Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50 mm f/2.8

5 July 2021
Maciej Latałło

4. Image resolution

Our tests of the Nikon Z system lenses are based on the Nikon Z7 body; the RAW files, produced by that camera are developped by neutral software such as dcraw. As we have already been able to check thoroughly optical properties of several fixed-focal instruments of this system, we think we can determine proper reference levels. Lenses reaching record values should be able to exceed 85 lpmm; maximum results of excellent system prime lenses might fit the range from 80 to 85 lpmm. The decency level we set at 41–43 lpmm.

Let's check how the Nikkor Z MC 50 mm f/2.8 compares- its results in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor and on the edge of full frame presents a graph below.

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50 mm f/2.8 - Image resolution

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The performance in the frame centre is undoubtedly bvery good. Already at the maximum relative aperture you deal with MTF values exceeding a very high level of 60 lpmm, and on stopping down the aperture the resolution is able to get to 75-77 lpmm. It seems Nikon optics specialists did a really good job because the maximum result of the Nikkor Z MC 2.8/50 is a tad higher than the resolution of the much faster Nikkor Z 1.2/50. Of course you should mention the fact that the tested lens didn't manage to break the level set by the Nikkor Z 1.8/50. Still, in general f/2.8 lenses find it hard to compete with much faster models with the maximum relative aperture of f/1.2-1.8.

The results on the edge of the smaller APS-C/DX sensor are good as well. By f/2.8 the lens lands firmly above the decency level and stopping down of the aperture improves the whole performance even further – as a result, near f/5.6 the lens gets to almost 65 lpmm.

The weakest performance you observe on the edge of full frame and for obvious reasons; still even there you shouldn't be overly worried. At the maximum relative aperture images are decent and their quality improves quite quickly on stopping down. As a result for a wide range of apertures, from f/4.0 to f/11, the lens is able to produce sharp images across the frame – exactly a feature you would like to observe in this type of instrument.

To sum up, even though the Nikkor Z MC 50 mm f/2.8 didn't approach any record-breaking values in this category we still think it fared exceedingly well in the frame centre and didn't have any slip-ups on the edges. It is a performance you would expect from this type of equipment.

At the end of this chapter, traditionally, we presents crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart; they were saved as JPEG files along with RAW files we used for the analysis above.

Nikon Z7, JPEG, f/2.8
Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50 mm f/2.8 - Image resolution
Nikon Z7, JPEG, f/4.0
Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50 mm f/2.8 - Image resolution