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Thursday, 02 August 2018

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They say: "Its unique 19 elements, 14 groups construction incorporates extra-low dispersion, aspherical, and high refractive index elements to significantly reduce both chromatic and spherical aberrations for notable image clarity, sharpness, and color accuracy."

And I wonder, how much of that could be addressed in software at far less expense?

My current blog post was made with a 21mm Pentax 'pancake' lens that I purchased in 2007 at a fraction of what this one costs.

I'll stick with my modest and much loved Panasonic 20mm f1.7. It is sharp, a focal length that better suits me and fast enough to use in very low light. And, as you say (infer), I doubt anyone could tell the difference between the two when looking at their monitor or an 11" x 14" print.

So. Why would anyone buy the Oly ?.

[Because it's got nineteen elements!! That's what I'm a-sayin' here. --Mike]

I would like to have a 12 cylinder Ferrari.

So, it's an equivalent of a very sharp 50 2.4 lens on a 35mm camera. As impressive as it sounds - just kiddin'. Not really that impressive.

[Nope, it's not an ƒ/2.4 lens. It's an ƒ/1.2 lens. --Mike]

The 1.2 pro lens series just makes me deeply wish for a nice 25/2.8 Tessar for my M4/3 cameras. Say for $100.

Of course it will never happen but that is all I really want.

I had never even thought about how many elements my lenses contain. I didn't even realize there are people who do care. :-) Anyway, 5 minutes ago I checked my Olympus 25mm f1.8 and it has 9. My Panasonic 20mm f1.7 has 7. My old 1976 Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 50mm f1.4 has 7. My old 1990 Minolta AF 50mm f1.7 has 6. Oh, and my first "normal" lens was the Mamiya Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f1.8 (M42) and it had 6.

"Even better, I'd buy a cutaway M.Zuiko 25mm ƒ/1.2 PRO, for my desk. 's wonderful, 's marvelous."

Make yourself a good print of the picture of the cutaway, mount it and put that on your desk.

It's probably a high-water mark for the number of glass to air surfaces too.

The coatings had better be good.

And how many cameras does a good cell phone need to for high quality pictures?

There is also a cost to all those elements, even now with nano coatings and exotic glass . I’m sure it’s a fine lens.
My nostalgic impulses cause me to keep one of these in the 24” fl
They did an amazing amount with 4 elements
https://www.pacificrimcamera.com/rl/00268/00268.pdf

Interesting post, but I'm not fully buying into it.

This seems to be, at some level, another "specs for the sake of specs" thang, like this current pre-occupation with super-fast glass to be able to achieve "millimeter-thin" planes of DOF; like that is actually useful in the real world (yeah, lets have the iris in focus and the sclera out of focus; doh!) Designed to appeal to specs geeks who are typically dealing with a major case of GAS.

Back when I started shoot pro racing with creds, I was in the market for a Canon 70-200/2.8 L, either the non-IS or the IS version. I chose the non-IS version because it was sharper than the IS version. Less elements; less chance of flare. (Side bar: And the vast majority of racing photographers don't use OIS for shooting racing anyway as it actually gets in the way, so there's another spec that can be meaningless in some real-world use-cases.)

Less elements also means simpler designs, and simpler designs typically mean less unit-to-unit variance, which means higher overall production quality (which is measured as process sigma or Cp/Cpk), which is a really good thing.

Simpler designs/less elements also means less chance of failure modes (a failure mode is anything that can go wrong).

Less failure modes means: more durability.

Durability is GOOD. I'll take durability over "specs" any day of the week.

And twice on Sunday, which is RACE DAY.

The British [Scottish! —Ed.] turntable company Linn-Sondek (which I am sure Mike is familiar with) had a tag line for many, many years: Simpler is Better

And for under $150.00 you can have the panasonic/notleica F/1.7 lens which I find superb.

It may have the field of view of a "normal" 50mm lens, but it is, in fact, a very fast f1.2, 25mm wide angle lens. This probably requires a more complex optical configuration for the desired performance.

[Nope, it's not a wide angle. It's a slightly long standard lens for the format. --Mike]

I'm afraid that the cutaway lens is created in computer graphics by now. As evidence, you can even find BUGS in the cutaways! Leica's new Super-Vario-Elmar-16-35-ASPH wide angle zoom for the SL mount has 18 elements in 12 groups. Not the record, apparently. In the data sheet, one element is missing from the cutaway drawing but seen in the engineering drawing. The internal complexity of these supercalifragilistic lenses allows moving each of the 12 groups independently as the lens is zoomed or focused (but it is still not parfocal). The new series of four APO Summicron SLs have only 11 elements in 9 groups, but they have figured out how to have the same elements in each design, with the elements differing from one lens to the next. The two focusing elements are moved separately by two motors, so no more FloatingLensElements (FLEs).

Do we have to tell you that the Cooke Triplet is the few-elements lens design (3) that correct all 7 types of aberrations?

Funny that you mention these über-lenses in conjunction with oil drilling. Those lenses and related cameras (D850, A7R3, A9, you name it) always remind me of American muscle cars at the brink of the oil crisis. The oil crisis gave us more utilitarian, more reasonable cars. Hopefully the crisis of the camera industry will bring back reasonable cameras and lenses (soft wide open, sharp 2-3 stops down, portable and affordable). Simple, utilitarian gear for people who just take pictures.

Best, Thomas

Olympus and their 410g 25mm lens; Zeiss and their 1.03kg 55mm lens...I presume none of these lens designers ever take their cameras beyond the test bench!

@ Stephen Scharf: Thanks for the great blast from the past! I actually had a Linn-Sondek turntable back in the 80's. It was a lovely work of art that I recall having to really scrimp and save to purchase.

I'll stick with my modest and much loved Panasonic 20mm f1.7. It is sharp, a focal length that better suits me and fast enough to use in very low light. And, as you say (infer), I doubt anyone could tell the difference between the two when looking at their monitor or an 11" x 14" print.

So. Why would anyone buy the Oly ?.

[Because it's got nineteen elements!! That's what I'm a-sayin' here. --Mike]

Yes Mike. I took your point. But, I'm saying why on earth would you ? ... it goes against the TOP grain !... when another lense is cheaper, lighter, smaller, in-line with the u4/3 ethos and the outputs, for all practical purposes, cannot be told apart !. To me, it is just geek consumerism ... and I did not think that that was you.

Yes the Olympus is funny. The problem is that the t stop is about the same or hair slower than the Leica/Panasonic 25mm f1.4 you post at the top.
So you pay for an f1.2 but get same amount of light as the Panasonic f1.4. Also the depth of field differences aren't that significant. What Olympus should sell on is the hood. I have the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 and its an amazing lens, but the hood is the most horrible experience ever.

As for holes. Do you mean straight down or in the open pit version. There would be a limit to an open pit. Just look at mining. You can only go so far until you need to switch from the cheaper open pit.

Here I was, a simpleton who assumed that five elements in a normal lens was...well, normal, and six elements indicated the height of design sophistication and cost.

And I'm a guy who actually has a copy of Rudolf Kingslake's book about lens design.

[Because it's got nineteen elements!! That's what I'm a-sayin' here. --Mike]

OK, got it. Oh, the excesses of a latter day plutocracy. Anyhow, all I'M saying here is that small, light and sharp is adequate, as per the stated horse-power of the old Silver Ghost RR's (https://www.scribd.com/document/33494012/Rolls-Royce-The-Phantom-Zone-by-Subroto-Mukerji). More than that - it means 'handy, durable and sharp wide open', though not weather sealed.
Enter the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 Mk 1 and the fabled M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8, tiny primes capable of nuking the much costlier and bulkier 12-35mm f2.8 II Lumix.
Sure, a zoom is a zoom is a zoom, but wherever possible, I use these two lenses (plus a little footwork), with the diminutive and vastly underestimated Lumix 14mm f2.5 (55 gms) thrown in for good measure (sort of like a Baker's Dozen, ain't it, Ed? Ha ha).

Linn Sondek British ?

SPIT, SPIT

They're Scottish

I have one M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO here. Now, does anyone have an idea how to cut it? It’s built like a tank, so it won’t be easy. Diamond? Laser? Water jet cutter perhaps? Think of it: Cutting it in two could make two people happy for the price of one!

The MicroFour Thirds system might set another record soon: 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 MFT, Cosina Voigtländer Nokton 25mm f/0.95, Fujian 25mm f/1.8, Hersmay 25mm f/1.8, Kowa Prominar 25mm f/1.8 MFT, Magic Hyper Prime 25mm f/0.95, Meike 25mm f/0.95, Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95, Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO, Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 Asph., Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Asph., Pixco 25mm f/1.8, SLR Magic 25mm T/0.95, Venes 25mm f/1.8, Veydra Mini Prime 25mm T 2.2, Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95…

Am I the only one who really likes the panileica f1.4 (nearly as fast) in the first picture? Works for me. It’s such a good lens I think the Leica boys designed a really ugly lens hood - just in case we got any ideas

Err, Mike, there's a bug in your text - that 8-element Takumar was earlier, Super-Takumar variant. All subsequent 50mm Super-Taks, Super-Multi-Coated Taks and SMC Taks are 7-element only.

"Bruce Rubenstein: 'It may have the field of view of a "normal" 50mm lens, but it is, in fact, a very fast f1.2, 25mm wide angle lens. This probably requires a more complex optical configuration for the desired performance.'

[Nope, it's not a wide angle. It's a slightly long standard lens for the format. --Mike]"

Mike, I have to respectfully disagree with your note as above. I feel Mr. Rubenstein is right. The focal length of a lens is just as absolute and intrinsic a factor as the f-stop. It just so happens that, on account of the 2X crop factor of a micro-four-thirds sensor, a lens of 25mm focal length gives the equivalent view of a 50mm 'normal' lens in the 35mm format, on an M43 body.
In fact, it's not unusual for M43 users to adapt old 50mm SLR lenses to their cameras just to get the 'great for portraiture' field of view and bokeh as offered by a fast 100mm lens on a full frame camera (been toying with that idea myself / hunting for a mint condition 50mm f1.4 MC Rokkor or 50mm Takumar on the used market, just to challenge my M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8).
https://www.four-thirds.org/en/special/lens_knowledge.html

If I had the money I'd buy it... Then another one that I'd have cut in half and put on display in a nice shadow box.

[Nope, it's not an ƒ/2.4 lens. It's an ƒ/1.2 lens. --Mike]

Which can gather as much light as a 50mm f/2.4 on FF, doesn't it?

If ƒ = 25 then 25/1.2 = 20.8~mm
If ƒ = 50 then 50/2.4 = 20.8~mm

On the other hand, a FF 50mm ƒ/1.2 lets 4 times more light:

50/1.2 = 41.6~mm

That's double the diameter, or 4 times the area, so 4 times more light (so 2 extra stops).

Now, whether one cares about that difference, or can/wants to justify it, is another thing.

I personally don't and I'd take the Olympus over a Canon 50mm ƒ/1.2 as it is lighter and cheaper, and I quite like it's clutch design and overall construction more.

Ditto for other lenses and even the cameras. For my needs and shooting style a current M43 camera and sensor is more than good enough and I don't need more than ~16MP anyways (online display and prints A4 to A3 max.).

I'd say M43 can cover 90% of my needs, and for the other 10% I'd go with a MF system. What are you waiting for, Olympus?

What about the 7-element double-Gauss in the Olympus 35SP? Must be the most elements in a fixed, normal lens film camera. Even the digital Fujifilm X100 only has 1 more element and it's decades newer. Diagram here: https://www.kenrockwell.com/olympus/35-sp/diagram-1200.gif

Lensrentals did a test a while back for those interrested in numbers. https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2018/01/finally-some-m43-mtf-testing-25mm-prime-lens-comparison/

In my experience and opinion micro four-thirds sensors simply aren’t good enough to reward such a high financial and technical optical investment. They’re “good” sensors but haven’t really made much advancement since their introduction. Packaging (camera body styling) has been what this line is really all about. I enjoy my GX9 but it ain’t gonna be wearin’ no 19-element lenses!

>Simple, utilitarian gear for people who just take pictures.

They call those smartphones.

But, can you turn it up to 11?

I wonder what the T-stop is for this? Nowhere near T/1.2, no matter how good the coatings!

The cross-section doesn't show much material (metal? plastic?) holding all those elements in place.

Ken Tanaka wrote:

In my experience and opinion micro four-thirds sensors simply aren’t good enough to reward such a high financial and technical optical investment. They’re “good” sensors but haven’t really made much advancement since their introduction. Packaging (camera body styling) has been what this line is really all about. I enjoy my GX9 but it ain’t gonna be wearin’ no 19-element lenses!
__________________________

Yes. Exactly. Too much lense (cost, size and weight) for this system and its sensor capabilities. If I want to get into this realm of performance, I pick up my Nikon Full Frame and better it !. For me this system is about reduced size and weight and these type of lenses fly in the face of that.

Linn Sondek British ?

SPIT, SPIT
They're Scottish
Posted by: Thomas Mc Cann
____________________________

Do I have news for you Mr Mc Cann. Scotland is part of Britain ... therefore Linn Sondek is British.

How similar to the current flood of overpowered luxury automobiles. The technology exists in design software and manufacturing capability... and the market requires something 'new and improved' every year, so that's what we get.
I would say the gains are mostly theoretical (like 500hp vs. 300 in a four-door sedan) but of course you can pixel-peep to your heart's content now, so you can prove that 19 lens elements are superior to only 17.
I'm glad that they're making better fast lenses now, don't get me wrong.

DOF of all lenses, regardless of focal length, at the same aperture and MAGNIFICATION, is the same.

That's all there is to it: depends on the size of the image in your film/sensor plane.

T-stops would, in reality, make a lot more sense for stills photographers too. Depending on auto this 'n' thats will mask the slight exposure differences between T and f stops, but they remain, and that's why movie people were/are more demanding.

Linn Sondek British ?

SPIT, SPIT
They're Scottish
Posted by: Thomas Mc Cann


Reminded me of an entry in my work book: 23rd September, 1974.

Photographed a transcription deck for them, I think, via John Cherry, Art Director for whom I did much work. I say think, because the work book only mentions his name, a Hamish Robertson and the name Crolla. Crolla was/is a big name in ice cream; you didn't dig too deeply, baby. I didn't even know if they were connected families.

Life was so laid back, then... even in Glasgow.

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