Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/27

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica's future (a bit long)
From: "Joe Stephenson" <>
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:17:56 -0700

A question for all, and I fear it is a question that has been covered
before, but I have not been on this list for long. I think I understand
"bokeh" as a term that refers to the quality of the out of focus portion of
an image. But what controls bokeh? How does it relate to depth of field or
"circles of confusion?" What is "good" bokeh, and what is "bad" bokeh? How
does it relate to grain size, sharpness, etc? I would be grateful if one of
you experienced people with more expertise could address this point.
Joe Stephenson
- -----Original Message-----
From: Dan Cardish <>
To: <>
Date: Sunday, September 27, 1998 4:14 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica's future (a bit long)

>The appearance of the out of focus rendering of the lens has nothing to do
>with whether it is an old lens or a new lens.  It may be that old lenses
>had better looking bokeh than their modern counterparts, but there is no
>reason that this must be so in all cases.  If users prefer the bokeh of a
>certain lens, don't you think it would be in Leica's interest to know this?
> Other lens manufacturers are very much aware of users preferences here.
>Minolta has just introduced a 135mm lens in which the bokeh can be adjusted
>to a certain extent by the user.  In fact, this lens allows the user to fix
>the aperture, and then independently adjust the light transmission to
>simulate a lens opening without actually altering the diaphragm blades.
>Leica seems to be on a course of designing lenses with top notch
>resolution, with (maybe, I don't know this for sure!) quality of bokeh
>taking a second place in terms of priorities.  Is this what the typical
>Leica user wants?  Who IS the typical Leica user?    There appear to be
>several hundred of us on this mailing list who seem to think that bokeh is
>an important component of a lenses characteristics.
>I own a Nikon 85/1.4 AIS lens, and as far as I am concerned, it is
>noticeably sharper than my 75/1.4 Summilux.  Yet I much prefer the look of
>images taken with the Summilux (and this is counter evidence to my
>previously posted assertion that no-one can distinguish Leica photos from
>others  ;-)).  If people kept their mouths shut at those rare moments when
>they can speak one on one with technicians from the factory, then Leica may
>never know that there are users out there who may actually prefer a lens
>that was not an exact duplicate of a Nikon offering.  Yet, I suspect that
>if Leica ever redesigns the optics of the 75mm Summilux, this is what will
>I agree that it makes no sense to tell Leica, "why don't you make lenses
>like the 1958 summicron anymore?", or something similar.  But when people
>ask such a question, they are really stating a preference for a certain
>look that may well be in Leica's ability to reproduce in a current lens, if
>only they knew that people wanted it.
>I haven't used any of the new ASPH lenses that leica is producing (other
>than my aspheric 35/1.4, but I haven't use it enough to be able to
>charcterize its bokeh), so maybe they still have that Leica "look" that
>people seem to love and admire.  But maybe these new lenses don't have a
>nice bokeh.  If so, I think it is proper for Leica reps to be made aware of
>this.  Otherwise, what is the point to this "relationship" you are talking
>about?  What do we get out of it?  If we don't like the rotation angle of
>the new M6 shutter speed dial, we should tell them.  If we don't like the
>rate of progress on development of the R8 motor, we should tell them.  And
>if we don't like the look of images taken with their new state of art
>lenses, we should tell them this as well.  They would want us to.
>Dan C.
> At 03:33 PM 27-09-98 -0700, Jim wrote:
>>These kinds of questions are a waste of everyone's time. And simply builds
>>a wall between the people we would like to have a relationship with,
>>than becoming a revered resource.
>>The point is, these "classic" lenses are all available, by the thousands,
>>today, on the used market.