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Some 50s compared wide open

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Beezle, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. My little Christmas present for Paul. So I chose a subject I might find myself shooting hand held, wide open and ambient light. Usually it's a toddler, but one can hard shoot a comparison using a moving subject. So, I contrived one. It isn't perfect and I will try to find something better.

    Here you see full frame resizes, with links to large full res crops. All were shot with my D2X at 1/80, -3/4 EV due to the bright lights (1/60 for the 3.5 because auto ISO couldn't go there). I used auto ISO in manual mode as I would do in such a situation. I did use a tripod for consistency, but I kept the shutter speed up to where I might shoot hand held. Even on the D2X. All processed with NC, then chopped up in CS2.

    The bottom right of the crop is where focus was aimed.

    I think this illustrates (looking at the crops) the price one pays for lack of speed in tough lighting. I'd say all are usable wide open, then again I am not picky about sharpness.

    I usually have the 1.8 AFD and the 45p, but some lenses are being used by a niece. I threw in the 17-55 just because and now that I think of it, I should have thrown in the BEAST as well. Next time.

    The ornament, by the way, is the annual Christopher Radko "Dave Thomas Foundation" Adoption Ornament. Our kids are both adopted.

    50mm f1.2 AIS

    50mm f1.4 AFD

    50mm f1.8 AIS

    17-55 f2.8 @48mm

    55 f2.8 AIS macro

    55 f3.5 AIS macro
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2005
  2. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2005
  3. Paul, I just redid and reuploaded the crops to be larger and more representative.
  4. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  5. the first thing that jumped out for me was how good the 17-55 is at 2.8. I'd heard about this but hadn't seen any images. Look, I love my 28-70/AF-S so please don't post any more from the 17-55 wide open, please! best...Peter
  6. Yes, the 17-55 is an attractive lens.

    I actually went from the 17-55 to a 28-70 because of focusing problems I had with the 17-55. Nikon actually volunteered to swap them. And I do like the 28-70, but I turned right around and bought another 17-55, which I find focuses just fine with the firmware update to the D2X.

    My theory is I can't have too many lenses. :biggrin:

    Now if I was just good at using them...
  7. Yeah, I use the 70mm end of the 28-70 way to much to ever replace it with the
    17-55. And on my 14nx the 28-70 is just fabulous while the DX 17-55 wouldn't fly. Still, very impressed with the 2.8 performance. Thanks for sharing the whole series.... Peter
  8. The 2.8 lenses appear to play down the highlights to the best extent...thanks for taking the trouble!

  9. Wow, that 55m kicks the cra..... :Angry: out of the other lenses!!

    OK, the 17-55 is pretty close.

    Amazing pic!

  10. Great test, thanks for the effort.

    It would be interesting if you could test the Noct as well....
  11. Yeah, that's a lens I'd love to have. But it isn't worth the going rate.
  12. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    "Tests" like this just confuse people, so the better advice is taking whichever 50 mm lens you happen to own and press it into service for taking real pictures.

    The size of out-of-focus highlights is a function of the real aperture dimension (and image magnification), so cannot be compared between f/1.2 and f/2.8 lenses. No 50 mm lens unless it's f/1.4 or faster can dissolve the background properly, unless you shoot very close and/or the background is evenly illuminated without pin-point highlights. In the case of point lights, only a 50/0.75 can do the trick. Complete background control is mainly the domain of fast, long lenses such as 85/1.2 (f/1.4 is marginal), 135/2, 200/2, or 300/2.
  13. MontyDog


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

    nfoto Guest

    I'm not against comparisons or tests or whatever you chose to designate these, just giving a friendly warning as to the level of information that can be drawn, and complexity of the evaluation. Thus indulge me and my ramblings, please?

    With respect to testing the 50 mm models in all their bewildering variants, I have of course done that long ago, but won't clog my web server with trival test shots. Plus, you really need to evaluate lenses across many dimensions of both a technical/optical and a practical nature. A lens may perform less well on a flat-field test target but this might be of little practical value for actual shooting, on the other hand, a Micro-Nikkor probably will fail in practice unless it has virtually perfect flat-field rendition. Some lenses may have more than adequate bokeh when they are shot wide open but produce horribly-looking blobs from pinpoint light sources when they are stopped down. Internal flare can be prominent when the lens is wide open and this may either be a drawback or a benefit, depending on the subject imaged by the lens (and the photographer's visions). And so it goes on ad nauseam.

    In reality I think my lens testings days are about to end and instead I'm going to pay more attention to what these tools can achieve in terms of images. Lenses are just tools. Use whichever is at your disposal. It doesn't matter which one, as long as you get the picture (pun intended).

  15. Bjorn

    What is it about the micros that require 'flat field'? And what do you mean by 'flat field'?

  16. Well, that is exactly what this is, though. Just using lenses to shoot a real photo. I want to shoot some difficult light, indoor photos and I happen to have more than one lens around 50mm so there it is. Certainly not meant to be a professional evaluation.

    I wasn't thinking about OOF points, though flare (which happened with one lens) was and did happen with one lens I tried (a Canon no less).

    The problem with professional tests is they also don't really give us enough information to determine how a lens will perform in the real world. They help in a relative way, and your lens evaluations are certainly something I check early when considering a lens. But at the end of the day, the only thing that really works is trying one myself, in the manner in which I take photos.

    To be honest, the the most valuable information for me is simply looking at all of the example images I can taken with a given lens. Even more so if a pro I like is known to be using one.

    Do feel free to ramble, though. These are all ponderings worth noting in my book and I certainly take no offense.

    I don't see why it would confusing, though. Or why compaing so an odd bunch of ~50mm lens is a bad thing per se. I want to take an image. Which lens to use? My favorite of the above, to be honest, is the 55 2.8 macro. I love that lens.

    PS, what do you really think about the 200 f2 VR? I am seriously thinking about buying one. :wink:
  17. mikehunt

    mikehunt Guest

    Pardon me for to make an observation please. I watch this forum in much interest for some time. I no make comments before. I see that you, Mr. Nfoto sir, not so friendly like all the rest. You comments they are mean spirited, no? Is not like this forum. You think maybe you better than others, yes?

    I offer to suggest you allow right to opinion by others. Maybe you have some to say to help it better that you be a nice person first.

    Thank you
  18. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    If I can't see it with my naked eye in a photo of a subject or scene, whatever may or may not show up with "precision professional testing" makes little difference when I'm viewing or showing my photos that are never seen bigger than on a typical monitor, or on 8X10 photo paper, but usually smaller.

    These test photos offer a simple, usable comparison, and I don't care what they look like at the pixel level, through a microscope, or even some one else's eyes. It's like my stereo speakers at home - as long as I like the way they sound is all that counts to me, regardless of the opinion of others or what an oscilliscope might show.
  19. Give me a tube amp any day. They aren't technically as accurate at reproducing the full range of sound, but their forgiving nature produces sound that is sweeter and to my ear more realistic.

    Lens are to me the same way. Sure, it is nice if we can measure what gives one its qualities, but sometimes it is the things we can't measure that matter more.

    What I think I like about the 1.2 is that it seems to produce a more mellow transition from focused to out of focus. If it does that while being less sharp, so be it.
  20. Seems to me he is simply blunt, and opinionated. Personally, I like that about him.
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