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Articles

2009-06-12
 

50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G

4. Image resolution

Let’s move now to discussing image quality that both lenses mounted on a full-frame Nikon D3x give us. The test procedure is exactly the same as in all out lens tests – i.e. we take pictures writing simultaneously RAW and JPEG files, and then we convert RAWs, without sharpening, using dcraw program and saving them as TIFF files. We then measure MTF50 values using Imatest software.

The picture below shows the center of the frame performance.

50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution

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A distinct difference between the tested lenses we can only see at maximum aperture, where the younger instrument is noticeably better. From f/2.0 up results equalize and further on the lenses go neck and neck. What’s interesting, maximum recorded results for apertures of the range f/4.0-5.6 are also very similar. It’s worth to mention that they’re not record-breaking, but still reach a good level.

If you want to see what 50 years of technological progress gave us, we need to become interested in the edge of the frame. The picture below shows how the situation looks there.

50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution

This time the advantage of Nikkor AF-S 1.4/50 is very clear. The lenses start behaving similarly after stopping down to f/5.6 values. At wider apertures the results of the younger Nikkor are much better.

Tables are just tables, it’s worth to check how the situation looks in clippings of real pictures. Quite a vivid comparison (based on unsharpened JPGs) is presented below. In principle, it fully confirms what we wrote above.

Frame center - f/1.4
Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4
Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G
50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution 50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution
Frame center - f/4.0
Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4
Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G
50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution 50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution

Frame edge - f/1.4
Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4
Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G
50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution 50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution
Frame edge - f/4.0
Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4
Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G
50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution 50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5.8 cm f/1.4 vs. Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution

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