Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/05/20

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To: Michael Volow <>
Subject: Re: Leica Desires
From: Tom Hodge <>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 19:45:48 -0400 (EDT)

Dr. Volow,

I certainly apologize for jumping on your case so strongly earlier but one
thing we might forget about "lens tests".....and I think there was a msg
earlier from Mr Ed Meyers.....unless you isolate the lens from the camera
- put it on an optical bench - you're essentially just shooting a lens
chart with a camera and you might as well go shoot real life.  Unless, of
course, you actually intend to matte and frame those lens charts.

The lens - to be a valid test of the lens alone - can't have any outside
influence on it such as a camera body and - heaven's sakes - a shutter! 
Even the camera-to-lens mounting must be considered as flawed or certainly
a variable in the equation. 

Now......if you're not talking a strict lens test but an overall test of
the picture-taking device 'en toto', I argue again that you're better off
simply doing a side-by-side of cameras and lens combinations and picking
the best of the best.

Again, I offer, after all of the research and development you've already 
paid Leica in the price of the goods, it's questionable to question them.

They weren't pulling your leg:  "Leitz means precision......worldwide."


Tom Hodge
Davidson, NC 

On Mon, 20 May 1996, Michael Volow wrote:

> I don't mean to start a religious war over lens tests vs. no lens tests. 
> I'm no optical authority. I'm sure that an experienced professionel 
> photographer can tell much more than I about a lens's quality just from 
> looking at pictures. And perhaps I need lens tests more than another 
> person does (I don't really do many tests, maybe 2 or 3 every 3 or 4 years).
> But lens tests have helped me find out what a len's limitations are. For
> example, I like to shoot wide open in low light without flash. If I find
> such shots with a particular lens are fuzzy or soft, I like to know
> whether it is camera movement or the len's resolution and contrast wide
> open. Sometimes my wishful thinking biases my judgment about its optical
> performance. After all, with the correct lighting and composition one can
> take beautiful pictures with a bad lens. 
> I didn't start this thread, but was simply responding to another list 
> member's request for interest in lens testing. We might close this thread 
> here or I could move it to a more relevant *
> Michael Volow, M.D. (
> Department of Psychiatry, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
> 919 286 0411 Ext 6933

In reply to: Message from Michael Volow <> (Re: Leica Desires)