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12 Lenses spanning 50 Years

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jman, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    475
    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    I tested 8 adapted lenses and 4 native lenses, all in the ~50mm range. Today's test was just on center sharpness. I'm going to do edge sharpness likely tomorrow, and bokeh another day.

    12 Lenses Spanning 50 Years Do Battle » Admiring Light

    Edit:
    Part 2 of my evaluation is now up, which looks at the edge of the frame.
    http://admiringlight.com/blog/12-lenses-spanning-50-years-do-battle-part-2/


    Part 3 is now online, which evaluates bokeh.
    http://admiringlight.com/blog/12-lenses-spanning-50-years-do-battle-part-3/
     
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  2. I'm not sold on the concept of comparing lenses at different apertures. I think an f1.2 or f1.4 lens is seriously handicapped by dint of it offering a larger aperture compared to the others. Stopping down two stops for maximum sharpness might be too much of a generalization. I'd guess that f/11 is probably not going to be optimum for the 14-45, nor f/2.8 the optimum for an f/1.2-1.4 lens. My Canon FD 55/1.2 needs about f/5.6 to hit it's optimum sharpness; which is over four stops from wide-open.

    Neat idea, I'm just not sure about the methods.
     
  3. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    It's an invalid test!!! You've set back photography 250 years!!!! Every sentence you've ever uttered is without basis or value!!!!
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    Just thought I'd get that out of the way and save some other people the bother. :biggrin:

    Seriously, thanks for going to the trouble, it is useful to me. Just wish a Canon 55mm 1.2 had been in there, but since I have the Konica 40mm 1.8 also I can compare those two and get an idea of where the Canon would stand relative to the others.

    Again, thanks.
     
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  4. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer


    Whoa, You had me there. I thought man, Rich is on FIRE today.:smile:
     
  5. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Mar 12, 2011
    Nice work!

    I don't have any`F1.2 or F1.4 lenses, but I think it is very useful to look at all them at their widest aperture. What some call dreamy, others might call yuck, so it's good to see what the centers look like.

    When you consider how the total image looks, it gets really subjective because contrast and color, as well as perceived across the image sharpness factor in. So I look forward to further installments.

    Not surprised that the Canon FD 1.8 looks nice wide open and that they all are winners stopped down. I did something like this recently with my 50's, which include a Canon FD 1.8, a Konica f1.8, and the OMZ 40-150 zoom. For me, the Canon and the Oly Zoom were also the sharpest wide open.I didn't look very hard at edge sharpness from my samples until today, but I bet your OMZ 40-150 will hold up at the corners as well as most of the older guys stopped down.
     
  6. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    WHAT! No Nikkor glass?:eek: Can't have a true test without at least one of the Nikkor 50mm.
     
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Ad
    Pfff, Nikkors... But only 1 Minolta lens? Come on! :mad::biggrin:
    I agree with Nic here, it's my experience that most lenses perform optimally around f/5.6 and I often tend to want simply the best performance out of any lens. The 50/1.4 I use most, the Minolta MD Rokkor 50/1.4 with ø55mm filter thread, is intolerably soft wide-open and reasonable at f/2.8. However, at f/4 and f/5.6 it's superb across the frame. With your test you might miss a gem or two :smile:.

    I read that you're going to do comparisons on corner sharpness as well. May I suggest to do a run at f/5.6 for all lenses as well? I'd certainly love to see the results!

    Thanks for the effort to do the tests and showing them, I know how much work that is.
     
  8. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    224
    Jan 25, 2012
    While the sharpest aperture for many lenses is indeed around f/5.6, diffraction limits the resolution there (at least in the center) already, and it's usually a bit sharper at f/4 even with 12MP sensors. Borders continue to improve, though, for most lenses up until ~ f/5.6. Then diffraction hits harder and it starts to get softer and softer from f/5.6 and smaller.
     
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    From my experience, the really fast aperture lenses (< f/1.4) are generally not the sharpest... compromises have been made to achieve the fast aperture that impact across the entire range of apertures. Some of the sharpest optics I've seen have been f/2 and f/2.5 max aperture.... even an f/4.

    I've had some time behind Canon 50mm 0.95, Noctilux f/1, Summicron, Takumar, Canon , etc. Surprisingly the sharpest I recall was the Summicron 50mm with a max aperture f/2. Its also one of the most popular among Leica shooters. I've sold many of those lenses and went with a short stint with the Noctilux f/1 and Summarit 50mm f/2.5. Nice sharp lens the f/2.5 could produce at a relatively bargain price (stress relative).

    Newer designs have really improved things... even some of the faster optics are really benefiting. Even the newer (way out of my price range) Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 will give even "normal" 50's a run for their money in terms of micro contrast and sharpness. I still keep the older Noctilux around but its far from being the sharpest lens around... very far.. but that's not the point of it.


    Somewhere a while back on another forum, someone posted a nice series of 50mm samples (looked like they were done inside a restaurant) across something like 35 different lenses. Very interesting to see the differences side by side. In particular how the specular highlights were rendered. I'll have to dig it up... Can't find it... I think you all would be interested in seeing that thread too.

    PS> A photog teacher once told me that sharpness is today's (it was a while back) obsession that distracts.... an illusion.
     
  10. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    What was the camera to subject distance?

    I haven't read the test yet, but different lenses can have greatly different performance at different focusing distances. It would expect macro lenses, for example, to perform better at distances of a few feet, but perhaps noticeably worse at infinity.

    In fact, this is what invalidates most of the test results you see on the web, even from respected test sites. They use lenses optimized for distant objects to shoot test charts at distance of 3 to 10 feet, which tells you nothing about how the lens performs in more normal situations.
     
  11. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    475
    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    The subject distance was pretty close - about 3-4 feet. You are correct that review sites don't test at infinity. If this were a real review of these lenses I'd be doing a lot more structured tests, but this was more a fun thing to see how these handled. Since on m4/3, these lenses are ideally suited for portrait work, closer focus distance in the 3-6 feet range, though, is really an ideal testing place.

    Usayit - I agree that sharpness is an overrated metric. It's actually the reason I still have most of these lenses. There is a unique rendering to each of them, which can be ideally suited to certain types of photography depending on the style I'm going for. I will probably be selling a few of these in a while, but I am definitely keeping my FD 50/1.4 and Hexanon 57/1.2, and may also keep my Hexanon 40/1.8 and OM 50/3.5. Of course all the native Micro 4/3 lenses have a serious spot in my bag.
     
  12. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    Yeah, while I wouldn't go quite so far as to say it's a illusion, it's a looooong way from being the most important thing about an image.
    Because it's easy to see and measure though it tends to take on an inflated importance, especially on the internet. :)

    That said, I do often take test shots with my lenses at various distances and apertures. I want to know how wide the "sweet spot" is, and how much improvement I get stopping down just a bit. For some situations that's useful info.
     
  13. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If sharpness was a concrete characteristic of a final output of a system, then why is it "adjustible" in post process and why do images look sharper on a small LCD and blurry on a large print? A low contrast lens can appear unsharp, even under an enlarged crop, but actually retain more fine detail than another lens that is contrasty which looks sharp. I used to do demonstrations at a shop that can help understand the idea......

    Sharpness as how we view it is a function of a variety of things including things like micro contrast. Its why many labs use a black and white wall chart with a methods to measure resolution rather than objects. I apologize, thats about the extent of my understanding of the process.
     
  14. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    Granted, overall image sharpness is complicated, somewhat subjective and the product of a number of steps along the way. I was just referring to the much more limited case of lens sharpness as commonly tested for, where other factors are kept as constant as possible.
     
  15. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Now that I am home and can see the test better, I am going to have to agree...

    I can see some samples from the lower set (stopped down) to a similar aperture to the micro 43 lenses at f4 in the upper set that are appear close. The f1.2 Hexanon appears to make a huge difference just stopped two stops down.... normally one would probably stop down even more with such a fast lens if the intended photo is suppose to be reasonably sharp.
     
  16. G.Sal

    G.Sal Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Jul 4, 2011
    The Philippines
    Glad to see an affirmation how good the 40-150mm is. It is a very useful lens and part of my 2-lens combo (with the 20mm) every time I cover an event.

    It's a great lens for its price, and I'm quite surprised that it's not a popular lens. May be not everyone is into zoom lens.
     
  17. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    475
    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Part 2 of my evaluation is now up, which looks at the edge of the frame. I took the advice of many and tested all at f/5.6. I was going to do that for the bokeh test anyway, so I just combined both. I will compile and post comments on the bokeh either tomorrow or Tuesday.

    12 Lenses Spanning 50 Years Do Battle – Part 2 » Admiring Light
     
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  18. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Ad
    Very revealing, thanks.
     
  19. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    Thanks again, appreciate you taking the time.

    If you're taking suggestions for future tests...:smile:

    One thing I'm interested in regarding fast lenses is how they do stopped down just a bit. Generally fast glass isn't super sharp wide open, but since I shoot some concerts in a fairly dim hall a lens that improves rapidly when stopped down is useful to me, whereas one that has to get to at least f4 before it's good isn't much help. For example, the Canon EF 28mm f1.8 isn't very good wide open, even in the center, but just stopping down to f2.0 yields a big improvement.

    The ideal test for me with this focal length would be to test the 1.2-1.8 lens wide open and also at 2.0.

    I've got a Canon FD 55mm f1.2 I'd be willing to ship to you for that, PM me if you're interested.
     
  20. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    475
    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Part 3 is now online, which evaluates bokeh.
    12 Lenses Spanning 50 Years Do Battle – Part 3 » Admiring Light

    I'd love to do more tests. (The Hexanon 57/1.2 sharpens up considerably by f/1.8), but I just do not have the time right now. I may take a look at something along those lines eventually, but probably not with all these lenses. I wouldn't mind testing the 55/1.2, though. (Maybe I could borrow a Rokkor 58/1.2 and do a shootout with the three f/1.2 lenses.)
     
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