Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How's the OOFA?

Leica Summicron 90/2 wide-open

OOFA, out-of-focus areas, how important is lens' OOFA, or bokeh? Over on RfF we're somewhat fond of "lens tests." Threads go deep and long if the subject line states "lens test" or "lens comparison." Big debates (arguments) spring up over the validity of lens tests, particularly when they seem to challenge common wisdom regarding which lens is "better," or, more to the point, if someone has spent beaucoup dollars on a particular lens, and it fares poorly when compared to less expensive lenses. In this case, something must be wrong; the test must be flawed. As any tester will tell you, "no good deed goes unpunished." If you post a lens test on RFF, you'll get the appreciation of those that know the time and effort involved, but you'll surely get your wet-rags that'll let you know where and how your test has failed. That's OK.

My favorite lens tests are not the clinical MTF curves and chart and graphs—although those are important (I guess). My favorite tests are lens comparison tests that show the two characteristics that I look for most in a lens: an understanding of the lens' contrast, and the OOFA. Poor OOFA can surprise you and make-or-break a photo. Quality OOFA, or bokeh, as it is more often referred to, reveals itself in a creamy subtle softness. Highlights, particularly points of highlights appears as perfectly smooth and round. Poorer OOFA highlights look like rings, and even poorer OOFA highlights look like football shaped rings.

Here are some recent links:

Roland (ferider) posted a 40mm lens test on RFF: HERE. Sure it's a comparison of 40mm lenses, but it is a test that shows the two factors mentioned above. If you don't know OOFA and bokeh, look at Roland's test.

Todd (Todd.Hanz) just started a W/NW thread on RFF asking for wide open shots. Check the thread out for good and bad examples OOFA and Bokeh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oddest Book Title Award: And the Winner Is...

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification. By Julian Montague

I haven’t seen the book, beyond the Book Tease on Amazon, but from perusing it there, I couldn’t help but nod in approval and smile. It certainly is an admirable effort, a great marketing idea for packaging a photo project—and from the looks of the Tease it really seems to be just that.

If anyone has this book, or has seen it, please let me know what you think.

More Book News

Amazon has Koudelka by Delpire (et al) for 37% off.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Recent Addition to the Brood—Gearhead Alert!

I’ve a guilty pleasure I’d like to confess here and now. I have a thing for...point & shoot cameras. Not just any p&s mind you. I like quality p&s cameras, the ones with really good lenses, or “special” features, like silent-mode, fast lenses, manual capabilities, etc. So of course I had to pick up a Ricoh GR1s, with its sweet little 28/2.8, backwards loading, and perfect ergonomics.

Here’s an image made with the Ricoh GR1s wide open.

Sweet, Huh?

And here’s a “family portrait” of the point & shoots:

Clockwise from the top: the Konica Hexar AF, the Ricoh, the Fuji Natura S, a Motorola Q cell phone for size comparisons (Q=iPod size-wise), and the Leica Minilux.

Promises, Promises

I’ve been trying to get together a comparison test of these cameras. This recent addition, makes that harder, but I’m going to try and get this together and post the results here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Worthy Cause - Flickr Group

I thought I'd pass this one along. It makes for a very interesting perusal. If you post online, particularly at Flickr, then it may be worth your time to join this group and support the cause. Beware though, if you've ever been paranoid about posting your images online, this is one of those groups that reinforces the old adage about how paranoid people actually know what's going on.

Flickr Internet Highway Robbery

Join the group and learn about the robbers that are stealing your images, how they do it, and the warning signs of when a thief has been wading through your stream. The Group has already got over 580 members in her group, so you won't feel alone, nor will you feel like some solitary paranoid conspiracy theorist.