Real World Comparison of Legacy Lenses Lens vs. Lens vs. Lens vs. Lens etc.....
It’s another rainy day in New England, I spent yesterday buying vegetable plants for the garden, doing a little planting, and helping my lovely wife prepare her window boxes.
This morning, before the rain was to begin in ernest, I decided to do some testing. A head to head competition of some legacy glass intended to allow my weeding out of the equipment I don’t use very often or might find less desirable.
Let me preface this endeavor by saying, “I believe true scientific lens tests are a wonderful way to compare lenses, as one requires a set of standards to create measuring points in any manner of test”.
Scientific testing requires control i.e. a controlled experiment with an observer and method of recording.
Now that I’ve attempted to satisfy the science and technology section of the membership, and I hope gentle readers, I’ll explain my own method and opinion.
I’m a very big fan of side by side. When the opportunity arises, I love getting a few items side by side to see which makes me “real world happy”. When you purchase a vehicle, do you read all the reviews; Motor Trend, Car and Drive, Consumer Reports etc. et al, then make a decision and start negotiating? Uh, no. Rather, you head off to the dealerships and see what makes you feel the thrill when you set off driving. Sometimes preconceived notions play a role and you have to overcome them to make a decision that’s comfortable for you. Not much different here.
With side by side methodology firmly planted in my frontal lobe, I set out to see what’s what among some of my bits of kit. (please note the use of the word kit to describe equipment for our european friends)
I used real world controls for my tests, as most of us don’t have lens test charts in our favorite camera bag. I decided to use the things we all have, a camera some lenses, a tripod, pen and paper, and a place to live. I’ve even included a photo of my mosquito infested test laboratory. The mosquitos were an aide in preventing my being too obsessive.
Tested were 5 lenses: Shown in order by physical length
People new to the µ43 format should note, one must “double the focal length” of each lens to understand it’s field of View FOV when adapted to µ43. To think of these lenses in 35mm terms, the 28mm becomes a 56mm lens. The 45mm becomes a 90mm etc etc .
The setup: Image of setup included.
- MD Rokkor X - 45mm / f 2.0
- Konica Hexanon AR - 40mm / f 1.8
- Pentax SMC M - 28mm / f 2.8
- MD Rokkor X - 50mm / f 1.7
- MD W Rokkor X - 28mm / f 2.8
- Panasonic 14-45 for comparison height
Full overcast day, no sun, no shadows. Dim non dramatic lighting.
Panasonic G1 on a tripod (never moved the camera or tripod)
ISO / 400 (if not the stopped down shots would have approached time exposures)
Each lens shot “wide open” for first image.
All lenses shot at f4.0 - 5.6 - 8.0 - 11.0 - 16 (3 lenses shot out to f 22)
Refocused at each aperture setting (mosquito bites to prove it)
Imported with NO settings into Aperture 3
Subsequent Post Processing Applied:
I took One (1) f4.0 & f 8.0 version from each lens, and applied minimum Post Processing (PP). Those are included as well.
NIK Output Sharpener: Created a preset filter and applied to all PP images
NIK Color EFX Pro: Pro Contrast Filter preset applied to all PP images the same
All RAW non filtered and processed shots are included.
By now you are either so bored that you’ve powered down your computer, or you’re wondering what if anything I think I’ve accomplished or learned. I did come to an understanding.
Keeping in mind that so many new MU-43 members arrive wondering how much they have to spend to acquire a nice prime lens I now have an answer. Not too much.
I didn’t shoot a .95 Voightlander Nokton for a couple of reasons.
1. No way I’m ever spending that kind of dough on a manual focus lens... sorry.
2. I don’t have one ( please see number 1 for explanation)
All of the lenses involved in this test can be had for well under $100. Well under. There are at least two (2) Rokkor 28mm / f 2.8 lenses on eBay today, high bid under $35. There is also a Konica Hexanon 40mm / f 1.8 currently under $25. at this writing.
All said and done, I’m sure almost any Nikon, Canon, Mamiya, etc. lens I’d have stuck on the front of my G1 would have been just as nice.... and not too much different to the average Joe in the real world.
If you’re pixel peeping, which I can assure you I am not, you’ll probably note a world of differences here.
In the real world, any of these would serve well at it’s prescribed focal length for a very minimal investment. You can have fun, makes some images with legacy glass and have enough money left over for dinner and a movie.
Included here on MU-43 are each lens shot: Legacy Test Lens vs. Lens etc. - Mu-43 Gallery
Wide open (largest aperture available)
f 4.0 RAW import no import filters or settings
f 4.0 with PP described above
Links to full galleries below. Downloadable.
I feel the best full full gallery is the one at Mobile Me... IMHO
Mobile Me: MobileMe Gallery
Full Gallery at Flickr: Legacy Test - a set on Flickr
Here are several Examples
MD Rokkor 45mm @ f2.0
MD Rokkor 45mm @ f4.0
MD Rokkor 45mm @ f4.0 with PP
MD Rokkor 28mm @ f4.0
MD Rokkor 28mm @ f4.0 with PP
MD Rokkor 50mm @ f1.7
MD Rokkor 50mm @ f4.0
MD Rokkor 50mm @ f4.0 with PP
Konica Hexanon 40mm @ f1.8
Konica Hexanon 40mm @ f 4.0
Konica Hexanon 40mm @ f 4.0 with PP