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Author Topic: Hit parade of the sharpest 35mm lenses (NEW RANKING)  (Read 16970 times)
hasselbladfan
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« on: October 12, 2012, 05:45:35 AM »
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Just out of fun, I made a hit parade of the sharpest lenses (till 200mm). On popular request, I added some zooms, but I remain convinced IMHO that besides one or two exceptions, primes remain king in sharpness Smiley

Here is my top league for center & corner sharpness (I have not included large telelenses, since they have a natural advantage due to their design).

NEW LIST (following suggestions)

ONCE IN A LIFETIME
(hopefully, you can own 1 of these in your life)
. Coastal Optics 60mm Macro f4 (the reference lens according to DigLloyd)
. Leica 50mm APO f2 (the new one - my hope he comes in 2nd place Smiley)
. Zeiss UP 55mm f1.4 (as per photos seen at Photokina)
. Leica 180mm APO  f2.8

THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE (expensive, but so good, so irresistable)
. Leica M 90mm APO f2 / R 100mm Macro / R 60mm f 2.8
. Nikon 200mm f2 II / Canon 200mm f2 II
. Zeiss 100mm f2 Macro
. Zeiss 50mm f2 Macro
. Zeiss 21mm / 28mm f2.8
. Leica 28mm f2 Asph.
. Canon 135mm L f2 / Zeiss 135mm APO f2

A FRIEND FOREVER (loyal and never disappointing)
. Nikon 14-24mm f2.8
. Canon 24-70mm L f2.8 II
. Nikon 24mm f1.4 / Sigma 35mm HSM A f1.4 / Zeiss 35mm f1.4
. Nikon 60mm Macro / Canon 100mm L Macro
. Nikon 85mm f1.4 / Sigma 85mm f1.4
. Nikkor Micro 200mm f4
. Canon 24mm 3.5 L II / Canon 90mm L TS-E f2.8
. Fujinon 35mm f1.4 (X-Pro)
. Sony Alfa CZ 135mm f 1.8
. Voigtlander APO Lanthar 90mm f2.8

Let me know if I miss a hidden "gem" (or if you disagree).
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 12:40:57 PM by hasselbladfan » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 06:58:04 AM »
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Hi,

Some excellent lenses I think of:

Canon 135/2L
Zeiss 21/2.8 ( on the other hand I am a bit sceptical about the 25/2 )
Canon 200/1.8 L USM tested best at old PhotoDo

Best regards
Erik
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Hulyss
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 07:37:38 AM »
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Hi,

I do not own Canon gear but I seen what can do the Canon 135/2L  Shocked Awesome.

So for my experience, wide open:

NIKON 105mm AF-S VR f/2.8G IF-ED MC
NIKON 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G
NIKON 180mm AF f/2.8 D IF ED

CARL ZEISS Distagon T* 35mm f/2

SIGMA 150mm f/2.8 Macro DG OS EX HSM
SIGMA 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM EX
SIGMA 70mm f/2.8 DG MACRO (This one is awesome too).

And certainly the future SIGMA 35f1.4 DG HSM A, by judging MTF curves ...
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 07:53:26 AM by Hulyss » Logged

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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 07:54:42 AM »
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Hi,

Some excellent lenses I think of:

Canon 135/2L

Indeed, and very close compared to the TS-E 90mm f/2.8 ...

Of course sharpness is not the only characteristic that makes a lens worthwhile, bokeh is also very high on my list of criteria (which both of the above do well).

Cheers,
Bart
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hasselbladfan
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 07:55:33 AM »
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Some excellent lenses I think of:

Canon 135/2L
Zeiss 21/2.8 ( on the other hand I am a bit sceptical about the 25/2 )
Canon 200/1.8 L USM tested best at old PhotoDo

Agree, Eric. I used the 135 f2 once and it was great (still with film). I have put the 25 f2, following comments of the zeis guys at the Photokina, but I agree the 21mm is also great.
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Petrus
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 07:58:44 AM »
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Well, my Fujinon XF 35mm f:1.4 lens for X-Pro1 beats at least the Canon 50mm f:1.4 by a big margin. I remember reading on some review site that this Fujinon is the sharpest new lens to appear in two years. I am inclined to believe that.

oops, well, I interpret the subject with some extra freedom, after all that lens is a 35mm lens...  :-)
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hasselbladfan
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 08:14:29 AM »
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NEW LIST (following suggestions)

1. Coastal Optics 60mm Macro f4 (the reference lens according to DigLloyd)
2. Leica 50mm APO f2 (the new one - my hope he comes in 2nd place Smiley)
3. Zeiss UP 55mm f1.4 (as per photos seen at Photokina)
4. Leica 90mm APO f2
5. Nikon / Canon 200mm f2
6. Zeiss 100mm f2 Macro
7. Zeiss 50mm f2 Macro
8. Zeiss 21mm f2.8
9. Leica 28mm f2 Asph.
10. Canon 135mm f2
11. Nikon 24mm f1.4
12. Nikon 85mm f1.4
13. Canon 24mm 3.5 L II
14. Fujinon 35mm f1.4 (X-Pro)
15. .............


Keep sending me ideas, guys. Nobody knows them all.
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hasselbladfan
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 08:18:01 AM »
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Hi,

I am not an expert in Sigma, so tell me which one of the list is really the top of the top.

The Nikon's you mention are very good, but not comparable to 24 f1.4 /85 f1.4 or 200 f2 (IMHO).
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Hulyss
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 08:57:06 AM »
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Hi,

I am not an expert in Sigma, so tell me which one of the list is really the top of the top.

The Nikon's you mention are very good, but not comparable to 24 f1.4 /85 f1.4 or 200 f2 (IMHO).

For SIGMA there is a problem (and I think for most brands). There is more than one gems in this brand. The first of all is the 70 mm Macro (for sharpness every were). In the same league you have the other macros like 150/180 last generation.

For bokeh, the 85 f1.4 is exceptional, on par with the Nikon 1.4 (really) and also very fast (AF). The 120-300 f/2.8 OS HSM is also exceptional but suffered some little mechanical problems. This is why SIGMA rebuild them in first. The 50 f/1.4 is also a gem but it seems that some canon guys do not like him due to some kind of "incompatibility".

Well... I like SIGMA since a long time and this brand was never an outsider in my mind, but the new way they take ... seems to be very solid. At least I trust them and, like fox Mulder, want to believe. Can't wait for the first tests.

http://www.sigma-global.com/
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 09:19:08 AM »
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The Leica 180mm f2.8 APO should be very close to the top.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
hasselbladfan
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 09:24:31 AM »
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Fully agree, Bernard. This one WAS fabulous.

But I limited this list to lenses that are currently in production or were announced to be launched in 2013.

Leica should have never stopped producing the R serie, just made them available in a Nikon / Canon bajonet. Missed opportunity Smiley.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 09:44:11 AM »
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Fully agree, Bernard. This one WAS fabulous.

But I limited this list to lenses that are currently in production or were announced to be launched in 2013.

OK, sorry, I missed that.

You may have to include the new Zeiss 135mm but we still lack first hand data obviously.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
MatthewCromer
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 10:00:34 AM »
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CZ 135/1.8 Sony Alpha
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NancyP
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 10:14:09 AM »
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Zeiss and Leica dominate here. Canon and Nikon are tied.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 10:34:12 AM »
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Fully agree, Bernard. This one WAS fabulous.

But I limited this list to lenses that are currently in production or were announced to be launched in 2013.

Leica should have never stopped producing the R serie, just made them available in a Nikon / Canon bajonet. Missed opportunity Smiley.



I wrote about that very topic (Nikon-fitting) to them and they ignored the question, telling me the obvious instead, that they had excellent slr cameras of their own... that's almost insulting PR, in my view. Better to ignore a possible, hopeful customer-to-be than to insult his intelligence with such a response.

Anyway, I haven't tested every lens in the world, mostly none in recent years other than a very few Nikkors. Of those, I swear by my 1.8/50mm manual as well as the 2.8/180mm AF one, my only AF lens, and it still has to be used in AF mode. It won't be.

Nobody is forcing me to reply or contribute to this thread, but I honestly think such questions are madness. Almost every other guy here with a 24-70mm G Nilkkor swears by it, and I swore at it until I managed to get rid of the damned thing. It's ALL opinion, and even tests are based on nothing more than the individual lens on the rig. How do you know the rest are the same, better or even worse? You don't. Just buy what you can afford and that tuns you on, whether because you have read about it somewhere you respect, are a fanboy, a marque mark, or have simply borrowed a great example of something. It'll probably be better than you might be.

Rob C
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 10:36:08 AM by Rob C » Logged

hasselbladfan
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2012, 12:38:17 PM »
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Nobody is forcing me to reply or contribute to this thread, but I honestly think such questions are madness.

Rob,

As I mentioned, this is not exact science. This is just my personal hitparade (for fun).

The appealing thing is that (with everyone's contributions) we get a list of VERY VERY NICE lenses to own. Like a Christmas list for the next 15 years. Smiley
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Petrus
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« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2012, 12:40:59 PM »
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 It's ALL opinion, and even tests are based on nothing more than the individual lens on the rig. How do you know the rest are the same, better or even worse? You don't.

Lens Rentals tests a bunch of lenses ( like ten or a dozen) and publishes a chart showing the spread of the results. Too bad this thread is restricted to primes, as they just recently found out that the new Canon 24-70 2.8 is sharper than any Canon Prime...
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2012, 02:01:18 PM »
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Here is a list from Swedish monthly "Foto", their list is based on MTF measurement at the Hasselblad factory.

Canon TS-E 24/3,5 L II
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 18/3,5 ZF
Nikkor AF-S 14-24/2,8 G ED
Canon EF 100/2,8 L IS USM Macro
Nikkor Micro AF 200/4 D ED
Sigma 70/2,8 EX DG Macro
Voigtländer APO Lanthar 90/2,8
Nikkor AF-S VR 400/2,8 G ED
Canon EF 200/2,0 L IS USM
Nikkor AF-S VR 200-400/4 G ED

MTF curves are here: http://tidningenfoto.se/de-skarpaste-objektiven-fotos-tio-i-topp-lista/

Foto displays 20 lp/mm which they regard most relevant. They claim to measure down to 60 lp/mm, but they don't show that data. I digress a bit. Most tests I read the Zeiss 21/2.8 is regarded to be better than the 18/3.5.

Reading the comments in the "Foto" article it is pointed out that some of the wide angles are better than the best standard lenses (including Leica) and top of the line Sigma lenses have no problem at all keeping up with any Leica lens.

One more observation, the guy who is making these MTF measurements is the same guy who made the optical design of all HC-lenses.

Best regards
Erik
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 02:08:27 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Streetshooter
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« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2012, 02:28:06 PM »
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I wrote about that very topic (Nikon-fitting) to them and they ignored the question, telling me the obvious instead, that they had excellent slr cameras of their own... that's almost insulting PR, in my view. Better to ignore a possible, hopeful customer-to-be than to insult his intelligence with such a response.

Anyway, I haven't tested every lens in the world, mostly none in recent years other than a very few Nikkors. Of those, I swear by my 1.8/50mm manual as well as the 2.8/180mm AF one, my only AF lens, and it still has to be used in AF mode. It won't be.

Nobody is forcing me to reply or contribute to this thread, but I honestly think such questions are madness. Almost every other guy here with a 24-70mm G Nilkkor swears by it, and I swore at it until I managed to get rid of the damned thing. It's ALL opinion, and even tests are based on nothing more than the individual lens on the rig. How do you know the rest are the same, better or even worse? You don't. Just buy what you can afford and that tuns you on, whether because you have read about it somewhere you respect, are a fanboy, a marque mark, or have simply borrowed a great example of something. It'll probably be better than you might be.

Rob C


Funny thing is Rob I feel exactly the same about the 24-70mm Nikon !  I wanted to get one and borrowed a friends to test and was very underwhelmed by it. My 18-70mm lens was even sharper by a noticeable margin.....and yet everybody seems to rave about it and uses one. Some of my older AiS Nikkors outperform the latest exotic fast primes too. I always test before I buy despite what other people say.

Pete
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TMARK
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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2012, 02:59:29 PM »
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Nikon 50 1.8.  Yup, sharp, but other issues when shot wider than 2.8.

Zeiss 35 F2 ZE/ZF.  Wow.

The 135L, of course.

I know its not in production, but the Nikoin 28 AIS is sick.  It is a complex lens and it is easy to knock an element out of alignment.

Leica 28 Asph.

Zeiss 28 2.8 ZM.  This is probably the sharpest lens I've ever used in any format.  As sharp wide open as stopped down.  Stopping down doesn't oncrease sharpness, just changes the DOF.  Wow.

Nikon 85 1.4D, and 85 1.8G.  Oh yeah, Nikon 60mm AFd Macro, and the Canon 100 2.8 USM Macro

All that being said, the 35mm lenses I like the most are the Canon 50 and 85L lenses, the 35mm summicrom M (third version), the 28mm elmarit M (49mm), the Zeiss F2 ZE/ZF, and the Nikon 28 AIS. . I use the Zeiss Blad lenses on Canon and the D800, which I really like. 



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