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04-25-2012, 07:10 AM   #106
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Nikkor 50/1.2 I could capture any image I wanted, as long as what I wanted was a soft image. Seriously, I have never seen a softer lens.
50mm lenses have never been Nikon's strong selling point. However, the Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 ASPH is surprisingly sharp at f/1.2 - though I wouldn't recommend using it at f/1.2 on the D800.

04-25-2012, 10:50 AM   #107
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The FA 50/1.4 is soft up until f/2.8. This is not a shallow DOF issue, but well known spherical aberration taking its toll.
Let me put it this way: I am suspicious of people calling their first fast lens "soft".

Yes, the FA 50/1.4 is not the sharpest 1.4 lens around (and it does not sharpen as fast as other lenses when stopping down). It also has strong LoCA. But, when used properly, it can create images that most people would not complain about. And unless I pixel peep, it is hard for me to tell the difference between it and other sharper f/1.4 lenses that I use wide open for available light portraiture.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The FA 50/1.4's bokeh below f/2.8 is not nice either.
I have not used this lens in a while, so I gave it a try yesterday. Here are some f/2 shots. I think the bokeh is ok - it certainly doesn't seem distracting to me:



Note that in the above shot only the top flower is in focus. At f/1.4 I could only get part of it in focus, so I stopped down. I tried to get an interesting f/1.4 composition, but I didn't get any inspiration.





This is not my favorite fast 50, but it is a very good lens. At f/1.4 so little is in focus that it does not matter that it has some spherical aberration - most of the image will be OOF anyway. If the lens is focused correctly and the composition is good, few people would nitpick on the spherical aberrations aspect.
04-25-2012, 10:17 PM   #108
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The "disappointing" FA 50/1.4@f/1.4

A quick follow up. Here are a couple of shots taken with the FA 50 wide open, indoors, under artificial light (no flash):





One can notice easily the LoCA I mentioned - in the OOF highlights on the black pieces and in the highlights on the rear bottle. But there is no visible softness or disagreeable bokeh.
04-25-2012, 11:31 PM   #109
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
One can notice easily the LoCA I mentioned - in the OOF highlights on the black pieces and in the highlights on the rear bottle. But there is no visible softness or disagreeable bokeh.

LOCA is one of the primary reasons why I prefer apochromatic lens designs over achromatic lenses. However apart from the lack of LOCA the bokeh from many apochromatic lenses is often neutral - flat and uniform not exactly bad, but nothing to write home about either. Personally I find the fringing on the OOF highlights in that wine bottle image visually jarring - the use of a large scrim over those lights or a large softbox would have been quite effective in reducing the impact of those OOF highlights.

I also find the circular highlights on the OOF black chess pieces quite distracting too. My ideal with my photography is that optical flaws should be eliminated as much as possible to give the viewer the impression that they are looking directly at the subject, not a representation of the subject. Which is why my eyes so keenly seek out flaws in the rendering of images.

The camera is an intermediary between the photographer and the audience - the camera and the lens should draw as little attention to themselves as possible, optical or technical faults are what breaks the fourth wall for me.


Last edited by Digitalis; 04-25-2012 at 11:39 PM.
04-26-2012, 09:22 AM   #110
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I was not trying to hide the lens flaws, just to show what it can do under regular circumstances, not under a controlled environment. LoCA seems in general to be an issue with the FA lenses that I tried (not so much with the FA31 though), as well as with the Takumars. All fast lenses have some LoCA, but the Takumars and the FA 50 have more than other fast lenses I tried.

For an interesting comparison, here is a similar chess shot that I took with the Cosina 55/1.2 wide open - the part I find interesting is that the Cosina has green outlines around the pieces rather than in the highlights:

04-26-2012, 09:42 AM   #111
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
50mm lenses have never been Nikon's strong selling point. However, the Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 ASPH is surprisingly sharp at f/1.2 - though I wouldn't recommend using it at f/1.2 on the D800.
I almost bought a Noct Nikkor, but just couldn't quite justify it. I have a Nikkor 50/1.4 that is very good, though not as good as the Pentax 50/1.4.
04-26-2012, 06:54 PM   #112
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I almost bought a Noct Nikkor, but just couldn't quite justify it.
yes when I bought my Noct Nikkor it set be back a few thousand. To put it into perspective: it is the one of the most expensive 50mm lens I own, the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH holds the crown for being the most expensive 50mm in my collection. I have always wanted to see if the Noct Nikkor's reputation was deserved - and it totally is, the Noct Nikkor is a perfect companion to the Nikon D3s

though I will admit there are situations when I don't want the extra bulk of the Noct Nikkor, I use the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 SLII on my D3s - it has greater contrast across the whole frame even at f/1.4, I did try a Zeiss(Cosina) 50mm f/1.4 but it was really, really soft and low in contrast in the corners at f/1.4

Last edited by Digitalis; 04-26-2012 at 07:10 PM.
04-26-2012, 07:19 PM   #113
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
DA 18-250 simply didn't like to use it.
Not the best but I've found this to be a good lens for sunny days, when you need the range. For example... Disneyworld...the beach.

04-26-2012, 07:23 PM   #114
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SMC-Pentax A15/3.5

I bought this very expensive lens expecting that it would be fair at wider apertures and good when stopped down to f8. I was disappointed on both counts - my copy of this lens is just bad. I even sent it to Pentax twice for repair/adjustment, but although they claimed that they replaced some components it came back only marginally better than when it went in.

I don't think that the basic design is at fault; I have a copy of the K version (which is said to be optically identical) as well, and it's a lot better. However, neither is as good in sharpness and contrast as my DA14/2.8, which is why they sit in my lens collection cabinet. Now that I have the DA 15/4 LTD, the DA14 doesn't see much use either...

Regards, Jim

Last edited by jamesk8752; 04-26-2012 at 07:24 PM. Reason: correct a typo
04-27-2012, 09:01 AM   #115
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The Pentax A 35mm f/2 was a big disappointment. Bettered by even the cheap DA 35mm f/2.4 and DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited.
04-27-2012, 09:52 AM   #116
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The Pentax A 35mm f/2 was a big disappointment. Bettered by even the cheap DA 35mm f/2.4 and DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited.
That was a lens I liked a lot on film. Haven't used it much on digital though. What didn't you like about it?
04-27-2012, 10:13 AM   #117
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I knew that M50/2.0 wasn't the best prime around, but it's color output was always strange and unappealing. The DA40 also disappointed me very quickly with that nasty huge purple fringing ( love it nevertheless )
04-27-2012, 11:38 AM   #118
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The Pentax A 35mm f/2 was a big disappointment. Bettered by even the cheap DA 35mm f/2.4 and DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited.
Based on your glowing A35/2 review, the DA35/2.4 must be an 11!
04-27-2012, 07:09 PM   #119
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QuoteOriginally posted by thirdofthree Quote
Based on your glowing A35/2 review, the DA35/2.4 must be an 11!
I got the A 35 f/2 before I tried the DA 35mm f/2.4 and DA35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited. It was a lens for the film era and while I had good images with it, I didn't do any resolution comparisons with it. When a test chart comparison was done with the newer lenses by a friend about a year ago, it was obvious that the FA 31mm, FA 35mm, and both DA 35mm lenses clearly beat this A series lens in terms of center and edge resolution. It does give a nice color rendition but if you want a very sharp lens, there are better alternatives like the Sigma 30mm and DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited. I have sold this lens and this just reinforces my decision not to collect any more legacy glass because the newer crop of lenses often offer better resolution and superior contrast, build quality aside.

Last edited by creampuff; 04-27-2012 at 07:17 PM.
04-28-2012, 04:24 AM   #120
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DA-L 35mm F2.4; SMC-F35mm-135mm F3.5-4.5

The DA-L 35mm f2.4 was Ok, but I found I didn't really like the pov - in film days I always used a 35mm as "standard" and now on APS 28mm seems to do it for me, so I guess I am a "wide boy". I eventually sold the DA-L as I just didn't use it. The 35-135 I initially liked, but again found the 35mm too long, the close focussing distance was too long too, and it wasn't really useable wide open. I eventually got another Tamron 28-105 to replace the one my son "borrowed" and that is much more to my liking.
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