  9. Some years ago I read a very enlightening book, "Eye and Brain", by R. L. Gregory. It's astonishing how powerfully the human eye and brain work together to generate our vision of the world. In particular, the enormous dynamic range, the perception of colour, and the way eye and brain work together to handle movement, both of the subject, and of the person and the eye itself.
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  10. The human eye is a poor optical instrument of about 25mm focal length and a maximum aperture of about f4. It contains about 100 million sensors of different kinds in different places. There is a completely blind spot near the centre of vision. The optical image formed by the cornea and lens is sharp-ish over a very small field of view. The eye is not stationary but flickers over the field of view in rapid movements called saccades.

    The real magic happens in the brain where the output of the eye is processed. Everything we think we see has been edited, stitched, and HDR-ed before the brain decides to present it to our consciousness. And the editing, stitching, and HDR-ing cannot, by effort of will, be turned off.

    It is possible to speculate that the popularity of digital picture making is in part due to how really well it can replicate the experience of human vision.
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  11. A digital camera with a small sensor and a good lens should work.
  12. I'm amazed at the current sophistication of good real estate photography. The bar has been raised very high over the last decade or so.
  13. I have a new camera and lense and I have been trying to see how to make it capture an image I see with one I closed to eliminate the two eye 3D effect.

    I find for closeup scenes( 3 dishes with seashells) and close up that I can find a focal length and f-stop( maybe F4-F5.6) .The background is a window with blinds closed and the outside light is low due to cloud cover. What I notice is the out of focus transition is very different. With my eye the focus area with details is round in shape. The camera sees a rectangle. As my eye image goes out of focus if I keep the center area focused I seem to be able to match the immediate area with the f-stops mentioned. However at those f-stops the blinds about 5 feet away are way more out of focus and lacking detail in the camera than compared to my eye. So it seems not possible to match the rate(?) of out of focus as the eye seems non-linear?

    Also if i have the light level low then the above f-stop seems good for the immediate out of focus area. At higher light levels the lense needs stopping down, I believe this is mimicing the pupil of the eye closing.
  14. Interesting discourse. Interesting also, that we humans tend to want to quantify(?) things in terms of us vs it? As in "the Human Eye vs a 15.000$ lens"... In my view, it's no contest, yet I applaud the curiosity, imagination, & energy to conceive of such comparisons!

    I agree, however, that the real star is the human brain. My theory is the eye sends our brain subconscious messages on everything thing we see- things we don't even know we've seen. These messages are stored in the brain- our entire lifetime's sights (and sounds and smells too for that matter) in our subconscious memory banks. "All" we have to do is access these "memories"!

    That said, I'm of the opinion that photography was never intended to match the human eye. Nor will it- or should it ever attempt to do so. Photography as a medium is infinitely useful just the same- in its ability (as already noted) to appeal to our emotions, to capture our imaginations. Voigtlander, in particular, is capitalizing on this subjectivity in their "Vintage Line" lenses- building so-called "character" and "imperfections" into these lenses to emulate... the past? Some of these lenses are indeed based on historic lens designs- some of which date back to the early 20th century!

    Send 10 photographers out on any mission, to capture anything- and see what each brings back. From straight-up documentation to the abstract, and everything in between... each perspective is as accurate and "true" as the next. And if we were to walk through whatever the project is, our eyes & brain & subconscious mind would capture & record it all- and then some. Simultaneously cross referencing everything with sounds and smells, at the very least - providing 3 (or more?) "keys" to unlock the past at any time in the future, however near or distant. (a process not unlike triangulation to "locate" the information contained within)

    The greater, more accurate comparison might well be the "human eye & brain vs a computer"!

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