donderdag 15 maart 2012

lenses with defects are ok

I once wrote a blog entry about whether photography is art or not. The reason I wrote that, and why I keep up my blog, is to find out what I really think about it. when I write it down I tend to think it more through. One of the things I mentioned in the article was that digital photography becomes too perfect. Almost cold and robotic instead of an organic process. I wrote that light leaks and lens imperfections shaped the character of old photographs. Recently I have been reviewing a few lenses on my blog, (mostly to help other buyers of old glass since there is relatively little written about it on the internet) and I have been complaining about the performances of some of these old lenses. For example in my review of the vivitar 200mm f/3.5 I do not sincerely recommend (even though it still is a great lens) it because it shows quite some CA wide open, and the sharpness is a small OK. 

However I took that lens out today, and because it was overcast and it is a longer lens I had to use it wide open. Then I took this photo, and when I saw it on the computer it struck me that I have been contradicting myself. I once said that it shaped the character of a photograph when it showed defects, and in my reviews I was complaining about their “character”. And to be honest I even exaggerated the softness of the lens. I shot this photo in raw, and did not add any sharpening, reduced the contrast, and applied a Gaussian blur at the edges. So what I am basically trying to say is that there are a lot of good lenses, but some are more appropriate for different kinds of photography. When you want to best (or clinical perfect) look, go for the latest lenses, but sometimes the defects of lenses can give a wonderful mood to your photographs. 

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