12MP, 16MP or 24MP for the 17-55 lens?

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Questions
pipee
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Re: Sigma 18-35...what price guess ?
In reply to pavi1, Apr 23, 2013

According to DXO, the Nikon 17-55 barely resolves any more detail on the 16mp D7000 vs 12mp cameras. So the answer to OP's question is 12mp if we go by that.

In fact, most mid range zooms have higher resolution than the Nikon 17-55 if you do the sharpness comparisons on DXO's website.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Database/Nikon/AF-S-DX-Zoom-Nikkor-17-55mm-f-2.8G-IF-ED

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MiraShootsNikon
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Re: Maybe a different question?
In reply to photoreddi, Apr 23, 2013

photoreddi wrote:

MarkJH wrote:

...

mistermejia,

If you want to consider 1:1 views on your monitor a measure of "sharpness" or other kinds of image quality, then I suppose this question has an answer.  At some point moving up the megapixel count, those pixels will get smaller than the smallest circle of confusion the lens can project, and at that point a 1:1 view will look blurry.

You're confusing "circle of confusion" (a term related to a lens's depth of field) and "Airy disc", which is the smallest image that a lens can produce from an infinitely small (theoretically) point sized object.

You're confusing "Airy Disc" with "Circle of Least Confusion," which is, without a doubt, what MarkJH meant to say, here.

Let's talk about Circle of Confusion--or at least define it.   Wikipedia does it better than I can:

  • In optics, a circle of confusion is an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source. It is also known as disk of confusion, circle of indistinctness, blur circle, or blur spot.
  • In photography, the circle of confusion (“CoC”) is used to determine the depth of field, the part of an image that is acceptably sharp. A standard value of CoC is often associated with eachimage format, but the most appropriate value depends on visual acuity, viewing conditions, and the amount of enlargement. Properly, this is the maximum permissible circle of confusion, thecircle of confusion diameter limit, or the circle of confusion criterion, but is often informally called simply the circle of confusion.
  • Real lenses do not focus all rays perfectly, so that even at best focus, a point is imaged as a spot rather than a point. The smallest such spot that a lens can produce is often referred to as the circle of least confusion.

Wikipedia goes on to point out how the concept of "Circle of Confusion" might be used

  • For describing the blur spot achieved by a lens, at its best focus or more generally. Recognizing that real lenses do not focus all rays perfectly under even the best conditions, the termcircle of least confusion is often used for the smallest blur spot a lens can make (Ray 200289), for example by picking a best focus position that makes a good compromise between the varying effective focal lengths of different lens zones due to spherical or other aberrations

By these definitions, anyway, MarkJH's use of the term "Circle of Confusion" was absolutely, technically correct in every sense.

Moreover, though I'll let him speak for himself, I suspect he stayed away from talking about "Airy Discs" because he didn't want to get into the effect of diffraction patterns across pixel spreads for such a simple explanation.  Hey, for all your "comic-book-guy" smarts, you didn't, either!

The problem with talking about Airy Discs is that they're a theoretical, not a practical concept.  Let us look at a good working definition--again, I defer to the wikipedia:

  • In optics, the Airy disk (or Airy disc) and Airy pattern are descriptions of the best focused spot of light that a perfect lens with a circular aperturecan make, limited by the diffraction of light.

So If I were wondering: what is the diffraction-limited resolution of a given sensor?  Then I would turn to the concept of the Airy Disc to provide a theoretical limit answer. However, the OP isn't wondering about that, at all.  He's wondering about whether his lens's projection will look "sharp" on his camera's sensor over a variety of commonly used apertures and circumstances. My point, here, is that we're not talking about theoretical limits.  We're talking about a specific lens, with specific optical properties.  (Spherical aberrations, non-circular aperture, etc.)  Which makes Circle of Least Confusion the much more appropriate way to talk about what the OP might expect.  I think you misunderstood the OP's question.

I'm assuming you understand that as sensor resolution increases, the 1:1 view's magnification also increases, right?   So looking at 1:1 with a D3200, you're looking at an area of your photo 1/4 the size of a 1:1 view with the D90.

So, I have a hunch that a 24MP APS-C sensor may have pixels smaller than the 17-55's smallest circle of confusion.  Maybe the 16MP does, too.  Meaning that if you zoom 1:1 with 24 megapixels, it might not look as "sharp" as viewing 1:1 with 12 megapixels.

No. The quality of the lens has nothing to do with either the size of the circle of confusion or the size of the airy disc. Both are functions of the aperture and other parameters, such as focal length, viewing size, etc. You're on the right trail, sort of, in that the 12mp sensor's 1:1 (or 100%) view might look better than the 24mp's view, but that can be misleading because to get to a 100% view, the 12mp sensor's image isn't magnified as much, but if the magnifications of images produced by both sensors are equalized so that the subjects in the frame are the same size, the 24mp image will be better, irregardless of the lens used, as long as the same lens is used on both cameras.

No.  Again, I think you misunderstood the OP's question.  The quality of the lens has everything to do with the size of the circle of least confusion.  A lens system whose projection produces high spherical aberrations (at a given aperture and focal length) for example, will produce a larger circle of least confusion than a lens with highly corrected spherical aberrations.

MarkJH was 100% correct that, if that circle of least confusion happens to be larger than the pixel pitch on which it's projected, a 1:1 view will not appear crisp.  But he was also 100% correct to suggest that this doesn't really matter as a measure or critique of sharpness for most printing and viewing situations--a point your read-and-response neglected to address.

Basically, you didn't read his (rather elegant) explanation very carefully, jumped on his use of terms (incorrectly) and blew your own wide "circle of confusion" over one of the more cogent answers to this sort of question I've ever read.

But then you commit a serious technical foul:

Here's a quote from Thom Hogan's S5 Pro review where among other things he compares its resolution with Nikon's 10mp D200. Following that is a link to his "How Big Can You Print?" article.

That's right, you quote freakin' Thom Hogan as some kind of authority on . . . something.  Thom is the Ron Burgundy of the photographic blogosphere: his posts "smell of finely bound leather books and rich mahogany," but seldom include a worthwhile photograph and never link to a professional portfolio of any kind.  "I'm kind of a big deal," his language says, but his photography--or complete lack thereof--definitely says otherwise.

Man, anyone can have opinions about gear, but Thom's results (like this week's Muskrat Love blog header) suggest his aren't exactly of the "authoritative" variety.

mira

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photoreddi
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Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?
In reply to pipee, Apr 23, 2013

pipee wrote:

According to DXO, the Nikon 17-55 barely resolves any more detail on the 16mp D7000 vs 12mp cameras. So the answer to OP's question is 12mp if we go by that.

In fact, most mid range zooms have higher resolution than the Nikon 17-55 if you do the sharpness comparisons on DXO's website.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Database/Nikon/AF-S-DX-Zoom-Nikkor-17-55mm-f-2.8G-IF-ED

I don't know how you can say "barely resolves any more detail" based on dxomark's scores. Increase the pixel count of the D300's 12mp sensor by 33% and you get the D7000's 16mp sensor.

Now for DXO's numbers. Increase the D300's DXOmark score of 12 by 25% and you get the D7000's DXOmark score of 15. Increase the D300's 5P-Mpix sharpness score of 5 by 20% and you get the D7000's 6P-Mpix sharpness score. So the 17-55mm lens's clearly is capable of resolving more detail than a 12mp sensor can capture. But DXO's numbers are a very rough guide at best and their numbers are a highly questionable one size fits all guide.

Take three 50mm lenses, Nikon's f/1.4D, f/1.4G and Sigma's f/1.4, tested on the D800. Every reviewer that's tested and compared these lenses have found significant differences in resolving power, with the Sigma doing better at the widest apertures and the Nikkors doing better when stopped down. Yet DXO gives all three identical scores, 32 for the DxOMark score and 16P-Mpix for the sharpness scores. That's just not good enough for me to make useful buying decisions. YMMV.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-for-your-Nikon-D800/Nikon-D800-and-standard-lens-choices

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photoreddi
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Maybe a different planet?
In reply to MiraShootsNikon, Apr 23, 2013

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

...

That's right, you quote freakin' Thom Hogan as some kind of authority on . . . something.  Thom is the Ron Burgundy of the photographic blogosphere: his posts "smell of finely bound leather books and rich mahogany," but seldom include a worthwhile photograph and never link to a professional portfolio of any kind.  "I'm kind of a big deal," his language says, but his photography--or complete lack thereof--definitely says otherwise.

Man, anyone can have opinions about gear, but Thom's results (like this week's Muskrat Love blog header) suggest his aren't exactly of the "authoritative" variety.

Great troll, Mira Burgundy. You're a real hoot but at least you're fearlessly unafraid of displaying your own confusion.

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pipee
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Re: Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?
In reply to photoreddi, Apr 23, 2013
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unknown member
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Meanwhile, back on Earth with Thom's rodent
In reply to photoreddi, Apr 23, 2013

photoreddi wrote:

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

...

That's right, you quote freakin' Thom Hogan as some kind of authority on . . . something.  Thom is the Ron Burgundy of the photographic blogosphere: his posts "smell of finely bound leather books and rich mahogany," but seldom include a worthwhile photograph and never link to a professional portfolio of any kind.  "I'm kind of a big deal," his language says, but his photography--or complete lack thereof--definitely says otherwise.

Man, anyone can have opinions about gear, but Thom's results (like this week's Muskrat Love blog header) suggest his aren't exactly of the "authoritative" variety.

Great troll, Mira Burgundy. You're a real hoot but at least you're fearlessly unafraid of displaying your own confusion.

You did give me a know-it-all short shrift, Photoreddi, but then I suppose I had it coming for giving Mistermejia a little know-it-all of my own.

However, I *do* agree with Mira about Thom Hogan.  The dude features almost no photography on any of his blogs about photographic equipment and technique.  It's strange.  And what little photography he does post--the header to "bythom.com," for example--is usually pretty rough.

This isn't to say that Thom shouldn't blog to his heart's content; but, regarding photography, I listen to people who show as much as they tell.

(Which, by the way, is one of the reasons I listen to Mirabelle!)

M.

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slimandy
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Re: 12MP, 16MP or 24MP for the 17-55 lens?
In reply to mistermejia, Apr 23, 2013

mistermejia wrote:

slimandy wrote:

It's not all about the number of pixels.

Why are you putting a pro quality lens on an entry level body?

-- hide signature --

www.andrewsandersphotography.co.uk

You are 100% correct, is not all about number of pixels.  I am using this PRO lens on my S5 because the S5 demands it.  Is one of the best lenses for this camera for colors and sharpness mainly.

Also, isn't this what everybody else says, to use better glass in an "older" body, instead of putting a cheap lens on a top of the line camera

By the way, the S5 is not an entry level body either

No, so why consider buying a D5100 or D3200?

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Sigma 18-35...what price guess ?
In reply to pipee, Apr 23, 2013

pipee wrote:

According to DXO, the Nikon 17-55 barely resolves any more detail on the 16mp D7000 vs 12mp cameras. So the answer to OP's question is 12mp if we go by that.

It depends in part what you mean by "barely resolves any more detail".

As sensor resolution is mainly an inverse square law situation the D7000 sensor measured in isolation should resolve about 16% more detail than 12MP. 24 MP should give around 12.5% more file resolution.

The D7000 measured in isolation is likely to have somewhat more resolution then the best lenses at their optimum temperature measured in isolation. A 10 or 12% increase 12-16MP will be reasonable.

Some people pay a lot of money for a lens like a Zeiss MF to get a small amount of extra file resolution.

In fact, most mid range zooms have higher resolution than the Nikon 17-55 if you do the sharpness comparisons on DXO's website.

If you compare Nikon's official MTF wide open the 17-55 just about equals the DX crop on Nikon's 24-70 http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/zoom/normalzoom/af-s_dx_zoom17-55mmf_28g_if/index.htm

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SunnyFlorida
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Re: Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?
In reply to photoreddi, Apr 23, 2013

photoreddi wrote:

I don't know how you can say "barely resolves any more detail" based on dxomark's scores. Increase the pixel count of the D300's 12mp sensor by 33% and you get the D7000's 16mp sensor.

Now for DXO's numbers. Increase the D300's DXOmark score of 12 by 25% and you get the D7000's DXOmark score of 15. Increase the D300's 5P-Mpix sharpness score of 5 by 20% and you get the D7000's 6P-Mpix sharpness score. So the 17-55mm lens's clearly is capable of resolving more detail than a 12mp sensor can capture. But DXO's numbers are a very rough guide at best and their numbers are a highly questionable one size fits all guide.

Take three 50mm lenses, Nikon's f/1.4D, f/1.4G and Sigma's f/1.4, tested on the D800. Every reviewer that's tested and compared these lenses have found significant differences in resolving power, with the Sigma doing better at the widest apertures and the Nikkors doing better when stopped down. Yet DXO gives all three identical scores, 32 for the DxOMark score and 16P-Mpix for the sharpness scores. That's just not good enough for me to make useful buying decisions. YMMV.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-for-your-Nikon-D800/Nikon-D800-and-standard-lens-choices

Wow Spoken like a true test tube baby who spent all his life in a lab and can't take a decent image in the real world

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latestart
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Re: Maybe a different question?
In reply to MiraShootsNikon, Apr 23, 2013

Love the way you wade in

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Dave Luttmann
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Re: Meanwhile, back on Earth with Thom's rodent
In reply to MarkJH, Apr 23, 2013

MarkJH wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

MiraShootsNikon wrote:

...

That's right, you quote freakin' Thom Hogan as some kind of authority on . . . something.  Thom is the Ron Burgundy of the photographic blogosphere: his posts "smell of finely bound leather books and rich mahogany," but seldom include a worthwhile photograph and never link to a professional portfolio of any kind.  "I'm kind of a big deal," his language says, but his photography--or complete lack thereof--definitely says otherwise.

Man, anyone can have opinions about gear, but Thom's results (like this week's Muskrat Love blog header) suggest his aren't exactly of the "authoritative" variety.

Great troll, Mira Burgundy. You're a real hoot but at least you're fearlessly unafraid of displaying your own confusion.

You did give me a know-it-all short shrift, Photoreddi, but then I suppose I had it coming for giving Mistermejia a little know-it-all of my own.

However, I *do* agree with Mira about Thom Hogan.  The dude features almost no photography on any of his blogs about photographic equipment and technique.  It's strange.  And what little photography he does post--the header to "bythom.com," for example--is usually pretty rough.

This isn't to say that Thom shouldn't blog to his heart's content; but, regarding photography, I listen to people who show as much as they tell.

(Which, by the way, is one of the reasons I listen to Mirabelle!)

M.

Very true.

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Dave Luttmann
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Re: Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?
In reply to SunnyFlorida, Apr 23, 2013

SunnyFlorida wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

I don't know how you can say "barely resolves any more detail" based on dxomark's scores. Increase the pixel count of the D300's 12mp sensor by 33% and you get the D7000's 16mp sensor.

Now for DXO's numbers. Increase the D300's DXOmark score of 12 by 25% and you get the D7000's DXOmark score of 15. Increase the D300's 5P-Mpix sharpness score of 5 by 20% and you get the D7000's 6P-Mpix sharpness score. So the 17-55mm lens's clearly is capable of resolving more detail than a 12mp sensor can capture. But DXO's numbers are a very rough guide at best and their numbers are a highly questionable one size fits all guide.

Take three 50mm lenses, Nikon's f/1.4D, f/1.4G and Sigma's f/1.4, tested on the D800. Every reviewer that's tested and compared these lenses have found significant differences in resolving power, with the Sigma doing better at the widest apertures and the Nikkors doing better when stopped down. Yet DXO gives all three identical scores, 32 for the DxOMark score and 16P-Mpix for the sharpness scores. That's just not good enough for me to make useful buying decisions. YMMV.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-for-your-Nikon-D800/Nikon-D800-and-standard-lens-choices

Wow Spoken like a true test tube baby who spent all his life in a lab and can't take a decent image in the real world

Pretty much.  It's getting rather tiring having these DxO worshippers post like authority all the time.  In most cases, they haven't even tried the lenses in question themselves....instead preferring to let DxO think for them.

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photoreddi
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Mira, mira, mira, Dave. Open your eyes and SEE what you missed (again).
In reply to Dave Luttmann, Apr 23, 2013

Dave Luttmann wrote:

SunnyFlorida wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

I don't know how you can say "barely resolves any more detail" based on dxomark's scores. Increase the pixel count of the D300's 12mp sensor by 33% and you get the D7000's 16mp sensor.

Now for DXO's numbers. Increase the D300's DXOmark score of 12 by 25% and you get the D7000's DXOmark score of 15. Increase the D300's 5P-Mpix sharpness score of 5 by 20% and you get the D7000's 6P-Mpix sharpness score. So the 17-55mm lens's clearly is capable of resolving more detail than a 12mp sensor can capture. But DXO's numbers are a very rough guide at best and their numbers are a highly questionable one size fits all guide.

Take three 50mm lenses, Nikon's f/1.4D, f/1.4G and Sigma's f/1.4, tested on the D800. Every reviewer that's tested and compared these lenses have found significant differences in resolving power, with the Sigma doing better at the widest apertures and the Nikkors doing better when stopped down. Yet DXO gives all three identical scores, 32 for the DxOMark score and 16P-Mpix for the sharpness scores. That's just not good enough for me to make useful buying decisions. YMMV.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-for-your-Nikon-D800/Nikon-D800-and-standard-lens-choices

Wow Spoken like a true test tube baby who spent all his life in a lab and can't take a decent image in the real world

Pretty much.  It's getting rather tiring having these DxO worshippers post like authority all the time.  In most cases, they haven't even tried the lenses in question themselves....instead preferring to let DxO think for them.

It's not surprising that you'd once again show your ignorance and cluelessness, since the takeaway of what I wrote was that DxOMark's numbers can't be trusted. You clearly missed the obvious, which was my changed sub-thread title ("Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?") But that pales in comparison with your stooping to agree with anything that the SunnyFloridian troll has to say.

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Dennis
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Re: 12MP, 16MP or 24MP for the 17-55 lens?
In reply to mistermejia, Apr 23, 2013

mistermejia wrote:

Hi guys,

okay, let me ask this in the simplest possible way.  For you actual  17-55 owners, have you used different MP bodies on the 17-55 2.8 lens?

I'm not an actual 17-55 owner ...

I just want to get THE BEST possible IQ out of this lens,

Why ?

Are your photographic needs that arbitrary ?

I use the 70-200/2.8 on a 16MP APS-C sensor.  Used on the D800 (or D600 or even D3200) I'd get results that can be printed bigger.  But I don't need to print bigger just because I have a sharp lens.

but i am not sure what body would work best,

Work best for what ?

if a 12, 16 or 24 MP.  Do any of you here have experience in this matter.  I am thinking that 12MP might be too low for this lens, and i am thinking that a 24MP is too much, perhaphs right in the middle would be best ??

There's no such thing as "too much"; only diminishing returns.  OTOH, there can be too little, but that depends on your needs, not the lens.

With a 24MP camera and this lens not having VR i am thinking i might encounter a problem with the "technique" issue because of the high resolution and stuff.

Your results with 24MP won't be any worse than your results with 12MP.  Unless you insist on judging based on 100% views.

What are your thoughts? I mainly shoot portraits for kids/family/friends.

How big do you print them ?  If you're talking about posed photos or even modest candids that don't require much in the way of AF or responsive direct access controls, then any camera you're comfortable using works fine - make sure it has the flash/lighting features you need.  Go for the state of the art sensor in the D3200.

- Dennis

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LMCasey
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Re: 12MP, 16MP or 24MP for the 17-55 lens?
In reply to mistermejia, Apr 23, 2013

On an image basis, the higher megapixel sensor will never give you less resolution than a lower megapixel sensor (regardless of lens MTF), and usually will give you higher resolution even if camera shake partially negates the extra resolution. There is no "optimum".

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MiraShootsNikon
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Re: Mira, mira, mira, Dave. Open your eyes and SEE what you missed (again).
In reply to photoreddi, Apr 23, 2013

photoreddi wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

SunnyFlorida wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

I don't know how you can say "barely resolves any more detail" based on dxomark's scores. Increase the pixel count of the D300's 12mp sensor by 33% and you get the D7000's 16mp sensor.

Now for DXO's numbers. Increase the D300's DXOmark score of 12 by 25% and you get the D7000's DXOmark score of 15. Increase the D300's 5P-Mpix sharpness score of 5 by 20% and you get the D7000's 6P-Mpix sharpness score. So the 17-55mm lens's clearly is capable of resolving more detail than a 12mp sensor can capture. But DXO's numbers are a very rough guide at best and their numbers are a highly questionable one size fits all guide.

Take three 50mm lenses, Nikon's f/1.4D, f/1.4G and Sigma's f/1.4, tested on the D800. Every reviewer that's tested and compared these lenses have found significant differences in resolving power, with the Sigma doing better at the widest apertures and the Nikkors doing better when stopped down. Yet DXO gives all three identical scores, 32 for the DxOMark score and 16P-Mpix for the sharpness scores. That's just not good enough for me to make useful buying decisions. YMMV.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-for-your-Nikon-D800/Nikon-D800-and-standard-lens-choices

Wow Spoken like a true test tube baby who spent all his life in a lab and can't take a decent image in the real world

Pretty much.  It's getting rather tiring having these DxO worshippers post like authority all the time.  In most cases, they haven't even tried the lenses in question themselves....instead preferring to let DxO think for them.

It's not surprising that you'd once again show your ignorance and cluelessness, since the takeaway of what I wrote was that DxOMark's numbers can't be trusted. You clearly missed the obvious, which was my changed sub-thread title ("Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?") But that pales in comparison with your stooping to agree with anything that the SunnyFloridian troll has to say.

Man, you're having a tough time in this thread, photoreddi.  

Hey, I totally agree with you about DxOMark's scoring regimen.  And the 50mm comparison is a great example: given that the 50 f/1.4D underperforms the 50G and Sigma in various ways their own tests document, how can it merit the same score?

Maybe they factor cost in some way?  If so, I suppose that would make the final score more of a "value" assessment than a performance analysis?  It seems murky, at best.

mira

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photoreddi
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Not to worry. It's only funky and donkey...
In reply to MiraShootsNikon, Apr 24, 2013

MiraShootsNikon wrote:


Wow Spoken like a true test tube baby who spent all his life in a lab and can't take a decent image in the real world

Pretty much.  It's getting rather tiring having these DxO worshippers post like authority all the time.  In most cases, they haven't even tried the lenses in question themselves....instead preferring to let DxO think for them.

It's not surprising that you'd once again show your ignorance and cluelessness, since the takeaway of what I wrote was that DxOMark's numbers can't be trusted. You clearly missed the obvious, which was my changed sub-thread title ("Barely resolves more detail? DxOMark? Really?") But that pales in comparison with your stooping to agree with anything that the SunnyFloridian troll has to say.

Man, you're having a tough time in this thread, photoreddi.  

Tough time? Not at all. It's easy to laugh it off based on FunkyFlorida's total lack of forum credibility and D. Luttman's (former fellow traveler/tag-team buddy of Barry "Sonny" Fitzgerald) close second in lack of credibility. Speaking of laughing, I've had a month's load of laughs from the first hour I spent reading this, so there'll be more good times to come :

All references to cameras and photography skillfully expurged by the publisher's flunkies...

Hey, I totally agree with you about DxOMark's scoring regimen.  And the 50mm comparison is a great example: given that the 50 f/1.4D underperforms the 50G and Sigma in various ways their own tests document, how can it merit the same score?

Maybe they factor cost in some way?  If so, I suppose that would make the final score more of a "value" assessment than a performance analysis?  It seems murky, at best.

I was thinking that DxO's scores represent some kind of weighted average of performance at commonly used apertures and ISOs but without access to the underlying data, it's all too easy to present misleading scores from time to time.

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