Why I’m Over Aspherical Elements and Clean, Sterile Image Quality

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The current state of photography and camera gear is in an incredibly odd place. It’s dictated by folks who spent the last 20 years or so achieving clinical perfection. But they’re trying to find a way to target and understand the younger photography market. So those new photographers are being brainwashed into learning that photography has to be clean, clinical, and devoid of perceived imperfections. At the same time, younger photographers are picking up cameras and lenses with character. I’ve noticed lots of those lenses don’t really have aspherical elements in them. But they’re still able to create wonderful photos with those lenses. Indeed, it’s easier to get rid of flaws than it is to digitally re-introduce them.

There was a time when I thought all lenses needed aspherical elements. But as I started to look more into what’s inside a vintage lens and some of Leica’s more affordable M-glass, I noticed this wasn’t the case. A lens that recently blew me away was the Leica 50mm f2 Summicron-M (the Non-APO and Non-Aspherical version). Yes, there are no aspherical elements. And the image quality it delivers is wonderful. I’m working on a review of the lens, but it has proved that we truly don’t need to make lenses incredibly complicated at all. Brands can reintroduce their classic lenses in some way or another.

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