Corner sharpness: Four Thirds vs 35mm (bandwidth warning)

Started Oct 27, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Amin Sabet
Amin Sabet Veteran Member • Posts: 6,781
Corner sharpness: Four Thirds vs 35mm (bandwidth warning)

I don't think there's any way to really say one system has better corner sharpness than the other without comparing a heck of a lot of lenses. However, there's been so much speculation lately that I figured I'd do my part by posting one simple comparison.

Systems compared:

1) Canon 5D (35mm sensor) with EF 28mm f/2.8 prime - cheap lens with sharper corners at 28mm than the more expensive Canon 28mm f/1.8 copy I previously owned. Obviously this lens does not represent the ultimate in corner sharpness available for the 5D (that would require some very expensive glass), but it easily beats any consumer zoom available and also bested my 24-105L in corner sharpness. Look here for a comparison of 13 lenses at this focal length tested on a 5D, and you can see that the 28/2.8 is no slouch ->
2) Olympus E-410 with 14-42mm kit lens

The 5D was at ISO 800 with the 28mm lens stopped down to f/11
The E-410 was at ISO 200 with the kit lens at 14mm and f/5.6

Shutter speed with both systems was 1/250s. Unfortunately I left my tripod at my parents' home, so both systems were shot handheld. I picked the best of four shots in each case.

For processing, I converted from proprietary RAW to DNG in Lightroom and then processed in C1 4 beta using default sharpening (same for both cameras) and zero noise reduction.

More points to consider: 1) To compare these images, they should be examined at the same print size. I did not upres the E-410 photo or downres the 5D photo because the method used to do either could potentially introduce bias. Of course you can do this on your own. I printed them for comparison. 2) C1 doesn't have a specific color profile for the E-410. Color differences here are not representative of these camera models IMO. 3) These two lenses do not represent all lenses available for their given systems (duh). A cheap prime designed decades ago versus a cheap zoom designed recently. Etc.

My conclusions:

1) Softness in the extreme corners was clearly present on the Canon image and much more subtle with the Olympus image. 2) The overall detail rendered by the Canon system was greater. 3) Noise levels were comparable.

Here are the two images with full-res version and EXIFs available ->

Here they are as resized by Flickr. You can see the smearing in the extreme corners of the Canon shot even at this size:

In contrast, corner softness is barely apparent on the Olympus image at this size:

Here's a representative corner crop:

This crop shows the greater overall resolution and accutance of the particular Canon system used in this comparison.

Again, this is just one comparison. I don't have time to do this more systematically with more lenses at this time. (blog) (feed mashup) (Ricoh Group)

 Amin Sabet's gear list:Amin Sabet's gear list
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