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Thread: 55 1.8

  1. #51
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    Re: 55 1.8

    By the way, 55's are in stock at Amazon US....
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Victor, take a look at the brick wall examples if you have time - and maybe the harbour series too. They are all downloadable as 100% size jpeg from RAW. I am curious to see if other people's tolerance for decentering is similar to mine!
    Tim, I downloaded 7142 and at f4.0 I think that things should pretty much snap together. If my lens shoots the same as yours it will be history.

    Victor
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Sure: if you get parallel to a planar target and shoot it with focus on centre, and notice that the left and right or top and bottom or some opposing diagonal pair are differently sharp, you probably have a decentering. Most lenses of 50mm and wider I take delivery of have a little of this problem, avoiding it totally is beyond the manufacturing tolerances that are economic. I see it sometimes on Zeiss lenses, rarely on Leica, and quite a lot on less famous brands.

    If you download each of the brick wall shots I linked to and layer them in Photoshop or flip between them in LR, you will see what I mean with this 55mm F1.8 and doing the same with the harbour shots, (where the corners aren't visible in the planar scene so just look at the central section from left to right) you'll see the left side is consistently softer.

    I disagree that the candy floss shot tells us anything: the subject is far from planar and you can't tell that it reaches the edges in the same plane as the plane of focus so for an F1.8 shot, it is likely not to have enough DOF for the bag on the left side to look hyper-sharp near the edge of the frame.
    How do you know the camera is perfectly parallel ?
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by pozzello View Post
    How do you know the camera is perfectly parallel ?
    It comes with a built in level, does it not?

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    It comes with a built in level, does it not?
    Level isn't the same as parallel. Measuring parallelism to a planar surface is more difficult than ensuring the camera is level. That's one of the flaws in most "brick wall" lens tests. If slightly out of parallel with a wide open aperture, the apparent "plane of focus" could look skewed.

    I'm sure Tim does his magic to set up as parallel to these subjects as possible.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    Tim, I downloaded 7142 and at f4.0 I think that things should pretty much snap together. If my lens shoots the same as yours it will be history.

    Victor
    Thank you for the sanity check. Bummer is, I called the store today (not my usual dealer) and they are happy to accept the return by post but I won't get another before I go away in early January. Looks like I'll be taking the E-M1…

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Unless I'm mistaken I don't think the built-in in level will tell you if the camera is angled to the left or right of the subject.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by pozzello View Post
    Unless I'm mistaken I don't think the built-in in level will tell you if the camera is angled to the left or right of the subject.
    Correct. Thanks.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Regarding parallelism…

    Some people favour the mirror technique. It is a clever idea but frankly, unless the mirror is set perfectly flush with the target plane, it won't work. Look at a tiled bathroom wall and see how subtly different all the reflective planes are.

    So what I do is to choose a subject that has the sort of horizontal lines that are plumb-lined, then line it up by eye and by level. The eye is informed by experience and the level by my knowledge of whether that camera has a half accurate level or not, and whether it is sensitive.

    But even that is an approximation: we all know that. So I ensure that I do several sets with different targets and at different distances and if a pattern emerges, I know I have 'an issue'. But actually, I think the brick wall shots I posted are pretty close.
    Last edited by tashley; 20th December 2013 at 13:10.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by pozzello View Post
    Unless I'm mistaken I don't think the built-in in level will tell you if the camera is angled to the left or right of the subject.
    Absolutely right for the level on its own - but, assuming the level is accurate, then if there are perfect horizontal lines in the subject, then the level will tell you exactly that.

    EDIT: I should explain this: assuming that the level is 100% accurate in both up/down and side to side planes, then setting the camera on an Arca Cube and levelling it perfectly means that as you pan it across the subject, the point at which the perfect horizontal lines in your subject are perfectly parallel to the frame and frame lines is where you are perfectly 'true' to the subject.
    Last edited by tashley; 19th December 2013 at 15:33.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Level isn't the same as parallel. Measuring parallelism to a planar surface is more difficult than ensuring the camera is level. That's one of the flaws in most "brick wall" lens tests. If slightly out of parallel with a wide open aperture, the apparent "plane of focus" could look skewed.

    I'm sure Tim does his magic to set up as parallel to these subjects as possible.

    Joe
    Would be nice if Tim could share some of his magic

    I was thinking of adapting my old versalab Parallel for my camera but would probably need to mount it to a wooden board first.

    Any one done this before ?


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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Absolutely right for the level on its own - but, assuming the level is accurate, then if there are perfect horizontal lines in the subject, then the level will tell you exactly that.
    good point...

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    Re: 55 1.8

    aint no magic, sorry!

    But there is a feel to the technique. For example, when I shot the Olympus 12-40 F2.8 recently, it was immediately clear from my brick walls that it had no centering issues and that it was sharp all over - and sure enough, all other shots (mid and far distance) showed no problem. You get a feel for what DOF is available per sensor size/focal length/aperture/subject distance and whether your accuracy of alignment is within it or at the edge of it or risks being out of it. Sure one can make mistakes, but that's why one is looking for a part of a pattern of behaviours.

    Once I have the rig set up as close to perfect as I can, I always shoot at least three series. One with AF, one with MF and no re-focus from wide open, and one with re-focus for every aperture up to F8 and then shoot F11 and 16 at the same focus point because by then DOF is so deep and diffraction so present that you can't critically focus any more even at full mag.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I don think it's much larger than a telephoto or super fast specialty M lens like the newer (Noctilux, 75 Lux, 35 Nokton etc.) The hood makes it look larger.
    The Leica lenses you mentioned are not as big (size wise, weight maybe) but they are faster.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Decentering is infuriating and all too commonly encountered. I've had a Leica lens (new 75 Summarit that did not remotely focus, but never decentering with Leica).

    Its a shame if this is decentering with Zeiss, because none of my ZMs have even a whiff of decentering. Its commonplace with CV lenses and would be very disappointing to find $1000 Zeiss lenses with the problem. You pay that money NOT to have to send the first few copies back....

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I have a feeling many folks have my thought of having at least one native lens on board. This maybe it. Not sure why they did not have the 24-70 ready at launch, that would be a big seller for them.

    I wish they did a 28 prime and this 55. Perfect setup
    Do you think a fast 28 prime may be a challenge as we've seen with other third party lenses on this 36mb sensor?

    Then how big will it be?
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Regarding parallelism…

    Some people favour the mirror technique. It is a clever idea but frankly, unless the mirror is set perfectly flush with the target plane, it won't work. Look at a tiled bathroom wall and see how subtly different all the reflective planes are.

    Sp what I do is to choose a subject that has the sort of horizontal lines that are plumb-lined, then line it up by eye and by level. The eye is informed by experience and the level by my knowledge of whether that camera has a half accurate level or not, and whether it is sensitive.

    But even that is an approximation: we all know that. So I ensure that I do several sets with different targets and at different distances and if a pattern emerges, I know I have 'an issue'. But actually, I think the brick wall shots I posted are pretty close.
    Is there anything else you test for ? Are there variations in MTF between the same lenses ? How do you know when a lens is good enough ?

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    Tim, I downloaded 7142 and at f4.0 I think that things should pretty much snap together. If my lens shoots the same as yours it will be history.

    Victor
    I have to agree. I had real hopes for this lens but my Summicron R looks better at f4.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by pozzello View Post
    Is there anything else you test for ? Are there variations in MTF between the same lenses ? How do you know when a lens is good enough ?
    It's a royal pain in the you know what to test thus, but I always do it in detail because the return window is small and the reject rate high.

    First off I go for a walk and shoot some very familiar subjects that I have shot with lots and lots of other lenses. That usually arouses suspicions if there's a problem. I knew with the Olympus 12-40 even from that walk that there was no problem.

    Then I take a look at the MTF to see if it explains anything I noticed.

    Then I do a focus shift test using a target at usually about 25x the focal length, insecure in the knowledge that some lenses which seem to have no significant shift at close range, do have it at greater distance.

    Then I shoot a far target I know well (distant hillsides) at every aperture. Then I do the harbour scene. Then I do a brick wall or similar. Bracketing my head of all the time of course. By now I know if its great, or a reasonable copy of a not bad lens, or a dud design or de-centered or whatever and if I am uncertain I shoot more to test hypotheses.

    If it's good enough to keep I then work out what its field curvature is at different apertures and distances. Takes ages.

    Then I buy another lens
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    Re: 55 1.8

    pozzzello:
    i use one of those for shooting artwork. i put the laser box on the wall and a reflective glass across the lens barrel, making the reflected dot nail the crosshair. then i make the assumption that the art will be parallel to the wall

    for art it is useful avoids keystoning both ways.

    for brick wall at 20'…maybe a board would average out the micro imperfections/
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Shot my first images checking for decentering. My lens is also decentered. My Leica 50mm Summicron doesn't suffer from any decentering but isn't quite as sharp on the edges or center until F5.6....center is the same, edges are a little softer at F5.6. The Sony/Zeiss lens has incredible potential..... so I'll be looking for another one to try.

    Victor

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    Re: 55 1.8

    I have two more lenses on order and hopefully one of them will be on the money. This lens has the potential to be the finest lens I have seen in quite some time. Just needs to be centered. I can forgive almost anything else..... Luck of the draw......

    Victor

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    Re: 55 1.8

    I feel you pain, Victor, literally. Buy/test/return/refund/replace/re-test is not something that camera manufacturers should routinely put us through. Lloyd Chambers says his is asymmetric too. There's no point Zeiss making a fine design if the people who commission that design don't assemble the units with due care.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    I feel you pain, Victor, literally. Buy/test/return/refund/replace/re-test is not something that camera manufacturers should routinely put us through. Lloyd Chambers says his is asymmetric too. There's no point Zeiss making a fine design if the people who commission that design don't assemble the units with due care.
    Amen.....

    Victor

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Pandorf View Post
    The Leica lenses you mentioned are not as big (size wise, weight maybe) but they are faster.
    Yes the M-mount 50's are smaller but not by that much. Here's a size comparison between the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH, the Zeiss 55/1.8 FE, and the Sony 18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Sorry for the crappy cell phone quality.



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    Re: 55 1.8

    I guess this is the first shot I posted of any of my around the house test shots... Straight from the camera to the iPad. No editing. Looks pretty promising to me and I think I'll keep it.

    A7r + 55/1.8 FE

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Has anyone else noted that when you mount the 55mm F1.8 and go to the lens compensation tab in the menu, the Auto option for Lens Distortion is selected and greyed out and can't be turned to OFF whereas when you use the 35mm F2.8, that option is selectable as liked? The other options remain selectable with both lenses.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Received mine today from Amazon. After a few quick test shots, I'm OK with it. The AF with the A7R is quick and precise. Manual focusing using the EVF is easy. I'll test more outdoors over the weekend.

    Test shot, handheld at f/2.8, focused on the middle of the snowman on the right:



    100% crop:



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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    I have two more lenses on order and hopefully one of them will be on the money. This lens has the potential to be the finest lens I have seen in quite some time. Just needs to be centered. I can forgive almost anything else..... Luck of the draw......

    Victor
    If you don't mind me asking... So, you just order multiple copies and keep the best and return the other?

    Not being critical, I've got one on the way and I'm going to wring it our pretty good but I confess I've bought a fair amount (OK, a LOT) of lenses and except for one tech cam lens I've never had to have anything returned or repaired.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Has anyone else noted that when you mount the 55mm F1.8 and go to the lens compensation tab in the menu, the Auto option for Lens Distortion is selected and greyed out and can't be turned to OFF whereas when you use the 35mm F2.8, that option is selectable as liked? The other options remain selectable with both lenses.
    Yep, same with mine. Probably not selectable because Sony decided the 55mm didn't need distortion correction. Just a guess.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Yes the M-mount 50's are smaller but not by that much. Here's a size comparison between the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH, the Zeiss 55/1.8 FE, and the Sony 18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Sorry for the crappy cell phone quality.
    I've used the 50 Summilux ASPH on my A7r and have been sorely disappointed with the edges at wide apertures---with a $4000 lens!

    I am seriously contemplating selling the Leica gear. It used to be "you couldn't go wrong owning Leica M lenses." The A7r has shown me that Leica has done some fine engineering with the digital M's covering the ray angle issue but they are losing the size and weight issue that has been their advantage.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Agreed and I'd say this is a great substitute for the 50 Lux. That or the ZM50 Planar
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by pozzello View Post
    Would be nice if Tim could share some of his magic

    I was thinking of adapting my old versalab Parallel for my camera but would probably need to mount it to a wooden board first.

    Any one done this before ?

    Funny, I used this device for years when I was shooting fine art with my better light scan back. This device and Zigalign is the only way to get your camera to subject 100% parallel.
    Check out
    zig-align Home page

    I used an Schneider enlarger lens back in the day to get as flat as field as possible.
    IMHO doing these brick wall test to check decentering issues is pointless unless you use one of these devices.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Received mine today from Amazon. After a few quick test shots, I'm OK with it. The AF with the A7R is quick and precise. Manual focusing using the EVF is easy. I'll test more outdoors over the weekend.

    Test shot, handheld at f/2.8, focused on the middle of the snowman on the right:



    100% crop:



    Joe
    Joe, what's up with the noise in the background? Was this image taken at base ISO and processed in LR5.3?
    Yikes.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    ISO 2000, 1/125 (according to EXIF).

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by engel001 View Post
    ISO 2000, 1/125 (according to EXIF).
    That makes sense then.
    Thanks
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Agreed and I'd say this is a great substitute for the 50 Lux. That or the ZM50 Planar
    Look at the double-edged Bokeh on straight edged objects on the 55 first: there's no free lunch...

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by kuau View Post
    IMHO doing these brick wall test to check decentering issues is pointless unless you use one of these devices.
    In isolation, yes, if you're not extremely careful. But when the wall shots are repeatable and back up other behaviours, they are very useful.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Agreed and I'd say this is a great substitute for the 50 Lux. That or the ZM50 Planar
    The Planar is very good between f/3.5 and 8, but unfortunately nowhere near the FE wide open, especially in the periphery of the image.

    Edit: for my uses, that makes the Planar ideal, and it's a really lovely lens (both in terms of its rendering and the handling). Plus the size is just about perfect for the A7/A7R, IMO.
    Last edited by Ron Pfister; 21st December 2013 at 01:20.

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Look at the double-edged Bokeh on straight edged objects on the 55 first: there's no free lunch...
    To be honest I find your lab tests somewhat above my head for the type of pictures I take and while I'm sure your tests and conclusions have some validity/ accuracy I choose not to drive myself crazy in pursuit of the "perfect" lens. I think we can all agree that imperfect lenses tend to have more character and a less sterile look. That's not to say I don't appreciate technology improvements/ advancements but I refuse to make decisions on a lens purely from a controlled lab test alone. If I like the look if gives, it's proves to be a reliable performer, and it fills a void in my kit then I tend to keep it... If not then it goes back or I sell it to someone else who can use it for their purposes. I just don't think that any of the lenses that I own are "perfect" probably the closest two to "perfection" would be my 24 Elmar and the 50 Planar but that's just to my eyes... no lab work done.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Pfister View Post
    The Planar is very good between f/3.5 and 8, but unfortunately nowhere near the FE wide open, especially in the periphery of the image.

    Edit: for my uses, that makes the Planar ideal, and it's a really lovely lens (both in terms of its rendering and the handling). Plus the size is just about perfect for the A7/A7R, IMO.
    I really didn't find in problems with the 50 Planar for me at any aperture in any of my test shots... Actually I found it to be pretty good to excellent all around.
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Like I said, I really like the ZM Planar. I was simply speaking of what I had observed with my copy compared to what I'd seen of the FE 1.8/55, and it seems to me that there's quite a difference in performance WO:



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  43. #93
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Yeah I can see that... Mine doesn't appear to be anywhere near that bad wide open at base ISO. I'd agree though that the 55/1.8 seems to be pretty good and I don't think I will have the strong urge to replace it for any of my M-mount 50's on either my A7 or A7r.
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  44. #94
    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Perhaps I have a bad copy, but the edges clean up nicely by f/4, and are just about perfect by f/5.6:



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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by fmueller View Post
    If you don't mind me asking... So, you just order multiple copies and keep the best and return the other?

    Not being critical, I've got one on the way and I'm going to wring it our pretty good but I confess I've bought a fair amount (OK, a LOT) of lenses and except for one tech cam lens I've never had to have anything returned or repaired.
    If one is good enough yes..... I'm not going to shell out good money for sloppy manufacturing. Lenses that aren't centered exhibit focus differences from left to right. I need accurate focusing across the plane for what I photograph. This is very different than curvature. What works for you may not for me.

    Victor
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Pfister View Post
    Perhaps I have a bad copy, but the edges clean up nicely by f/4, and are just about perfect by f/5.6:
    More than likely you are seeing curvature. It actually looks very good at F5.6. I considered that lens as I have ZF 50mm Planar which is quite good. But once I saw what the 55mm Sony/Zeiss was capable of I realized I was in another world of lens design. A good copy will blow away the competition.

    Victor
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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    More than likely you are seeing curvature. It actually looks very good at F5.6. I considered that lens as I have ZF 50mm Planar which is quite good. But once I saw what the 55mm Sony/Zeiss was capable of I realized I was in another world of lens design. A good copy will blow away the competition.

    Victor
    I agree, Victor. In the f/2 edge crop, it looks like we're seeing a combination of de-focused blur and poorly controlled primary and secondary aberrations. I'm very happy with the performance at f/5.6, and the residual CA cleans up nicely in LR. The currently available FE-primes look tempting, but I have no use for AF as long as the camera can't read my mind. Will wait to see what the FE 24-70 brings to the table. A high-quality compact zoom would be handy...

  48. #98
    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Speaking of focusing: what is the MF experience like with native FE lenses? I know the features from my NEXen (MF-assist, etc.), but what does it feel like? About the same or better when compared to E-mount designs for crop sensors?

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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    To be honest I find your lab tests somewhat above my head for the type of pictures I take and while I'm sure your tests and conclusions have some validity/ accuracy I choose not to drive myself crazy in pursuit of the "perfect" lens. I think we can all agree that imperfect lenses tend to have more character and a less sterile look. That's not to say I don't appreciate technology improvements/ advancements but I refuse to make decisions on a lens purely from a controlled lab test alone. If I like the look if gives, it's proves to be a reliable performer, and it fills a void in my kit then I tend to keep it... If not then it goes back or I sell it to someone else who can use it for their purposes. I just don't think that any of the lenses that I own are "perfect" probably the closest two to "perfection" would be my 24 Elmar and the 50 Planar but that's just to my eyes... no lab work done.
    I don't own or run a lab and I've never shot a Lab test! I don't have a copy of imatest or a bench. All my reviews, whether informally on here or more 'written up' elsewhere, are field tests in which I use realistic real world scenes to check two things: how good a lens is, technically, and how well made it is.

    If you were in St Mark's square in Venice and shot one of the facades at the far end, you'd appreciate why i do the harbour side shots: getting home and finding that the facade you shot is sharp on one edge and soft on the other would probably annoy you, as would a shot across the 'basin' to Giudecca with the same effect. Go into the basilica and shoot a fresco and see if you like a result that is soggy at one side or blurry at on corner and sharp at the other.

    I too own a lot of lenses that are not 'good' technically. I keep and use them for their look. But there are lenses where are not marketed as 'look' lenses and for which certain levels of technical ability are claimed by their makers. A lens like the 55 F1.8 or the 35 F2.8 should both, at their price and design point, be capable of producing images by F5.6 that are convincingly sharp at the edges when viewed at 50% on a 100dpi screen. Good copies of both clearly are. What I am testing for is de-centering, which is a manufacturing defect rather than a design and price point compromise, and which will make all your shots look like they were taken with a tilt/swing lens.

    Of course, if that's your style of shooting (and you're happy for the degree of tilt and swing to remain constant across all shots) then that's your choice and you're very welcome to it! Again, many photographers don't care about the edges. But if your purchased a Mercedes and discovered three years later, that they hadn't put the spare in the trunk, just when you needed it, it would be both Mercedes and you that were to blame by that time. That's why I test carefully at first: to get what I paid for. A look through my personal galleries will show that as a mainly landscape photographer, I very very often don't give a damn for a technically perfect look. But sometimes I do and I don't want my options to be cut off by a dodgy copy of a lens.

    Your comment was also specifically regarding what I said about bokeh on this lens. That is less a technical question than an aesthetic one and I was noting that the 55 F1.8 has the double edged bokeh problem that has raised some alarm on the 35 F2.8 - it won't bother me much, but some people hate it. And it does relate to the 'look and character' of the optic rather than the strictly technical performance… there's a difference between aesthetic imperfection, which is in the eye of the beholder (or possibly the client) and manufacturing imperfection, which is in the eye of anyone who likes a sharp snap from a $1000+ lens…. I personally will often choose to keep and not return a partially de-centered lens because it isn't bad enough to be worth the hassle. But as a general point, products which are clearly poorly made and shouldn't IMHO have passed QC are really a form of rip-off and I don't like being ripped off! YMMV...
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  50. #100
    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: 55 1.8

    Quote Originally Posted by kuau View Post
    Joe, what's up with the noise in the background? Was this image taken at base ISO and processed in LR5.3?
    Yikes.
    Steven, ISO 2000 with no in-camera or LR noise reduction. Just a test shot to assess focus.

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