« Lens from the Times | Main | New Pentax Flagship, the K-7 »

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

That is the best definition of bokeh I've ever seen, bar none.

Mainline Photographics, the Australian importer of Cosina Voightlander, is taking orders for the lens. They do say, however, the numbers will be limited as it is only a small production run to commemorate CV's 10th anniversary.

"That is the best definition of bokeh I've ever seen, bar none."

Settle down!


Mike, how much would you say you weigh, food included? ;-)

Ben Marks

Sounds like a great portrait lens for a G1.

Wasn't this the literal meaning of bokeh? Didn't I read this in your bokeh article, Mike?

Btw, one OT question: in another thread you meant: "Can't be an artist when you have no rap." What does rap here mean, for a non native, please. Thanks...

Can someone explain the economics of these special editions? My understanding is that the design costs for new glass is pretty enormous, and that lens pricing is set after looking long and hard at the expected number of sales over time to justify it.

In this case, the lens design costs are there, the production costs are there, but the numbers aren't. Production sounds very limited, and the price of the lens isn't crazy (more than I'm willing to spend at the moment, but still).

I really love it that these niche lenses get made -- it really shows the soul of the lens makers -- but I'm just curious about what the accountants think of it.

"food included."

Hood included. There is only a very fine line between 'f' and 'h' in this country.

Ricardo, that is the actual meaning of "boke". It's one of those words that's pretty rare by itself but compound words like "roujinboke" (dementia) and "jisaboke" (jetlag) are pretty common.

Ps. Don't use Google Translate for Japanese. For whatever reason it's much, much worse than any other of the online translators out there. I guess their method (direct mapping from expression to expression) works better with languages that have a lot of grammar structure in common.

I had discovered that I love her: bokeh decades before knowing her by name, and have a case of mild dementia ever since.

Actually one meaning of boke is to grow senile. The "food included" should actually be "[weight]not including hood." Google translation has improved over the last time I saw it as it is not total nonsense.

If your not going to shoot this lens at it widest aperture what's the point of it.
I found that fast lenses like this are not the sharpest tack in the box when used wide open making reflex focusing harder and the range finder camera is probably the only way to go-- How many more lenses do we need-- I see Sally Mann used lenses made before the 1940 and older and made great photo's with them-- I think we get back to the old question--Do we really need all these lenses to make great photo's.
I wonder if any of the old great photographers worried about "Bokeh". The really old lenses used T Stops which was a round hole-- so maybe they had great Bokeh and didn't even know it.
Maybe they all had "Mild Dementia" and didn't care about bokeh.
Mike I see your the one that has caused part of the "Bokeh" problem--(Joking)
"Mike Johnston, former editor of Photo Techniques magazine, claims to have coined the bokeh spelling to suggest the correct pronunciation to English speakers,[2] replacing the previous spelling boke that derived directly from the Japanese word for "fuzzy" and had been in use at least since 1996. It can be pronounced /ˈboʊke/ or /ˈboʊkə/ (boke-aay[3] or boke-uh).
The term bokeh has appeared in photography books at least since 2000.[4]" From Wikipedia.

"Hood included."

I know, but I like "food included."


I take the above back----some of it is nonsense. The last line should be something like, "Varied photographic expressions are possible with [this] one lens."

Close enough overall I guess...

They should have called it the Noktolux, lawsuits be damned.

IIRC, "mild dementia" is a valid translation of "bokeh". The root meaning of bokeh is blurry, and it's used to talk about people whose thought processes are blurry. That includes the mildly demented and the extremely ditzy.

"one OT question: in another thread you meant: 'Can't be an artist when you have no rap.' What does rap here mean, for a non native, please."

By "rap" in this case I mean the spiel that an artist develops ostensibly to explain what it is they're doing. Often, this functions as a sort of meta-communication: they're signifying more than they're saying. The hidden message might be "I'm intelligent," or "you can't understand this," or "I deserve to be taken seriously." Often, too, the "rap" tells a viewer how to feel about the work, either co-opting the viewer's own unruly responses or suggesting a framework for understanding and acceptance for those who won't bother to decide for themselves.

I had a very interesting experience with this early on. Joe Cameron curated a show of works in progress that had, I think, six or eight "openings," week after week. Each week, each of several artists would show how their work was progressing and talk a little bit about it. A fascinating experience and one that was important to me.

Anyway, one of the experiences of that show for me was that one artist, who had strong work, actually made her work seem less strong to me because she had a weak rap for it; another artist actually managed to make relatively weak work stronger because he was able to talk about it vividly and brilliantly. It didn't change my absolute impression of the work--hers was still better than his--but it really did have an effect on my perception. Even though I was perfectly conscious of how my perception was being manipulated. I've never forgotten that.


Hood is NOT included--fukumaZU. Hood is sold separately at ¥12000.

I should shut up. I should have written: Lens not included in weight. The LH-7 is the ¥12,000 hood.

I think your line about 'co-opting unruly responses' is both funny and accurate. Perhaps we should modify the classic and too-often-heard phrase to 'A picture demands a thousand words'.

How is one expected to focus this on a Bessa? Erwin Putts, in his website, reckons that even a 0.85x Leica (58.9mm effective base) is not good enough to focus a Noctilux with out a magnifier. The Bessa's have a very much shorter rangefinder base (37mm with the 1x finder).

As an aside, my Zeiss Ikon, with its 55.9mm effective base finder, now over focuses at infinity- yet still manages to produce sharp images at all distances wide open at f2.0.

A nice looking lens with a bit of the Takumar about the barrel. Coming soon to M42?

"Also note the charming translation of "bokeh" as "mild dementia"!)"


I guess that means that instead of getting an expensive lens, I can get good bokeh just by taking one of those weird little pills my old roommate left behind?

"Coming soon to M42?"

Nope. It's a rangefinder lens.


"How is one expected to focus this on a Bessa?"

I can focus an M-adapted Canon 50/0.95 on my Epson R-D 1, which has the same magnification and base length as a Bessa. An eyepiece magnifier helps a LOT, but it's possible to get a reasonably good batting average without one just by being very careful and using the edges of the RF patch to line up vertical lines in the subject.

Another wrinkle to consider is the prospect of using the lens on a Panasonic G1, or other forthcoming Micro Four Thirds camera, with an M-mount adapter. The 50mm focal length is really useful on the G1, and the eye-level electronic viewfinder handles most focusing easily; when I need absolute precision, I kick in the magnified "focus assist" feature. Micro Four Thirds is going to give an interesting second life to a lot of RF lenses!

"I see Sally Mann used lenses made before the 1940 and older and made great photo's with them-- I think we get back to the old question--Do we really need all these lenses to make great photo's.
I wonder if any of the old great photographers worried about 'Bokeh'."

While i respect Sally Mann, i don't want my pictures to look like hers. I'm glad everyone has different tastes - it makes photography more interesting. Someone like Nigel Parry wouldn't be making 'Nigel Parry photographs' if he had to use her glass, and vice versa.

I don't think the "old great photographers" really had to worry about bokeh. The older lenses just seemed to 'make it' without concern. Somehow, with all the technology in lens design, we've got 'overcorrected' glass, designed with different objectives. That, and the clarity of digital sensors resolving things in such a grainless manner reveals those ugly bokeh issues. Even a bad bokeh lens is somehow sorta 'okay' with Tri-X.

I'm sorta 'psyched' about this lens. I've been 'asking' for one of these from CV for while. My first reaction was, "to whom can i give a deposit? Now." But, then i looked at the gear i already have, and i'm going to have to find time to use it. Still, i'm happy, and still, i want one.

"How is one expected to focus this on a Bessa?"

It's not just the base-length of the rangefinder that makes focusing this lens problematic, it's the also the fact that you have to focus and recompose. This alone introduces s significant focusing error, especially at close distances. Rangefinders generally focus no closer than 3 feet (1 meter), which may help mitigate the problem. Still, I'd be interested to know how real-world images look with an off-center subject shot at minimum distance and maximum aperture.

I think photographers have always been very aware of bokeh, but simply didn't have a word for it. You do see references to, for example, "dreamy" backgrounds. I'd say good photographers knew exactly what they wanted out of a lens, but didn't always have the language to describe it.

As an analogy, I went shopping with my son for a new guitar amp last weekend - he knew exactly the sound he wanted, but was having trouble expressing it to the (very knowledgeable) sales assistant. After a number of unsuccessful tries, my son said "no, I need something more crunchy" - the sales rep got what he meant, and immediately produced an amp which fit the bill.

Language is all about words, and their agreed use - "bokeh" is a great word as it labels something many of us have tried to describe in a roundabout way for years.



As far as focus, note that in the tests that Tom Abrahamsson shot he was using a Zeiss Ikon ZM, having the longest rangefinder base in current production. Hmm, I don't think that was a mistake. I used to shoot M4-P's back in the 90's and had a 75 Summilux, and boy was that a bear to get in focus, but when you did it was great. I would think that the Bessa R3 with the 1.00 viewfinder would do a decent job, as would the ZM or an 0.85 Leica. But fast lenses, even with AF are hard to use properly and get in focus all the time, it's a skill that one must practice.

That's a great story, Colin. I agree, completely, that bokeh always existed. There are just a lot of 'grumpy old men' who don't want to acknowledge that there are still new things to learn or consider - things they didn't grow up with an awareness of....

I like the guitar store analogy. I (sorta) play, as well, and yes, 'amp sound' is a difficult thing to describe. When i started playing, my greatest influences were Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. I remember, early on, reading guitar magazines about how EVH got his 'sound.' Engineers referred to it as The Brown Sound, because of the warmth, the particular distortion, and sustain.... When i first saw those words, i laughed. But, they immediately made sense, somehow....

I love bokeh. I love the word, despite the outcry. Never quite understood the issue with it. It's a word. It describes something that exists. What's the big whoop? Worse, i never understood the people who proudly proclaim they only care about the quality of the PART of the image that is IN focus. A photographer is responsible for the Entire Frame, no?

"How is one expected to focus this on a Bessa?"

If you read Cosina's description of the lens you can see they state that this lens is not recommended to be used on a Bessa. It's written in Japanese though, so if you can't read Japanese take my word for it.

here is a link to a romanian store.http://www.f64studio.ro./det.php?id=416&pid=10461
it states that the price is 4000 RON which is around 1000 euro's and it will be available late june
here is the manufacturer's link http://www.voigtlaender.de/cms/voigtlaender/voigtlaender_cms.nsf/id/pa_fdih7s8jbr.html

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007