New Leica Images

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by gary voth, Apr 24, 2002.

  1. I hope the moderators will forgive this blatant plug, but I have posted new content to my site that features some Leica M photography.
    This article, a paean to the classic 50mm lens, is not strictly targetted at Leica users, though some of you may find it interesting as it probably validates your own approaches to photography.
    Enjoy.
     
  2. Another great article. Keep them coming! I am going to bookmark this
    and refer all the people at photo.net who ask the "which 28-300 cheap
    zoom should i buy question" to read it - they'll probably ingnore
    your advice because a plain 50 isn't as sexy as a 28-300 in their
    eyes, but at least when they finally realize their 28-300 isn't very
    good they'll know better.
     
  3. Nice Gary. I posted a link to your article on my Nikon site. There
    are a lot of people there that never saw a lens faster than f/4-5.6.

    <p>

    Those nice side-lit photos in your article might make them stow that
    pop-up flash and re-think things.
     
  4. Gary - on my browser (NS v4.7) some of your images float over the
    accompanying text, making the essay impossible to read in parts.<P>

    Also, might be time to start photographing different topics and
    subjects? I know every parent is deeply fascinated by their own
    children, but don't assume this for the public at large. :?)
     
  5. pcg

    pcg

    Gary, nicely done & an eye-opener for many, I'm sure.
     
  6. Thanks. I'll look into the Netscape/Unix issue. Probably had my
    target browser settings configured incorrectly. (I think I know the
    problem.)

    <p>

    Andrew, yes, the pix in this article are of my family (although only
    one image in the Noctilux review was), but my specific interest in
    this piece was in helping less experienced photographers understand
    there is something better than a slow zoom lens for making pictures
    of their own families. For other subject matter, feel free to
    explore my gallery.
     
  7. Very nice article and very valuable demonstration Gary…

    <p>

    Smack on the problem in the controversy between buying a bad zoom
    lens or a valuable 50mm so called “standard lens” on a 35 mm camera.

    <p>

    However, and as useful as can be a 50 mm on what base was it called
    a standard lens?

    <p>

    The truth is a standard lens for any format is generally considered
    more or less equal the diagonal of the format in focal length. In
    terms of angle covered (diagonally) it is always more or less
    equivalent to 45°. But everything is widely approximate here. The
    diagonal of our 35 mm camera image is 43mm (not 50) and if I
    correctly remember what angle was covered by a 43 mm it is something
    between 50° (this value is the one covered by the Nikon 45mm lens)
    and 55°… I assume nearer to 55°. It may explain why many
    photographers prefers the 35mm than the 50 mm as their standard and
    more useful lens (and why as aptly put by the author in his article
    it sometimes give the impression to have a small tele-lens more than
    a strictly standard one.

    <p>

    In fact if we compare the angle covered by a 35 mm so 62° and the
    angle covered by a 50 mm so 45° to the 55° (or so) covered by a 43
    mm lens, We see the 50 mm covers about ten degrees less than the 43
    mm and the 35 mm covers about 7° more. In practice, it seems we can
    consider the 43 mm lens is more or less exactly in the middle in
    between the field covered by the 35 mm and the one covered by the 50
    mm. So the 50 mm appears a bit in excess in field reduction form the
    field covered by a lens having exactly the diagonal of the format
    and the 35 mm being a tad in excess in increase of the field covered
    by this “ideal” standard lens.

    <p>

    So to say, the 35 mm “wide angle” is in fact as near to the ideal 43
    mm “real standard” as is the “short tele-lens” of 50 mm… And it
    explains why the 35 mm doesn’t show much of the characteristic
    modifications of the perspective which characterizes the true wide
    angles. As it explains why the perspective offered by the 50 mm lens
    is considered standard vision like despite it is in fact a very
    short tele-lens.

    <p>

    The choice between the two lenses as a “standard by defect” is
    however more a personal affair than something which could be
    demonstrated scientifically. Each of them has its own plus and
    minus. For example the increased DOF of a 35 mm may be a liability
    or an asset depending on the circumstances and the required effect.
    In the excellent shots accompanying the article, I remarked Gary has
    carefully and wisely used for its subject the absence of DOF to
    isolate the main subject without definitely eliminating the context.
    To me it is perhaps where the 50 mm is the most cleverly used and
    can give the observer the desire to buy or to re-use a 50 mm.
    Despite the author refers continually to the SLR cameras of wider
    diffusion than our rangefinders, it seems to me this way to use a 50
    mm is really a rangefinder camera business. This article really
    gives me the desire to buy as soon as possible a 50mm Summicron… The
    emphasize the author put on the indoor performances of these lens
    (which combines the clever use of limited DOF and the necessities of
    the ambient light level) is also very welcome. In a certain way it
    confirms my reflection on the proper use of a 50mm as a mainly
    indoor semi-selective lens (semi-selective as it permits to put the
    emphasize on the subject properly without negating its environment).
    By the way, I have the feeling the 75mm can do the same outdoors
    when it is possible to have more distance between the camera and the
    subject. But as far as I’m concerned (may be because I’m myopic and
    see the things around more “wide angle” than a standard eye when I
    wear my glasses) I’m still sticking to the 35 mm to render a subject
    as seen with my eyes.

    <p>

    The question of the link between the human vision and the so-called
    standard lenses is also something subjected to debate. I remember
    reading many years ago in a French magazine (Photo-Cine Revue), long
    gone now, a very interesting article about the human vision (excepts
    the perception of depth which is linked to the binocular – or if you
    prefer stereoscopic – nature of it). From this article, it seems our
    total angle of vision is far more than any usual wide angle (180° +)
    but the angle we can see the things with maximum definition hardly
    exceeds 30°… Hence, more or less the field covered by a 85 to 90 mm
    lens. Of course we compensate for this limited high resolution field
    by the movements of our eyes and the brain does the rest. But the
    author of this article argued that one can legitimately call a 90 mm
    a more natural lens than a 50mm when referring to the human eye
    perception.

    <p>

    May I join myself to some others requiring Gary to issue us many
    more articles of this quality.

    <p>

    François P. WEILL
     
  8. Thankyou for the very informative webpage. It is people like you
    that make surfing the net very interesting and...ADDICTIVE
     
  9. Thanks for all the comments so far.

    <p>

    Francois (and others): in no way should this article be construed as
    an essay on the "best" focal length, particularly for Leica
    shooters. I love the 35mm focal length which I prefer for
    environmental portraits among other subjects!

    <p>

    Re. the issue on what is a "normal" focal length: I agree this is
    open to debate. I merely referred to it that way because it seemeed
    the easiest way to convey information for a non-technical reader
    (plus, this is how I remember all my basic texts on photography
    describing it). Probably what is "normal" for any of us is the focal
    length that best matches our creative vision.

    <p>

    Good shooting.
     
  10. Thanks again Gary,

    <p>

    Now look what you've done :)
    I am now wondering if I should have a Summicron to join the Noct!

    <p>

    Greg
     
  11. Gary,

    <p>

    Thanks for the excellent article. Just yesterday an experienced user
    was wondering on photo.net if he should switch to primes from using
    only AFS zooms! The article, with its pictures, speaks louder than
    any mere discussion forum posting. Now we can all point to your
    article to clinch an argument ;-)
     
  12. Good pictures, Gary. They remind me of the work Ken Heyman did with
    Margaret Mead on families worldwide.

    <p>

    My Netscape 4.75 also 'stacks' the pictures over each other and over
    text - but this also happens when I go to Steve Gandy's cameraquest
    site on some pages. I was able to read enough to get the gist - which
    is well-written and well-structured.

    <p>

    Regarding the 'normality' of the 50mm lens - there are arguments/
    research available that make the cases that any lens from a 28 to a 105
    is "normal" for 35mm in terms of matching human visual perception - the
    'diagonal of the film' concept is probably just as arbitrary as
    Barnack's decision to choose the 50 (anybody know the history of how
    the 50 WAS chosen?).

    <p>

    Presumably Niepce and Daguerre had to make a choice of focal length for
    their first cameras, with NO previous standards to work from except
    artists' "cameras obscura" - I suspect they just found lenses already
    available that projected an image the right size for their film format
    and used 'em - regardless of whether they was 'wide', 'long', or
    'normal' by present-day standards.
     
  13. Gary, i think you have successfully conveyed the message to the
    intended audience of your article. those people who critize the
    images either didn't read the article, or they didn't understand
    it...tough luck.
     
  14. An excellent article Gary plus excellent pictures to convey the
    message. Regards,

    <p>

    Ed
     
  15. Thanks Gary, another good article!
     
  16. Nicely done. I fwd'ed it to a friend who's in the mkt for a P&S and
    can't decide between a zoom or a fixed focal length.

    <p>

    Anything to complicate a decision, I always say...
     
  17. Re. the browser issue: the page renders perfectly on my system using
    Netscape 6.2.2. I don't, unfortunatley, have any older versions of
    Netscape to try it with. (Anyone know where I can find an install
    point for an older Netscape version?)

    <p>

    FWIW, techically the page uses fairly standard table and cascading
    style sheet tags that are *supposed* to be compatible with all
    version 4 and later browsers... It's built with FrontPage, but I've
    looked at the native HTML, and it looks okay to me. (I would like to
    fix it though.)
     
  18. Nevermind, I found the Netscape browser archive:
    http://sillydog.webhanger.com/narchive/fulldata.html

    <p>

    I'll experiment with this and see what I can do.
     
  19. Some great comments, thank you.

    <p>

    I did change the definition of "normal lens" from one based on angle
    of view to one based on perspective, which is more what I meant.
    (It's clear that the angle of view of the human eye cannot easily be
    equated to that of any lens, because the reasons cited.)

    <p>

    Update on the browser issue: unfortunately, I've determined that my
    entire site is not being rendered properly by Netscape 4x (floating
    graphics are not the only problem).

    <p>

    The new Mozilla-based Netscape 6 handles it fine, as does IE. Since
    the problems are specific to older versions of Netscape, I'm not
    sure it is practical for me to fix (sorry). I've posted a disclaimer
    and a link to the Netscape 6.2.2 install point. (It's actually quite
    a nice piece of software.)

    <p>

    Good shooting.
     
  20. The new Mozilla-based Netscape 6 handles it fine, as does IE. Since the problems are specific to older versions of Netscape, I'm not sure it is practical for me to fix (sorry). I've posted a disclaimer and a link to the Netscape 6.2.2 install point. (It's actually quite a nice piece of software.)
    I advise you to deal with this rather than just sweep it under the "works fine for me" carpet as there are literally millions of users with NS v4 browsers.
    The common standard for www developers is NS v4.7 & MSIE v5.
    (I write here wearing my professional html & cgi coder's hat...)
     

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