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Author Topic: the so called minuature formats  (Read 19615 times)
dturina
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« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2005, 01:40:03 PM »
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From what I can read, 150mm f/2 has stunning performance at 60 LP, wide open. I have more difficulty reading the Canon chart, as it isn't as well explained, so I can't really tell. I can tell, however, that they both have excellent edge-to-edge sharpness and insane amounts of resolution.
The Canon charts have the thick lines representing contrast at 10 lp/mm and the thin lines 30 lp/mm. Black are at maximum aperture and blue at f8.

What I see here are thick black lines at virtually 100% MTF on the Canon chart, falling off just a bit towards the edges. This is clearly a better response than the Zuiko 150/2 at 20 lp/mm.

If we take an average of the thin solid black line and thin dotted black line, representing 30 lp/mm at full aperture, we find that it's mostly above 90%, falling below only towards the edges. If we take the better of the two lines at 30 lp/mm, the solid thin line representing sagittal resolution (like the spokes of a wheel), we find that sagittal resolution at 30 lp/mm is actually better than the Zuiko at 20 lp/mm.

What I can say in praise of the Zuiko chart is the meridional and sagittal lines do not diverge as much as in the Canon chart which I believe is indicative of better bokeh and less astigmatism, but the contrast at both 20 lp/mm and 60 lp/mm is simply not high enough for this lens to compete with the Canon 300/2.8. Of course it's a cheaper and lighter lens. It's also a stop faster, so it's got its advantages.
The problem is, Canon has measurements for both f/8 and wide open, and from their glossary file it seems they measure 10 and 30 line pairs. Zuiko has 20 and 60 line pairs graphs, wide open only. If that is the case, a comparison is difficult to make, especially since Canon's chart consists of apparently 8 lines, and they aren't that intuitively colored. Olympus chart is very easy to read.

ps: ignore me; I just saw that I basically said the same things you did - it's obviously past my bedtime.
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Danijel
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« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2005, 04:24:08 PM »
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All I know is how awesome my 8x10 prints look with my 6mp dSLR compared to the film I was shooting before, and with small, light, cheap equipment.

Its a great time to be a photographer on a budget, and its only getting better.
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Ray
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« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2005, 09:39:42 PM »
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Of course, to be fair to BJL, he has already conceded that telephoto lens design cannot provide the extra quality necessary to compensate for the smaller sensor, so comparing a Zuiko 150mm lens with a Canon 300mm merely confirms this fact.

If we examine the other end of the range, the situation is quite different, but I'm not sure if the reason is that Canon simply do not make high quality wide-angle lenses.

The Zuiko 7-14mm F4 seems to be so good I feel like buying an E-500 just so I can use this lens. The nearest Canon equivalent is the 16-35/2.8. The Zuiko has the advantage of being slightly wider. The Canon has the advantages of being one stop faster, lighter (surprisingly) and cheaper.

The MTF charts for these two lenses are here and there .

The thin solid and dashed lines on the Canon charts represent contrast at 30 lp/mm. The orange lines on the Zuiko chart represent contrast at 60 lp/mm. If the Zuiko MTF response at 60 lp/mm is as high as the Canon MTF response at 30 lp/mm, we could claim that the Zuiko lens has double the resolution, which it needs to have if the 4/3rds system is ever to equal the image quality of FF 35mm.

Examining these charts at equivalent distances along the x-axis, ie. comparing response at 2.5mm from the centre for the Zuiko with 5mm from the centre for the Canon and so on, it seems to me that the Zuiko has more than double the resolution of the 16-35, ie. on the whole its response at 60 lp/mm is actually better than that of the Canon at 30 lp/mm.

Dear me, Canon. You really will have to lift your game otherwise Olympus will steal the show .

I wonder if there's any way I could fit this lens to my 20D? The MTF response is so flat, the fall-off at the edges of the slightly larger 20D sensor might not be noticeable.
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dturina
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« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2005, 03:31:58 AM »
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Dear me, Canon. You really will have to lift your game otherwise Olympus will steal the show  Cheesy .
Yes, ZD 7-14 seems to be a stellar performer. I probably won't buy it since I seldom need wide angle, and 11-22 would be a more compact choice (and it uses the same filter size as my standard lens).
Will Olympus become a serious contender? It might all depend on the E1 successor. If it's a camera in the D2X league, it will equal medium format film in resolution, and this might be just enough for 99% of people. The prevalent roumor says it will have in-body image stabilization, too, and it might be pretty fast in operation, as it isn't that difficult to make a quick camera nowadays. If it all comes together, hopefully without major warts such as noise, I don't see why Olympus wouldn't compete with Nikon for the second place. I don't think Canon's position is in question, though, they seem to be too far ahead, and their customer base is too broad. In the meantime, they painfully lack a flagship body, and introduction delays don't seem to help their lens sales.
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Danijel
Ray
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« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2005, 09:39:53 PM »
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Yes, ZD 7-14 seems to be a stellar performer.
"Seems" is the key word here. The MTF charts look too good to be true. There seems to be no adaptor available to fit Zuiko 4/3rds lenses to other cameras, although there are adaptors available to fit other lenses to a 4/3rds body.

There seems to be no full res sample images available from the 7-14, no crital reviews, no independent tests and comparisons, just a lot of announcements about the lens being available in March 2005.

The only sample images I could find were low to medium res jpegs that give no clue whatsoever as to the quality of the lens.

What's going on?
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dturina
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« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2005, 03:10:42 AM »
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Yes, ZD 7-14 seems to be a stellar performer.
"Seems" is the key word here. The MTF charts look too good to be true. There seems to be no adaptor available to fit Zuiko 4/3rds lenses to other cameras, although there are adaptors available to fit other lenses to a 4/3rds body.

There seems to be no full res sample images available from the 7-14, no crital reviews, no independent tests and comparisons, just a lot of announcements about the lens being available in March 2005.

The only sample images I could find were low to medium res jpegs that give no clue whatsoever as to the quality of the lens.

What's going on?
I saw pictures made with it on www.myfourthirds.com , and talked to people who own it, and what they say seems to be in agreement with that chart. There are absolutely no flaws, chromatic or geometric, that I heard of. It seems to be as good as they say. However, it's pretty heavy and bulky, similar to the 12- mm Sigma zoom, with the protruding front element, probably quite prone to scratching if you stick it into things, as people tend to do with ultrawides.
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Danijel
Ray
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« Reply #46 on: October 03, 2005, 04:15:48 AM »
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it's pretty heavy and bulky, similar to the 12- mm Sigma zoom, with the protruding front element, probably quite prone to scratching if you stick it into things, as people tend to do with ultrawides.
That wouldn't worry me too much. I'm used to a heavy and bulky Sigma 15-30mm which, on FF 35mm, is pretty close to the much more expensive Zuiko 7-14mm.

When it comes to assessing the quality of a lens, we either need objective tests such as those that Photodo used to do, or direct comparisons with other lenses we know and think highly of.

Unfortunately, the much praised Zuiko lenses for the 4/3rds format can only be used with 4/3rds camera bodies, so any sample images reflect the 'system' quality rather than the lens quality.

Since the latest 4/3rds cameras are now 8mp, and since this 7-14mm lens appears to be so much better than the run-of-the-mill Sigma 15-30 and Canon 16-35, I think a comparison would be appropriate with the latter two mentioned lenses on a 12mp Canon 5D.

Such a comparison would be very informative. Would we get, say 'over all' equal results, indicating that you really do get what you pay for (Canon 5D + above Sigma or Canon lens costing approx. the same as a 7-14mm + E-300), or would the FF 35mm with cheaper lens be obviously better?

These are the sorts of comparisons that interest me. I wonder how long we'll have to wait for them  Smiley .
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dturina
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« Reply #47 on: October 03, 2005, 04:24:03 AM »
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Ray, I found a link with samples for you - E300 with ZD 7-14:
http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/cda/review/2...03/22/1182.html

It's not exactly a lab test, but anyway.
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Danijel
dturina
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« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2005, 05:02:59 AM »
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Ray, I found a link with samples for you - E300 with ZD 7-14:
http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/cda/review/2...03/22/1182.html

It's not exactly a lab test, but anyway.
Here's some more:
http://www.pbase.com/enradman/olympus714

If only they could make a body to match the glass...
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Danijel
Ray
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« Reply #49 on: October 03, 2005, 05:26:42 AM »
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Thanks for that link, dturina. I've downpoaded a couple of images and they are certainly quite impressive with regard to straight lines and lack of chromatic aberration.

As regards resolution, I can't tell without a direct comparison with another 'known' lens.
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #50 on: October 03, 2005, 10:25:02 AM »
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The only difference in the last example is that they share infastructure (lens, focus, metering, flash, etc). I believe they need to be seen in the context of different formats.


That sharing of infrastructure is very significant. When the difference in price between a full frame body and an APS-C body is no more than the cost of an average zoom lens, it doesn't make much sense to deprive yourself of the full performance of all your lenses, including increased FoV on your wide angle lenses, for the sake of a few bucks.

However, the 4/3rds system doesn't share infrastructure with another format so I suppose there are better reasons for that format to survive than there are for the 'cropped' 35mm format.

Hehe, well I actually see it the other way around. The 4/3 system is out there standing alone and requires a total committment, whereas, anyone with an "old" 35mm system, can dip their toe in first to test the water before plunging in. The barriers to entry are lower.

I think we all get lost in the sensor issue, where the findamental belief is that bigger is always better. The sensor size is way down on my list of desired traits. In fact I think it's largely irrelevant. I want enough pixels, with good color. From the many tests, that amounts to the 1DsII or D2x, and from most reviews they are nearly equivalent. The tipping issue for "me" is the ability to conveniently use manual focus lenses of extremely high quality w/o any real inconvenience (full metering). Plus I really like the Nikon body layout and controls.

The tiny pixels on the D2x make for an impressive image, sharp corner to corner at low ISO, where I typically shoot. I am slightly telecentric in my seeing so the FL multilpler is a plus. 50/1.4 is now a 75/1.4 which works for me.

I made my system decision based upon my needs.

Would I like to have a FF sensor. You betcha, I'm first in line if I can get more of what I already have. With the small pixel technology, I would expect it to be quite an advance over the current state of the art. My preference is for a "near" FF in the 1" by 1.2" format, as I like the old 8x10 / 16x20 print format best. A 1 inch tall by 1.2 inch across sensor would give me effective FF (no wasteful crop i.e. 645 vs 6 square)and 20+ mpxls with the D2x pixel. But we're talking expensive and no doubt massive overkill for the vast majority of amateur or professional photographers including me.

Cutting out the extreme edges would help the wide lenses cope. While Nikon wides have a good rep, I suspect they would suffer somewhat too with FF35mm. Its always about compromises.

Nikon doesn't listen anymore to me that my teenagers do, so its all hypothetical at this point.

Bob
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BJL
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« Reply #51 on: October 03, 2005, 04:20:04 PM »
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But the image quality will not be the slighter bit better, and ther are downsides to the larger sensor, same focal length approach:

a) Cost.
You are paying for and carrying a more expensive camera.

BJL,
I don't think anyone has tried to make the point that larger format cameras are not more expensive.
Ray, let me make this simple. I am addressing solely your comparison done assuming the use of equal focal length lenses in different DSLR formats. In that particular comparison, the clear, inherent cost advantage of a smaller sensor is not offset by any advantage whatsoever to using a larger sensor. Longer focal lengths are essential to getting an image quality advantage from a larger sensor.

And as to your comparisons using the Four Thirds 300/2.8: this debate is overall about the claim that 24x36mm is inherently superior to smaller DSLR formats in general, to the point that those smaller formats will all eventually fail except perhaps at the lowest price levels. Amongst those smaller format DSLR systems, Four Thirds is clearly a far smaller player than Nikon DX. (I am not one of deluded brand loyalists who thinks that the best choice for them must be the best choice for everyone. For example, I would prefer the D2X over any current E system body for pro. sports photography. Over any other DSLR in fact.)

So if you wish to prove that smaler DSLR formats are inevitiably inferior to 24x36mm, try comparing a Nikon DX DSLR like the D2X, equipped with a 200/2 or 300/2.8 or 400/2.8, to a Canon 24x36 body with whatever Canon lens seems the closest match. If you compare with D2X and 1Ds MkII bodies, I am tempted to suggest that the Canon lens should be limited to somewhat lower cost and weight, to compensate for the D2X's lower cost and weight!
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BJL
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« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2005, 05:01:52 PM »
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The Canon charts have the thick lines representing contrast at 10 lp/mm and the thin lines 30 lp/mm. Black are at maximum aperture and blue at f8.

What I see here are thick black lines at virtually 100% MTF on the Canon chart, falling off just a bit towards the edges. This is clearly a better response than the Zuiko 150/2 at 20 lp/mm.
Ray, I sugget rereading Michael's esay on unerstanding MTF, ncluding the following:
"generally speaking a lens whose thick lines (10 LP/mm) are above .8 on the chart should be regarded as having excellent image quality. Above .6 is regarded as "satisfactory". Below .6 is, well, below."

Translate 10lp/mm to 20lp/mm for Four Thirds (and perhaps increase it also for pixel counts that go beyonf 35mm film performance levels.)

Both the Canon 300/2.8 and Olympus 150/2 have such high MTF at 10lp/mm and 20lp/mm respectively that they are solidly in the "excellent" range, and one is unlikely to see any significant different in print quality as far as those measurements are concerned. (The same for the Olympus 300/2.8, which I thought was you preferred comparison to the Canon 300/2.8!) mainly this shows that extremely narrow FOV lens designs make it relatively easy to get good performance, so long as you are willing to pay enough for all the good optical glass needed.

It seems to me that this "MTF-peeping" tells us very little about which of these two excellent lenses is better than the other.

(As to "price-peeping" though, the Canon 300/2.8 costs about twice as much as the Olympus 150/2, in line with having double an aperture of twice the area and hence about twice the front element area, and so maybe twice as much glass needed.)

Then again, I could take a leaf out of your book and try to dismiss the Canon 300/2.8's MTF charts as you did the Olympus 7-14's: "The MTF charts look too good to be true." But I am not into special pleading for my chosen brand and against favorable evidence for products from another brand. Couldn't we just agree that at the top of the line, Canon, Nikon and Olympus are all offering excellent lenses?
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BJL
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« Reply #53 on: October 03, 2005, 05:20:56 PM »
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... for me the math simply doesn't add up. Most of those Zuiko lenses might be a cut above their Canon equivalent but to achieve the same image quality as 35mm is capable of, their MTF response has to be at least equal at double the frequency, ie. the 150mm Zuiko prime that produces the same FoV as the Canon 300/2.8, needs to have an MTF response at 60 lp/mm that's as high as the Canon lens at 30 lp/mm, an MTF response at 80 lp/mm that's as high as the 300/2.8 IS at 40 lp/mm and a response at 20 lp/mm that's as high as the Canon lens at 10 lp/mm.

I think that's too much to expect, don't you?
No, not if one understands lens design. Doubling focal length and doubling image circle diameter esentially requires doubling magnification, and thus abberation effects that show up at 60lp/mm with the shorter focal length will show up equally at 30lp/mm with the larger.

To put it another way, one way to downsize a 300mm lens design for 35mm format to a 150mm lens for Four Thirds format is a combination of (a) reducing or eliminating the magnification of the "built-in teleconverter" in the rear elements of a typical telephoto lens design, and ( adding a built-in focal reducer (as Olympus seemingly did with their 35-100 f/2 design). Each of these steps shrinks abberations about in proportion to the shrinking of image size, so the 60lp/mm MTF curve out to 11mm for the new lens will be very similar to the 30lp/mm MTF curve out to 22mm for the original design.


On point (a), Ray of all people seems quite aware of how much better sharpness is when you remove a teleconverter!

And brightness is better too! This downsizing by a factor of two would also makes the lens two stops faster, allowing the smaller format to use of one quarter the ISO speed in low light/high shutter speed situations. Ray, do you really persist in believing that larger formats can use the same ISO in high speed, low light, telephoto situations, despite the obvious trend towards the need to use higher f-stops with the longer focal length lenses needed?

Olympus seems to be taking a middle strategy relative to the heaviest and most expensive 35mm format lenses; Four Thirds lenses at half the focal length that are one stop brighter rather than two, and thus significantly lighter and cheaper but effectively one stop slower. (Or equally fast if used with one half of the pixel count.)
Canon is doing somethig similar, developing a new lighter, cheaper line of high quality f/4 "L" lenses along-side existing f/2.8L ones: 17-40 f4/L, 24-105 f/4L IS , 70-200 f/4L, 400 f/4L IS DO. A sensible response to greatly increased usable ISO speeds.
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BJL
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« Reply #54 on: October 04, 2005, 01:22:29 PM »
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Of course, to be fair to BJL, he has already conceded that telephoto lens design cannot provide the extra quality necessary to compensate for the smaller sensor ...
When and wher edid I concede that? My rough summary is that increasing format size and focal length will in general bring at most a modest resolution improvement on equal sized prints ("lines per picture height"), which must be weighed against the increase in cost and weight.

From APS-C to 35mm format in DSLR's, that cost difference started out at $2,500 to $3,000 when the 1Ds ($8,000) and 14/n ($5,000) were up against the D1X ($5,500?), D100 ($2,000) and D60 ($2,000).

Now the cost difference is $2,000 to $2,700: $2,000 for 5D vs 20D), $2,300 for 1DsMkII vs D2X, $2,700 for cheapest 35mm DSLR (5D) vs cheapest smaller format DSLR (E-500?)
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Ray
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« Reply #55 on: October 04, 2005, 11:10:21 PM »
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So if you wish to prove that smaler DSLR formats are inevitiably inferior to 24x36mm, try comparing a Nikon DX DSLR like the D2X, equipped with a 200/2 or 300/2.8 or 400/2.8, to a Canon 24x36 body with whatever Canon lens seems the closest match.
BJL,
Inferior? Superior? These are emotive terms. I'm certainly not trying to argue that formats smaller than 35mm are inferior. I'm simply making the point that 35mm is a more versatile tool. (If more versatile equates to superior in your mind, then so be it.) Digital FF 35mm produces the goods of sufficient quality to make big, exhibition size prints as well as small prints, yet is still reasonably light and convenient to use.

The 4/3rds system is ideal for smallish to medium size prints (say A3+ maximum), but might prove to be limited if you wanted to exhibit a largish print, say 18"x24".

If you are one of those people who claims to know that he/she will never buy a printer of larger format than the Epson 1280/90 or desire prints larger than A3+, then you might confidently buy an Olympus 4/3rds system, or indeed you might buy it as a second camera when weight is a problem and maximum quality is not an issue, although personally I would opt for the new Sony DSC R1 if I wanted something light and versatile yet still retaining good quality, for climbing a mountain for example.

However, if Olympus releases camera bodies with improved sensors of higher pixel density and lower noise, then some of their more expensive and heavier[/i] lenses (such as the 7-14/f4) might be able to take on a Canon 5D/ 16-35 combination at a similar price and weight, but I'm doubtful. By the time we get an Olypus 12mp body we'll probably have a 16mp (or more) 5D successor.
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Ray
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« Reply #56 on: October 05, 2005, 12:27:20 AM »
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Ray, I sugget rereading Michael's esay on unerstanding MTF, ncluding the following:
"generally speaking a lens whose thick lines (10 LP/mm) are above .8 on the chart should be regarded as having excellent image quality. Above .6 is regarded as "satisfactory". Below .6 is, well, below."

BJL,
I had a fair understanding of MTF charts before Michael wrote that tutorial. However, having re-read the article at your suggestion I find the following relevant reference:-

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the higher up the chart the 10 LP/mm line is (the thick lines), the higher the contrast reproduction capability of the lens will be.

Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. You are quite right in implying that the performance of a lens at 10 lp/mm is not critical to its ultimate resolution performance in large prints. It affects over all contrast which can in any case be corrected through Photoshop's USM, although it's clearly advantageous to start off with a an image that's already contrasty.

Nevertheless, the point cannot be stressed too loudly, if you want to make a large print that's sharp from close up, from a small sensor, then the resolution of the lens has to be greater to a degree inversely proportional to the size of the sensor.

My comparison of the MTF charts of the Zuiko 150/4 and the Canon 300/2.8 indicate that this condition has not been met by the Zuiko lens. The Zuiko 150/4 is a fine lens, but to compete with the Canon 300/2.8 (in conjunction with the 4/3rds sensor about 1/4 of the size) it needs to be an ultra superb lens, which it ain't.

Sorry! Facts of life.
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Ray
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« Reply #57 on: October 05, 2005, 12:45:20 AM »
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No, not if one understands lens design. Doubling focal length and doubling image circle diameter esentially requires doubling magnification, and thus abberation effects that show up at 60lp/mm with the shorter focal length will show up equally at 30lp/mm with the larger.

Maybe with the same amount of resources for lens design and manufacture. But longer focal length lenses have a habit of being more expensive, often very much more expensive.

So it seems there are[/i] techniques of getting around those principles you've espoused, although at some considerable cost.
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Ray
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« Reply #58 on: October 05, 2005, 02:27:02 AM »
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Of course, to be fair to BJL, he has already conceded that telephoto lens design cannot provide the extra quality necessary to compensate for the smaller sensor ...
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When and wher edid I concede that? My rough summary is that increasing format size and focal length will in general bring at most a modest resolution improvement on equal sized prints ("lines per picture height"), which must be weighed against the increase in cost and weight.

BJL,
There are a number of comments from you dispelling the belief that telephoto lenses designed for the smaller format condense the image circle to a smaller circle with proportionally higher resolution. You've debunked this as being too simplistic. You also stated on page 4 of this thread the following.

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Ray is mostly right that any image you can get with a certain focal length (like 300mm) in one format, you can get about equally as well using the same focal length with a sensor that is larger and yet has the same pixel size, by cropping.

And again on page 1:-
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Using the same focal length as with a smaller sensor and then cropping more means that you use only a portion of the larger sensor of the same size as the smaller sensor.

With the above quotes in mind, I make the following comparison between the Zuiko 300/2.8 and the Canon 300/2.8.

(1) Both lenses are of similar quality.

(2) Both lenses could probably be used on either camera (4/3rds or 35mm) if adaptors were available.

(3) The Zuiko might be a marginally finer lens, but it's also a marginally heavier and more expensive lens.

(4) The current 8mp E-300 or E-500 used with the Zuiko 300/2.8 would deliver higher resolution than the Canon 1Ds2/300mm combination because of the higher pixel density of the E-300, not principally because of any higher resolving capacity of the Zuiko lens.

(5) This temporary advantage of the E-300 for bird watchers will be gradually eroded as pixel density of 35mm sensors increase to the point where AA filters can be dispensed with. Ie., the day Canon introduces a 32MP 35mm sensor is the day 4/3ds becomes irrelevant as a competitor, quality wise, under any circumstances.
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dturina
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« Reply #59 on: October 05, 2005, 03:24:05 AM »
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Guys, you are forgetting weight. For 4/3, I can take a 50-200 f/2.8-3.5 and cover the same range as Canon 100-400L. However, the Zuiko is much lighter, sharper and faster, making it a very compact and portable solution. Combined with the 14-54 f/2.8-3.5, as a standard zoom, I would have an excellent two lens combination I can put in a small bag and carry with me all day without having to die under the burden - especially if I take E500 as a lightweight alternative to my E1. Weight is actually as important to me as image quality and ergonomics, because if a system is too heavy, I won't feel inclined to taking it with me for a whole day trip in the national park. It would be too exhausting. Compromises are sometimes good. Highest level of image quality might sometimes be a price I'm willing to pay if it means my back won't hurt the whole day. After all, I'm doing photography for fun, not for money, and it isn't supposed to be hard work. I have that elsewhere.
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Danijel
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