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  1. #1
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    Default Cross-System (Panasonic Leica, Fuji, Canon, Nikon) 85mm Equivalent Lens Performance Comparison


    The four lenses compared here are the Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 (Nocticron) on Olympus E-M1, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 on Canon 6D, Nikon 85mm f/1.8G on Nikon D610, and Fuji 56mm f/1.2 on Fuji X-E2.


    P4130001 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr

    In this post I'll be showing how each lens performs wide open. I like to feel confident that I can use a lens wide open, and the purpose of this thread is to look at how these lenses deliver at that setting. For those wanting to see how these lenses compare at matched depth of field, see post #16 of this thread. For general comments on use, see post #18.

    JPEGs were converted from RAW in Lightroom 5.4 with a quick (not always successful) attempt to match overall brightness and white balance during processing. Sharpening and noise reduction settings were left at defaults. I cropped the Olympus E-M1 JPEGs to 3:2 aspect ratio to facilitate comparison.

    I recommend comparing JPEGs by right clicking each one and choosing "Open link in new tab" in your tabbed browser of choice so that you can compare one JPEG to the next by switching tabs.

    Scene 1 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120001.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2018.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0028.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0028.jpg

    Scene 1 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120001.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2018.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0028.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0028.nef

    The first thing I noticed from Scene 1 is how the Nocticron wide open renders a significantly less blurred background than the other three lenses. Having done the subsequent comparisons of the Nocticron at f/1.2 to the Canon and Nikon lenses at f/2.5, I can tell you that even at those respective settings, the full frame lenses produce a background with more apparent blur. In other words, relative to the other lenses, the Nocticron produces less background blur than one would predict for a 42.5mm f/1.2 lens on a Micro 4/3 camera.

    On the other hand, Scene 1 also demonstrates that the Nocticron renders the smoothest bokeh of the four lenses wide open. Unlike the Nocticron, the other three lenses demonstrate nisen bokeh in this scene. This isn't the first example of a lens that renders particularly smooth bokeh showing less apparent background blur than one might expect. See for example Neil van Niekirk's excellent examples of how the Zeiss lens on the Sony RX1 produces less apparent background blur than the Nikon 35/1.4G when both lenses are used at 35mm and f/2.

    Other things I noticed from Scene 1 are that the Nikon lens has impressive corner sharpness even wide open, that the Fuji is relatively free of the purple fringing shown by the other three lenses, and that the two full frame lenses show the most green bokeh fringing (one component of axial CA).


    Scene 2 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120004.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2022.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0031.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0031.jpg

    Scene 2 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120004.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2022.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0031.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0031.nef

    In Scene 2, I tried to focus near the front edge of the roof (between the first row of shingles and the second), but the Fuji focused further back. In general, the Fuji X-E2 was the hardest of the four cameras to focus on intended small targets, whereas the Olympus was the easiest. To what extent the lenses contributed to these differences, I cannot say.

    In this scene, both the Nocticron and the Nikon clearly outresolved the sensor in the center of the frame where color aliasing is readily apparent. Meanwhile the Canon and especially the Nikon suffer from a lot of purple fringing and green-fringed bokeh. Again it seems to me that the Nocticron produces the smoothest bokeh with this very challenging background.


    Scene 3 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120005.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2023.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0032.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0032.jpg

    Scene 3 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120005.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2023.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0032.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0032.nef

    The subject of Scene 3 reminds me that I should mention that many of these images are overexposed with irrecoverable highlights owing to the use of fast primes wide open on a bright day without neutral density filters. The Fuji took the hardest hit as it has neither the 1/8000s setting of the Olympus nor the native ISO 100 of the Canon and Nikon.


    Scene 4 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120009.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2029.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0036.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0036.jpg

    Scene 4 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120009.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2029.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0036.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0036.nef

    Scene 4 comments: Canon front focused a bit here. I didn't do such a hot job matching white balance and brightness here during RAW conversion. The Fuji was the only lens to show flare under these conditions. All four lenses displayed some fairly ugly axial CA.


    Scene 5 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120011.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2031.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0038.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0038.jpg

    Scene 5 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120011.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2031.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0038.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0038.nef


    Scene 6 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120012.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2032.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0039.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0039.jpg

    Scene 6 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120012.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2032.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0039.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0039.nef

    Scene 6 comments: The Nikon is just an impressively sharp lens wide open, isn't it? Certainly has been showing up the Canon if you've been seeing what I've been seeing in these comparisons overall.


    Scene 7 JPEGs:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/P4120013.jpg
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSCF2033.jpg
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/IMG_0040.jpg
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...G/DSC_0040.jpg

    Scene 7 RAW files:
    Panasonic-Leica: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/P4120013.orf
    Fuji: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSCF2033.raf
    Canon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/IMG_0040.cr2
    Nikon: https://s3.amazonaws.com/mu43rawfile...W/DSC_0040.nef


    I hope some members / readers find these samples to be useful! Please share your comments and questions below.*


    *Except for discussion of the Nocticron price / value proposition. Those comments go here: http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=62109


    P4130002 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
    Amin
    Mu-43.com Webmaster (Site FAQ | Help Forum | My Disclosures | My Flickriver | My G+ Profile)

    You can help pay our server bills when you buy anything online: http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=55354

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  3. #2
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    Thanks for doing this Amin, should really help a bunch of people out. I think if the 45f1.8 was tossed in there people would really have to think if the 1.2 is really worth the price because to me, what this test shows is that
    a. the lens is very sharp wide open
    b. bokeh still isn't on the level of a fullframe system and IMO only slightly better than the 1.8 Oly

    I think that the lens is built beautifully and obviously has great image quality, but how much better is it than the oly 45? IMO, not enough, but that's okay since it is a specialty lens. The Canon 85f1.8 that you were using is performing well, is the 85f1.2 really worth another $1500? It's all a give and take and I know it's been said numerous times before, but the kit lens gets you 80% there, the 45f1.8 will get you 95% there (IMO), how much are you willing to pay for perfection?

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  5. #3

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    duke, Amin specifically asked that another thread is used to talk about price/value proposition. I second your idea of 45 1.8 for purely quality comparison, but we should all respect Amin's point about this thread NOT turning into yet another price/value discussion!


    Quote Originally Posted by duke View Post
    Thanks for doing this Amin, should really help a bunch of people out. I think if the 45f1.8 was tossed in there people would really have to think if the 1.2 is really worth the price because to me, what this test shows is that
    a. the lens is very sharp wide open
    b. bokeh still isn't on the level of a fullframe system and IMO only slightly better than the 1.8 Oly

    I think that the lens is built beautifully and obviously has great image quality, but how much better is it than the oly 45? IMO, not enough, but that's okay since it is a specialty lens. The Canon 85f1.8 that you were using is performing well, is the 85f1.2 really worth another $1500? It's all a give and take and I know it's been said numerous times before, but the kit lens gets you 80% there, the 45f1.8 will get you 95% there (IMO), how much are you willing to pay for perfection?
    Last edited by tosvus; April 12th, 2014 at 11:18 PM.
    Panasonic GH3, Panasonic GF2, M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8, M.Zuiko 9-18mm, Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4, Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5 f1.2 Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 X, Panasonic 14-42mm, Panasonic 45-150mm


  6. #4
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    To my eye the Nocticron and the Fuji are miles ahead of the Nikon and Canon...to be honest, I wouldn't consider many of the Nikon shots useable at all and clearly require stopping down to get adequate sharpness and contrast thus negating any shallow DOF advantage that they have over the Nocticron.

    I think to say that the bokeh of the Nocticron "isn't up to the level of FF" is not quite an accurate statement....sure, you'll better obliterate the background with the Nikon here for example but how much does that extra 'shallowness' really count for when the image, even in the dead centre of the frame, clearly lacks the punchy contrast and sharpness of the Noctircron....and not to mention that in most of these examples the Nocticron is rendering smoother, less busy out of focus areas as well.

    I think we need to frame this debate carefully...we aren't discussing which lens has the greater ability to produce the thinnest DOF possible, this discussion is which lens is able to produce the best, most useable images at largest possible aperture......looking at it that way, I'd say that quite contrary to what Duke said...it is the FF lens that isn't quite up to the level of the Fuji and Nocticron.
    Joe


    ...my stuff is on
    flickr

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  8. #5
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    Sorry about the price thing, guess I didn't see that. I guess I have lower standards Joe ;) The WB on the nikon shots seems off to me, but I would totally use any of those shots and don't think they would need much done to them. I also disagree with the statement that the Nocticron bokeh is better in some way. Not trying to bash the lens in any way, like I said, I think the lens is great for the system, it's sharp and constructed better than any other m43 lens IMO. However, if the lens is f1.2 that says to me that they are marketing this at the folks who are looking for the shallowest DOF possible, and it just doesn't deliver. Again, it's a good lens, possibly even great, but it falls short on the most noticeable factor, the amount of bokeh. Sure as photographers we can analyze tiny details, but what does 98% of the population care if at 200% the bokeh is a little less pure or however you want to define it. What people notice immediately is the isolation, what f1.2 implies is isolation, what the lens delivers, is good quality, but not out of this world isolation, which is to be expected vs FF glass, but still dissapointing.

    Also, once the subject is closer to the camera most differences between bokeh basically disappear IMO, and in those shots I would agree that the PL42.5 is the winner. I just think that the shallow DOF is what most people will prefer and when the pl42.5 is closer to infinity it just doesn't deliver the same shallowness as the other systems.

    Again, I think it is a good lens, bought one of the $1300 ones from unique and used it a bit before deciding that I just couldn't justify it. There are certainly people who can and for them kudos, but I think the majority (overwhelmingly) will be perfectly fine with the 1.8.
    Last edited by duke; April 13th, 2014 at 12:01 AM.


  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by duke View Post
    Sorry about the price thing, guess I didn't see that. I guess I have lower standards Joe ;) The WB on the nikon shots seems off to me, but I would totally use any of those shots and don't think they would need much done to them. I also disagree with the statement that the Nocticron bokeh is better in some way. Not trying to bash the lens in any way, like I said, I think the lens is great for the system, it's sharp and constructed better than any other m43 lens IMO. However, if the lens is f1.2 that says to me that they are marketing this at the folks who are looking for the shallowest DOF possible, and it just doesn't deliver. Again, it's a good lens, possibly even great, but it falls short on the most noticeable factor, the amount of bokeh. Sure as photographers we can analyze tiny details, but what does 98% of the population care if at 200% the bokeh is a little less pure or however you want to define it. What people notice immediately is the isolation, what f1.2 implies is isolation, what the lens delivers, is good quality, but not out of this world isolation, which is to be expected vs FF glass, but still dissapointing.

    Also, once the subject is closer to the camera most differences between bokeh basically disappear IMO, and in those shots I would agree that the PL42.5 is the winner. I just think that the shallow DOF is what most people will prefer and when the pl42.5 is closer to infinity it just doesn't deliver the same shallowness as the other systems.

    Again, I think it is a good lens, bought one of the $1300 ones from unique and used it a bit before deciding that I just couldn't justify it. There are certainly people who can and for them kudos, but I think the majority (overwhelmingly) will be perfectly fine with the 1.8.
    I am not sure that I actually agree with your argument at all. Anyone who buys a Nocticron knows full well that it falls short in terms of the 'amount' of bokeh against 1.2 on APS-C or 1.8 on FF. It is a simple statement of physics. Really if you think it is 'disappointing' that the Nocticron doesnt produce as shallow DOF as the other lenses then you have simply set your expectations wrong.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/robcoll/

    OMD, 7-14, 12-35, PL25, O45, O75
    Bessa R2A, VC 35 1.4

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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbie36 View Post
    I am not sure that I actually agree with your argument at all. Anyone who buys a Nocticron knows full well that it falls short in terms of the 'amount' of bokeh against 1.2 on APS-C or 1.8 on FF. It is a simple statement of physics. Really if you think it is 'disappointing' that the Nocticron doesnt produce as shallow DOF as the other lenses then you have simply set your expectations wrong.
    This is true. If one wants the shallow DOF of a full-frame 85, then one has to use a full-frame 85. There's no way of getting around that. Physics requires it. But this is the perpetual comparison of one format vs. another format. They are in fact different. Fortunately each format has its usefulness and its appeal.


  12. Default

    Physics and test reviews aside, I cannot consistently get good sharp images with the Canon 85/1.2L II on my 5D II. But I can consistently get sharp images wide open with my Nocticron, with amazing bokeh/OOF rendering, like these sample images. So, between the 5D II + 85/1.2L II and the E-M1 + Nocticron I would take the E-M1 + Nocticron any day. In my books, the Nocticron beats both the Canon 85/1.2L II and 85/1.8 lenses - hands down. I am speaking from experience, having used the 5D II + 85/1.2L II for many years. The Nocticron is worth every penny to me.
    Bobby Tan
    Long Beach, CA

    http://yinyang.zenfolio.com

    E-M1 | Zuiko 12-40/2.8 | Zuiko 60/2.8 | Zuiko 75/1.8
    Lumix 7-14/4 | PL 15/1.7 | PL 42.5/1.2 Nocticron
    Rokinon 7.5 fisheye | OM Zuiko 55/1.2 | Canon FL 55/1.2

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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyTan View Post
    Physics and test reviews aside, I cannot consistently get good sharp images with the Canon 85/1.2L II on my 5D II. But I can consistently get sharp images wide open with my Nocticron, with amazing bokeh/OOF rendering, like these sample images. So, between the 5D II + 85/1.2L II and the E-M1 + Nocticron … I would take the E-M1 + Nocticron any day. In my books, the Nocticron beats both the Canon 85/1.2L II and 85/1.8 lenses - hands down. I am speaking from experience, having used the 5D II + 85/1.2L II for many years. The Nocticron is worth every penny … to me.
    Agree with this wholeheartedly and that's one of the main reasons I keep coming back to m43, the accuracy. Sure some systems might be slightly faster, but none are nearly as accurate IMO.

    Sorry if it seems I'm ranting, it's late, been drinking

    I like the lens, I think it's great for our system, It's obviously superior at 1.2 to the FF lenses at 1.8, I guess I just don't understand the main point of the comparison, especially if no one wants to talk about DOF or cost vs performance (the main factors to think about when considering the lens IMO)...


  15. #10

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    Great shots BobbyTan!



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