Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/06/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] spherical aberrations was more d.o.f. with asph?
From: Ebert Steele <>
Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 12:32:59 -0500
References: <v0401171ab560ffd283d2@[]>

"Henning J. Wulff" wrote:

            There is a certain truth to this,
            as the additional spherical aberration
            that the pre-ASPH Summicron has makes
            particularly the out-of-focus areas
            appear softer, broader (and smoother)
            than the ASPH will render them. 


After being away from serious photography including my M3 for a
number of years, I awakened like Rip Van Winkle into a new world
with many new terms and techniques. "Bokeh"  Sounded like an
overactive imagination on somebody's part rationalizing the
expenditure of a new lens. I looked at prints that were said to
have good bokeh. Then Henning's post rang a bell out of the past.

In a studio where I worked as a kid, there were a couple of old
uncoated lenses mounted in a barrel. Looked like they had been
dug out of the landfill. The boss used them to shoot the formal
bride's portrait. Those lenses were full of spherical
aberrations. But the bride's face glowed. "Pearly highlights",
the boss called them. And he shot them wide open with hand
painted backgrounds. When you looked at the out of focus areas of
the background on the print it looked, as he described it, like a
french artist had painted it. Complete with impressionistic brush

So there you have it. To me, prints that are said to have bokeh
look like they were shot with those old lenses full of spherical
aberrations. Nice creamy tonal separations, pearly highlights and
impressionistic brush strokes in the out of focus areas. 

I still have one of those old lenses sans shutter. Maybe I'll
find a packard shutter and shoot some 5x7 bokeh.

Ebert Steele

Replies: Reply from "Bud Cook" <> (Re: [Leica] spherical aberrations was more d.o.f. with asph?)
In reply to: Message from "Henning J. Wulff" <> (Re: [Leica] more d.o.f. with asph?)