50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!

Started 6 months ago | Questions
light_bulb
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to olyflyer, 6 months ago

olyflyer wrote:

MisterHairy wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

MisterHairy wrote:

If you are finding it difficult to exploit the resolution of the D800 with an existing Nikkor 50mm lens then you are doing something wrong as all will comfortably outresolve it. You may need to look at your technique before considering blowing that sort of cash on the Zeiss 55mm as it would likely be wasted.

The glass mystique dies hard :^)

£169 for the image and £3000 to feel confident that one has the very best lens ever ever ever (Otus is £3169 over here)

...and then shoot hand held with a manual focus lens...

I am pretty sure it is a nice lens and it most probably outresolves the Nikon 50/1.4G but I suspect that's only valid in studio tests.

Indeed, there is quite a bit that might go wrong.

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light_bulb
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Re: Almost any 50 will do.
In reply to Matsu, 6 months ago

Matsu wrote:

For your states uses. I like the convenience of AF, but if you don't mind manual focus, your options will be even wider.

Once you get past the shallow depth of field fad, you will notice that in a studio taking full body and head and shoulders portraits you will be at a maximum of f/4, and more likely at f/5.6-f/8 depending on what kind of lighting you set up.

They're all already too sharp at those apertures, even for the most meticulous make-up.

You can buy more resolution, and there are uses for that, but what really concerns you is rendering, and sometimes you pay big bucks for those subtleties.

Your lighting makes a bigger difference than your lens will under those conditions. Buy the 50G. It's cheap, it's good, it's a little boring, but there's nothing offensive in its character or rendition. You will have resolution to spare.

You are right with portraits resolution is a double-edged sword. You may not always want to see what a lens is able to resolve.

It may require a perfect skin, extra care for all detail, make-up or extra work in post. This is why Nikon has got its new 58 1.4.

I am also using the 50 1.8 for other purposes where resolution does not come at these kinds of 'cost'.

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John Motts
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to MisterHairy, 6 months ago

MisterHairy wrote:

Oh honestly! Do the words "Nyquist limit" and "aliasing" mean nothing to you?

Worthy of "The Big Bang Theory"!

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Scott McMorrow
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to MisterHairy, 6 months ago

MisterHairy

How are you measuring resolution? Do you mean MTF50, MFT30, ,MTF10, or some other measurement criteria? I'm quite aware of Nyquist and aliasing. I deal with it all the time in my day job modeling, simulating, and designing ultra high bandwidth digital communication interconnect.

You've not yet defined what you mean. Low contrast image energy beyond Nyquist can cause aliasing, which due to it's repetitive nature sticks out like a sore thumb. Moire is very sensitive to even minute amounts of image contrast. Just because there is enough image contrast to cause moire does not mean that it's very useful contrast. Which is why measurements such as MTF50 are used for meaningful resolution comparisons.

If you tell me that a particular lens on the D800 out resolves the sensor using an MTF10 measurement, I'd absolutely agree with you. MTF30, then I'd start asking how the measurement was made, and how the image was sharpened. MTF50, except for a few lenses I would call BS. I"ve made measurements on a few of my lenses with Imatest, and have correlated the results to Roger Cicala's unsharpened RAW measurements. I've then looked at the MTF50 results with Imatest's optimal sharpening filter and with a sweep of different sharpening parameters using Lightroom. None of these results approaches the theoretical resolution of the D800 sensor when measured at MTF50, and definitely not when looked at from corner to corner, with center image focus.

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light_bulb
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to light_bulb, 6 months ago

At this point I would like to thank everybody who has contributed.

I have learnt quite a bit from your contributions.

Probably I will wait for something from Sigma to come. I will not jump on the Otus.

Seems to be that the Sony/Zeiss 55 1.8 for the A7s is even better than the Otus in particular as it comes with AF. Seemingly it is easier to build a high quality lens at this range for mirrorless systems.

The A7R like the OM-D E-M1 has got an eye recognition-based AF mode. This is way better than to fiddle with AF sensors for portraiture, especially with shallow dof. I have tried this feature with the E-M1 and the keeper rate is very high.

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Reilly Diefenbach
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 6 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

At f/8, sure. But that is pretty arbitrary, isn't it, and not what the OP stated. Diffraction limits all lenses with a D800 sensor at f/8. You are right, they all look the same in the center.(at least reasonably decent lenses do). That is not necessarily the case across the entire frame. At wider apertures there are significant differences in lenses.

Again, show me a photograph with alternating dark and light lines at the pixel pitch, and then we can make a true comparison. The 50mm f/1.8G is pretty darn good lens, especially for the price. Most lenses will resolve all pixels in the center at some degree of contrast. The question is, what is the contrast. (Often referred to as microcontrast.) You will find that a lens like the Otus will have significantly higher contrast than the 50 mm f/1.8G.

My point is that resolution alone is not enough to characterize a lens/camera system. It is resolution with contrast that is important. Lower contrast indicates a larger blur circle. When the blur circle is not dominated by diffraction, then lens aberrations come into play.

Until you can show a photograph or measurement you have made with a standardized method for measuring resolution, your statements and photographs are anecdotal. Interesting at best.

Well, I was hoping for some samples, but I guess we'll be spared, which is completely par for the course.  Fine.  I use the standardized test of my eyes, which tell me when I've run out of pixels on the zoom in.

One question for the prop heads, though.  Why would Nikon build a 36MP camera if the lens was really the resolution bottleneck and no one could see the difference between it and say the D600? Only one answer, folks:  We can.

Want better than D800e detail?  Get a Phase One and count some more pixels.  There's no lens bottleneck at 80MP either :^)

IQ 180

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Scott McMorrow
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Reilly Diefenbach, 6 months ago

Your eyes lie.  Until you show cyclical line patterns your photos prove nothing.  We can see the blur in these photos, with black pixels bleeding into the white.  That means that an adjacent black line will also bleed into the same region, further lowering contrast in the white area.

How about an image of a test chart designed to measure the resolution of an 50mm F/1.8 lens on a D800?

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Reilly Diefenbach
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 6 months ago

How about an image of a test chart designed to measure the resolution of an 50mm F/1.8 lens on a D800?

How about you do some work around here for a change?  Show us what you've got.

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Mikael Risedal
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A short walk in a skitty weather with Otus + D800
In reply to light_bulb, 6 months ago

I was walking in a skitty weather today with my 6 month riesenschnauzer and d800+ Zeiss Otus and took some pictures all at 1,4 (the dog picture is at 5,6)

The lens is truly amazing, BUT handheld I must shorten the exposure time a lot. you can se in this pictures where the real focal / sharpness plane is but my own tremor has limit the resolution

https://picasaweb.google.com/106266083120070292876/ZeissOtusAt14?authkey=Gv1sRgCOCB46_Bl_ju6gE

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Canon, Hasselblad, Leica,Nikon, Linhoff, Sinar
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Matsu
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Re: Almost any 50 will do.
In reply to light_bulb, 6 months ago

light_bulb wrote:

You are right with portraits resolution is a double-edged sword. You may not always want to see what a lens is able to resolve.

It may require a perfect skin, extra care for all detail, make-up or extra work in post. This is why Nikon has got its new 58 1.4.

I am also using the 50 1.8 for other purposes where resolution does not come at these kinds of 'cost'.

It's not simply a question of flattering skin textures, you will use lighting to soften skin, and post processing where needed.  I was only commenting that all the 50's deliver enough resolution, but it goes beyond portrait applications.

Almost any controlled commercial application usually has the problem of not enough depth of field, and that means smaller apertures, not bigger ones.  All the 50s have more than enough resolution from f/4 onwards.  Sometimes the problem is how they hold up at f/11-f/16, most offer stellar resolution between f/5.6-f/8.  Think of product photography, food, jewelry, macros, clothing, architecture, interiors... most of these shooters are stopping down, not opening up.

And even when opening, how much is relative to the shallow depth effect one is looking for.  f/2.8 is often shallow enough, and depending on subject distance, and more aperture may cut the depth too think for a whole face, or a couple in the same frame.  But again, most are all already excellent by f/2.8 in the centre, the newer G lenses a little stronger than the D versions on the frame edges here.

Wide open there are differences in resolution, amongst other qualities, but I often wonder if focus accuracy is going to make a bigger difference at these extreme apertures anyway.

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Scott McMorrow
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Reilly Diefenbach, 6 months ago

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

How about an image of a test chart designed to measure the resolution of an 50mm F/1.8 lens on a D800?

How about you do some work around here for a change? Show us what you've got.

Sure, send me the lenses you'd like to have tested, and I'll be happy to perform Imatest MTF testing on all of them, along with my own.  I have a 50mm f/1.4G, a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, and a 105 AF-S that are worthy of testing on my D800.  If you want, I'll rent a D7100, which has a higher available resolution in lines/mm.

By the way, your example of the IQ180 is actually a bad example.  It requires lower lens resolution to achieve better overall resolution.  It has a pixel pitch that is larger than the D800.

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Reilly Diefenbach
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 6 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

How about an image of a test chart designed to measure the resolution of an 50mm F/1.8 lens on a D800?

How about you do some work around here for a change? Show us what you've got.

Sure, send me the lenses you'd like to have tested, and I'll be happy to perform Imatest MTF testing on all of them, along with my own. I have a 50mm f/1.4G, a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, and a 105 AF-S that are worthy of testing on my D800. If you want, I'll rent a D7100, which has a higher available resolution in lines/mm.

By the way, your example of the IQ180 is actually a bad example. It requires lower lens resolution to achieve better overall resolution. It has a pixel pitch that is larger than the D800.

Now you're being silly. I've asked you to produce pixel level crops supporting your thesis, and so far we have yet to see a single pixel. If you can't produce, there's no further point. If I can see clearly defined pixels at 400%, the lens has done its job and is out of the resolution equation, period, end of story.  Shoot what you want any way you want, bury yourself in charts and graphs, whatever, I'm bored with the back and forth.

I have a 50mm f/1.4G, a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, and a 105 AF-S that are worthy of testing on my D800. If you want, I'll rent a D7100, which has a higher available resolution in lines/mm.

All of which will show pixels the same way on the D7100. In other words, they'll outresolve it handily through most or all of the frame at most apertures.

Over and out.

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MisterHairy
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 6 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

MisterHairy

How are you measuring resolution? Do you mean MTF50, MFT30, ,MTF10, or some other measurement criteria? I'm quite aware of Nyquist and aliasing. I deal with it all the time in my day job modeling, simulating, and designing ultra high bandwidth digital communication interconnect.

You've not yet defined what you mean. Low contrast image energy beyond Nyquist can cause aliasing, which due to it's repetitive nature sticks out like a sore thumb. Moire is very sensitive to even minute amounts of image contrast. Just because there is enough image contrast to cause moire does not mean that it's very useful contrast. Which is why measurements such as MTF50 are used for meaningful resolution comparisons.

If you tell me that a particular lens on the D800 out resolves the sensor using an MTF10 measurement, I'd absolutely agree with you. MTF30, then I'd start asking how the measurement was made, and how the image was sharpened. MTF50, except for a few lenses I would call BS. I"ve made measurements on a few of my lenses with Imatest, and have correlated the results to Roger Cicala's unsharpened RAW measurements. I've then looked at the MTF50 results with Imatest's optimal sharpening filter and with a sweep of different sharpening parameters using Lightroom. None of these results approaches the theoretical resolution of the D800 sensor when measured at MTF50, and definitely not when looked at from corner to corner, with center image focus.

Then we have some professional experience in common. While I worked in the real world, I spent a couple of decades designing and developing the hardware and software for scalable, simultaneous data sampling and transmission which is heavily in use around the world today. OK, not terribly fast - only up to a few MHz aggregate rate, but the basic tenets of digitisation are independent of sample rate. It is possible that you yourself use some of my IP in your work.

Your discussion of contrast is a bit of a red herring in this argument. One might consider a higher contrast source as one containing a greater proportion of harmonic content while a lower contrast one will have less - perhaps only the fundamental. A simple analogy, pertaining to linear, time based sampling, would be a square wave (highest possible contrast) versus a sine wave (lowest possible). The harmonic components of the square wave will induce aliasing on an unprotected sampler far sooner than the sine wave, even with a fundamental sitting well well below Nyquist. Any signal components (not just fundamentals) which sit above the Nyquist frequency for a given sampler will cause aliasing in the output of that sampler if adequate protection is not provided. Nothing new there. Digitisation 101.

All well and true and this explains why one might be prepared to see aliasing from a higher contrast source when testing a lens (or even just using it for, well you know, photography). However, to blindly state that higher contrast sources will promote aliasing without thinking about the implications for lens resolution is to miss the point. The high contrast source can only cause aliasing if those higher harmonics (the cause of the higher contrast) are transmitted through the lens to the sensor (sampler).

The only way in which we can experience aliasing in an image is if the lens is transmitting frequencies above the discrimination limit of the sensor. It does not matter if these frequencies are the fundamental of the sampled pattern or the Nth harmonic; they are still reaching the sensor because the lens is successfully transmitting them.

Therefore, the lens is able to provide frequencies above the discrimination limit of the sensor - it is effectively "out resolving" it (there's your definition).

Any time that we see aliasing (moire) in an image it is happening because the lens is doing this. If the sensor has alias protection in the form of a low pass filter then the intensity (amplitude) of the high frequencies must be commensurately higher to be still making their presence felt.

It has also been most amusing to see individuals quoting frequency limits for lenses measured on different hardware with different sampling capabilities. Using a lower frequency device with a strong low pass filter (a D3x) to predict lens characteristics on a higher frequency device (D800[E]) is a nonsense when the D3x and its AA filter are the limiting factors on the measurement capabilities.

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MisterHairy
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to light_bulb, 6 months ago

light_bulb wrote:

MisterHairy wrote:

If you are finding it difficult to exploit the resolution of the D800 with an existing Nikkor 50mm lens then you are doing something wrong as all will comfortably outresolve it. You may need to look at your technique before considering blowing that sort of cash on the Zeiss 55mm as it would likely be wasted.

For some the wisdom seems to be that if anything goes wrong using Nikon gear than the fault necessarily needs to reside behind the camera.

I have done test shots handheld with a Pentax 645D and a Leica S2 at not too fast shutter speeds with excellent results in terms of resolution. Probably I am spoiled by what I have seen.

Then you should know better. Maybe you are right and everybody else is wrong, but that is the less likely explanation. FWIW, I agree that the Nikon 50mm offerings are far from stellar, but resolution is not one of their failings. Are you basing your comments on a sample of one lens or extended use of a number of different 50mm lenses?

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MisterHairy
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to John Motts, 6 months ago

John Motts wrote:

MisterHairy wrote:

Oh honestly! Do the words "Nyquist limit" and "aliasing" mean nothing to you?

Worthy of "The Big Bang Theory"!

Hah! Yes, it was, wasn't it? My wife often says the same thing. It's easy to forget manners when one knows everything.

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Scott McMorrow
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to MisterHairy, 6 months ago

Mister Hairy

You misunderstood me. When I say contrast, I meant contrast of the final image. If we start with 100% unit step cycle-to-cycle contrast of the original image (i.e. black lines separated by white space) the final resulting image is the convolution of the 2-dimensional PSF of the lens, and the sensor array. By sensor array I include the sensor, Bayer filter, and AA-filter (if there is one.) For a measurement of resolution in lp/mm, we can plot the transfer curve of final image contrast vs. resolution.

As we know, the Fourier components of the original step image repeated in cycles for a resolution measurement contains harmonics well above the cycle frequency (resolution). We also know that all physical waveguides (which includes the 2-dimensional waveguide known as a lens) have some finite signal amplitude until we are beyond the propagation mode of the waveguide. In the case of a lens, there is finite signal (image) amplitude throughout the visible spectrum. As such, no matter how poor the lens is, there will be some image energy beyond Nyquist for any lens/sensor combination. We also know that AA-filters are imperfect and have some leakage just beyond Nyquist, and being a periodic filter, have additional lobes at repeating intervals above Nyquist.

Finally, the process of aliasing (moire) is an extremely sensitive one to our eyes for two reasons. First, it produces a beat frequency repeating pattern against the original high frequency pattern, which has reinforced peaks and troughs. Second, it produces color artifacts due to the de-mosaicing algorithm that also stand out to our visual system. Because of this, small amplitude leakage of image energy above Nyquist is easily seen visually, and is dependent upon the amplitude of the signal seen at the sensor. The amplitude of the signal seen at the sensor for a repeating black/white cyclical pattern is the measured contrast between black and white. At the peaks and troughs of the aliased moire pattern, contrast is doubled, and overall peak-to-trough contrast is quadrupled. In effect, moire is a strong amplifier of the pattern that gets through, which is why even a bad lens, with sharp resolution cutoff, can still show moire. Contrast that has dropped to lets say 5% between black and white, which is bit over 4 EV difference, is barely visible, except by pixel peeping. However, through aliasing it is boosted by 20% to a 2 eV difference, which is quite visible.

You are correct that AA-filtered sensors are a poor choice for making lens resolution measurements. Non-AA filtered sensors will provide much more information to work with. However, within the bandpass of the AA-filter, we can recover much of the original signal by sharpening, or by applying an optimal mathematical filter as Imatest can be asked to do. In doing so, we can plot contrast vs. resolution in lp/mm with fairly good accuracy. (Accuracy is, of course, better with a non-AA filtered sensor. At this point in time, the D7100 represents the highest resolution Nikon F-mount sensor, when measured in normalized lp/mm, and makes a good candidate for lens measurement, at least in the DX portion of the frame.) When these measurements are made across multiple lenses on a D800, it is quite clear that some lenses are superior to others, in that the final image contrast vs. lp/mm resolution is higher than others. Some lenses have a sharp cutoff due to aberrations, others do not. This becomes especially clear as we move from the center out to the corner of the frame.

Another aside.  Your contention is that any image information that gets through indicates the "resolution" of the lens.  This would be akin to saying that the bandwidth of an analog RC low pass filter is infinite. In analog we use attenuation criteria such as 3dB bandwidth or 6dB bandwidth to specify the bandwidth of an amplifier or filter.  In the case of optics, we can use lp/mm at MTF50, or MTF30 to specifiy the resolution of a lens or system.  Resolution at MTF10 contrast levels is not generally very useful, but it does still contribute strongly to alias artifacts.

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Scott McMorrow
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to light_bulb, 6 months ago

light_bulb

This might be your answer. Sigma just announced the 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens.  If the MTF plots prove to be correct, this will be as good a lens as the 35mm.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/product/50mm-f14-dg-hsm-art

MTF of Nikon 50mm f/1.8G (left chart) vs Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art (right chart

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Shaun_Nyc
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to light_bulb, 6 months ago

light_bulb wrote:

Shaun_Nyc wrote:

I hope Sigma does a 55mm 1.4 art for about a 1k, tweak Nikon's butt cheeks again

I hope so too.

Gee that was quick, I hope I win lotto this week

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Sloepoke
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 6 months ago

light_bulb

This might be your answer. Sigma just announced the 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens.  If the MTF plots prove to be correct, this will be as good a lens as the 35mm.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/product/50mm-f14-dg-hsm-art

MTF of Nikon 50mm f/1.8G (left chart) vs Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art (right chart

Ask and you shall receive. Was definitely waiting for this! Thanks! Before this I had settled on the 1.8g but now I can wait. The sig 35 is the the only lens I use. Am trying out the 18-35g this week for a wide, need something in the 21-28 range and from the looks of it it's as good as anything out there.

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light_bulb
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Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 6 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

light_bulb

This might be your answer. Sigma just announced the 50 mm f/1.4 Art lens. If the MTF plots prove to be correct, this will be as good a lens as the 35mm.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/product/50mm-f14-dg-hsm-art

MTF of Nikon 50mm f/1.8G (left chart) vs Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art (right chart

Indeed, Sigma has provided the answer. This one seems to be worth waiting for. And, hopefully, it is a wake-up call for Nikon.

Wide angle also leaves things to be desired.

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