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04-12-2009, 08:57 PM   #1
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DA 35ltd Macro (K20D) vs. Nikon 35 1.8 G (d90)

.


Had my 35 primes on each body today, and a little bit of free time, so I took
some comparative shots.

The D90 tends to attempt to extend DR, and can blow highlights - as
a result, most shots from the D90 look 'brighter' even though aperture
and shutter speed are the same. (some of this could also be attributable
to a slight variation in actual lens speed - the Nikon 35 1.8 was stopped
down 2.3 stops, the DAltd was wide-open (both f/2.8)

Also, these were cropped in picasa with native resolution retained, so
in the tighter crops, the resulting K20D image is bigger, even though the crop
area was the same. So this shows the effect of 14MP vs. 12, also.

On all these, Pentax is on left, Nikon on right, and in the following
crops, the Pentax crop appears first.






Pentax is warmer, chair colors more accurate here:










Crops:

100%


Here's where you can see the loss of detail because of a slightly blown highlight
(the rabbitt on left.) At the same time, more detail is available to
downsized images in the shadows in this D90 shot.







The Pentax DA 35ltd wide-open + K20D matches the Nikon 35 1.8 in sharpness
even though the Nikon is stopped down more than 2 stops. The D90 should
probably be shot at -0.3 or -0.7 to mitigate the effects of DR tweaking and
make it a more equal exposure situation, but this is the default behavior
demonstrated, also.


.

04-12-2009, 09:28 PM   #2
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nice comparison, the K20D pictures look better than the D90
04-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the post.

The Nikon sure doesn't define space as interestingly (though this could be the exposure difference-not sure) and one can see the sharpness difference even with what should be a less forgiving sensor on the k20d.
04-12-2009, 09:46 PM   #4
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Jay, a great post and thank you for posting it here.

Nikon sensor is supposedly known for its better DR with over-exposure while Pentax sensor has better DR with under-exposure.

04-13-2009, 12:12 AM   #5
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The Nikon Dx0 series (like the D80 and D90) is geared towards exposing for the darks, which tends to blow highlights if you're not careful
04-13-2009, 10:04 AM   #6
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Thanks for the test... I still prefer Pentax over Nikon.
04-13-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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nice... id prefer underexposure rather than overexposure.. since well, you can at least recover more from an underexposed image and overexposed...
04-13-2009, 10:16 AM   #8
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jay, why did you get the 1.8G instead of the 2.0D?

04-13-2009, 02:01 PM   #9
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Jay, a great post and thank you for posting it here.

Nikon sensor is supposedly known for its better DR with over-exposure while Pentax sensor has better DR with under-exposure.
QuoteOriginally posted by soccerjoe5 Quote
The Nikon Dx0 series (like the D80 and D90) is geared towards exposing for the darks, which tends to blow highlights if you're not careful
Yes, and these are mild examples - I should show some outdoor shots taken in Matrix Metering where people's faces are basically white. Annoying. I need to drop it into center-weighted and -0.7 EV most of the time.

QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
nice... id prefer underexposure rather than overexposure.. since well, you can at least recover more from an underexposed image and overexposed...
Me too.

QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
jay, why did you get the 1.8G instead of the 2.0D?
Because the reviews of the 1.8G showed it to be sharper wide-open, it has AF-S
(like SDM,) and was only $199 new. I think the Nikon 2.0D is at least $75 more.

Plus, I have no intention of going FF anytime soon if at all, so the 1.8 made more sense to me.

It's not quite as sharp as the Pentax FA 35 f/2 at f/2, but it's still very good,
especially for the price.
04-14-2009, 07:46 AM   #10
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pentax looks better for sure. but its 2x as expensive...

i wish pentax would do the same and make some cheap and fast primes (besides 50mm). this has in lens motor too! i had my first experience with c***n usm or whatever its called and it was amazing... literally not a sound while it was focusing, i thought the camera was off for a second. haven't tried pentax sdm, but i heard its lagging behind c/n.

it seems pentax is starting to lose the niche of cheap but quality (esp with the canada price hikes).

Last edited by eyou; 04-14-2009 at 08:02 AM.
04-14-2009, 08:01 AM   #11
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That's a great book, Jay. One of my favorite reads of recent years.

Oh, nice lens comparison, too.
04-14-2009, 08:06 AM   #12
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Thanks for doing this comparison, Jay, very interesting.
04-14-2009, 10:12 AM   #13
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Is that text shot for real? Looks like a DOF/focus issue with the Nikon. Even despite that, I prefer the Pentax look overall, and not by a little. Thanks for doing this little test!
04-14-2009, 10:53 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
nice... id prefer underexposure rather than overexposure.. since well, you can at least recover more from an underexposed image and overexposed...
I generally agree with that, but I must say, I was stunned at how much detail can be yanked from an overexposed RAW image from my D90. My K20D never had that much detail. But of course, the K20D always produces much more detail in the shadows. For me, I shoot in manual mode, and exposure is not such a big deal with regards to an individual camera's penchant for over or underexposing. Both cameras produce stunning results, and it's only necessary to learn how the camera gets them.

QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
It's not quite as sharp as the Pentax FA 35 f/2 at f/2, but it's still very good, especially for the price.
My favorite Pentax lens is the 35/2, but I've found the Nikkor 35/1.8 to be sharper wide open. I've never used the DA35, so I can't speak to that as much, though I will say side by side comparisons always have their caveats. For instance, the first shot of the Carcassone box is not the same framing with both, so it's hard to compare text crops, knowing the focal point is also probably different, as well as the angle of the camera with respect to the box (affecting the apparent depth of field of the crop). Another example from another shot is the lion on the high chair, which appears slightly sharper with the Nikkor lens (I could be wrong). In any case, I wouldn't attribute that to the sharpness of either lens, but rather the accuracy of the camera's AF on that particular shot, or the accuracy of the photographer's MF on that particular shot. In any case, Photozone found the Nikkor 35/1.8 to be sharper at 2.8 than the the DA35 at 2.8, and it found the Nikkor to be a little sharper in the center than the FA35 at 2.8 while it found the FA35 to be slightly sharper in the borders at 2.8. Photozone found the Nikkor to be sharper at 1.8 than the FA35 at 2. That, again, is in line with my personal experience with the two lenses. All that said, when both images are correctly focused, I prefer the FA35 to the Nikkor, but just slightly. I've found them to be very close. I like the Pentax bokeh a little more. For AF accuracy, I've found the Nikkor runs circles around the FA35. Of course, both systems have produced many photos that I'm very pleased with.
04-14-2009, 11:09 AM   #15
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The Nikon images look a little over-sharpened to me--like all that white around the text. But I'm ridiculously biased
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