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Thread: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    So I've spent a couple of months shooting with the Nikon 50mm f1.4G. I'm not wild about the quality of its bokeh, the out of focus portion of images created with it. They tend to be "jittery" rather than "creamy". I've posted an example below - look at the upper left corner to see what I'm objecting to.

    Is the 50mm f1.4 non-G better? How about the 50mm Sgma f1.4? The Zeiss isn't in the running because I need autofocus in the application that I use it for.

    It would be very helpful if folks could post some examples.

    thanks!

    Here's the image taken with the 50mm f1.4G:


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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Woody, dunno what kind of application you're referring to, but in any case the image posted above does not seem up to what the 50 1.4G is usually capable of. In fact i'm quite surprised with your results. Is the possibility of a less-than-stellar copy excluded?

    It'll be interesting to see the input from some other 50 1.4G owners here...


    note: don't have any dog in the fight, using the Zeiss 50/2.

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Hi Woody,

    From what I've seen, I think the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 has the best bokeh out of all the 50's on the Nikon F-mount. Of course, bokeh also has a lot to do with personal taste, and I really like the smooth, rich, and creamy versions, just like my desserts! Personally, I've shot with the Nikon 50/1.4D, 50/1.2, and Sigma 50/1.4, and the Sigma blows the other two out by far. I haven't paid as much attention to the Nikon 50/1.4G, but I've read many, many people's opinions that the bokeh from the Sigma version is much nicer than the Nikon. One shooter I respect made a lot of comparison shots between the Sigma and the Noct-Nikkor, and believe that the Sigma is basically the "poor-man's" Noct when it comes to bokeh. I also own the Noct-Nikkor, and I agree with him to a certain degree too.

    Unfortunately I don't have a lot of samples uploaded on the web to really show off the Sigma bokeh, but here is one mediocre sample. I'll be glad to find and upload more, or even just take test shots around the house in the next few days if it will help you.


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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Something doesn't look right with the sample photo. Have you taken tripod mounted shots of static subjects at various apertures ?

    I've owned 3 copies of the 50 1.8 AFD, 2 copies of the 50 1.4 AFD, and 2 copies of the 50 1.4 AFS-G. The G version is definitely the best.
    I've heard many good things about the Sigma and seen some great examples, but I've yet to own one.
    My Zeiss ZF.2 50mm f2 should be here tomorrow. I seem to have something for the 50mm focal length.
    Chris

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    Senior Member JimCollum's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    I did some testing between the 2 (new Nikon G and the Sigma) when i was looking for a fast 50mm. I prefered the Sigma, have that, and don't regret it at all (it's a bigger lens. takes 77mm filters)

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Is the 50mm f1.4 non-G better?
    No. I owned a 50/1.4 AF a good while back - used it on film with N8008s and N90 bodies - and it, too, was prone to frizz in OOF backgrounds with the lens wide open and the main subject nearby.

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Two more bokeh shots with the 50mm f1.4 G. All (including the image I started the thread with) are at f2.




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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Those portraits look great, Woody


    No model at hand, so I went out into the garden and snapped a couple of flowers and clothespins with my Nikon 1.4/50 G.
    All of them completely wide open, i.e. at f/1.4

    Here's one with a large distance to the background.

    click for the full resolution file


    Nikon D300 Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50mm G 1/3200 sec. at f/1.4 ISO 200 Capture NX

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    And one with less distance to the background.

    click for the full resolution file


    Nikon D300 Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50mm G 1/1600 sec. at f/1.4 ISO 200 Capture NX

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    As usual with fast primes shot wide open there is on high contrast edges some magenta fringing just in front of the focus plane and some greenish fringing just behind the focus plane.

    click for the full resolution file


    Nikon D300 Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50mm G 1/2500 sec. at f/1.4 ISO 200 Capture NX

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Here's an actual pixels crop showing the color fringing. Sometimes it is far worse than this.



    Nikon D300 • Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50mm G • 1/2500 sec. at f/1.4 ISO 200 • Capture NX

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Steen - this is terrific - I think that you've identified the issue. The shot with the farther background is creamy; the shot with the near background is edgy - much the same as mine. I've gone over a bunch of images in LR and can more or less confirm this conclusion. I'm using this lens for available light parties and events, mostly indoors in poor light (everyone and everything is in motion so that's why I need autofocus). In these cases the background is usually fairly close.

    Panda81 - with the Sigma do you notice a difference on bokeh depending on how far away the background is?

    The Sigma is larger and heavier - a negative for me. Is it true that it focuses a bit faster (a major positive)?

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses



    Modern S-Mount 50/1.4 has some of the nicest Bokeh of any Nikkor 50 that I've seen.



    Both wide-open on the S3-2000.

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Panda81 - with the Sigma do you notice a difference on bokeh depending on how far away the background is?
    Oops, sorry I missed this reply.

    Hm, I'm not sure I understand your question. Bokeh will always be different if your subject-background distance changes, no matter which lens, right? I guess the best way to test how the bokeh changes is it you make the comparison between:

    lens 1 - closer distance
    lens 1 - farther distance
    lens 2 - closer distance
    lens 2 - farther distance
    etc.

    I don't think I really have enough shooting experience to know that off the top of my head. However, I will say that I can't think of a situation where I've thought to myself, "the Sigma handled this bokeh very poorly, I think this other 50mm lens would have done better."

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    I'm a died in the wool Nikon guy for many years now but IMHO, Canon has the edge at this focal length with it's new 50mm f/1.2

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    I have been researching the fast 50mm lenses for Nikon. I have the Noctilux (both) so I know what I am looking for. David is right the Canon 50mm 1.2 is a different league that the Nikon 50 s . my daughter uses one with her 5dII . They really optimized the bokeh .

    If you want to see amazing bokeh look for examples from the Nikkor Noct 58mm 1.2 incredibly expensive but the background has no sharp edges . Diglloyd has an older test between the canon and the nikon showing the bokeh of the 1.2 lenses.

    Or simpler just compare the nikkor 85 1.4 .

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    i agree the noct nikkor bokeh is pretty much unparalleled. however, the biggest turnoff when using that lens is that most dslr viewfinders really aren't too good for manual focusing. i use the d700, and even though d700 viewfinder is relatively better than most other dslrs, i still end up concentrating on getting precise focus more than composing and exposing the photo.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Steen - this is terrific - I think that you've identified the issue. The shot with the farther background is creamy; the shot with the near background is edgy - much the same as mine. (...)
    Great, Woody.
    Still, let's not forget that the Subject Distance has an even greater impact on the Depth Of Field (DOF) and thus the bokeh.
    The closer to your subject, the more narrow DOF and the more smoothly blurred background (and foreground).
    See dofmaster.com
    Go close, then closer, then even closer, as some photographer is said to have said
    Or how about waiting for the coming Nikon AF-S 1.4/85 G VR ...

    That said, from what I've seen on the internet I think you will get the smoothest bokeh among the 1.4/50mm lenses with the Sigma.
    There once was a thread on the FM forum comparing four fast 50mm lenses, the Sigma being one of them.
    The Sigma came out with by far the smoothest bokeh. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find that thread again.
    Personally I prefer a bit more contrast or 'character' or 'drama' or 'glow' in the bokeh, but that's just me. And of course you can always achieve that by stopping down a bit.
    Actually what finally made me go with the Nikon was some user reports about frontfocus or backfocus problems with the Sigma lens.
    Some years ago I had that kind of problems with another brand and I didn't want to go through all that hassle again.
    But the Sigma 1.4/50mm definitely has its enthusiastic fan club.

    Some time in February this year I posted this close-up-wide-open shot with the Nikon 1.4/50 G in another thread.
    Note how narrow the DOF is at this short Subject Distance, and how blurred everything is right behind (and in front of) the focus plane.



    Nikon D300 Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50mm G 1/320 sec. at f/1.4 ISO 200 Capture NX

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    The 50/1.4D is... not good in defocus rendering.

    IMO the Sigma pretty much blows anything away except maybe the Canon 85/1.2L when it comes to rear defocus rendering. I know the Leica guys disagree with me but they're wrong.

    The Sigma is also an extremely sharp lens. Just don't expect your AF to focus properly at 1.4 - you have to be more precise than that to nail the extremely shallow DOF (shallower than other 1.4 lenses due to the way the out of focus softness approaches the focus plane in this lens).

    What I really like about the Sigma is its duality - creamy smooth almost soft wide open, razor sharp at f/2.

    Sample: Sigma 50/1.4 @1.4, Nikon D700.
    Last edited by Lars; 2nd June 2010 at 14:20.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Senior Member otumay's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    You make your point very well, Lars. Thanks for sharing.
    Osman

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by panda81 View Post
    i agree the noct nikkor bokeh is pretty much unparalleled. however, the biggest turnoff when using that lens is that most dslr viewfinders really aren't too good for manual focusing. i use the d700, and even though d700 viewfinder is relatively better than most other dslrs, i still end up concentrating on getting precise focus more than composing and exposing the photo.
    Agree 100% . But you should note that you don t have to shoot at 1.2 to get the great bokeh and in some cases (like the Noctilux ) it can be overdone. The diglloyd test I believe shows the bokeh at each F stop and compares the noct nikkor to the canon 1.2L .

    Just like a Noctilux on the M .....the bokeh is still great at f2 and now you have a little DOF.

    we need the Nikon version of the canon 50 1.2L with AF.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    The 50/1.4D is... not good in defocus rendering.

    IMO the Sigma pretty much blows anything away except maybe the Canon 85/1.2L when it comes to rear defocus rendering. I know the Leica guys disagree with me but they're wrong.

    The Sigma is also an extremely sharp lens. Just don't expect your AF to focus properly at 1.4 - you have to be more precise than that to nail the extremely shallow DOF (shallower than other 1.4 lenses due to the way the out of focus softness approaches the focus plane in this lens).

    What I really like about the Sigma is its duality - creamy smooth almost soft wide open, razor sharp at f/2.

    Sample: Sigma 50/1.4 @1.4, Nikon D700.
    Lars

    Surely you aren t serious. First this isn t particularly good bokeh. Look at the framed picture in the background on how it renders the edges . In good bokeh you don t see high contrast edges in the out of focus areas.

    Good bokeh has a creamy look ..this is just showing the selective DOF possible.

    Look up one of the threads on the Nikon Cafe and search for the 58mm 1.2 ...thats an example of good bokeh.

    Or you could ask one of the Leica guys Noctilux 1.0 images .

    Roger

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Lars

    Surely you aren t serious. First this isn t particularly good bokeh. Look at the framed picture in the background on how it renders the edges . In good bokeh you don t see high contrast edges in the out of focus areas.

    Good bokeh has a creamy look ..this is just showing the selective DOF possible.

    Look up one of the threads on the Nikon Cafe and search for the 58mm 1.2 ...thats an example of good bokeh.

    Or you could ask one of the Leica guys Noctilux 1.0 images .

    Roger
    Roger,

    Although this is partially a subjective issue, I'm afraid that you are to some extent incorrect here.

    What happens when you have a perfect neutral bokeh is that a specular highlight in form of a point is rendered as a uniformly lit disc. This means that such a disc will have a sharp edge. A specular highlight in form of a line then will form a defocus highligh with a sharp line. This is what you see in this image.

    Many lenses designed primarily for sharpness like the 50/1.4D create rear defocus with a brighter edge. This is what creates the busy, "frizzed" look that to many is unpreferable. This usually goes away when stepped down a bit.

    The Nikkor 50/1.2 AI is horrible in this respect. Highlights wide open are donuts.

    The 58/1.2 exhibits tons of vignetting wide open, creating banana-shaped highlights towards the corners. I don't think that's excellent bokeh. It also creates hot edges in the rear defocus highlights. It's good but hardly a rock star.

    The Sigma 50 creates round, uniformly lit rear defocus highlights with relatively little vignetting towards edges and corners due to the huge front diameter. It's not perfect but it's darn good.

    I have to go to a conference but will post more analytical samples over the weekend.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    The bokeh we see here has to do with that specific background, and it also has to do with the specific Subject Distance as well as the Background Distance.

    If we want to compare the Sigma with other 50mm lenses we need to make a controlled setup with the same background and the same distances.

    As I mentioned I once saw such a controlled comparison of the Sigma along with three other fast ~50mm lenses.
    I no longer recall exactly which lenses (maybe something like a Contax Zeiss, a Rokkor, a Takumar ... or ... well, something like that, and shot on an EOS camera, probably a 5D).
    Unfortunately the new Nikon AF-S 1.4/50 G was not one of them, at that time I would especially have been interested in that comparison.

    The Sigma had by far the creamiest bokeh of the four.
    The three others had very similar out of focus rendering with at least some contrast left in the out of focus edges, while the Sigma stood out with an extraordinary creamy bokeh.
    My first thought was that this was nearly too blurred for my personal taste, no painterly 'drama' left in the background, nearly no nothing left at all but a soft mist.
    Obviously a rather unusual optical formula compared to the other ones.

    I have no doubt that Lars is dead serious

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Woody, when I shot Nikon I went through every F mount AF 50 that you could put on the camera and never solved the problem to my liking. The Siggy 50/1.4 wasn't bad, but it did strange things to the specular highlights at near range, and the AF was jinky ... I went through 3 different Siggy 50s before giving up.

    The Nikon 50/1.4 AFS was a bit of a disappointment ... AF wasn't much faster than the previous 50/1.4 despite being AFS ... and Nikon dissapointed by NOT giving it Nano Crystal Coating.

    BTW, if you don't like the Bokeh of your Nikon 50/1.4D, you'd despise the Zeiss ZF 50/1.4 at those same near background ranges.

    The Canon AF 85/1.2 and 50/1.2 spoils it for everyone else ... great OOF rendering and superb flair suppression in lower ambient with specular areas. Not only that, the front OOF areas are also nicer than most others. I used those lenses coupled with a STE-2 transmitter to provide AF assist in really low ambient which speeded up the AF considerably.

    My suggestion would be to move up to the Nikon 85/1.4 or 100/2 DC while moving back a bit ... and leave it at that.

    The only 50 mm I use these days is the Noctilux 50/0.95. I have a Sony 50/1.4 which isn't all bad, but I never use it.

    (attached: Canon 85/1.2)

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Lars Steen

    I think we are having slightly different frames of reference. Which is fine. I have no doubt that among the available AF 50 s for the Nikon that the Sigma has the best bokeh . As Marc points out though its a weak group. The Nikon AF have quite edgy bokeh . The zeiss is worse yet . By default almost the Sigma wins this class. No argument here.


    Ok lets compare the Sigma to the best in class which seem to be the 50/85L canon lenses and the Noctilux. The 80/1.4 summilux R which I converted for the Nikon is pretty decent as well. There are a number of Leica M lenses that have beautiful bokeh ..35/50 preasph ,75 lux. etc. Thats the class of "bokeh " kings I am referring to. The Sigma isn t competitive in this group. IMHO

    So if I am looking at the 50 offerings for the Nikon ...Sigma looks pretty good but IMHO not compared to the group of "best in class". I think we have different frames of reference.

    As to the 58mm asph ..I am researching this lens for my "no light available" kit . Diglloyd has an excellent comparison of the 58mm 1.2 Noct to the Canon 50 1.2L . Since I know the 50L , this test resonates with my experience. As you said its subjective but when I have a direct comparison shot side by side ..I can see the differences . I do not have a closed mind on any comparisons. I read every report I can find and look at as many examples as I can when considering a lens for a special purpose. I haven t seen any test or example that gave the Noct Nikkor anything less than best in class bokeh. I am surprised by your POV on this lens(I know it has other + and - )but never saw any bad bokeh.

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Interesting POV exchanged here.

    Though like with pretty much every bokeh discussion, there's some strong personal preference and reference in play. Really, the only way to determine what's best is obviously to have a side by side, controlled conditions comparison for several shots (close, mid, long distance then the same with background distance, then the same with backgroung contrast types/spec Hl)... and even then -been there, done that- you'll get various assesments coming from a panel of photographers (or including art directors). Which is fine, but we're really deep into subjective territory.

    One thing Roger, though: "The Nikon AF have quite edgy bokeh . The zeiss is worse yet". First, i've noticed that above there's an ongoing confusion entertained in the various posts between the AF/AFS 1.4D and 1.4G. Not the same animals. Then, the "Zeiss is worse"? Hum, perharps if you guys are sticking to the strict 1.4 comparison for extreme lowlight. But the ZF 50/2 is another story -IMO the best out there in F-mount, by relatively far.



    Finally: the 58 delivers stunning results in capable hands, provided one knows and masters its -relatively speaking- flaws. Not exactly a studio workhorse, but one of the best tool for street. OTOH the 85 1.4 (called the "cream machine" by some recognized phtographers) performance is in turn very dependant on shooting conditions. This is a very well documented lens on the internet, it's easy to find less-than-stellar examples... even a majority. But it's still a superb portrait lens if it fits one's shooting style, and for one who made the effort to understand its best use. Like pretty much every lens.


    Oh, and... now that the truly usable ISO in recent Nikon bodies goes through the roof, some of us can live with 2.8 max aperture in a majority of cases, then the Micro 60 2.8G is maybe the best out there. A totally underrated lens. And this goes for the 105VR, even better... if you can "move back a bit" (@Mark, above), of course


    FWIW and since we're in subjective territory, here's my personal ranking in the F-mount 50to60mm category:

    - ZF 50/2M ** Noktor 58/1.2 (street, lowlight B&W with an analog touch)
    - Nikon Mikro 60/2.8G
    - Tamron 17-50mm @ 50 (for street, and only when in Jorgen's hands )
    - Nikon AFS 50/1.4G or Sigma 50/1.4 or ZF 50 1.4 (depending on one's shooting style and expectations -for studio portraits and product close-ups i'd keep the Nikon without hesitation)
    - Nikon 50/1.2 AIS
    - Nikon AFS 50/1.4D

    Well, something like that. Again, a very subjective matter.

    In the end, i could live with all of the above. Would just try and learn its ropes, and get the best out of it

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Agree 100% . But you should note that you don t have to shoot at 1.2 to get the great bokeh and in some cases (like the Noctilux ) it can be overdone. The diglloyd test I believe shows the bokeh at each F stop and compares the noct nikkor to the canon 1.2L .

    Just like a Noctilux on the M .....the bokeh is still great at f2 and now you have a little DOF.

    we need the Nikon version of the canon 50 1.2L with AF.
    agree with you 100% too. one thing to note though is that if you stop down the lens when there are light sources in the background, the light sources may not be completely rounded anymore (although they always will be if you shoot at f/1.2). just thought it's worth mentioning because sometimes people value having completely rounded light sources in the background.

    here is one example at f/1.4




    also, i have to admit, of course i love the novelty of being able to shoot at f/1.2, or else i would just use a f/1.4 or another lens instead
    Last edited by panda81; 3rd June 2010 at 08:06.

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    bokeh is undoubtedly a subjective matter. all i know is that i love my noct-nikkor. when i purchased the leica noctilux, i was going to sell my noct-nikkor to help fund it. but right now it just seems like my hands are unable to lose its grips on it.

    here are some of my shots with the noct-nikkor. i like what i see in the bokeh, but it's just a matter of everyone's own tastes. you guys can decide for yourselves if you like the bokeh or not.














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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Interesting POV exchanged here.

    Though like with pretty much every bokeh discussion, there's some strong personal preference and reference in play. Really, the only way to determine what's best is obviously to have a side by side, controlled conditions comparison for several shots (close, mid, long distance then the same with background distance, then the same with backgroung contrast types/spec Hl)... and even then -been there, done that- you'll get various assesments coming from a panel of photographers (or including art directors). Which is fine, but we're really deep into subjective territory.

    One thing Roger, though: "The Nikon AF have quite edgy bokeh . The zeiss is worse yet". First, i've noticed that above there's an ongoing confusion entertained in the various posts between the AF/AFS 1.4D and 1.4G. Not the same animals. Then, the "Zeiss is worse"? Hum, perharps if you guys are sticking to the strict 1.4 comparison for extreme lowlight. But the ZF 50/2 is another story -IMO the best out there in F-mount, by relatively far.



    Finally: the 58 delivers stunning results in capable hands, provided one knows and masters its -relatively speaking- flaws. Not exactly a studio workhorse, but one of the best tool for street. OTOH the 85 1.4 (called the "cream machine" by some recognized phtographers) performance is in turn very dependant on shooting conditions. This is a very well documented lens on the internet, it's easy to find less-than-stellar examples... even a majority. But it's still a superb portrait lens if it fits one's shooting style, and for one who made the effort to understand its best use. Like pretty much every lens.


    Oh, and... now that the truly usable ISO in recent Nikon bodies goes through the roof, some of us can live with 2.8 max aperture in a majority of cases, then the Micro 60 2.8G is maybe the best out there. A totally underrated lens. And this goes for the 105VR, even better... if you can "move back a bit" (@Mark, above), of course


    FWIW and since we're in subjective territory, here's my personal ranking in the F-mount 50to60mm category:

    - ZF 50/2M ** Noktor 58/1.2 (street, lowlight B&W with an analog touch)
    - Nikon Mikro 60/2.8G
    - Tamron 17-50mm @ 50 (for street, and only when in Jorgen's hands )
    - Nikon AFS 50/1.4G or Sigma 50/1.4 or ZF 50 1.4 (depending on one's shooting style and expectations -for studio portraits and product close-ups i'd keep the Nikon without hesitation)
    - Nikon 50/1.2 AIS
    - Nikon AFS 50/1.4D

    Well, something like that. Again, a very subjective matter.

    In the end, i could live with all of the above. Would just try and learn its ropes, and get the best out of it
    You are correct regarding the zeiss 50/2 . I have this lens for my Nikon kit but rarely use it . The OF areas are exceptionally smooth and coupled with the great contrast and sharpness ....the IN FOCUS subject stands out. I don t think you would call this bokeh but with both the 100 and 5o ZF makro lenses ...the transition from sharp to OF is abrupt . For some subjects this is fine but for others its not. I don t find either of these lenses people pleasing .

    I don t mean to imply that any of the above lenses aren t excellent . They just have strengths and weaknesses and subjective evaluations are always factored by personal preferences.

    Not implying a right or wrong answer here just putting in point of view.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    (...)
    we need the Nikon version of the canon 50 1.2L with AF.
    +10 ... and that goes for the autofocus 85mm as well

    Roger, actually I think that you have by this said the only thing that really matters here

    Nikon, listen to Roger. For your own good and, admittedly, also a tad for ours.


    P.S. Panda, gorgeous portraits with the noct-nikkor

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    You are correct regarding the zeiss 50/2 . I have this lens for my Nikon kit but rarely use it . The OF areas are exceptionally smooth and coupled with the great contrast and sharpness ....the IN FOCUS subject stands out. I don t think you would call this bokeh but with both the 100 and 5o ZF makro lenses ...the transition from sharp to OF is abrupt . For some subjects this is fine but for others its not. I don t find either of these lenses people pleasing .

    I don t mean to imply that any of the above lenses aren t excellent . They just have strengths and weaknesses and subjective evaluations are always factored by personal preferences.

    Not implying a right or wrong answer here just putting in point of view.
    Sure Roger. We're here to exchange POVs, and everyone's mileage, approach and tastes vary, that's the beauty of it


    Just one thing: do you call the following "an abrupt transition from sharp to OF"? (this question not intended to be challenging, just a matter of "frame of reference" as you put it earlier)

















    (just quick, random picks from my GetDpi gallery -from D700 mainly, and two with the D3X, all ZF 50/2M)

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Oh, and Panda, i agree with Steve. Gorgeous portraits above, whatever the bokeh...

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Corlan

    You images by the way are stunning but they demonstrate my point. The infocus area is incredibly sharp. Just shy of brittle ...but fine for the subject and your composition. the transition is quick ..the OTF areas are really soft even a few inches behind the subject.

    I saw this when I was photographing parrots .....I had no latitude on the exact focus point and created some distracting OTF in front of the subject as well. The Canon 50L isn t this sharp and contrasty in the zone of focus and the roll off is smoother.

    But as I think we agreed you learn to work with the character of the lens(and whats best depends on what you shoot and how you do it).

    My database of images is off line ..I should be illustrating my comments.

    Panda

    Great use of a fast lens. I have some excellent comparisons of similar lighting with my Noctilux .95 . I have much work to do. Plus you are using the old trick of having a pretty girl in the shot to distract us from our careful examination of your image. LOL

    Roger

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Roger- as you've surmised, i was in no way making of point with the images but simply trying to fine tune our mutual understanding -what's best than examples?. Thanks for the comments, it surely helps in this regard.

    Looking forward to seeing some of your examples to illustrate further.


    P.S. good point about the pretty girl

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Well based on the input from this thread I decided to give the Sigma a try. It just arrived; I shot some stuff close at hand. I'm going to a book party and dinner tonight that will give me a chance to try it under live fire conditions. Based on two dozen frames or so it seems to be a move in the right direction from the 1.4G, but I have too little experience with it yet to really tell. It seems to focus a bit more confidently than the 1.4G (but this may be an illusion) - I've been shooting the 1.4G at f2.0 to provide a little headroom on focus; I'll try the Sigma at 1.4 tonight. Here's a sample of the close at hand stuff (sorry for the flower but at least its peony and it's not a cat) at f1.4. I'll post more tomorrow.


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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Woody, when I shot Nikon I went through every F mount AF 50 that you could put on the camera and never solved the problem to my liking. The Siggy 50/1.4 wasn't bad, but it did strange things to the specular highlights at near range, and the AF was jinky ... I went through 3 different Siggy 50s before giving up.

    The Nikon 50/1.4 AFS was a bit of a disappointment ... AF wasn't much faster than the previous 50/1.4 despite being AFS ... and Nikon dissapointed by NOT giving it Nano Crystal Coating.

    BTW, if you don't like the Bokeh of your Nikon 50/1.4D, you'd despise the Zeiss ZF 50/1.4 at those same near background ranges.

    The Canon AF 85/1.2 and 50/1.2 spoils it for everyone else ... great OOF rendering and superb flair suppression in lower ambient with specular areas. Not only that, the front OOF areas are also nicer than most others. I used those lenses coupled with a STE-2 transmitter to provide AF assist in really low ambient which speeded up the AF considerably.

    My suggestion would be to move up to the Nikon 85/1.4 or 100/2 DC while moving back a bit ... and leave it at that.

    The only 50 mm I use these days is the Noctilux 50/0.95. I have a Sony 50/1.4 which isn't all bad, but I never use it.

    (attached: Canon 85/1.2)
    Lovely image. I've owned both the new and old Canon 85 f1.2 (did I mention that I'm a gear slut) - it's a sufficient reason to own a Canon. My next stop will be the Nikon 85 1.4 hoping for something similar (or perhaps something similar that focuses a bit faster).

  38. #38
    Member jbcrane's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Interesting POV exchanged here.
    ...And this goes for the 105VR, even better... if you can "move back a bit"
    I'm a little late to this party but it's a subject I'm following keenly. The transition & contrast between the sharpest and softest portions of the image is one of my favorite characteristics. I'll second the above; I'm especially fond of the 105VR's bokeh (this is at 5). I've never seen a smoother, creamier bokeh from any lens on any camera. Thanks to all for the sharing of knowledge here.
    John B. Crane - Member ASMP, NPS - Colorado, USA
    The Nikon F6 Project
    jbcrane.zenfolio.com

  39. #39
    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    From last night. One of these will end up on my blog. All D700 + Sigma 50mm 1.4. All shot at f1.4 and 1/100. Various IS0s - 6400 - 25600.

    Accounting for focusing speed and accuracy, center sharpness, bokeh and flexibility, and overall robust performance in low light, this combination is working very well for me. Technical keeper percentage is around 70%.














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    Senior Member otumay's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    I liked all of them, Woody!

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Woody, all,

    I see the great results from the Sigma 1.4/50, I meanwhile am so convinced that I will order this lens for my D700.

    Question is - what about the Sigma 1.4/85? Would this lens not be an even better portrait lens on a FF DSLR? I owned myself the 1.4/85 Nikkor and it was razor sharp, but I ended up to keep it most of the time in my back pack instead of using it. Was a bit slow (AF) and did not convince me so much as a portrait lens, maybe too sharp? Would the Sigma be better? Any ideas?

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Now I found a victim (one of our four youngsters) for a quick handheld wide open f/1.4 capture with Nikon AF-S 1.4/50 G.
    Not a good background example, but still shows something e.g. about sharpness.

    click for larger size

    Nikon D300 Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50mm G 1/250 sec. at f/1.4 ISO 200 Capture NX

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post

    Question is - what about the Sigma 1.4/85? Would this lens not be an even better portrait lens on a FF DSLR? I owned myself the 1.4/85 Nikkor and it was razor sharp, but I ended up to keep it most of the time in my back pack instead of using it. Was a bit slow (AF) and did not convince me so much as a portrait lens, maybe too sharp? Would the Sigma be better? Any ideas?
    i don't think the sigma 85/1.4 is even released yet, so there's no way to make comparisons yet. but based on what we've seen on how sigma's 50 performs compared to nikon's 50, the 85 would definitely be something to keep our eyes on...

    regarding the focal length (85) itself on FF camera, i actually don't like it very much. for full frame/35mm lengths, i really like wider angles up to 50mm, then jump to 100mm or more. i really don't like the range between 50mm-100mm.

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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    thanks everyone for the nice comments yes, i do admit i cheat a little too!

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Panda

    Great use of a fast lens. I have some excellent comparisons of similar lighting with my Noctilux .95 . I have much work to do. Plus you are using the old trick of having a pretty girl in the shot to distract us from our careful examination of your image. LOL

    Roger

  45. #45
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Steen View Post
    Now I found a victim (one of our four youngsters) for a quick handheld wide open f/1.4 capture with Nikon AF-S 1.4/50 G.
    Not a good background example, but still shows something e.g. about sharpness.
    Steen, this is a fine example (and a nice portrait by itself), more on par with what i'm used to see from the 1.4G. Which is btw, again, altogether a splendid choice for studio work with strobes.



    Panda: you're making a good point when making a difference between lens used on FX or DX body. In the current discussion it seemed pretty much assmed that we were talking FF. It's true that some lenses like the 85mmm1.4 but also the 50/1.4D are considered as great portait lenses on cropped sensors and are/were therefore in many pros kits with great results. Not saying they don't work fine on FF sensors, but one has to be careful about that when comparing third-party samples.


    Woody: great if you're happy with the Sig move. From the -quite nice- examples above, it looks like it does fit your style and requirements. Hopefully you'll show us some more soon!

  46. #46
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    I posted a link on the thread about the 58 NOCT which includes a gallery of test images. The examples are extensive and I was able to find plenty of situations that resonate with my requirements . He has some direct comparisons with the Sigma which look excellent. For many applications the Sigma would perform as well as the 58 NOCT.

    The night street shooting is what I am looking for as I see this as an area where I can expand my work. Bokeh is important to be able to shoot at 1.2 and get an attractive rendering but its different that using the 50 for available light portraits.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Steen, this is a fine example (and a nice portrait by itself), more on par with what i'm used to see from the 1.4G. Which is btw, again, altogether a splendid choice for studio work with strobes. (...)

    Thanks Corlan. The Nikkor 1.4/50 G isn't exactly magic, but I think it's working all right for a $445 lens.
    Not sure though what makes you call it "a splendid choice for studio work with strobes" ?
    (Probably just because I have no experience with studio work and strobes).

    I wish your Carl Zeiss MakroPlanar 2/50 ZF were an autofocus lens.
    In that case I could happily live with the max aperture of f/2 and I would buy it in a heartbeat

    By the way, Andree (deepdiver) is showing some images with the Leica Summilux M 1.4/50mm ASPH, the first five out of the six images wide open at f/1.4, here:
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17140

  48. #48
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Quality of out of focus image for 50mm lenses

    Steen, looks like i overlooked your post above.

    Apparently we can always count on you when it comes to tracking down eloquent examples of gorgeous, exotic, sexy, er... lenses. Btw i like it wide open, too.

    I would buy any AF version of the ZF in a heartbeat, too. Seems though that we shouldn't hold our breath on this one.

    As for the studio/strobes remark, what i meant is that in controlled conditions and setup (background type and distances etc.) you can achieve terrific results with the 1.4G without the few quirks listed here by some owners for street/candid portraits. Plus, the 1.4G has a super fast and precise AF, procures excellent metering, along with pretty slick color and contrast rendering under good, strong ligthing. Handles spec highlights and reflections pretty smoothly, too.

    Btw the latter also goes for the older 1.4D, more especially on DX sensors (D200, D300, Fuji S5...).

    Many examples on Flickr, Pbase... coming to mind is the work of Dustin Diaz, strobist wizard, who uses the 1.4G a lot on his D700 (some here http://www.flickr.com/photos/polvero...7622017440954/, more on his site), and perharps on a slightly lesser level, Sebastian Yepes for the 1.4D -who also have a lot of street work on his stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebasti...nikon50mmf14d/.

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