NEX-5N with kit lens vs. Zeiss lens

Started Dec 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
nelsonal Senior Member • Posts: 2,464
Re: NEX-5N with kit lens vs. Zeiss lens

In general the differences between a random "good" lens and a random "adequate" lens are:

  • Larger or constant maximum aperture, this is costly even if performance isn't wonderful so because the high prices mean low volumes it's worth adding R&D for better designs to add another justification for the high prices. 
  • Consistant performance across the zoom/aperture range (ie it's rare that a "good" lens would have a bad focal length or aperture setting). 
  • Lower likelihood of a dud (they stilll do occasionally happen), though better global manufacturing has been really reducing the presence of these

Beyond those three, the differences usually remain but aren't always visible to those who don't know what to be looking for

  • Typically similar color and drawing style across the line (cheaper lenses tend to maximize performance across the major aberrations, better lines typically try to find maximized performance points that look similar to other lenses in their product line--The famous examples of this are the spherical abberation responsible for Leica glow or Zeiss' sharpness across colors. 
  • Performance in the corners is typically better (this has gotten less true in the age of higher volume consumer lenses and computer aided lens design). 
  • Coatings on expensive lenses are typically the newest for the premium line
  • Sometimes premium lenses add features that aren't well documented but are very valuable for certain uses (like parfocal zooms to cinematographers). 

Those last three can be subtle but experienced eyes seem to be able to consistently spot certain brands in blind tests.  This isn't a perfect example and isn't the test you offered, but does a nice job of showing how well folks were at spotting Zeiss lenses in particular.  The results are here (on page five), notice that 80% of the guesses were correct, while the same photo tweaked as a control got much closer to 50/50, and a large number of the guessers went 5 for 5.

Keep in mind though that other blind trials of premium and value lenses within the same brand, haven't had a similar correlation (a cheap kit zoom was preferred to several primes and a very expensive pro zoom in a Nikon aimed test).

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow