Differences of detail level

I just tried comparing a full-frame 43MP Sony A7R3 and 135/1.8 Sigma lens bought for $1200 to a 16MP micro 4/3 Panasonic GM5 with an adapted FED 50/2.8 lens (E26m) obtained at a used book store for $4. Sony wins considerably on all counts other than size, which is to be expected. GM5 was obtained for the pocket camera role with a 20/1.7 lens.

5.6, ISO around 250. Click to expand to see the difference in detail.

135mm can be used almost directly into light sources. The 52mm, especially since it has wider coverage than needed, cannot — but its contrast improves greatly with a lens shade or a hand used as a gobo. Edge sharpness on the 52 falls off rapidly, even though only the center quarter of the lens area is used by micro 4/3 camera.

Conclusion: expensive modern lenses are better than cheap obsolete lenses. A real discovery, right? The purpose of my quest was to see if I could use the 52mm for stylizing 1930-1950s look in camera. The answer is “yes”, but focusing has to be done with great care. Even zoomed in, focus was difficult to obtain. The reason I was curious about the 52mm is that I started my photo learning on a FED camera with this or a very similar lens.

Compositions where detail isn’t critical look reasonably good.
Regular 20/1.7 in use. The detail is sharper, more even out to the corners, but the difference isn’t as much as I expected. The 20mm is half the size of the 52mm, supports AF and has much better contrast…at $270 and 60 years newer, that’s not surprising.
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2 Responses to Differences of detail level

  1. Albert Yang says:

    I generally find the bokeh of lenses that have aspherical elements to be not as pleasing. Older lenses tend to have quite a lot less elements; and so not as many things are corrected for; but I usually find the older lenses to be a more pleasing rendering for humans and portraits. I’m assuming that 52mm is a double gauss design. One of my favorite lenses from yesteryears was the Zuiko 50mm f1.8; not the sharpest 50mm compared to say a Zeiss 50mm F1.4; but I thought the rendering was pleasing; the bokeh was definitely more pleasing. I don’t find absolute sharpness to be the end-all-be-all of lenses; a lot of photographers wants a lens with no vignetting; and then add it in post; which I don’t quite understand.

    I not liked the rendering from Sigma’s new line of lenses; clinically sharp; yes; but lacks warmth and too many elements; giving a much flatter rendering. There’s a lot of things I can correct for in post; but micro-contrast that’s lost to high element count and lack of “3D pop” isn’t something I can get back in post.

  2. Spin Drift says:

    If you want to have portrait pop, go get a used Nikon D610 or D750 and a nikkor 85 1.8. That combo is amazing. I have the 105 1.4 and the 105 2.0 DC and a D850 that don’t come close to the 85 1.8.


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