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Reader Comment: “Brilliance”

Zeiss 135mm

Samuli V writes:

In many discussions on fredmiranda.com forums I have needed to explain "brilliance", but the only good definition I know is from you and it's inside your paid content, due to which I can't link to it.

Could you consider adding that text to some of your public content? If not can I get permission to quote that part (of course clearly identifying it's your text and you have copyright and I have asked permission to quote your text)? The part I'm talking about is copy pasted below my email signature (from 1997 downloadable "Guide to ZF").

From the Subtleties of Rendition page:

Reading the descriptions written by Zeiss (and Leica) of their lenses, the term “brilliance” is often seen. The term is a bit maddening because it lacks an explanation, and the dictionary is only of modest assistance.

  • Maintenance of detail in highlights, mid-tones and shadows even under adverse lighting conditions including “muddy” or “flat” light;
  • Accurate and pleasing color rendition with subtle color nuances maintained;
  • High contrast in the finest details (“micro contrast”);
  • Flare control, particularly veiling flare.

When all these qualities come together, an image comes alive. Lenses that don’t have these qualities produce images that look like pictures of things, not the things themselves. It’s hard to “go back” once you’ve gotten used to the effect.

Even in infrared, this brilliance shines through. Call it the Rice Krispies effect (“snap, crackle, pop”)."

Actual pixels below straight from raw conversion.

ACTUAL PIXELS  Nikon D800E + Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar @ ƒ/4

ACTUAL PIXELS
Nikon D800E + Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar @ ƒ/4

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