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Archive 2010 · A fairly useless exercise
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #1 · A fairly useless exercise


But fun, maybe.

During a session today I took two basic headshots, each with both the Nikkor 105/2.5 and the Zeiss 100/2. Thought it might be fun to see if anyone can tell the difference. I tried my best to equalize everything....framing, processing, etc. I know, I know, one's a macro lens, one isn't, one's definitely sharper at the corners, so they will have real performance differences with some kinds of shots. But my question here is, are they really any different for portraiture?

First pair:













Second pair:













If you want to see the high-res versions, right click>view image, then remove the 's' that appears right before the '.jpg' in the URL.

Don't hack on my retouching, it was quick, and it's not a finished job.



Sep 27, 2010 at 02:42 AM
corposant
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p.1 #2 · A fairly useless exercise


It would be far less useless if you were forced to give the "inferior" lens to the person who guessed properly the first. Live dangerously!


Sep 27, 2010 at 02:44 AM
DGC1
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p.1 #3 · A fairly useless exercise


Number 2 and 4 look sharper to me.


Sep 27, 2010 at 02:45 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #4 · A fairly useless exercise


Inferior? What if they were equal?


Sep 27, 2010 at 02:46 AM
luminosity
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p.1 #5 · A fairly useless exercise


I don't understand the layout. Are the two pairs each done with one lens, or do the lenses alternate back and forth?


Sep 27, 2010 at 02:47 AM
corposant
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p.1 #6 · A fairly useless exercise


Todd Adamson wrote:
Inferior? What if they were equal?


Give me a break, Todd - people set up these challenges to show one is better than another. So, since I am sure you're trying to showcase the 105, I'll try to buy the Zeiss 100 MP from the winner. I can't wait for my new lens!



Sep 27, 2010 at 02:50 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #7 · A fairly useless exercise


luminosity wrote:
I don't understand the layout. Are the two pairs each done with one lens, or do the lenses alternate back and forth?


Only one of the green shirt shots is Zeiss, the other is Nikkor.

Only one of the blue shirt shots is Zeiss, the other is Nikkor.



Sep 27, 2010 at 03:19 AM
Two23
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p.1 #8 · A fairly useless exercise


Is sharpness really the best way to judge a portrait lens?


Kent in SD



Sep 27, 2010 at 03:20 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #9 · A fairly useless exercise


corposant wrote:
Give me a break, Todd - people set up these challenges to show one is better than another. So, since I am sure you're trying to showcase the 105, I'll try to buy the Zeiss 100 MP from the winner. I can't wait for my new lens!




Not trying to showcase either lens, honestly. Believe me, after spending money on the Zeiss, I want to belive it's the superior lens. I suspect it is, for specific uses. But for 90% of what I do (basic portraiture), I'm thinking there is no difference.

Which is not to say I won't hold onto the Zeiss. I love the build, I will sometimes use the macro capability, and occasionally require that better sharpness stopped down. Plus, I want to be able to act snooty sometimes around "associates" who don't use Zeiss glass.



Sep 27, 2010 at 03:24 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #10 · A fairly useless exercise


Two23 wrote:
Is sharpness really the best way to judge a portrait lens?

Kent in SD


Corner sharpness? No. I want to be clear: I am not asking which is sharper. I'm asking if anyone can really tell the difference, by ANY parameter. Say, microcontrast....the so-called "Zeiss 3D effect," etc. As far as I'm concerned, there's not any important difference in center sharpness at f/2.5-ish.



Sep 27, 2010 at 03:27 AM
 

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dj dunzie
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p.1 #11 · A fairly useless exercise


Both work great for portrait lenses, but I think either you've got a better copy of the Nikkor than I do or you are doing a good job of equalizing the differences between the two lenses. My Zeiss is a bit sharper and - for lack of a better term - less "mushy" and saturated as the Nikkor (as I guess you'd expect from a lens costing much more). Having said that, I still love the 105/f2.5 for being surprisingly good at such an affordable price, and a little aged.


Sep 27, 2010 at 03:32 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #12 · A fairly useless exercise


dj dunzie wrote:
either you've got a better copy of the Nikkor than I do or you are doing a good job of equalizing the differences between the two lenses.


The only thing I really tried to "equalize" as far as differences was the focal length, by framing from a slightly different distance, but I didn't do a perfect job of that. These files went through precisely the same manipulations. Errrmm, that's not *quite* accurate....there was a small difference in the color temp between the two lenses, so I tries to control for that with WB in Lightroom. But other than that, each image was lightly retouched for blemishes, then had the same Shadow Highlights adjustment, the same Levels and Curves applied, and the same amount of sharpening by the same method.

EDIT: BTW, I was using the Zeiss ZF.2, which made it possible to shoot at f/2.5, which I don't think I can do with the ZF version.




Sep 27, 2010 at 03:42 AM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #13 · A fairly useless exercise


While I'm sure it's fun to compare the two lenses because you have them, I just don't understand how you wouldn't expect a old $150 lens to be inferior to a modern $2,000 lens? To make the challenge more equitable try the Nikkor 105 VR both at f/3.5 if you can.


Sep 27, 2010 at 03:53 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #14 · A fairly useless exercise


Gregg Heckler wrote:
While I'm sure it's fun to compare the two lenses because you have them, I just don't understand how you wouldn't expect a old $150 lens to be inferior to a modern $2,000 lens? To make the challenge more equitable try the Nikkor 105 VR both at f/3.5 if you can.


Does one of these shots in each set really look inferior to you?



Sep 27, 2010 at 03:58 AM
spentomuch
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p.1 #15 · A fairly useless exercise


I think the #1 shot in both set's is the Nikon,
but only a guess, as both are very good



Sep 27, 2010 at 04:04 AM
jmcfadden
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p.1 #16 · A fairly useless exercise


not useless at all, i think i would be happy with either and frankly could make either one "look" like the other pretty easily which is also a clue to how close they are in this scenario at least. If I were doing flat field work then of course I would choose the tool for that job no doubt

good work


J

Edited on Sep 27, 2010 at 04:14 AM · View previous versions



Sep 27, 2010 at 04:13 AM
Keith B.
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p.1 #17 · A fairly useless exercise


If your only use for a 100mm lens was bright-strobe, small f-stop studio portraits, there would be little to gain from a Zeiss or Leica lens over a Nikon or Canon lens.


Sep 27, 2010 at 04:14 AM
Keith B.
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p.1 #18 · A fairly useless exercise


If your only use for a 100mm lens was bright-strobe, small f-stop studio portraits, there would be little to gain from a Zeiss or Leica lens over a Nikon or Canon lens.


Sep 27, 2010 at 04:14 AM
Todd Adamson
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p.1 #19 · A fairly useless exercise


Keith B. wrote:
If your only use for a 100mm lens was bright-strobe, small f-stop studio portraits, there would be little to gain from a Zeiss or Leica lens over a Nikon or Canon lens.


How about wide-aperture window light portraits, like I posted?



Sep 27, 2010 at 04:21 AM
Jammy Straub
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p.1 #20 · A fairly useless exercise


They both look dandy

The second image in the second set looks to have more micro contrast and resolution. I'll bet that one's the ZF.

In the first set, the focus plane is different, so it's hard to make conclusions. I almost feel the first image has more micro contrast in the in focus regions of the hair and eyebrows. The chin throws me a bit though. I can't tell there for certain



Sep 27, 2010 at 04:35 AM
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