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50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5 cm f/2 vs. Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D

11 August 2009
Szymon Starczewski

7. Coma and astigmatism



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In the previous part of our cycle this category witnessed the biggest difference between the old and the new. The coma level of the older lens was very high and the situation didn’t ameliorate much even on stopping down by one stop. In the case of slower Nikkors there is no such difference. Both of them show significant coma in the DX sensors’ corners and very significant in the full frame corners. The reaction on aperture closing is also pretty good in both cases. The new lens is perhaps a bit worse but, after all, it can be explained by the fact that it is also a bit faster.

Nikkor-S 5 cm f/2.0
50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5 cm f/2 vs. Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D - Coma and astigmatism
Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D
50 years of Nikon F-mount – Nikkor-S 5 cm f/2 vs. Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D - Coma and astigmatism

Built mainly from plastic elements, the cheap Nikkor AF 1.8/50 D has had a lot of astigmatism-related problems in our test, conducted on a small D200 sensor. On the full frame D3x camera its performance will be even worse because the measurement areas are further apart from the optical axis of the instrument. So the result of 20% didn’t surprised us much but it didn’t make us feel enthusiastic either. We were much more impressed by the old Nikkor-S behaviour. In its case the astigmatism level was 8% which is a good result even in the absolute scale. When we take into account the fact that the lens has been working for 40 years these 8% look even better. The solidity of workmanship makes itself felt.