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Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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13 Jan 2022 7:40AM   Views : 318 Unique : 181


You know how you can be familiar with a word and a concept, and then it suddenly turns round and bites you? ĎVignetteí did that to me this evening.

We have vignette effects available in software, so itís obviously a good thing. Or is it? Read a lens review, and it will note how many stops of darkening there are in the corners, even with rather expensive lenses.

Iíve definitely met it a few times: most notably, a pre-war Leitz Summar at full aperture is dark and blurry in the corners at f/2. And cheap modern lenses? Of course.


But this evening, the vignette of my standard 85mm f/1.8 stunned me. The subject was the evening sky, and suddenly, the corners looked obviously Ďwrongí. Stopping down from f/2.8 to f/8 improved matters a great deal, while opening up to full aperture made it Ė predictably Ė worse.


This isnít a cheap lens: you currently pay £500 for it. Nor is it top of the range: the latest Sigma f/1.4 equivalent costs £999, and Sonyís own G-Master f/1.4 is three times the price. Both suffer from vignetting, according to the tests Iíve read.


The thing is, you donít normally notice. Itís only when the subject is both light and even-toned into the corners that itís visible, and even then, itís not necessarily intrusive or unpleasant. I remember some time in the Eighties, John Hedgecoe, Royal College of Arts professor of Photography, did a TV series, which I wish was available on DVD. But every example image had a bit of a vignette, which pulled it up a bit from the norm.

Should you love it or hate it? Maybe itís best to decide case by case.



dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
13 Jan 2022 7:42AM
Top to bottom: first indications, at f/2.8, followed by comparison shots at f/2.8 and f/8, then a shot at f/1.8: finally, a more normal, less testing image - with that beautiful red Jag in the centre of the frame, and dark areas in the corners, the f/1.8 fall-off isn't noticeable.

Vignetting is real, but is not usually visible, let alone something to worry about.
kaybee 18 8.5k 27 Scotland
13 Jan 2022 8:07AM
Much like our own eyes really - what we actually see sharp and crisp is a very small percentage of what we actually take in.
As for "what should we don about it?", that is entirely down to the person who takes/posts the picture - just another of those pesky 'choices' that seem to crop up without actually being asked for.
13 Jan 2022 10:52AM
I have noticed on numerous occasions that when the lens hood is attached, the
Vignette is more pronounced, now I just remove the lens hood if the aperture
is wide open.
Doesn't solve the problem, but helps.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
13 Jan 2022 11:11AM
If the hood's well matched to the lens (and that should be the case when it's the lens manufacturer'sown, specifically designed for the lens), there should be no intrusion... Any effect from the hood will be at its least at full aperture, as the hood will be out of focus. I have sometimes mismatched a generic hood with a lens, and stopping down gives more than a vignette. I may be able to shoot something to show what I mean.

I'm a great believer in hoods, on all occasions - they are good for the image, and also better protection than a filter.
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 836 England
13 Jan 2022 12:09PM
Looking back at shots I took on film at airshows those against a clear blue or plain white sky show vignetting. It's not heavy but is there. These days I have the correction profiles automatically loaded in RAW conversion. My later cameras have the facility to automatically apply such profiles for the manufacturer's lenses. After all that I quite like to add subtle vignettes on mpno versions.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
13 Jan 2022 3:26PM
There's a line in a Flanders and Swann song about Hi-Fi about the joys of amplification 'and you sharpen finer needles to make it soft again.- the same old story...
19 Jan 2022 6:53PM
Talking to a Techno mad friend about this, he says it is not unknown for a UV filter to magnify the problem.
His input is that some of the newer lenses are made to such fine tolerances that fiiting another piece of
glass up front changes the angle of view. I won't go into specifics as he lost me on the second sentence Smile

I then asked if he fitted filters to his lenses,and he does, said it is cheaper to edit the Vignette than scratch a lens coating Smile

dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
19 Jan 2022 8:58PM
On the other hand, a really good UV filter costs quite a lot, and may still affect quality.

My view is that a good lens hood offers at least as much protection from impact and scratching as a filter, and actually improves the results by reducing flare... But it's not provable either way, I suspect. I've only once suffered significant damage to a lens - from a flying stone, while photographing a car rally - and as it was a fisheye, fitting a filter wasn't possible anyway. Even then, it didn't render the lens unusable.

We all pick our precautions: and many are like keeping a rolled-up newspaper on the doorstep, to keep the giraffes away... Precautions against a massively unlikely risk.

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