Please name the sharpest Nikon lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Bob G, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Bob G

    frederick Guest

    I had one of those 43-86 zooms. It would be the worst Nikkor lens that
    I've ever used when it was in "original working order".
    Soft, lots of CA, crazy distortion for a 2x zoom. Forgetting the optics
    completely, it was pretty well made, except for zoom creep.

    As far as the 55-200s go, the VR version is a gem. If it was to fall to
    pieces in a few years, who cares? Optically it is quite good, and for
    dx, there's nothing smaller and lighter that gives 200mm reach.
    It is miles ahead optically of any of the 70-300 AF Nikkors - apart from
    the new VR, and even that is not very good at the 300mm end, quite
    expensive, and only a fraction of a stop less slow at 200mm than the
    55-200 (F5.3 vs F5.6). I wish Nikon would make a 70-200 f4 VR, like the
    excellent Canon lens. Half the weight of an f2.8, and 95% of the time
    just as good.
    frederick, Feb 21, 2008
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  2. Bob G

    TH O Guest

    Those samples are pretty sharp and good quality to my eye. Not the best,
    but pretty good.

    I remember Galen Rowell describing his occasional usage of the low-end,
    cheap 80-200 and a wide-angle zoom (28-80, I think). He threw them on a
    tripod and stopped down to f/8 or f/11 to create some of his beautiful
    images. The moral - good technique is key and great photographers can
    create great images without high-end lenses and bodies.
    TH O, Feb 22, 2008
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  3. Bob G

    TH O Guest

    The older lenses have not been optimized for digital sensors and do not
    have the latest coatings for example. One example which comes to mind is
    the 20mm 2.8. I haven't used it but I've read a few times of its
    inferior performance on digital versus film bodies. I've heard similar
    complaints about the 28 1.8.
    TH O, Feb 22, 2008
  4. Bob G

    acl Guest

    In fact all I am saying is that all the lenses I've ever used do get
    there eventually (in the sense, for example, that you can force a d200
    to produce aliasing artifacts with any lens I've used). I've just
    tried photographing a slanted slide rule, and all 7 of my lenses can
    be made to produce aliasing quite easily.
    acl, Feb 22, 2008
  5. Bob G

    Yoshi Guest

    You are totally fucking clueless.
    Yoshi, Feb 22, 2008
    *severely* misfocussed, f/1.4.
    Same image.
    Threshold tool -- default setting.
    See the aliasing?

    See how much "be made to produce aliasing" is worth?

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 22, 2008
  7. Bob G

    acl Guest

    Hmm.. Are you really misunderstanding what I am saying, or just
    pretending to do so? For the last time: What I mean is that I can see
    that there is detail above the sampling frequency of the D200 sensor
    with all my lenses. Now to prevent the discussion being steered
    towards a different direction which will make my comment look
    irrelevant (although I doubt I'll manage to avoid that), I was
    responding to your comment

    by pointing out that this is at 50% transferred contrast, and that the
    "lp/mm" thing will go up if you decrease the transferred contrast at
    which you measure. Now I am sure you know all this, I know this, we
    all know this. I was merely making a comment. So can we please leave
    it at that? (probably not, but one can hope).
    acl, Feb 22, 2008
  8. LOL! For the last time you need to realize Wolfie is an idiot and is just
    stringing you along.

    Rita Berkowitz, Feb 22, 2008
  9. Bob G

    C J Campbell Guest

    Highly questionable and I would like to see credible reviews that say
    that. Both lenses are generally described by reviewers as surprisingly
    sharp given their zoom range and prices. I think that I would prefer to
    rely on credible reviewers like Thom Hogan before some anonymous dull

    Glass snobs don't like these lenses. Fine. But being glass snobs does
    not make them better photographers. Quite the contrary, in fact.
    Whatever the glass snobs say, the 55-200 and 18-200 are good, sharp
    lenses with above average optical performance. The only thing you
    sacrifice is build quality.
    C J Campbell, Feb 22, 2008
  10. [/QUOTE]
    I am saying that unless you exactly specify what you mean by
    "be made to produce aliasing", that term is completely
    I see.
    With which camera with a higher sampling frequency than your D200
    do you see that?[1]
    It can go up, true.
    Can it go up meaningfully?
    How high can it go up meaningfully?
    How do you measure it?
    Do I get bonus if I was to claim that I actually saw the
    contrast as per the 2 demo images above?
    But I still don't know your methology. I am very interested
    at exactly which level of contrast you count your lp/mm or


    [1] Unless you want to claim that Nikon manages to ignore
    e.g. the sampling theorem --- or unless you mistake Moiré
    patterns for detail.
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 23, 2008
  11. Go ahead, Rita, make my day.

    Please tell us again that isn't

    Or post some of your ... valuable shots.

    Or go ranting at Canon again. Rita-boy and Richie-boy make a
    good team there, a match made in heaven.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 23, 2008
  12. Bob G

    acl Guest

    Well, I wrote aliasing and you interpreted it as stairstepping in
    lines (as opposed to aliasing of frequencies above nyquist onto lower,
    causing moire). So now it's my fault that you misunderstood. Typical.
    No, I am claiming that you simply misunderstood what I was saying: I
    was saying that I see aliasing (ie artifacts caused by undersampling),
    therefore conclude that there is detail above the sampling frequency.
    Being you, you'll now keep arguing rather than say "aha I see, I
    thought you meant something else".

    No I've had quite enough. I just hate pompous idiots who never admit
    to being wrong.
    acl, Feb 23, 2008
  13. Yes it is! You are arguing with Navas's twin brother.
    LOL! Wolfie has a natural way of doing that. He's your responsibility so
    you can feed him.

    Rita Berkowitz, Feb 23, 2008
  14. Bob G

    Alan Browne Guest

    1. There is a difference between "image quality" and "sharpness"

    2. AF usually compromises sharpness:
    -hysteresis to allow the AF to work
    -less 'drag' on the focus (for the motors) makes manual focus less certain
    -viewfinder manual focus more difficult (absense of the focus prisms)

    Others will tell you which Nikon lenses are particularly sharp or high
    quality as they see fit, although one of the "greats" is the 105mm
    Micro. (macro lens).

    Alan Browne, Feb 23, 2008
  15. If your dictionary calls that not "aliasing", you need to
    replace it.
    Unspoken assumption: only "aliasing of frequencies above
    nyquist onto lower" causes more. That assumption is wrong,
    as I show below. And why didn't you say so first?
    If I'd drool "uga uga uga" and you misunderstood, yes, then it
    would be *my* fault. Why should I cut yourself slack I don't
    cut myself?

    You see something you _think_ is "artifacts caused by
    undersampling". That does not make it so. It'd be far more
    convincing if you *showed* the raw data, how it was produced
    and why you interpret what you interpret.

    BTW: Stair stepping also is aliasing, caused by undersampling:
    oversampling solves it. Try *correctly* scaling down and see
    it disappear. QED.
    Aha, I see, you _meant_ something else.

    And yet! But Yet!
    => Lots of moiré --- the patterns that you see are simply not
    there. But does it indicate that the lens resolution is better
    than the camera?
    => Quite a bit moiré in th center ... does this lens outresolve
    the camera?
    => I think everybody will agree that this is the sharpest, most
    resolved one of the three. It's also what happens if you
    focus the lens, instead of unfocussing it!!
    (Oh, the vertical stripes? That's the monitor ... and if they
    don't show up in the more blurred variants, that just might
    tell you something.)[1]

    Second --- how's your chroma subsampling these days?[2]

    For bonus points:é_fringes_IMG_3712.jpg
    beautiful moiré, completely independent of sampling frequency.

    It's not my job to show you without any data from your side how
    you are misinterpreting things and show you some cheap parlor
    tricks which produce the results you so eagerly interpret.
    Yet I go that extra mile, league and marathon.

    Then I get called names when I ask for clarification!

    I must say, my dear chap, you are a bit over the line.


    [1] How to reproduce: Take a Siemens Star. Shoot it (I did it
    of a monitor). Center crop (these are 100% crops). For the
    ones above, simply defocus your lens. I used a 20D + 50mm
    f/1.4 at 1/125s, f/2.5.

    [2] If you do not understand, don't worry, it's just another
    factor to overlook ...
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 24, 2008
  16. [...]

    Rita ... shut up.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 24, 2008
  17. Bob G

    acl Guest

    Conversation is impossible unless a) there is an assumption that the
    other party isn't a blabbering idiot, b) context is taken into
    account, c) common sense is applied.

    I could spend a lot of time and effort explaining in detail where each
    of these conditions was violated in the previous exchanges, but it's a
    complete waste of time, because you seem to enjoy building up
    intricate arguments for the opposite of whatever your "opponent" is
    saying. Since I don't have the time, patience or, for that matter,
    motivation to argue with you, I give up.

    As I said, I just cannot stand pompous fools.
    acl, Feb 24, 2008
  18. You fail on all 3 counts.
    Then don't look into mirrors.

    Anyway, since you fail to produce reproducible facts ... your
    claim's not worth manure, not even weeds will grow on it.
    Substituting name calling for facts just doesn't do it.


    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 25, 2008
  19. Bob G


    Jan 20, 2012
    Likes Received:
    The 24-70 f/2.8 is sharper than the 28-70 f/2.8 at their sharpest centre apertures of f/4 or f/5.6 over the entire frame.
    sako, Jan 20, 2012
  20. Bob G


    Jan 20, 2012
    Likes Received:
    The Nikon 200 f/2 AF-S VR II @ f/4 is the sharpest lens currently made by Nikon. The Nikon 300 f/2.8 AF-S VR II and 400 f/2.8 VR II follow very closely. The Nikon 200 f/2 AF-S VR II is sharper than the Zeiss 100/2 MP and that is one sharp lens.

    Somebody mentioned the 180 f/2.8 AF, well it's not even remotely in the same league for sharpness at any aperture compared to the above lenses.
    sako, Jan 20, 2012
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