Old lenses: tried a 55mm f/2.8... not impressed.

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David Whysong
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Old lenses: tried a 55mm f/2.8... not impressed.
2 months ago

I read some discussions of old lenses, and the old 55mm macros were almost universally praised for sharp images. So I got a used 55mm f/2.8 AIs and gave it a try on my D800.

My first photo, a high contrast image in low light, showed a significant ghost image (not flare) in the center and on the left side, but not on the right. Worried that there might be a non-concentric element, I tried MTF mapper. The results are interesting. Here it is wide-open:

At f/2.8. Ignore the 2 white spots at around row=6mm, they are due to artifacts on the printed test chart.

Peak performance at f/5.6, again ignore the two white spots at around row=6mm.

Units are lp/mm. Center performance is decent but not extraordinary. At f/5.6 the edges are unimpressive, they get only slightly better at f/8.

Of course, there's a reason Nikon keeps adding elements to later generations of their lenses...

Nikon D800
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