Real World Comparo: Lens vs. Lens Vs. Lens vs. Lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Alanroseman, May 15, 2011.

  1. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    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

    1. MD Rokkor X - 45mm / f 2.0
    2. Konica Hexanon AR - 40mm / f 1.8
    3. Pentax SMC M - 28mm / f 2.8
    4. MD Rokkor X - 50mm / f 1.7
    5. MD W Rokkor X - 28mm / f 2.8
    6. Panasonic 14-45 for comparison height


    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 .

    Legacy_Test_Line_Up_Height.

    Legacy_Test_Line_Up_face.


    The setup: Image of setup included.

    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)
    Camera RAW
    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

    http://gallery.me.com/alanroseman#100207

    Set_up_Legacy_Test.



    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.

    PP applied:

    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.

    Conclusion: 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.

    Cheers, Alan

    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

    Rokkor_45mm_2_0.

    MD Rokkor 45mm @ f4.0

    Rokkor_45mm_4_0.

    MD Rokkor 45mm @ f4.0 with PP

    Rokkor_45mm_4_0_PP.

    MD Rokkor 28mm @ f4.0

    Rokkor_28mm_4_0.

    MD Rokkor 28mm @ f4.0 with PP

    Rokkor_28mm_4_0_PP.

    MD Rokkor 50mm @ f1.7

    Rokkor_50mm_1_7.

    MD Rokkor 50mm @ f4.0

    Rokkor_50mm_4_0.

    MD Rokkor 50mm @ f4.0 with PP

    Rokkor_50mm_4_0_PP.

    Konica Hexanon 40mm @ f1.8

    Hexanon_40mm_1_8.

    Konica Hexanon 40mm @ f 4.0

    Hexanon_40mm_4_0.

    Konica Hexanon 40mm @ f 4.0 with PP

    Hexanon_40mm_4_0_PP.
     
    • Like Like x 12
  2. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    pssss ... alan ... you need to add a conclusion here ...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Gary,

    Here it is. I think part of the process was concluding that for the average photographer, it's much ado over... not much difference...

    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. Again. 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.



     
    • Like Like x 4
  4. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    PS. Just because you're my idol, I actually added the word.... conclusion. :biggrin:

    Which means you are correct....



     
  5. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Thanks Alan, comparisons like these should encourage people to just pick a focal length that feels comfortable to them. I think any of the brands that are commonly mentioned around here will serve people well. Plenty of used lenses in great shape can be found for less that $50 AND will give great results.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    LOL ... Alan that's not a conclusion but a cop-out. Which lens is best wide open, closed down and in-between? How about corner sharpness, bohek and vignetting ... don't make us figure out what you have already concluded. If you could only keep only one lens, (exclude the 28), which lens would that be? If I were to start hitting pawn stores, which lens is the Holy Grail of lens tested?

    Gary

    PS- Pixel Peeping for the sake of a conclusion is okay ... lol
    G

    PPS- If I'm spending $35USD on a lens ... I want it to be the best $35USD lens money can buy.
    G
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Fun comparison, Alan. One thing I can conclude is that I prefer the way these lenses render without PP :biggrin:.

    Seriously, though, the MD Rokkor 45mm looks like a winner to me :2thumbs:.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hey Gary....

    Cop out is my middle name...

    Now, if you can still read this late in the afternoon.... (I know you've been sipping wine....) Have Mary Lou read it to you if problems persist.

    You'll note I said, all of these lenses can be had for well under $100.
    the object of the exercise was just that. You needn't spend much dough at all... and the difference is there for you to see... not much.

    Okay, back to the LA times and fruit of the gods with you then.....:smile:

    PS. If you want to spend $350. on any of them.... send me the check and any one of them is yours... shipping is on me..
     
  9. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Alan, my eyes are telling me the Hexanon 40 is softer at full wide open compared to the Rokker 50 wide open, but they look equally sharp at f/4. Yes?

    I like the images from the 28mm, and may look into adding that one to my arsenal, as I have several old minolta lenses from my previous life with film, and I have ordered an adapter for the PEN.

    Thanks for the scientific approach to beauty.

    -Steve
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    It was just for fun.. So many questions about which lens... How much?

    My point, if I can find one, is unless your shooting for serious publication, who cares? They're all pretty nice in there own way, and they cost peanuts.

    ps. What looks like a CA is actually a second Bleeding Heart right behind the one I selected for focus. I didn't want to change anything, so I just kept shooting.

    I'm sure I'll hear from several pixel peepers... I already have my helmet on.
     
  11. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Looks like something I would do, but then again I have OCD...
     
  12. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England

    :2thumbs: :rofl:

    Got me....
     
  13. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Thanks. The 28mm is what got me thinking about doing this. it seems to have received somewhat of a bad rep. When I discovered I liked it... I thought I might be slipping...

    I always liked the Rokkors, I wish I could figure out who has my 35mm and my 24mm.....

    As far as softer or sharper... you guys can draw your own conclusion (sorry Gary) that's the point. They're all pretty nice for the short money required to obtain them...

    Cheers, Alan
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. MegaPixelTravel

    MegaPixelTravel Mu-43 Regular

    73
    May 14, 2011
    Canada
    Spec wise the 40mm looks to be the best.

    Alan is right, 25-50 dollars isn't much to spend on a lens. And if you find you don't like it you can realistically resell it at cost.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Exactly! Don't neglect to look at the full gallery on Mobile Me. You can see them all at every aperture setting. MobileMe Gallery

    You can buy several of these lenses for very little money, an adapter from Rainbow will set you back $20-25... you just can't go wrong.

    You like the 40mm, Amin likes the 45mm it's all VERY subjective when you toss out the test charts and look at some regular old images...

    Cheers, Alan
     
  16. eyeguy

    eyeguy Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Feb 26, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Thanks for the wonderful post Alan. I have a MD 45mm f/2.0 and a MD 50mm f/1.7 on the way. Hopefully they'll get here before I leave on a trip next Friday. Can't wait to test them out!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Wonderful.. Now you know just what to expect. Any of them would be fine if judged by nothing other than the cost of obtaining them.

    Most of them are really quite nice by any standard. Certainly enjoyable.


     
  18. I'm sorry but I must insist that you arrange those letters alphabetically i.e. CDO

    Thank you
     
  19. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    LOL...

    It was a slow Sunday... I had to do something to keep from creating an excel spreadsheet to determine my favorite focal length..
    :wink:
     
  20. Yeah, what's the hold-up with that anyway?
     
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