Lens resolution tests

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Dragonflydm, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Ok..so I took some of my new and old lenses and decided to test out just how sharp a focus they are.

    Now, a proper test I would have had a few different cameras to test from, but because it was going to rain..I only did the D100 for speed.

    Nikon 50mm f/1.8 100%
    [​IMG]

    Tokina 12-24 100%
    @12mm
    [​IMG]
    @24
    [​IMG]

    Nikon 180mm f/2.8 100%
    [​IMG]

    Nikon 70-210 f/4 @ 180mm 100%
    [​IMG]

    Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 @50mm
    @f/8
    [​IMG]

    50mm @f/2.8
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Thanks.
    You're spending my money...I already want a 180.2.8 ..... it's best of show in your test.

    I have the 70-200 like you .
    Do you get much use out of the 180?
     
  3. I just sold my 70-200 f/2.8. It is a GREAT camera and it is nice to have AFS and VR, but make no mistake that a prime out performs a zoom any day of the week, no matter what review you see on the internet.

    The proof is in the pudding.

    The advantages of the 70-200 f/2.8 is that it is the fastest and sharpest zoom on the market. If you need a zoom, then the 70-200 is your camera. I rarely need a zoom at that level for that speed.

    In a pinch my slower 70-210 f/4 does well enough for half the weight. If I need speed or better quality, I can put on the 180mm f/2.8 for half the weight of the 70-210 (one quarter the weight of the 70-200).

    It was a tough decision selling the 70-200, but buying gear because an addiction of having cool stuff, and not a philosophy of "what I want out of photography."

    I shoot weddings and events. I usually only put on a 70-200 when I want to shoot at 200mm, and if you are shooting at f/2.8 you will learn that the 70-200 is NOT sharp like most lenses wide open. I saw the tests on the 180mm at f/2.8 and it was sick how sharp it was. You don't need VR at f/2.8 because your shutter speed is almost always faster than 1/250 (usually nearer to 1/1000).

    VR is also useless for sports on a D100 or D70.
     
  4. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I am most struck by the similarity of these, very disparate lenses.

    However, what's up with the 50mm f/1.8 results vs those at f/2.8? To my eye, the f/1.8 looks much better than the f/2.8. Shouldn't this lens be looking pretty good at f/2,8?
     
  5. Hi Chris,

    I think the 50mm at f/2.8 shot was with the (Tamron?) 28-75, not the 50mm prime. If I'm correct, then the differences make sense.

    Best wishes,

    David
     
  6. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Thanks David. I should read more carefuly. :oops:
     
  7. I should add that I did this test on a monopod at 1/500 second because I wanted to simulate how I would normally be shooting. At that shutter speed, braced, this should still be pretty representative.

    I would love to find a better chart to shoot with. It would also be really good to see other people's tests too.
     
  8. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I've used the NBS chart to check out some of my lenses. A couple months ago, Paul (MontyDog) sent me a USAF1951 chart, along with 16 pages of documentation. As soon as I get that figured out, I'll continue with my own lens characterization.

    Here's the NBS Chart (click the image to download a 600dpi PDF version):
    [​IMG]

    And here's the ASAF Chart (likewise, click for a 600 dpi PDF):
    [​IMG]
     
  9. LMAO... I remember working with recon film taken from F-14s and to test the resolution of the cameras ..they had that last pattern painted on every aircraft carrier on the bridge someplace...


    sigh...the memories.
     
  10. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I've only worked with the NBS pattern, as the instructions for the USAF chart are in some kind of MIL-speak. I've tested my 35mm, 60mm and 24-120vr lenses. Here is the digested data:
    [​IMG]
    The vertical axis is resolving power in mm^-1
    The horiz. axis is f-number (focal length/aperture diameter)

    Here are three from the hundreds of shots, resized for the web so you can see the set-up and relative size, that I used for the resolution analysis above:
    35mm f/2 @ f/2.8:
    [​IMG]

    60mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6:
    [​IMG]

    24-120 VR @ 50mm @ f/5.6:
    [​IMG]

    NOTE: The absolute resolution numbers may tend to the high side, as I took any sign of separation in the pattern to mean the lines were resolved. My analysis demonstrates relative resolution.
     
  11. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  12. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Josh,

    I just saw this thread and I can now see why I love the 180/2.8 and primes in general. Do you take requests? I would love to see an 85/1.8 against the 70-200 at 85mm. For everyday grab shots I use a zoom, but when its time to get serious I use primes everytime.
     
  13. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  14. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I haven't read a forum over there for so time now. :) If those are the MTF charts from another Nikon site, then I already have them. Those cover zooms at wide and tele but not at a specific length. Lots of people rave about the 70-200 vr, which I am sure it is a great lens, some have even claimed it to be better than a prime. :shock: I would like to see the proof. If the 70-200 VR is better than a 85/1.8 and a 180/2.8 I would sell them and buy a 70-200. It would look a little big for portrait work though. :)
     
  15. Charles,

    I just sold my 70-200. It is a GREAT lens. In the world of zoom lenses, it is the sharpest and best lens ever made. But it is NOT as sharp as the 85mm or 180mm.

    The zoom on the 70-200 is soft at f/2.8 (although still better than any other zoom besides the 80-200 push pull). It also ghosts something horrible.

    I bought into the need for VR from the reviews and WPPI. However, after shooting with VR, you learn the limitations of VR.

    For one, VR only really helps out on show shutter speeds. If you are shooting at 1/500 or faster, you will never see the VR at work. So only in very rare situations will you be at f/2.8 AND 1/60h of a second handheld at 200mm. I am a glutten and did it all the time when I didn't have to. I risked "getting the shot" instead of turning up the ISO and making sure I had the photo.

    VR will not help you if the subject is moving and you aren't. You CAN shoot handheld at 1/15th of a second....but you are going to get blury shots if the subject is moving. So think about how often you shoot or want to shoot at 1/15th of a second.

    VR doesn't solve DOF. If you are shootin sports... you might get a better shot if you are shooting handheld at 1/125 panning the camera. But if the subject if running towards you... you are SOL. The subject is running out of focus and VR does nothing to help you. If you get more DOF from your f/stop, you will keep the subject in DOF but then you are going to get blur from motion (again VR does nothing to help you).

    The 70-200 is much easier to hold than a 80-200. The AFS is amazing..but I think AFS is much more useful than VR. However, on a D70 and D100, you will still miss shots from the lag time between the click and shoot time when shooting sports and the like.

    So I got rid of the 70-200 and got a D1X with a 180mm f/2.8. Portraits are sharper...and I am missing nothing in events. It is much easier to crop in that extra 20mm on a sharp picture than it is to have a zoomed in shot of a blurry photo.
     
  16. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Josh,

    I certainly understand the limitations of VR/OS. Primes will always be my bread and butter lenses. There are only 2 zooms I use, although I have a few more. The 24-120 VR for its focal range for my point and shoot lens, and the Sigma 50-500 which I use with 1.4 or 2x TC's when I need the reach.

    I just performed a little test. Indoors with horrible fluorescent light. Using a 50/1.4 at f2.8 because I consider sharpness to be acceptable, spot metered at 1/20@iso100. Put the 24-120VR on and set it at f8 for acceptable sharpness and I have to increase iso to 800 to get 1/20. For a static image there would be a trade off of noise for camera shake. With the prime I could increase iso to 400 to increase shutter speed to help with camera shake and stop action with little increase in noise, but I would be stuck with one focal length.


    Its not about how good the tools are, but how we use the tools to their greatest potential. This is a good discussion and one of the reasons I enjoy the cafe so much. :)
     
  17. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Here is an example taken under the lighting conditions which I hate,in my previous post. 50mm/1.4 at f2.8 and iso400. Sharp enough with a shutter speed to stop motion, and shallow enough DOF to make the subject pop from the background. Did I mention that I hate the lighting in this room?

    [​IMG]
     
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