My 2 bits on some manual focus lenses on the SD14 vs 18-50mm F2.8 EX Macro.
11 months ago
A recent thread initiated by Mr. Chuck Lantz (Advice needed - 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro) prompted me to post back and while doing so, I went overboard (as I am wont to do) in my answer.
Some time ago, I received the latest jtat adapter (which I have mixed feelings about) and decided to put it through its paces. I ended up testing the few Nikkors or F mount lenses I owned and retesting some others (all manual focus) on the SD14. My reference lens happened to be the 18-50mm F2.8 EX Macro. So in answering Mr. Lantz' thread, I listed some of the lenses I tested against the 18-50mm with a brief comment, i.e. as good or not as good. I felt this post could be a thread on its own. One of the conclusion of these tests and another name for this thread could have been: "the great primes of yesteryear no longer cut it", at least with cameras like the SD1 and the Nikon 800/800E. Anyway, here is the text of my post in Mr. Lantz' thread:
"My sample of your lens was returned for a problem of the plastic rim around the front element bulging out a one specific place, about 2mm. And, it had a problem with autofocus with my SD14. I shipped both the camera and the lens for focus re-calibration and fixing the plastic rim bulging. The plastic rim was fixed. As for the autofocus, I am not 100% sure. Since they had to replace the rim around the first element, I suspect they checked the centering, but I am not sure. I felt the lens was much better overall than before I sent it in.
What I know for a fact is that this lens, when your sample is good, and focused properly, gives outstanding results from F5.6-F8. I have been doing some relatively extensive testing against very good primes and a few zooms. The 18-50mm F2.8 has either been equal or on top of all of these primes and on top of the zooms, at least resolution wise. Surprisingly so.
Some of the lenses I have compared it to on the SD14:
Fujinon 35mm F2.8 EBC is not as good.
Nikkor 20mm F2.8 AFD is not as good. Nikkor 28mm F2.8 AIS is not as good. Nikkor 50mm F2.0 AI is as good. Nikkor 50mm F1.4 AFD is as good. Rollei Distagon 35mm HFT modified to F mount is as good, just-just!! Sigma 24-60mm F2.8, F mount is not as good. Tamron Adaptall-2 24-48mm F3.5-3.8 with F mount adapter is not as good, but by a hair. All of these on the newest jtat adapter which I find quirky to use, to say the least.
Olympus OM 24mm F2.8 MC is not as good. Olympus OM 28mm F2.8 MC is not as good. Olympus OM 35mm F2.8 MC is as good. Olympus OM 35mm F2.0 MC is as good, just just. Olympus OM 50mm F1.8 MC is as good, just. Olympus OM 50mm F1.4 is as good, just. I am happy I borrowed the converted SD14 to Olympus mount from an acquaintance so I don't have to spend the $250.00 it takes to convert it. Not worth the money.
Pentax Takumar 28mm F3.5 is not as good. Pentax SMC 28mm F2.8 is as good. Pentax SMC 35mm F2.8 is as good. Pentax Super-Multi-Coated 50m F1.4 is as good.
Revuenon 28mm F2.8 (K mount) is not as good, but by a hair. Revuenon 50mm F1.4 MC (K mount) is as good.
Sigma 28mm F1.8 is as good, maybe a hair better in the extreme corners. If you color correct it, it is a great lens. Had to be sent back to Sigma for centering issues though, but worth the trouble.
All tests only on the SD14. All tests on tripod with MLU. All of the above is valid from F5.6 up. I did not test the wider apertures. By "as good", I mean resolution (therefore contrast) at 100% pixel view wise. Maybe it should read "at least as good". I also mean that there is no way for me to know if any of these "as good" lenses would be as good, better or worse than the 18-50mm on a higher resolution foveon sensor, although I have strong suspicions that in most cases, except for the 50's, the 18-50mm would be the better lens. Resolution and contrast wise, from F5.6 - F8, my copy of the 18-50mm F2.8 is just a great lens. I would be extremely curious to see what it gives on the SD1. Or to compare it to the 17-50mm F2.8.
Now for color rendition and 3D effect, things are different. But that is another very long story.
So make sure you focus it properly, either auto or manual. I do most of my focusing manually. And test it for evenness of sharpness across the field (I mean really do) from F5.6: return it if not satisfied, it is VERY much worth your while.
I know some of this is way out of your topic, but as I started listing the lenses, I thought I would re-post this under a brand new thread so I went on. I am sorry if I bored you to tears. ; )
The new thread will be called: Some manual focus lenses on the SD14 -vs- the 18-50mm EX Macro, my 2 bits, so if you have read until here, save yourself the grief."
End of quotation.
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