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Are primes brighter and sharper than wide open zooms



 
 
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  #101  
Old October 1st 05, 07:40 PM
Jan Böhme
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Nostrobino skrev:

Evolution of language is inevitable and
natural up to a point, but it's not evolution when a perfectly sensible
technical term is, through misunderstanding and/or ignorance, redefined i=

n a
nonsensical manner. Evolution implies improvement, not deterioration.


This is a misconception, both with respect to Darwinian evoloution of
species, and with respect to the evolution of language. Evolution does
_not_ ipmly "improvement", which is a pretty subjective term.
Evolution, both biological and, linguistic, is a combination of
stochastic change - what evolutionary biologists call "neutral drift" -
and adaptation.

And adaptation isn't the same thing as "improvement". One can easily
see the new meaning of "prime lens" as an adaptation to the fact that
today's photogs know less about the history of photography than
photographers uesd to.

Jan B=F6hme

  #102  
Old October 1st 05, 10:15 PM
gbuchana(a)rogers(dot)com
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Nostrobino wrote:


You're right there. I first saw it misused in this way on the old Fidonet,
some time before I had access to the Internet per se. That was back in my
386 days, so probably 1991 or so.


Google has a pretty long memory on this sort of thing. Here's what I
could find:

Eric Thomas, Sep 12 1990, 9:21 am

"I have used it once on a Sigma 400/5.6 to make pictures of the moon,
but the results were disappointing; to get good results, you need a
prime or perhaps a "first class" zoom like the 80-200/2.8ED (I don't own
one so I've never tried)."

Eric Thomas, Sep 25 1990, 9:14 pm

"I have a Leitz Colorplan 90, which is supposed to be one of the best,
and I fine-tune the focus for the area of the slide I'm looking at, but
I still can't tell the difference between some of the shots with the
sharpest lenses. However, I can very definitely tell a zoom from a prime
and a bad f-stop from a good one. But be careful, using the lens that
came with the slide projector I can't see much of a difference between
the various slides... "

Wilson Heydt, Jun 26 1991, 2:22 am

"I won't argue the merits of autofocus, but I have found that in
low-light, a fast prime lens will beat a zoom every time."
  #103  
Old October 1st 05, 10:58 PM
Peter
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gbuchana(a)rogers(dot)com wrote:

Google has a pretty long memory on this sort of thing. Here's what I
could find:

Eric Thomas, Sep 12 1990, 9:21 am

"I have used it once on a Sigma 400/5.6 to make pictures of the moon,
but the results were disappointing; to get good results, you need a
prime or perhaps a "first class" zoom like the 80-200/2.8ED (I don't own
one so I've never tried)."


There were also people using the term the "correct" way:

Andrew Davidhazy, (Imaging and Photo Technology, RIT)
Apr 13 1991, 11:34 pm

"I believe close up lenses can be very good. They are convenient that
is for sure. The weaker they are the less they affect the performance
of the prime lens. Typically they affect performance most when prime
lens is used at large apertures. They do not cause light loss."

In this case "prime" is clearly used to ditinguish the main lens
from the supplementary lens.

Peter.
--


  #104  
Old October 1st 05, 11:44 PM
Jeremy Nixon
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Nostrobino wrote:

Really? That's something I've always just accepted as true myself.


Well, now you know how things like "prime lens" happen, then.

Now you've piqued my curiosity: how is the 18% tale wrong?


It's just wrong; light meters are not, nor have they ever been, calibrated
to 18% gray as a standard. What they really read can vary slightly from
one manufacturer's opinion to another, but it's closer to 12.5%. ISO
sensitivity is of course not based on middle gray at all, which accounts
for the variation.

The 18% myth seems to be based on what Ansel Adams wanted rather than what
actually came to be. Adams lobbied for 18% gray to be the standard. He
was not successful.

Isn't an 18% gray card really 18% gray? (I have one around here somewhere
but never thought to test its eighteen-percentness. :-) )


It really is, yes. Unfortunately, 18% gray is about a half-stop up from
middle gray, and if you meter reflected light from it without somehow
accounting for that (by angling the card, for example) you will be
underexposing by a half stop from what you thought, more or less. With
a Nikon it will be a half stop, but I'm given to understand that Canons
meter a bit higher, so it may be less than that (I have no Canon, so this
is secondhand information).

But the 18% gray myth is so pervasive that even Kodak makes 18% gray cards,
when they most certainly know better.

By now, of course, lots of photographers have over the years been consciously
or unconsciously working around the error in their workflows, to the point
that "18% gray plus workarounds" can actually work. If someone came out
with a 12.5% gray card right now, people wouldn't know what to do with it!

--
Jeremy |
  #105  
Old October 2nd 05, 04:55 PM
Nostrobino
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"Peter" wrote in message
oups.com...

gbuchana(a)rogers(dot)com wrote:

Google has a pretty long memory on this sort of thing. Here's what I
could find:

Eric Thomas, Sep 12 1990, 9:21 am

"I have used it once on a Sigma 400/5.6 to make pictures of the moon,
but the results were disappointing; to get good results, you need a
prime or perhaps a "first class" zoom like the 80-200/2.8ED (I don't own
one so I've never tried)."


There were also people using the term the "correct" way:

Andrew Davidhazy, (Imaging and Photo Technology, RIT)
Apr 13 1991, 11:34 pm

"I believe close up lenses can be very good. They are convenient that
is for sure. The weaker they are the less they affect the performance
of the prime lens. Typically they affect performance most when prime
lens is used at large apertures. They do not cause light loss."

In this case "prime" is clearly used to ditinguish the main lens
from the supplementary lens.


Thanks to both of you. These tend to support my recollection that this
misuse of "prime" first appeared c. 1990, and also that the term was still
in correct use at the same time. I would be very interested to see if anyone
can produce a substantially earlier example of "prime" being used to mean
fixed focal length.

N.


  #106  
Old October 2nd 05, 05:18 PM
Floyd Davidson
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"Nostrobino" wrote:
In this case "prime" is clearly used to ditinguish the main lens
from the supplementary lens.


Thanks to both of you. These tend to support my recollection that this
misuse of "prime" first appeared c. 1990, and also that the term was still
in correct use at the same time. I would be very interested to see if anyone
can produce a substantially earlier example of "prime" being used to mean
fixed focal length.


What difference does that make? As long as you want to claim it
means "the term was still in correct use", you are simply wrong
no matter what.

The "correct" use has evolved. Get used to it because it
won't regress.

On the other hand, it you rid yourself of this insistance that
whatever the use was at some specific point in time is "correct"
as opposed to all evolution that happened at a later date being
"incorrect", then yes it is interesting to catalog the
evolutionary process to see when it changed and to compare that
to the external factors that guided that evolutionary process
(such as the appearance of higher quality zoom lenses at prices
that made the distinction between fixed focal length lenses and
zoom lenses so important that jargon had to be developed to
easily mark the distinction).

--
FloydL. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
  #107  
Old October 2nd 05, 05:19 PM
Nostrobino
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"Jan Böhme" wrote in message
oups.com...

Nostrobino skrev:

Evolution of language is inevitable and
natural up to a point, but it's not evolution when a perfectly sensible
technical term is, through misunderstanding and/or ignorance, redefined in
a
nonsensical manner. Evolution implies improvement, not deterioration.


This is a misconception, both with respect to Darwinian evoloution of
species, and with respect to the evolution of language. Evolution does
_not_ ipmly "improvement", which is a pretty subjective term.
Evolution, both biological and, linguistic, is a combination of
stochastic change - what evolutionary biologists call "neutral drift" -
and adaptation.

And adaptation isn't the same thing as "improvement". One can easily
see the new meaning of "prime lens" as an adaptation to the fact that
today's photogs know less about the history of photography than
photographers uesd to.


I acknowledge the correction, but adaptation does imply improvement at least
with respect to the situation being adapted to. (Why else adapt?) I don't
see that using a term incorrectly, out of ignorance of that term's actual
meaning, can reasonably be described as "adaptation."

Shortening a term because it no longer needs to be full length to be
understood is a natural form of such adaptation. For example, submarine
boats quickly became "submarines," and automatic pistols became
"automatics." In both cases the adjective became the (and replaced) the
noun. That's evolution. To take "prime lens," a term that already had a
specific technical meaning, and give it an entirely different and unrelated
meaning, is not evolution in any way that I can see.

N.


  #108  
Old October 2nd 05, 05:27 PM
Nostrobino
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"Jeremy Nixon" wrote in message
...
Nostrobino wrote:

Really? That's something I've always just accepted as true myself.


Well, now you know how things like "prime lens" happen, then.


Oh yes! I've always been convinced that people only misused that innocently,
in the way they had seen it used by others whom they presumed to be
knowledgeable.



Now you've piqued my curiosity: how is the 18% tale wrong?


It's just wrong; light meters are not, nor have they ever been, calibrated
to 18% gray as a standard. What they really read can vary slightly from
one manufacturer's opinion to another, but it's closer to 12.5%. ISO
sensitivity is of course not based on middle gray at all, which accounts
for the variation.

The 18% myth seems to be based on what Ansel Adams wanted rather than what
actually came to be. Adams lobbied for 18% gray to be the standard. He
was not successful.

Isn't an 18% gray card really 18% gray? (I have one around here somewhere
but never thought to test its eighteen-percentness. :-) )


It really is, yes. Unfortunately, 18% gray is about a half-stop up from
middle gray, and if you meter reflected light from it without somehow
accounting for that (by angling the card, for example) you will be
underexposing by a half stop from what you thought, more or less. With
a Nikon it will be a half stop, but I'm given to understand that Canons
meter a bit higher, so it may be less than that (I have no Canon, so this
is secondhand information).

But the 18% gray myth is so pervasive that even Kodak makes 18% gray
cards,
when they most certainly know better.

By now, of course, lots of photographers have over the years been
consciously
or unconsciously working around the error in their workflows, to the point
that "18% gray plus workarounds" can actually work. If someone came out
with a 12.5% gray card right now, people wouldn't know what to do with it!


Very interesting. Thanks!

N.


  #109  
Old October 2nd 05, 05:58 PM
Peter
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Default

Floyd Davidson wrote:

The "correct" use has evolved. Get used to it because it
won't regress.


The word "evolved" suggests that one use of the term grew out of
the other. This does not appear to be the case. Both uses of
"prime lens" appear to be current and I believe that they are
almost totally unrelated to each other.

For instance in:

http://www.zeiss.de/de/photo/home_e.nsf/1e142195de4e09fac12566fe003b2618/49143eeb494bfa7bc12569770054c1a7/$FILE/ATTBESGB/CLN8.pdf

I read:

"With the Zeiss Mutagon 0.6x there is now a wide-angle converter
available which matches the optical performance level of the Zeiss
Vario-Sonnar 1,7-2,2/3,3-33 lenses used in high quality digital
camcorders from Sony. . . . The Mutagon is threaded to the front
of the prime lens, as distinguished from the well-known Zeiss Mutar
which is inserted between the lens and the camera."

This clearly shows that the term "prime lens" has been in recent
use to describe a zoom lens when used with a supplementary lens.

Peter.
--


  #110  
Old October 2nd 05, 06:44 PM
Floyd Davidson
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"Peter" wrote:
Floyd Davidson wrote:

The "correct" use has evolved. Get used to it because it
won't regress.


The word "evolved" suggests that one use of the term grew out of
the other. This does not appear to be the case. Both uses of
"prime lens" appear to be current and I believe that they are
almost totally unrelated to each other.


It does not necessarily have to be that one grew out of the
other. However, I *don't* see them as totally unrelated.
Rather, it is a logical progression. And the newer meaning
does not necessarily negate correctness of the older meaning
any more than and older meaning makes a new one incorrect.

For instance in:

http://www.zeiss.de/de/photo/home_e.nsf/1e142195de4e09fac12566fe003b2618/49143eeb494bfa7bc12569770054c1a7/$FILE/ATTBESGB/CLN8.pdf

I read:

"With the Zeiss Mutagon 0.6x there is now a wide-angle converter
available which matches the optical performance level of the Zeiss
Vario-Sonnar 1,7-2,2/3,3-33 lenses used in high quality digital
camcorders from Sony. . . . The Mutagon is threaded to the front
of the prime lens, as distinguished from the well-known Zeiss Mutar
which is inserted between the lens and the camera."

This clearly shows that the term "prime lens" has been in recent
use to describe a zoom lens when used with a supplementary lens.


So? I could probably come up with a single paragraph that used
at least 4 or 5 different meanings for the word "prime". Does
that make the more recently evolved meanings incorrect just
because there is also an older meaning?

Language just doesn't work that way. As the late Steve Allen
used to say on TV about timing being everything in comedy,
context is everything in word usage.

--
FloydL. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
 




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