The Feb. 17, 2003, Snowstorm
A soft landscape of the Saddle Rock wetland

  A "soft" camera lens is one that, obviously, softens the image. The Pentax 85mm soft lens is particularly suited for portraits, flowers, and similar subjects. Being a somewhat contrary person, I therefore wondered how it would do on landscapes.

The answer? Remarkably well! The photo below of the Saddle Rock wetlands in snow was transformed into something otherworldly, more like a watercolor.

soft landscape
  The day was actually quite bright. The following day (also very bright) I took the same photo but used a sharp lens (Pentax 105mm); its result was very beautiful, but all the detail in it would have resulted in an impossibly large jpeg. There is something to be said for soft lenses.

Camera note: The photo was taken with a Pentax LX and a Pentax 85mm, f2.2 lens. Quite an intriguing lens, since although f-stops are only marked from f2.2 to f5.6, the range is continuous without any true stops. One can have any fractional f-stop desired, and the softness varies from intensive at f2.2 to minimal at f5.6. The photo was taken at f5.6.

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