Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/27

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Bokeh Nokeh
From: Mikiro <>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 12:11:34 +0200

on 27/8/00 9:08 AM, apbbeijing at wrote:

> on 27/8/00 4:32 AM, Mikiro at wrote:
>> The authour says that lens characters are just like those of paints,
>> brushes, and canvas for painters (Painters do select their equipment
>> depending on their aims).
> Hi Mikiro
> That sounds like an interesting book - one hopes it is well illustrated.
> Despite my earlier disparaging remarks I am intrigued by these
> characteristics in different lenses: I just do not think it is practical to
> carry a 'palette' of similar spec lenses around in order to get the optimum
> match for each picture situation even if one were fully acquainted with the
> exact rendition they will provide. The interest is therefore on the
> theoretical level rather than having anything to do with actual photography.
> It is practical to get to know the equipment you have at hand but that is
> more likely to happen from intensive and constant use rather than reading
> articles, even by such experienced fellows as you refer to. I am amused by
> all the instant experts on bokeh: until the subject was introduced to the
> English speaking photo world (by Mr Mike Johnston I believe) no one had ever
> to my knowledge remarked on the unpleasant nature of their (usually cheaper)
> lens's rendition of the out of focus areas. Of a sudden there seemed to be a
> legitimate excuse to fork out for that expensive Leica lens...
> I try very hard not to let this interest get in the way of my photography
> but I suppose participating in such lists as this is an admission of partial
> defeat! I should be out even now taking pictures...
> Bests from Beijing (where the locals have no problem with the word
> 'Oriental' - for themselves, for buildings, TV stations etc etc)
> Adrian

Appreciating those lens characters is something like making a "bonsai" (You
know what it is). Frankly speaking, it sometimes looks just a weird habit.

The following are the words of  Ken Domon, a Japanese photographer I admire
the most.  Domon is not known internationally, but rivals HCB in my opinion.
Just have a look at his photobook "Hiroshima", and you will understand what
I mean.

# Amateurs, buy cheap cameras and shoot more rolls than you can.
# Do not spend your money on fast and gorgeous lenses.  I never use my
lenses at wide open.  Buy a gorgeous house.
# Never try to make beautiful prints with smoother tonal rendition, less
grains, .... (probabaly he would add good bokeh, here).  The world is
already full of that stuff.

I try to be obedient to these words, but it is not easy. ;-)