Bokeh comparison between Sigma, Otus and Nikkor 58mm

Started Apr 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
David Whysong Contributing Member • Posts: 585
Re: Bokeh comparison between Sigma, Otus and Nikkor 58mm

p m h wrote:

I have never used a 58mm/1.4. But i own a 50mm f/1.8G which i use often along with my 85mm/1.4G. Over the years, i've started to recognise that sharpness is not everything, especially, when it comes to portraits (i.e., when shallow dof is used).

I used to subscribe to and I remember Lloyd expressing his frustration with the sharpness of the 58mm. However, the irony is, when he posted sample shots taken with the lens, e.g, this one , it turned out to be one of my most favorite photographs taken by Mr. Lloyd available on his website. So, while the lens didn't produce otus like sharp photos for him, it actually produced a beautiful portrait that a lot of his sharper lens did not produce (or at least I haven't noticed them posted on his site).

If sharpness were everything, nobody would use fast lenses. The entire point of shallow DoF is to select part of the image to make sharp, and blur the rest. From a lens design perspective with all else equal, I think it is always better for the focal plane to be sharp. If that's not desired, Gaussian blur is easy. Or go old-school; put a nylon sock over the lens, or smear Vaseline on a UV filter.

That linked picture is nice, but it's not the only nice photography I've seen done with a 50mm. It's not enough to say "this unsharp lens is super special because it takes nice low-resolution pictures with good bokeh." Lots of cheap lenses do that.

An A/B comparison between the 58mm and the Sigma 50mm EX HSM (that's the old version, not the Art) would be interesting. Though I think some in this forum only see the lens manufacturer's name.

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