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kye

The big random lens shootout

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I've just shot part one of this lens comparison which is the ~70-80mm equivalent lenses for MFT.

https://app.sugarsync.com/iris/wf/D8480669_08693060_6019565

Notes:

  • It's a mixture of cheap/expensive and vintage/modern lenses, and my goal was to see how these lenses compared aesthetically and to choose which to keep
  • All shots were taken with my GH5 which has a 2x crop compared to FF, so your FOV may vary, and remember that the edges distort more than the centre part which is what we're looking at
  • This isn't designed to tell you how good each lens is, but more how good they are compared to each other - google has many great examples from each of these lenses
  • All shots taken in RAW and converted to JPG but with no other processing so this is almost SOOC
  • I tried to match FOV for lenses with different focal lengths, but it's an imperfect test
  • I started with each lens wide open and then stopped-down, some lenses have more photos because they have half-stop clicks, some have full-stops, some are click-less (in which case I did full-stops) but they're not exact so some exposure differences are in there, I also noticed that exposures were often off so I'm not confident that all the clicks were accurate on all the lenses (some are vintage after all)
  • The electronic shutter only goes up to 1s exposures, so some of the lenses didn't get tested at their smallest apertures, but diffraction just kicks in so I don't feel like we're missing much
  • Apart from adjusting aperture (and shutter speed to compensate) everything else was manual, ISO 100, and identical WB and lighting, so colour differences are the lenses
  • I focused each lens on the marks on the little white card in the centre and normally stopped the lens down a stop or so to help with manual focus, I've heard some lenses change focus as you adjust the aperture but I didn't allow for that so the focus might shift a little perhaps
  • Unless noted the lenses were used without a speed booster, and the SB I used with the two Helios lenses was a cheap Chinese one from ebay.  I also shot the Helios lenses without a SB so you can compare and see if the SB is good or not.

My next step is to test the 135-200mm lenses (270-400mm equivalents) which I can't test with the current setup because my room isn't long enough.  I'll add these to this same thread when they're ready.

After that I'll narrow the field down a bit and go shoot some real-world video to see how they go.

Happy to hear impressions about what you see, what you like and what you don't.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Lenses are:

  • 14-42/3.5-5.6 Panasonic at 17mm
  • 17.5/0.95 Voigtlander
  • 35/3.5 Super Takumar
  • 37/2.8 Mir-1B
  • 40/1.8 Konica Hexanon
  • 14-42/3.5-5.6 Panasonic at 42mm
  • 58/2 Helios (x2) both with and without SB

and lol, I just realised I forgot to test the 55/1.8 Takumar.  Oops!

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Comparison images.  These are high-res so be sure to zoom into them.

All lenses fully wide open:

490886306_BiglenscomparisonFWOs.thumb.jpg.e19645ac358f29c8f58f9440247afec8.jpg

F2.8:

1225877071_Biglenscomparison2_8s.thumb.jpg.be5f6bd42b3bd4621a48a2d52252f388.jpg

F5.6:

304123895_Biglenscomparison5_6s.thumb.jpg.6b4efd55cb2d4d5bf43f455bdb13fabe.jpg

If you want the super-high-res versions that wouldn't upload to the forum, they're in the original link.

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My thoughts:

  • The Takumars have a distinct look to them.  
    • The colours are kind of like adding an instagram filter over them, but they also add a kind of filter over the 3-dimensionality of the lens too, kind of giving it a 'look'.  I think this might be quite cinematic for some people but to me it removes some of the vibrancy of the real world.
    • I've eliminated them from my options, partly because their focus rings work backwards, but also I want that 3D pop.
    • This is evident even when you compare all the lenses at 5.6 and all of them (except the kit lens) should be in their best aperture range 
  • I am eliminating the Mir too.
    • Looking at all of them, the Mir at 2.8 seems to be more stopped down than the others at 2.8.  I checked against a few lenses and it appears that the other lenses are consistent with each-other so it doesn't look like I've made a mistake, but rather that the Mir isn't as fast as other lenses at 2.8 (notably, the Konica 40mm with its very similar focal length). Even just looking through the Konica and Mir side-by-side when wide open, the Konica looks closer to double the diameter rather than the 1.4x it should be, so I think the Russians might have been bending the truth a little :)
    • The Mir is really soft at 2.8, especially compared to other lenses that are stopped-down by a full stop already.  
    • The Mir at 2.8 is a lot slower than the Konica or Helios / SB combinations.  A normal exposure with the Helios / SB combination at ISO 100, requires ISO 160 from the Konica and ISO 400 from the Mir.  Combined with the GH5's ok-but-not-great low-light performance and my shooting in natural light even at night, it's not a good combination.
    • I read that the Mir is Apochromatic and it may well be, but the other lenses are fine on the 2x crop of the GH5 so I don't really see that as being that critical.
    • It's also worse in the corners at 2.8 than the Konica is at 1.8, and also less halation too, so that's more reasons.
  • The m42 speed booster I have seems fine.  The Helios SB combo is very smeared in the corners, but the Takumar 55/1.8 doesn't have that problem, so it's the Helios lenses not the SB.  Unfortunately if I want the extra performance of the SB I'll need a 50-60mm lens that isn't the Helios or the Takumar.
  • The Konica is an absolutely stunning performer.
    • It has great contrast and sharpness wide open, corners are still sharp (on MFT)

The Voigtlander is my main lens and the purpose of these tests are to choose the lens to go with it and my 8mm lens for traveling.  Out of the other lenses I have here, the Konica looks like the best overall performer, the Helios+SB combo is one-stop faster but soft in corners, and the Takumar+SB combo leaves me cold and focuses the wrong way.

I think it's really a choice between the Konica, buying a fast 50-60mm m42 lens for the m42 SB, or buying a fast 50-60mm lens and a SB for that lens mount.

 

5 minutes ago, zerocool22 said:

Is the whitebalance off of the voightlander in the first pic?

No. Fixed WB on all shots.  I just did a little test and you can see the colour shift on the LCD as you adjust the aperture back and forwards.

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What also is interesting if you shoot light into the lens. To check how the lens flares, or milks out + the achromatic abberation will show up on backlit objects. Which is also something I keep in mind when choosing a lens set per project. 

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13 minutes ago, zerocool22 said:

What also is interesting if you shoot light into the lens. To check how the lens flares, or milks out + the achromatic abberation will show up on backlit objects. Which is also something I keep in mind when choosing a lens set per project. 

I'll pick a few lenses and go out and shoot something, so I'll try and get some lights into the lenses when I do.  I was going to have a light in the background for bokeh but ended up with the specular highlights on the plastic bag in the background instead.

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Telephotos....

All lenses wide open:

266717748_wideopen.thumb.jpg.e905458de6d073bfa10907af0ca46972.jpg

All lenses at f8:

f8.thumb.jpg.00fc584aa5110b31ec31b3fecb0e726d.jpg

The 150mm S-M-C Takumar has fungus in it (I couldn't open it to clean it!) so some of the haze will be to do with that.

The Petri is the obvious winner here when you take into account the price - $4 on ebay.  Beyond that, the Pentax lenses are all in wonderful condition, and the Minoltas are seriously worn, the 135mm especially, but still deliver a lovely image.  I can't over-state how nice the Pentax lenses are to use, the dials are smoother than silk, and the build quality and feel are spectacular.  They are on a par with my Voigtlander 17.5mm 0.95 which cost almost 50 times as much.

I'm keeping the Minoltas and the Petri because they have the focus the correct direction for my muscle memory, but otherwise the Pentax lenses would be just great.

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Even though the Takumar has fungus, I still think it’s the winner. The Minoltas look good too but the Tak and Pentax just has a little more... oomph.

Maybe it’s just me, but you really do adjust fairly quickly to the different focus directions. But, I believe I shot with a lot of Nikkors and Pentax/Tak Lenses when I first started, so in some ways that direction feels more natural.

Sorry to say, even with the cheap price, the Petri is the big loser here.

Cool test. Thanks. 

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On 3/23/2019 at 6:15 PM, mercer said:

Sorry to say, even with the cheap price, the Petri is the big loser here.

I agree with this.

I'm very curious about the contrast difference between the f3.5 and f8 shots on the Petri @kye

I'm presuming its a difference in a post correction rather than the lens causing it ?

2081132235_petricomp.thumb.jpg.cc7d406254d236c2431b7b12ce4ddc63.jpg 

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11 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

I agree with this.

I'm very curious about the contrast difference between the f3.5 and f8 shots on the Petri @kye

I'm presuming its a difference in a post correction rather than the lens causing it ?

2081132235_petricomp.thumb.jpg.cc7d406254d236c2431b7b12ce4ddc63.jpg 

No post-processing done.  The only adjustment I made between any of the shots was aperture (of course) and SS for exposure.

The scene had very strong light coming from left-of-frame from a ~3m full-height window with full Australian sun, so I suspect it's a difference in the flare, and at the time I thought it was due to the coating, but the fact it varies so much between the two apertures that doesn't seem to make sense.

The other thing is that the exposures weren't all identical because the apertures didn't always line up to full-stops and I didn't have infinitely adjustable SS, so just matched the exposure to the nearest third-stop SS adjustment.  Maybe that is playing a role too?

I'm not really sure why people don't like the Petri.  The other lenses make it look low contrast, but in reality the other lenses are also low-contrast in comparison to other lenses, but unfortunately I don't own any of them and couldn't include them in the test! :)

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A disclaimer BTW:

Petri was the 1st lens and camera (a rangefinder) ever used by me more than 4 decades ago. As matter of fact, where everything began.

I still recall that lovely focus assist where a ghost greenish yellow line was the modern focus peaking of nowadays. No AF, no chance to erase the film or lab cost either. Pretty ingenious, actually.

Only as reminder to those who have no clue what this brand and many others mean for several of us : )

BTW part II as moral of the story, think twice or bite your tongue before to bash Canikon, Fujis and alike please... LOL : -)

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4 hours ago, kye said:

No post-processing done.  The only adjustment I made between any of the shots was aperture (of course) and SS for exposure.

The scene had very strong light coming from left-of-frame from a ~3m full-height window with full Australian sun, so I suspect it's a difference in the flare, and at the time I thought it was due to the coating, but the fact it varies so much between the two apertures that doesn't seem to make sense.

I had considered the lighting change but I couldn't see any difference in the spread of highlights on the bottom of the piano keys where I would have expected them in that situation.

Its that inconsistency that set me against the Petri as I don't mind the lower contrast of it per se ;)

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19 hours ago, Emanuel said:

@BTM_Pix for some reason you're to me and many others one of fav posters here... ; ) Other than that, the flaws going with that Petri are simply delicious! : -)

Delicious!  what a word to use!!

I think I will adopt that word as my goal for all images and colour grading :)

15 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

I had considered the lighting change but I couldn't see any difference in the spread of highlights on the bottom of the piano keys where I would have expected them in that situation.

Its that inconsistency that set me against the Petri as I don't mind the lower contrast of it per se ;)

The more we analyse those two images, the more confused I get about what is going on with that lens..  what other tests should I run to better understand what's going on?

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7 hours ago, kye said:

The more we analyse those two images, the more confused I get about what is going on with that lens..  what other tests should I run to better understand what's going on?

I suppose the first step is to eliminate the light variation aspect and do a different test under artificial continuous lighting.

If you include a greyscale chart then you will be able to evaluate a bit more objectively what is happening from shot to shot with differing apertures. You can download and print these from a gazillion places if you haven't got one but here is an example site.

http://www.kozco.com/calibrat/gray.html

Use the grey background to set white balance and also use the spot meter to set exposure from it too.

With the camera in aperture priority mode you should then have a consistent exposure across every shot as you change aperture.

I would do a shot at every aperture not just the two that you were originally using just to see if and where the change begins.

When you are done you should be in a better position to start delving into what is happening by comparing RGB values of the different swatches on the chart at different apertures and also things like from the EXIF data note any shutter speed differences that don't align with what you might expect with a one stop change of aperture etc 

And then when you've done all of that go and buy the Samyang ;)

 

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Ok, here's a quick comparison.  I didn't do spot WB or metering, but it was in Aperture priority mode, manual WB, and nearly identical framing with no backlighting, so this is probably a reasonable test.  I compared it to the Super Takumar as it has a similar FOV and aperture range.

1648092714_petrivssupertak.thumb.jpg.02b4ec96f62fb6902c3ed4554fade949.jpg

For reference, the focus was in the middle of the frame, which is the grass seed just above the lip of the glass on the left.  I have essentially cropped off the bottom and right of the frame in order to give a complete diagonal from centre-to-corner, although in this case there probably wasn't much point as there's nothing in focus in that part of the frame.  Anyway, the grass seed in the top-left is more than half-way to the edge of the frame.

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