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July 18, 2007



Ok, so in the last 38 years we've seen a shift to the APS-C sensor, covering a lot smaller diagonal than a 135 frame. And we've seen massive increases in film speed, or its digital equivalent. If I remember correctly, in 1969 I was shooting Kodachrome 25 and thankful that it was 2.5x faster than Kodachrome 10.

We've seen huge reductions in maximum aperture, to the point where a "fast" zoom starts at f/3.5 and drops to f/4.5 or f/5.6.

But where is the increase in sharpness, the reduction in flare, the increase in contrast? All of which we should be expecting. We did not, however, get it. Instead we've been "blessed" with 10:1 and 11:1 and even 13:1 zoom ratios. I've about given up and have started buying used single focal-length lenses and doing away with the flexibility of a zoom. Since I can't get the high quality/modest range zooms that used to be around (in high quality mounts!), might as well just buy the used stuff from the days when sharpness and contrast were to be found, even in amateur lenses. Does anybody else remember Nikon's Series E lenses?

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