Comparison of: Zeiss Otus, Sigma 50 Art, Nikkor 58G, Nikkor 50/1.4G, Nikkor 50/1.8G

Started Aug 10, 2014 | Discussions thread
TQGroup Senior Member • Posts: 2,019
Re: Couple questions - nice effort, but the testing may mislead some as it stands

FlowBerlin wrote:

@everyone complaining about the 58G bashing in my article: First of all, thanks for your moderate tone! Seriously. This is not normal anymore nowadays in forums, and most certainly not if I chose a not-so-neutral tone in the article that you're relating to.

I appreciate the time and effort you put into this very "technical" evaluation. The way you have done it is very creative...

So, let me ask you; how many screwdrivers do you own?

Perhaps more than one? Why is this so? Are you telling me that one screwdriver can't fit all the different types of screws properly?


Now, try and think of a lens as a "tool" like a screwdriver. Not one lens, even of the same "length" can fit all tasks properly... that is why many are designed differently to "excel" at different tasks.

So, I do not think you are "bashing" the Nikon 58, I simply believe that you do not understand it. Like LensTip (one of my very favourite reviewers) you have made the mistake of trying to compare apples to apples... an inevitable result of very narrow and technical testing parameters.

Think of the screwdrivers for a minute. In effect, you are giving very poor "marks" to a flat screwdriver when used on a #3 Philips head screw. I guess that's fair enough I suppose...

You're all correct, there's absolutely no need to feel insulted if you're an owner of the 58G, after all, it's not made by Apple :-D. If you have the lens and are content, great. It still startles me, though, why you'd spend that amount of money on the item, with a choice of many other great alternatives.

In the early 1970's, I was given a Zeiss Contarex with an F2 50mm Planar. It wasn't that sharp a lens but the way it rendered people was beyond compare. This lens helped me differentiate myself from the other photographers and people, especially women, adored the way this lens made them look. It made all the difference! I learnt a lot from that.

Now, if it was in the same price league of the other 50s, good. Get the tad of bokeh difference and sacrifice all other optical criteria. Like this, at 1700, it's just (to me), what I wrote, a joke.

When I heard about the 58 and saw its design goals, I knew I had to have this lens and it has more than lived up to my expectations. It renders beautifully. It takes pictures, especially of people, like no other lens that I know of. A "tad of bokeh difference" can make all the difference...

Fortunately, there are many discerning people in the world who can and do appreciate the finer things in life and instinctively know that not everything can be evaluated in purely objective "technical" terms. How many people take a fine ruler and measure the "brush stroke" diameters of the great master painters? Or the width of the stitching on the latest Hermes "Kelly" bags?

I currently happily own the 50 F1.8G and it is a perfect "nifty-fifty". Try using the Sigma or Zeiss in a crowded market for instinctive street shooting from the hip... and being small, light, fast and unobtrusive make that possible. Oh, you didn't test for that?

I will keep the 58 Nikon while I still photograph people. Hopefully, as long as I live.

I will buy the Sigma 50 ART shortly to do a large job that involves accurately reproducing essentially flat images with minimum distortion and a high level of sharpness across the frame. That is where this lens excels. After that job is done, I will probably sell it. I prefer to render images than reproduce or record them, but, then, good income means I can easily afford the "1700." Still think its a joke?

The Nikon F1.4 50 is largely obsolete. I was very well advised to buy the cheaper 50 F1.8G instead.

The Zeiss 55 ... it will have a market. After all, look at the people who insist on Leica.

So, a good carpenter will carry more than one screwdriver and a lens repairer will carry a set of entirely different screwdrivers. Equally, many photographers will own a number of "50-ish" lenses. Why because the "best" lens is the one most suited to a specific task and the worst one is usually the "middlling" model that beginners buy because it is sharpest... professionalism is about "excellence" and not about "average, best overall".

Vive la difference!

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