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Canon Rumors:
Share “This Lens is Soft” and other myths I have a couple of guest writers that are writing new articles or allowing me to republish things they have written in the past. First up is our friend Roger Cicala over at I loved his article on frontfocus and backfocus and the whole “this lens is soft” topic. He’s a man with more experience that most with multiple copies of lenses. Sometimes he’ll own 100 copies of a lens. You’ll find his writing easy to understand, sometimes humorous and always educational. Read the Article cr

CR Backup Admin:
I'm looking forward to this, Rodger is one of my favorites when he posts on FM.  I also follow his reports of lens reliability.

I think this bit is an interesting comment:

--- Quote ---As an aside, I think this is probably going to put the last nail in the Megapixel war’s coffin. The 4/3 companies have already said 12 Mpix is as far as they intend to go. I suspect the full-frame manufacturers are going to call a halt at 30 Mpix or so, just because there’s no sense in it: they’re already out-resolving the quality control of their best lenses.
--- End quote ---

I have been wondering myself how camera manufacturers will manage to build lenses with enough resolution to cope with a SLR full frame sensor with much higher resolution than what they already have.
Is it even possible, at a commercially viable price, to build lenses with a much higher resolution?  (If not, the only way to chase more resolution is to go to medium format.)
Alternatively, manufacturers really need to focus on issues like high ISO performance, and detecting all colours at all photo sites (like a Foveon sensor) in order to get more out of their systems.
Then there is the question of whether we need any more resolution out of our cameras.  You can easily produce a 20"x30" print from a modern full frame DSLR.  If you are shooting for billboards, you are charging your customers enough money to be able to afford a medium format system.
In all honesty, does the average wedding or press photographer need any more resolution than they currently have at their disposal?

I think the points made in the article are good, but the assumptions about manufacturing are quite a bit simplified.  I know I might seem like the stereotypical engineer/SLR hobbyist who is way too technical about camera gear, but I work in the medical device manufacturing industry and have a pretty good understanding of how tolerances are set and how quality is ensured in the product.  Yes, subcontractors are involved in any lens manufacturers supply chain, but in the end, Canon has to either validate that the manufacturing processes will always meet the spec's, or they have to audit the parts, inspecting them to their specification.  So in the end, it is still the lens manufacturers responsibility to ensure sub-component spec's are met.  Additionally, even though individual parts have tolerances that can stack up, designs can be used that mitigate those effects and the final lens assembly can still be evaluated as a whole (I remember seeing in the "how it's made" Canon video that the 500mm lens was inspected using interference fringes that can measure much smaller than 2 microns, I would imagine).  Anyway, in short, I appreciated the article, but I think lens manufacturers can still design quality into their parts and final products no matter who makes the components.  From reading reviews on, it seems third-part lenses often have more trouble than Canon, which is probably a quality issue over fault with their designs.


Thanks for the article.

What I would like have learned more is about micro-adjustment on zoom lenses. Some people say its useless, as you would need to be able to make adjustments on different focal lenghts independently (or are there camera bodies that allow multiple adjustments on one lens??). I've also heard someone saying that adjustment should be made at the long end of the focal lenght and that should do the job.

Any insights on this one?


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