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Tuesday, 23 April 2024


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Hi Mike,

Check your dates on Kodachrome. I recall shooting Kodachrome II in high school in the early seveties. K25 and K64 were released in the early to mid seventies.

Now, with your explanation, after 50+ years, the magazine title "Photo Play" makes sense to me.

Check the dates on the release of Kodachrome 25 & 64. I think it was in the early 70's, not 1962.

As an aside, I always thought that to state the aperture of, for example, a Summilux or a Summicron lens was redundant, as in f/1.4 Summilux or f/2 Summicron. I assume you did that just for the sake of clarity, for a general audience, but just sayin'.

It's really interesting to consider the timeline of film and camera technology when you look at mid-century photographs, both bw and color. I want to take a new look at some of my many coffee table books with this topic specifically in mind. Many of my favorite photographers were working in this period with these limitations. In some cases, they produced great images despite the challenges. But it other cases, these limitations forced certain techniques that actually helped make the images special or unique.

Have your tastes on sharpness matured?

Reprocessing a wildlife DNG file (Whip Bird) for printing, I realised that it looked far more natural without the biting clarity.

Object in the natural world (at least) don't appear to my eyes and recollection as existing in ultra high definition. So a print that carries that much detail looks artificial in a way that's hard to describe.

My real question is probably better put as "Is there ever a case where loads of details adds to the quality of an image?".

Currently, that's a 'no' from me.

Well, I've been diving into the well of Motion Picture Classic magazine.

Page 33 of 1274 at this link: https://archive.org/details/motion1724moti/page/n32/mode/1up

(The previous page has a terrific drawing of Gloria Swanson, based on a photograph.)

(Open each photo in a new tab to get an enlargeable, easier-to-read format.)

The first two pages have a terrific report of Swanson's comments and retorts to some of the (probably) male reporters' questions. The description of the Writers' Club itself is worth reading the two pages of the original article.

The various articles of that magazine are definitely for adults. The undertone I felt was that everybody knew it (motion pictures) was about business more than art. It wasn't written as a typical "magazine, aimed at your average teen". (I had to use that Billy Joel lyric.)

From the small sample of articles I read, it seemed to offer even more thoughtful articles than more "serious" magazines might have.

That magazine is quite a gem you turned up, Mike!

(I guess that means that I'll be watching Sunset Boulevard this weekend.)

Recalling a recent post about lens quality, this is why I test my lenses. Nothing very involved, a rock concert poster with fine detail and color hung on the wall with some detailed targets in the extreme corners. Takes about 15 minutes per lens, tells me basically how the lens will perform at a given aperture as opposed to the hype. Easy to tell if a lens is de-centered, focusing properly and with any focus shift, and where usable and optimal apertures are. I have returned only a few lenses, but my biggest concern are lenses having internal focusing "floating" elements. Bought used, they usually benefit from a CLA. Testing also shows how some economical lenses perform compared to very expensive equivalents. Modern manufacturing processes have narrowed the gap considerably as to lens manufacture and assembly. Of course, this does not address the "character" a lens might have.

Yay, lens talk!

@Kye Wood: Some time ago, we reached a point where our lenses and sensors routinely deliver more detail and/or contrast than we need or want. I find it interesting that now there are these new (to me) filters to address the issue; or maybe it's just new (to me) marketing. Most are called some variation of 'mist filter'. The effects can be very subtle--subtler than I remember from film-era diffusion filters. Some claim to impart a 'film-like' effect.

You can get similar results in post, but apparently lots of people prefer to use these filters on lens or sensor.

Here's dpreview's explainer: https://www.dpreview.com/articles/9999362588/what-are-mist-filters-and-what-do-they-do-to-your-photographs

And here's another, with a DIY option: https://kolarivision.com/what-is-a-mist-filter-2/

I find it interesting that there's such a healthy demand for ways to mitigate some of photography's technical advances, and 'core' advances, at that. Yesterday's 'holy grail' is today's undesirable artifact.

I'm curious how much of this comes down to the differences between analog and digital technologies as opposed to objective capability. And which end of the process reached the "too much" level first--the printing/rendering or the 'capture'?

In any case, the good thing about getting what we wished for is that it forces us to consider what we actually value.

It always amazes me the way 'softish' photos were completely acceptable 60 or 80 years ago, and the same people, that thought old photos were great, now strive for something sharper.

My favorite lens right now is not a portrait lens, and it’s very sharp. It’s the Fujinon 18 1.4 LM WR. I don’t apply any extra sharpening, and it’s the first lens that convinced me to apply a little fake grain in Lightroom, which has a slight softening effect. Good stuff. Everything I shoot now is 28mm, at least when shooting for fun.

I'm still waiting for the folks who shoot wide-open to embrace their 'otofokasu' passion. Once again, you were there with the word; https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2017/05/new-word.html

I have in the past, as I am sure other TOPpers have, stretched a ladies stocking over a step-up ring to get a soft-focus effect.
Er, that would be back in the 'film' days.

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