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View Poll Results: Which lens is sharper at 50mm f/2.8
DA* 16-50 f/2.8 416.00%
DA* 50-135 f/2.8 2184.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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11-24-2009, 01:03 AM   #1
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Which lens is sharper at 50mm?

Since my wife got her 50mm f/2 Macro for her Olympus e-620, I've been wondering which lens I should get first. The da* 16-50 or the da* 50-135.

I'm sure the 50-135 is probably better for portraits, which I have been shooting a lot of lately. For the rest of my photography I would use the 16-50 more often.

So here's my question. For those of you who own both, which lens is sharper at 50mm f/2.8? f/4?

11-24-2009, 05:39 AM   #2
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I've noticed no discernible difference, but I haven't done any real testing.
11-24-2009, 05:53 AM   #3
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Even a frigging Takumar 50mm f/1.4 will be sharper than either of these lenses at f/2.8
11-24-2009, 06:18 AM   #4
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Photozone has the 16-50mm @ 50mm f2.8 as center 1958.5, edge 1158.5
Photozone has the 50-135mm @ 50mm f2.8 as center 2056.5, edge 1910, extreme 1813
By f8 both lenses are pretty close.

Photozone has the FA 50mm f1.4 @ f2.8 as center 2088, edge 1766.5.
Photozone has the DA 55mm f1.4 @ f2.8 as center 2103, edge 1988, extreme 1906.

Thank you
Russell


Last edited by Russell-Evans; 11-25-2009 at 03:44 AM.
11-24-2009, 10:04 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lurchlarson Quote
Since my wife got her 50mm f/2 Macro for her Olympus e-620, I've been wondering which lens I should get first. The da* 16-50 or the da* 50-135.

I'm sure the 50-135 is probably better for portraits, which I have been shooting a lot of lately. For the rest of my photography I would use the 16-50 more often.

So here's my question. For those of you who own both, which lens is sharper at 50mm f/2.8? f/4?
I hear that Oly Macro 50/2 is a stellar lens--can't imagine either of these will match it for sharpness!

Actually the 50 1.7 in your signature would be sharper than the DA* zooms

The DA*16-50 has a curved focus plane, so if you're shooting something like a brick wall or a focus chart, it will definitely be sharper in the center than in the edges (as the photozone tests have borne out). Makes it tough to get a subject in focus in the sides of the frame, if that's your thing, but the edges do get better when you stop down. I usually stop down to f/5.6 when using this, so sometimes I wonder if I could've stuck with the kit. The kit lens is good, and if you're wanting to do portraits, looks like there's more of a hole in your lineup.

Another thing to consider (since you mention macro) is that the DA 16-50 focuses down to 30 cm, while for the 50-135 you'll need a meter or so. I found the 50-135 to be sharper than the 16-50 at any given aperture, but I liked the 16-50 better for size and weight reasons and it's a better range for me for a walkaround. For longer stuff, I use primes now.
11-24-2009, 11:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
I hear that Oly Macro 50/2 is a stellar lens--can't imagine either of these will match it for sharpness!

Actually the 50 1.7 in your signature would be sharper than the DA* zooms

The DA*16-50 has a curved focus plane, so if you're shooting something like a brick wall or a focus chart, it will definitely be sharper in the center than in the edges (as the photozone tests have borne out). Makes it tough to get a subject in focus in the sides of the frame, if that's your thing, but the edges do get better when you stop down. I usually stop down to f/5.6 when using this, so sometimes I wonder if I could've stuck with the kit. The kit lens is good, and if you're wanting to do portraits, looks like there's more of a hole in your lineup.

Another thing to consider (since you mention macro) is that the DA 16-50 focuses down to 30 cm, while for the 50-135 you'll need a meter or so. I found the 50-135 to be sharper than the 16-50 at any given aperture, but I liked the 16-50 better for size and weight reasons and it's a better range for me for a walkaround. For longer stuff, I use primes now.
if you are going to exclusively shoot at 50mm, I'd use the 50 1.7 anytime of the day. it just can't be beat right now in terms of optical performance and reliability, plus the luxury that I don't have to cross my fingers that it won't suffer the dreaded SDM failure that the DA*s have.
11-24-2009, 11:27 AM   #7
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I agree - use the zooms when you want zoom, use the 50/1.7 when you want maximum sharpness.
11-24-2009, 04:07 PM   #8
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I actually don't consider the 50mm f/1.7 to be all that sharp. I still have mine and it's performance expecially in the corners is abysmal. My 50mm f/1.2 outperformes it even wide open....though when they are stopped down to f/5.6~f/8 it's tricky to tell the difference between the two. Apart from the shape of the apeture blades on the OOF areas.

11-24-2009, 05:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I actually don't consider the 50mm f/1.7 to be all that sharp. I still have mine and it's performance expecially in the corners is abysmal. My 50mm f/1.2 outperformes it even wide open....though when they are stopped down to f/5.6~f/8 it's tricky to tell the difference between the two. Apart from the shape of the apeture blades on the OOF areas.
You must have a bad 50/1.7...
11-24-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I actually don't consider the 50mm f/1.7 to be all that sharp. I still have mine and it's performance expecially in the corners is abysmal. My 50mm f/1.2 outperformes it even wide open....though when they are stopped down to f/5.6~f/8 it's tricky to tell the difference between the two. Apart from the shape of the apeture blades on the OOF areas.
it's either you got a bad copy or it's not really a 50/1.7.
11-24-2009, 05:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You must have a bad 50/1.7...
you beat me to it !
11-24-2009, 10:38 PM   #12
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I have done some testing and my edition of the 50-135mm F2.8 is sharper at 50mm than my edition of the 16-50mm F2.8. Wide-open the difference is more pronounced but as you stop down it is clear that the 16-50mm requires more stopping down to match the 50-135mm.

Now, it was not in the original question but the DA* 55mm F1.4 is extremely sharp and stopping down even to just F1.7 delivers exceptional results.

- Itai
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11-25-2009, 03:30 AM   #13
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ohh it's a Wunderplastik SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 s/n:1655037. I noticed it's actually slightly longer than the Pentax K 50mm f/1.2 which is the 51.9mm standard that Leica, zeiss,voigtlander and pentax tacitly agreed upon all those decades ago. The only reason I keep it is because of it's 5 bladed apeture. Because sometimes, I don't want all smooth blurry bokeh in my images.sometimes I like to do something different.

but that's all off topic, I'll second the vote that the DA55mm f/1.4 might be a better choice, Albeit an expensive one.
11-25-2009, 05:00 AM   #14
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I don't care what you say, I love my A 50mm f/1.7 and wouldn't have it any other way.


...except maybe if it was a Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95, but then I'd need an entirely new system and I don't particularly care for rangefinders.
11-25-2009, 06:21 AM   #15
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based on information from http://www.takinami.com/yoshihiko/photo/lens_test/pentax_normal.html smc PENTAX-FA 50mm f/2.8 macro is The Sharpest 50mm from Pentax.

based on information from Lens search smc PENTAX-F 50mm f/1.4 is The Sharpest 50mm from all lenses.
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