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Archive 2013 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison
  
 
sebboh
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p.1 #1 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


after doing this comparison for curiosities sake of a few rangefinder lenses at infinity i decided i should do something similar at a more commonly used focus distance for wide aperture lenses. i figured i might as well throw in the other 6 fast normals i had on hand too.

i originally wanted to do a real portrait comparison, but nobody wanted to hold still while i shoot 10 different lenses through their aperture range. so i just used the toys my daughter abandoned at her table. distance was about 2m with a diverse and fairly close (1.5 behind focus) background that included my favorite portrait background (books), and some some shiny specular highlight generating objects. lighting was crappy indoor mixed overhead lights. here is the scene:





i shot all the lenses from wide open to f/8. i refocused between each shot from wide open to f/2.8 after which i stopped down without refocusing. focus was on the sleep sheep's eye. shots were taken with a 2 sec timer on a tripod. i moved the tripod for lenses of different focal lengths to try to maintain the same basic framing, basically how i would change position if i was trying to take the same portrait with the slightly different length lenses. processing was just adobe LR 4 default with white balance set to identical values for all lenses.

the best way to get a sense for different drawing styles of theses lenses is to look at the full images in separate tabs and go back and forth between them. if you feel up to that here are the links to the shots with each lens wide open:

leica m 40mm f/2 c-summicron
olympus pen f 42mm f/1.2
jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5
leica m 50mm f/1.4 summilux pre-asph (vII)
rokkor MC PG 50mm f/1.4
takumar SMC 50mm f/1.4
olympus OM 50mm f/1.8
rokkor MC PF 55mm f/1.7
canon FL 55mm f/1.2
rokkor MC PG 58mm f/1.2

and each lens at f/2.8:

leica m 40mm f/2 c-summicron
olympus pen f 42mm f/1.2
jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5
leica m 50mm f/1.4 summilux pre-asph (vII)
rokkor MC PG 50mm f/1.4
takumar SMC 50mm f/1.4
olympus OM 50mm f/1.8
rokkor MC PF 55mm f/1.7
canon FL 55mm f/1.2
rokkor MC PG 58mm f/1.2

here's some crops too with all the lenses next to each other (note: you will probably need the magnifying glass to see these at 100%).

first the focus point crops:





bright oof highlights:





top right corner oof books:





bottom right corner ball that should be in the focus plane if it is flat:






conclusions:
1) most people won't notice the difference between these lenses and we're mostly wasting our time thinking about them.
2) the lux is way better at portrait distance than infinity and the rokkor MC PGs are way better at infinity than they are at portrait distance.
3) the rokkor 55/1.7 is closest in drawing style to the lux at larger apertures (too bad it's nowhere near as sharp).
4) there's some funky interactions going on in the corners thanks to a combination of SA and field curvature in a lot of these lenses.
5) the rokkors are clearly optimised for flatness of field over sharpness while the other lenses optimise central sharpness and other characteristics.
6) the canon is really sharp.
7) the rokkor 58/1.2 marginally has the smoothest bokeh (averaging across apertures).
8) the aperture in my rokkor 50/1.4 is inaccurate and due for replacement.

hope some of you find this useful.



Jun 27, 2013 at 06:15 AM
mirkoc
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p.1 #2 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Thanks a lot, very useful!


Jun 27, 2013 at 07:07 AM
zhangyue
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p.1 #3 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


I agree the difference is small. Pentax seems very sharp. Leica is pretty good, especially consider its Bokeh, though not linear match its price
Rokkor's off center quality at f1.2 is amazing. that is the first thing I found at the first day I have it. A great lens!
If people do a lot focus by eyes, that is the fast way to know how lens perform at corner WO, and distinguish that if it is FC or just not sharp.

Very helpful! and labor intensive work



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:20 AM
sebboh
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p.1 #4 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


zhangyue wrote:
If people do a lot focus by eyes, that is the fast way to know how lens perform at corner WO, and distinguish that if it is FC or just not sharp.


indeed, and i can speak to that. if your corners aren't sharp with these lenses at large apertures it's because (FC = field curvature, NS = not sharp in the corner, NA = you missed focus):

40 cron:FC
42 pen: FC
jupiter-3: NS + FC
50 lux pre-asph: NS + FC
50 rokkor: NA
50 takumar: NS
50 OM: NS
55 rokkor: NS
55 canon: FC
58 rokkor: NA



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:37 AM
justruss
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p.1 #5 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


The Rokkor 1.2 and Canon FL are the winners from where I'm sitting-- each depending on different needs.

1. Canon is super sharp, and gets sharp very wide open IN THE MIDDLE. I can attest to this in my own experience.

2. The Rokkor is strong all around, but spectacular at super wide apertures as far as corner sharpness (lack of curvature of field).

I'd be thrilled with either lens, and would pick whichever I could get that was cheaper/more available, though for my needs-- and what I'm guessing are most ultra-fast 50mm shooting needs-- I'd definitely prefer sharp center and wide apertures over lower center sharpness with higher flat field/sharper corners. I got my Canon for a song, and I'm happy to hold onto it.

The dark horse is that Pen 40 1.2.

Great test.




Jun 27, 2013 at 07:43 AM
alwang
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p.1 #6 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Really nice test, and a ton of work. The poor corners on the Lux are the most eye-opening to me: they really don't get acceptable till f5.6.


Jun 27, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Jman13
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p.1 #7 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Very good test. I did some testing with a bunch of 50s on m4/3 a while back...not a lot of overlap in my test (I had the Rokkor 50/1.4...but that's the only direct match). I put it up against native m4/3 glass, and the Oly 45 smoked them all in every category, but that's what you get with modern lens design. (I tested the OM 50/3.5 Macro, the Petri 50/2, the M.Zuiko 45/1.8, the PL 45/2.8 Macro, the nFD 50/1.8, the nFD 50/1.4, the Hexanon 50/1.7, 40/1.8 and 57/1.2, Rokkor 50/1.4 and the MZ 40-150 and Panny 14-45.)

From your test, you can see how good the Rokkors are across the field, and I'm surprised by how good the OM 50/1.8 is at wide apertures in the center. The FL 55/1.2 also looks to be a really strong performer. Thanks!




Jun 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Cadaver
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p.1 #8 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Great test. To my eyes the Canon 55mm looks the be sharpest.


Jun 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM
AhamB
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p.1 #9 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Great stuff. Interesting to see the color shifts with the change of aperture too.


Jun 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM
briantho
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p.1 #10 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Thanks for the test, very interesting.


Jun 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM
 

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timballic
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p.1 #11 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Well I'm probably out on a wing but I didn't like the Leicas.

I looked at overall "feel" rather than sharpness and I found both the Leica's to be veiled and the pen F veiled muddy and soft...I didn't like them.

Of the others I found the OM 50/1.8 IMO to have the "cleanest", perhaps most clinical look.

The Rokkors I liked, all very similar to each other, with possibly the F1.7 ahead by a hair, and the Canon FL similar to the Rokkors but not quite as clear. (for smooth bokeh, the 1.2 Rokkor is slightly ahead, but not by as much as I expected it to be)

The Tak very warm wide open but otherwise pleasing. The Jupiter slightly veiled and softer wide open but similar to the Tak closed down.

Very subjective as I didn't spend much time examining the enlarged portions but went backwards and forwards between the full shots after opening them all.

For me, the OM, the 1.7 and 1.2 Rokkors and possibly the Takumar would be my choice.



Jun 27, 2013 at 01:07 PM
redisburning
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p.1 #12 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


I will admit the Lux does not test that well but Ive seen too many spectacular shots from it where the lens really did have something to do with it to discount it.

the overall winner for me was the 40 summicron. which I could have told you had I seen the list of lenses ahead of time

as a person who shoots b&w film as about 98% of all my photos, Id rate it as such:

1. 40 cron
2. summilux
3. rokkor 58/1.2
4. smc tak
5-... everything else

btw not much between them in practical use is right. it takes challenging circumstances to show the differences in these lenses.

JME.



Jun 27, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Peire
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p.1 #13 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Test results are very close to my own experience.Very useful.Canon 55/1.2 is one of my latest discoveries.Great lens.


Jun 27, 2013 at 04:51 PM
joe88
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p.1 #14 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Thanks for sharing! Very informative considering I'm looking at adapting some manual focus 50mms lens soon.


Jun 27, 2013 at 05:58 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #15 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


timballic wrote:
Well I'm probably out on a wing but I didn't like the Leicas.

I looked at overall "feel" rather than sharpness and I found both the Leica's to be veiled and the pen F veiled muddy and soft...I didn't like them.

Of the others I found the OM 50/1.8 IMO to have the "cleanest", perhaps most clinical look.

The Rokkors I liked, all very similar to each other, with possibly the F1.7 ahead by a hair, and the Canon FL similar to the Rokkors but not quite as clear. (for smooth bokeh, the 1.2 Rokkor is slightly ahead, but not by
...Show more

ah, you don't like the "leica glow", burn the heretic!

you looked at the whole image rather than the crops and for such viewing i mostly agree with you. looking at the crops one gets too hung up on small differences in resolution and bokeh rings. my pick for best wide open shot viewed at 1024 pixels is actually the rokkor 55/1.7, which solidly wins the prize for cheapest lens in this comparison ($5-$20 price range). they're so cheap these days i've been buying them up to use their excellent helicoids on other lenses. my pick for best shot at f/2.8 is a tie between the 40 cron and the rokkor 58/1.2 (rokkor for background, leica for on subject color/contrast/pop).

i should mention that i set the white balance off the first shot i took (which was with the 40 cron) and applied it to all the images. this handicapped the other lenses a little bit with regard to color (the pentax and olympus pen f suffer the most for this). color from the other lenses would look a little better had i set white balance to each image individually.



Jun 27, 2013 at 06:57 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #16 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


Props to the effort ... very appreciated.

Color shifts and color variance between lenses is most remarkable, with other aspects needing more time for me to digest. I've always maintained that optics are a series of compromises ... I'd say this corroborates that perspective very well.

Curious @ no Zeiss or C/Y though If you were closer, I'd toss you a C/Y 50/1.4 to add to the mix.

Thanks.



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:11 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #17 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


redisburning wrote:
I will admit the Lux does not test that well but Ive seen too many spectacular shots from it where the lens really did have something to do with it to discount it.

the overall winner for me was the 40 summicron. which I could have told you had I seen the list of lenses ahead of time

as a person who shoots b&w film as about 98% of all my photos, Id rate it as such:

1. 40 cron
2. summilux
3. rokkor 58/1.2
4. smc tak
5-... everything else

btw not much between them in practical use is right. it takes challenging circumstances to show
...Show more

yeah, i probably should have made the background more challenging to really bring out some of the differences between lenses.

the lux certainly can produce amazing shots where the lens really makes the shot and i do think it is the best lens for a certain type of shot. the problem is it can also fail dramatically in certain situations and many of these other lenses can also make the shot so to speak in particular circumstances without having some of the issues the lux has.

for myself my favorites are the 40 cron and the rokkor 58/1.2, the rest hardly get used these days.



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:20 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #18 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


RustyBug wrote:
Props to the effort ... very appreciated.

Color shifts and color variance between lenses is most remarkable, with other aspects needing more time for me to digest. I've always maintained that optics are a series of compromises ... I'd say this corroborates that perspective very well.

Curious @ no Zeiss or C/Y though If you were closer, I'd toss you a C/Y 50/1.4 to add to the mix.

Thanks.


i loaned my contax g 45/2 out to a fellow FMer in exchange for the lux so i couldn't include it in the test. had i done some planning i probably would have borrowed a c/y 50/1.4 for the test. i really just threw most of these lenses in on a whim, i was mostly interested in how the lux compared to the rokkors and the cron for my own use.

had my g45 been present it would have shown itself to be sharper than everything else with the exception of the canon at f/2, more contrasty than the rest of the lenses, warmer than everything except the yellowed takumar, and on the harsher side of the pack bokeh wise.



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:29 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #19 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


justruss wrote:
The Rokkor 1.2 and Canon FL are the winners from where I'm sitting-- each depending on different needs.

1. Canon is super sharp, and gets sharp very wide open IN THE MIDDLE. I can attest to this in my own experience.

2. The Rokkor is strong all around, but spectacular at super wide apertures as far as corner sharpness (lack of curvature of field).

I'd be thrilled with either lens, and would pick whichever I could get that was cheaper/more available, though for my needs-- and what I'm guessing are most ultra-fast 50mm shooting needs-- I'd definitely prefer sharp center and wide
...Show more

the canon is fantastically sharp even at f/1.2 it always surprises me. the problem with it is that i just can't seem to get skin tones to look right when i use the lens. also, the glow it has is less attractive to me than the glow from certain other lenses (lux and rokkors).

also, with my g45 away i've been using my rokkor more often as a landscape lens and i'm starting to suspect it might actually be sharper than the canon at infinity (though definitely not at these focus distances).



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:44 PM
philber
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p.1 #20 · fast 50s on NEX-7 a "portrait" comparison


sebboh wrote:
had my g45 been present it would have shown itself to be sharper than everything else with the exception of the canon at f/2, more contrasty than the rest of the lenses, warmer than everything except the yellowed takumar, and on the harsher side of the pack bokeh wise.


I respectfully beg to differ. I did a test of G45 against a Lux 50, and the Lux was significantly sharper. Not that in itself the Lux is sharpness King of the Hill, because the Makro Elmarit 60 is sharper yet.

But that doesn't mean that only the sharpest of them all is any good. Sharpness isn't n1 on my list of must-haves



Jun 27, 2013 at 07:51 PM
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