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Thread: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    From the Zeiss 21 wideangle thread: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/...-8-d800-e.html, I decided to start a thread on how the f1.4 Nikkors render, since it appears many of us are interested in them specifically.

    Here are some quick grabs I did while on the road this morning with my 35/1.4G and 50/1.4G. I only took these four shots, 35 at f 1.4 then f5.6 and 50 at f1.4 then f5.6, so we do not have any criticality here, just an initial set of examples to start the discussion. I focused on the passport using live-view. I processed all identically in C1 at base values, WB'd off the second white patch in the 35/5.6 frame and applied that same WB to all images. Due to the different framing OR the lenses themselves, both 50 frames came in 1/3 stop hotter according to the mid gray patch, so I reduced exposure on the two 50mm shots by -0.34 to match exposure to the 35. I did not move the tripod, only changed lenses, so you can easily tell which frame is which exposure. (Note: for whatever reason the 35/1.4 shot at f1.4 registers f1.6 in the EXIF -- I am pretty darn sure it was set to f1.4 by the top LCD, so not sure how this one got to f1.6 or if it's an EXIF glitch -- regardless, I do not believe it skews the results too severely as this is not a critical comparison at this point.)

    I am only on my laptop, but they look pretty darn close to me from a color rendering standpoint, and heck, even drawing standpoint. I see the 35 showing a touch more contrast and the 50 being a touch more open and the higher contrast of the 35 may be adding a touch of saturation, but again, I am only my 13" MBA right now. I will need to see them on my big monitor before putting my stake in the ground, but at this point I think I either have a better copy of the 50/1.4g than others have experienced OR I have a poor copy of the 35/1.4G --- or maybe you are just more fussy than me! You all tell me which:

    Here they are:







    Jack
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    They do look very similar. My main beef with my 50/1.4G is that it doesn't really start performing well until f/2.8, preferably f/4. Maybe mine is a poor copy.

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    I don't think you had a poor copy, Jan. I had two and they were total dogs IMHO. The new f1.8G is much better to my eye – less distortion and better performance from wide open.

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    As an aside, C1 seems to be doing a great job with colour from the D800. I'm very impressed.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Testing is really difficult ..so lets see if my observations can be seen in the tests . My hypothesis is that the 50/1.4G is a notch below the 35/1.4 in overall IQ because :

    1. Lower overall lens contrast .....hard to tell from the test shots because the 50 s exposure was reduced by a 1/3 . Could be metering differences or lens contrast ? or really all in my head.

    2. Lower micro contrast ..you can see a little of this in the 5.6 images where the 35 starts to catch some of the gold wheat in the DOF . Just a straight shot of the straw focused at distance would show the micro contrast . But I can t support this since the focus is on the fence post .

    3. Color saturation or depth ....this typically shows up as a range of tones in a specific color ...rather than just the density which has been effected by exposure . The weakness is normally more prevalent in the blue channel and the overall image is predominately red/yellow ..which is often over saturated by Nikon . This is the first thing I notice shooting around the ocean . I am less sensitive to the nikon bias to warm the greens ...both lenses do this but my guess is that the 50 is slightly warmer than the 35 . You standardized the WB so its a fair test . Look at the out of focus trees .

    4. Resolution across the frame wide open ...can t tell because the in focus subject is high contrast and small and centered .

    With that said you make very minor adjustments to the 50 files and the presented illustration are indeed very compatible and if you didn t have a preconceived POV(maybe based on my own testing but supported by many outside testing reports ) you probably would not see much difference .

    Did I understand correctly that the color checker was only used to WB (as C1 doesn t used DNG profiles like CR/LR ) . Does C1 use a lens profile ? I find certain subjects are really difficult to color balance using Nikon files in CR/LR ... got much better results in Nx2 ...but yikes what a dog otherwise .

    I am a firm believer that optimum IQ on “the bench” is only one measure of a lens . I would not hesitate to select and use the 50/1.4G but I would pick the 35/1.4G over it ..sort of a 9 verse 10 rating . And sample variation on Nikon lenses can be that much in my experience .

    I could add that the 50/2 Zeiss would blow those away in the 4 areas I mention. But its MF and because its a Macro it has long throw making it a bear to use at medium distances . It also has a sharp abrupt roll off from focus to out of focus . Only mentioning this because the character of the lens should affect your preference as much as the overall IQ.

    Tim s post on the Leica R 50/2 sum micron is the look I favor . LOL

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Hi Jack,

    Personally I believe the tests and comparisons you posted were very well done! Just from what I see on the monitor, there isn't a whole lot to distinguish the matched pairs of shots in some of the main areas that are being examined. Maybe a bit less microcontrast with regards to the 50mm f1.4 lens and less bite or sharpness on center axis with that particular lens when shot wide open.

    The reason I also concured with some others (and from my own personal use and tests with this lens) about the color/tonality response of the 50mm f1.4G, it's apparent weakness in resolution, (especially off center) at the wider apertures and finally it's not always attractive rendering of OOF areas, is simply based on dozens if not 100's of images I've taken with the lens in a wide variety of shooting circumstances with regards to lighting (natural and artificial), subject matter, and ISO settings. When often shot along side other single focal length 50mm lenses or the occasional zoom covering that focal length, it's in many of these comparitive shots that differences (sometimes quite noticable) are evident. It's not always something that can be quantifed but simply seen in day in and day out shooting and the resulting files and prints. The Sigma 50 f1.4 Sigma for example is very weak off center until around f4.5 (give or take), but this is offset by it's truly lovely bokeh and OOF area and the way the lens draws. For better or worse, it has a definite signature...which is one of the strengths of that lens, besides some other poitive attributes mentioned "below". It's a tradoff.

    The issue I personally sometimes feel with the 50 f1.4G is that in some of it's perceived areas of weaknesses (described above), it often doesn"t have a particular characteristic/signature or strength to offset these (at least for some it doesn't), so although the lens performs admirably, there are others that win favor in a number of key areas. This is why some have concluded the new 50mm f1.8 lens is such a great buy....it's simply sharp from almost wide open and that I believe is what people expect from a relatively inexpensive 50mm f1.8...not a whole lot more. Once though someone spends more $$ for a 50mm f1.4, they expect to have something in return in not only achieving much of what the 50mm f1.8 offers but quite a bit more. If it doesn't, then instead, there has to be an acceptable something else in return. It appears with the 50mm f1.4 G, there is a mix of pluses and minuses in my opinion but when taken on balance, the net result doesn't seem to offer enough for the additonal cost.

    With the Sigma 50mm f1.4 for example, more money spent results in lens when shot wide open that exhibited less light falloff in the corners and along with that, a very attractive bokeh and lens signature, yet at the same time loosing out in the "sharpness across the frame catagory" when compared to some others. Many found these plus/minus attributes a worthwhile tradeoff for the additonal money spent for a 50mm f1.4 (such as the Sigma) vs a slower f1.8.

    Again I think at it's price point, compared to what some of the other 1.4G lenses cost, the Nikon 50mm f1.4G can be considered close to a bargin, especially the level of performance one can extract from it...but unless stopped down to at least f2.8-f4, I feel it's lacks something in a number of areas at the wider apertures and that if possible, I would often reach for something else.

    It's very subjective and much reminds me of the endless discussion of the new Leica 35mm f1.4 FLE lens but in a different way. That lens is just about the sharpest and best corrected "fast" Leica 35mm M lens and I have no doubt in controlled tests, these facts could be easily demonstrated. Yet some absolutely love it and others after using it, grow a bit tired of it's lack of a signature and often times busy bokeh with certain subjects and the way it renders OOF areas. I am in the latter camp although I do recognize from using it, what a remarkable acheivement and performer that lens is.

    Just some personal thoughts and observations, nothing more and really appreciate your taking the time to post your observations and findings with these two lenses.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 10th May 2012 at 07:20.

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Kind of difficult to see the differences of the 50 & 35 in some random images. It does show much better in larger series, suddenly stuff like contrast and color rendition becomes much more apparent.

    4 images made on the same day with 35 & 50. Made at ISO100/f2.0

    35



    50


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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    >>>>Kind of difficult to see the differences of the 50 & 35 in some random images. It does show much better in larger series, suddenly stuff like contrast and color rendition becomes much more apparent.<<<<

    Precisely my point (among others), stated above. Sort of reminds me of an average basball player who's only been to bat 5 times in the early part of the season. He's gotten 5 hits in his first 5 times at bat, so he's batting a perfect 1000! Yet after playing the entire season and facing a multitude of different pitchers and hitting circumstances, while coming up to bat over 300 times, he ends up batting average of only 250...decent but not terrific. Both his hitting strenghs and weaknesses were eventaully revealed.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    Kind of difficult to see the differences of the 50 & 35 in some random images. It does show much better in larger series, suddenly stuff like contrast and color rendition becomes much more apparent.

    4 images made on the same day with 35 & 50. Made at ISO100/f2.0
    Got to be honest -- to my eyes on my big monitor now, I see best contrast in the 50 shot #3, but essentially no significant difference between it and the 35 #1 and #2. In #4, I suspect the big orange hat is playing havoc with WB -- an easy (and normal for me) fix in conversion. Best bokeh is #3 and #1, with both #2 and #4 showing busier -- a dead heat tie there between them I think...
    Jack
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Here's a screen grab from C1 on my above 4 frames. I applied the same WB to each image, then added the flags. I then adjusted exposure only to bring each flag to a 150 lum value, no other processing. You can see exactly how far off all the other patches are -- not very. In fact, the biggest differential exists in the 35 between itself at f1.4 and f5.6 where it looses 6 points of Blue! (I suspect this is due mostly to contrast differential.) The 35 is generally 2 points of R warmer than the 50. Finally, note there is no change in color on the 50 when stopped down.

    Sideline conclusion: IMHO, if one is comparing raw color performance, the 50 is showing as the superior lens. (I hesitate to mention it is nominally sharper at f5.6 than the 35 -- though to my eyes basically insignificant for print -- but this could be the added magnification benefit of the 50.)

    Jack
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Jack

    These tests are hard and sample variation in the lenses can make a difference as well . From your examples I can t see enough difference to conclude that the 35 is better than the 50 .

    Can t understand how a lens can lose color depth by stopping down ?

    Unfortunately I am buried with challenges at home right now and don t have access to my easy test location by the pier . Otherwise I would be creating a folder of test shots .

    Maybe others can pick up my slack! Good insights from this .

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post

    Can t understand how a lens can lose color depth by stopping down ?
    You did not necessarily loose color *depth* as you stopped down, you may have in fact GAINED it; either way what you did get is a change in total color rendering. Contrast affects color, coatings affect color, flare as well as lens aberrations affect contrast, different coatings can respond differentially to the input spectrum, increased aperture can (and usually does) increase both flare proneness and lens aberrations. Therefore, in any given lens design these characteristics may change more with aperture than in another different design, and again, usually we will see this occur more often and to a higher degree in shorter focal lengths as compared to longer ones -- any/all can affect color.

    Regardless, even though we can measure these differences, I consider them almost insignificant for (our) normal purposes. If however you study the art repro workflow, you will find that significant attention is paid to these things, to such a degree that the best art repro guys will have a dedicated capture profile for each camera using each lens at each working aperture AND each dedicated lighting set up they use!
    Jack
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Jack,
    Thanks a lot for starting this thread and posting some comparison images.
    In a website like GeTDPI which is dedicated to photography the best way to educate and inform other photographers
    is to post pictures with every discussion, and hope everybody follows you.
    We photographers by lenses to use them and what really counts is the final image.
    There are a lot of words like, soft, sharp, contrast, color, saturation, and so on which are relative and doesn’t mean
    anything until compared with something else.
    I hope to see more images from the people who actually have worked with these lenses, and can attach images to their words.


    Best
    ________
    Manouch
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    This makes deductive reasoning quite difficult .

    I can t test a 50/1.4G because I don t have one . But when the new Nikkor fast primes came (all nano coated ) the first thing I noticed was the contrast and the blues . The older generation had a yellowish cast and the newer versions started to look more like the zeiss rendering ..different but with deeper blues and stronger blacks than the older Nikkors. The 50 looks to be in that category as well.

    I am spoiled using Leica M glass as I am reasonably sure I will like anything that ends in summicron or summilux . With the Nikkors I need a little more time to understand the character . Bottom line though is they are all great and once again my skills are the weak link .

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    You did not necessarily loose color *depth* as you stopped down, you may have in fact GAINED it; either way what you did get is a change in total color rendering. Contrast affects color, coatings affect color, flare as well as lens aberrations affect contrast, different coatings can respond differentially to the input spectrum, increased aperture can (and usually does) increase both flare proneness and lens aberrations. Therefore, in any given lens design these characteristics may change more with aperture than in another different design, and again, usually we will see this occur more often and to a higher degree in shorter focal lengths as compared to longer ones -- any/all can affect color.

    Regardless, even though we can measure these differences, I consider them almost insignificant for (our) normal purposes. If however you study the art repro workflow, you will find that significant attention is paid to these things, to such a degree that the best art repro guys will have a dedicated capture profile for each camera using each lens at each working aperture AND each dedicated lighting set up they use!

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I am spoiled using Leica M glass as I am reasonably sure I will like anything that ends in summicron or summilux .
    Okay, NOW I understand your issue very clearly

    Seriously, I do know what you mean about legacy N glass being yellower. For sure, the newer G coated stuff is more neutral, and that neutrality is a bit toward clinical compared to the more "nostalgic" rendering of the more classic glass. In my case, I happen to appreciate both for what they are, then also since either can become the other with a few minor toggles in C1 before clicking the process button
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    That is the thing Jack, these images appear really similar. In this series I have around 400 images. When you start looking at the general overview a trend does show where the 50 shows less contrast.

    In post most of this I have corrected (I just realized I have posted those PP'ed images).

    In #4 the orange hat generates an orange glow in the face. I tend to keep that that way instead of trying to correct it (Gabrielle, the woman, does have a slight yellowish skintone as well).

    Indeed maybe I am kind of spoilt with the ZF lenses and the Voigtlander APO's no Leicas but no slouches either

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    It was the D3X that had the yellow cast from what i recall of peoples biggest bitch on it. I never shot it except once in the field on location. My Phase smoked it thats all I know. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    That is the thing Jack, these images appear really similar.
    Okay, sorry I misunderstood and we agree.
    Jack
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    It was the D3X that had the yellow cast from what i recall of peoples biggest bitch on it. I never shot it except once in the field on location. My Phase smoked it thats all I know. LOL
    Yep, but times, they are a changin' ...
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    Re: D800 with f1.4 lens comparison images

    ROTFLMAO
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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