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Thread: 300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

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    300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

    I originally posted this in DPReview and realize that I should have posted it here.

    I have done the brick wall test for the Pana 100-300, Nikor 300 ED IF 4.5, and the Tokina ATX 100-300 4.0. Test done on GH2, 160 ISO, Daylight WB with remote shutter release. Manual exposure. Raw files processed in Lightroom 3.3. The tripod was a Manfrotto 055 Pro with 410 geared head.

    I did a similar test a couple of days ago but with a lighter tripod, self timer, poor light, slow shutter speeds, and windy conditions. A recipe for disaster and it was. The current test turned out much better. I am confident of its results.

    I tested wide open to 16.0. The only apertures I am really interested in are 5.6 and 8.0 with some nod to wide open for when really needed. 11.0 will not be discussed as diffraction starts to be noticeable and the sharpness degrades slightly but still sharp enough to use if you need depth of field.

    Cliff notes results: The Panasonic was the sharpest, best contrast at all apertures. At 5.6 the Panasonic vignetted noticeably, pretty much gone by 8.0. The other two lenses exhibited chromatic aberration in the corners. The Nikor towards red, the Tokina towards yellow. Of course, the Pansonic was corrected automatically in Lightroom 3.3. The Tokina was easier to remove the aberration than the Nikor.

    Need aperture speed: The Tokina

    Need sharpness: The Panasonic. Vignetting usually not a problem as I usually darken the edges anyway. If needed, it is easy to remove.

    Need close up: The Pana goes to 4.9ft, pretty good. The Nikor to 7.4ft. The Tokina to 2 meters (a little less than 7ft). But the Tokina and Nikor can be used with tubes, which I have, Pana is stuck at 4.9ft.

    Below is an example of what I mean by noticeably sharper. The Panasonic on the left and Nikor at right. 1:1 crops of upper left corner. When I say slightly I mean that you have to look carefully at 1:1 crops to see the difference which is not much. In real world both would satisfy. The Pana at 5.6 was noticeably sharper at the center than the other two also. At all comparable apertures. Second image is the center crop at 1:1

    My decision on which lenses to keep - all of them.

    The Pana for general use due to sharpness, size, ease of processing, and autofocusing (fast).

    The Tokina for speed and use at other focal lengths - it was sharper than three other 135mm prime lenses when tested.

    The Nikor for closeups of flowers - easier to use because of tripod mount on lens and slightly better sharpness than Tokina (I do a lot of flower images with long focal length and tubes).

    Cost factor: Pana $550, Nikor $250, and Tokina $80 (I got lucky).

    I also have the Pana 45-200. Next week I will test the Pana 100-300, Pana 45-200, Tokina 100-300, and an Olympus OM 200 4.0 against each other at 200mm.

    Tests are surprising. I expected the Nikor to spank the other two, but of the three it is the one I would let go first.

    Larry

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: 300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

    Hi

    thanks for posting ... any thoughts about vignetting and actual light transmission? I found the 45-200 lost about a stop compared to another 200 I tested it against (at the same aperture)

    test here

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    Re: 300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

    The Nikor and Tokina don't have noticeable vignetting. The Pany 100-300 vignettes significantly at 5.6 and just noticeable at 8.0. The Pany 45-200 vignettes even more pronounced than the 100-300 Pany.

    See image. Note caption is wrong - Nikor at 4.5 and Pany at 5.6. Doesn't make any difference as the Nikor is the same at 4.5 as 5.6 vignetting wise.

    I don't consider the Pany vignetting as a drawback but rather as a feature since I usually darken the edges of my images anyway! If I want no vignetting with the Pany it is easy to correct in Lightroom. This is unlike chromatic aberration which Pany corrects nicely in software while the Nikor and Tokina require manual correction in Lightroom which is not as easy as removing vignetting.

    As to light transmission, I did not check that. But I noticed that it seems to require a bit more exposure for the Panny than the others but this could be due to light changes. I used manual exposure and set it the same for all lenses. Again, does not matter much to me for this class of lenses as they are not speed lenses anyway and a 1/3 to 1/2 stop loss is easily taken care of since I am usually on a tripod. The Pany has OIS the other two don't so handheld it evens out. If I needed the fastest shutter speed possible for subject movement, I would go with the Tokina because it is a stop faster and still has good image quality.

    Larry

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: 300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by leuallen View Post
    As to light transmission, I did not check that. But I noticed that it seems to require a bit more exposure for the Panny than the others but this could be due to light changes.
    or it could be due to the extra elements.

    Transmission is actually important to cinematographers, and so they rate their lenses in T-stops

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-stops#T-stops

    this is because they don't want differences on the same film stock when changing lenses and using the same f-stop

    :-)

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    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: 300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

    Quote Originally Posted by leuallen View Post
    I originally posted this in DPReview and realize that I should have posted it here.

    I have done the brick wall test for the Pana 100-300, Nikor 300 ED IF 4.5, and the Tokina ATX 100-300 4.0. Test done on GH2, 160 ISO, Daylight WB with remote shutter release. Manual exposure. Raw files processed in Lightroom 3.3. The tripod was a Manfrotto 055 Pro with 410 geared head.

    Larry
    Very few of these ancient lenses can compete with the modern ones. Main reasons are:
    -Lack of ED glass or good ED glass to control chromatic aberration.
    -Lack of aspheric surfaces to control spherical aberration.
    -Inferior coatings which scatter light.
    -May have too many elements (esp. zooms) which scatters more light.

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    Re: 300mm shoot out- Pany, Nikor, and Tokina

    Thanks for the tests and conclusions.

    Very interesting results!

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