Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2011/01/03

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Subject: [Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view
From: lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin)
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 11:01:20 -0500

I notice that technical quality of a picture comes pretty far down on all
the lists of image criteria discussed so far. If the experts at Kodak are to
believed, in this paperless society fewer than 10% of all images are ever
printed up. The bulk are viewed on TV or computer screens, camera LCDs, and
iPods or iPads. Assuming proper focus and exposure, the limit to technical
image quality, at least measured in terms of resolution, is set by the
viewing device. In the case of an HD TV, a 35 mm full frame image need only
have 45 lines/mm to appear perfectly sharp. Even if the image is viewed on
the top grade 27" Mac monitor it need only have 60 l/mm to appear sharp.
These image resolution standards are only slightly greater than those that
the old Modern Photography magazine rated as minimally acceptable. All the
cameras I own, no matter how cheap or how old can meet the resolution
standard required by modern image viewing systems. Every Leica lens ever
made, except possibly the old Thambar portrait lens, will exceed the minimum
resolution criteria. By actual test my widely disparaged 75 year old Elmar
35 mm f3.5, Leica's first wide angle, resolved 68 l/mm. Even Jim Nichols'
century old Ross #6 rapid rectilinear lens can more than meet that standard.
And on a 4/3 frame size too!

I agree with most of the image quality criteria proposed, especially those
which deal with the image's emotional impact, but I wonder why many LUG
posts seem to obsess over the latest and greatest Leica lenses and the size
of the latest electronic sensors. While these may be interesting topics in
themselves, they have almost nothing to do with the pictures posted on the
LUG and viewed on a computer screen. Follow Dr. Ted and not Irwin Puts.

Larry Z

Replies: Reply from imagist3 at (George Lottermoser) ([Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view)
Reply from jayanand at (Jayanand Govindaraj) ([Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view)
Reply from jhnichols at (Jim Nichols) ([Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view)
Reply from leowesson at (leo wesson) ([Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view)
Reply from tedgrant at (tedgrant at ([Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view)
Reply from images at (Tina Manley) ([Leica] Image criteria - a Luddite view)