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 Post subject: AF-S 60 f/2.8N ED
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:15 am 
Just got this lens yesterday. These are just my initial impressions but I'll have more to follow.

Build quality is good. The lens is plastic but is built to quite a high standard, it feels solid and there are no gaps in the construction or focus rings etc. The lens is not sealed in any way and there is no rubber gasket on the lens mount. The lens mount is a metal one which is to be expected. The focus ring is of a decent size and quite smooth but it has a high level of friction which helps with accuracy with using MF and the focus distances are not evenly spread out across the 180 degree turn of the focus ring. Approximately 20 degrees takes you from infinity to 50cm and the rest of the 180 degree turn covers 50 - 18.5cm. Very odd to use if using MF for all kinds of shooting but helpful if you only use MF for the closer distances.

The focus is very fast and quiet but it tends to have difficulty when going from one extreme to another and can hunt. Focus is surprisingly accurate at at close range all the way down to 1:1 but it will hunt unless the subject stands out reasonably well. Surprising to me was the fact that it could keep the focus quick and accurate at high magnifications, using the AF to track ants scurrying across leaves and flowers were no problem at all. However, going from normal distances to close range with the AF just does not work, pre-focusing is necessary. The lens does not extend when focusing.

The front element is very small but not recessed unlike most other macros and a hood is supplied. The hood itself is quite shallow at about 4cm but the very close working distance means the at 1:1 the subject is pretty much at the edge of the hood either blocking of natural light or the flash. The hood needs to be taken off for most close-up work.

I haven't really tested the lens extensively but my initial impressions are that it is sharp all the way from f/2.8 - f/22. It does not give a constantly level of sharpness across this range (that would be too good to be true) but the drop in sharpness as you move away from the sweet spot (f/4-5.6 or thereabouts) is quite subtle. I definitely feel comfortable shooting at any aperture without worries about sharpness as I do with my other lenses.

CA has been low so far and is minimal wide open. I've not experienced any CA when shooting normal and have to force it to show up by shooting dark objects against the sky.

Several people have stated that this 60mm does not give the same flat field of focus that the 60 f/2.8D was famous for. I haven't had the chance to test this yet. Distortion is negligible if it there at all. I haven't noticed any.

The bokeh is quite good. It is smooth and not distracting at all. Highlights in the background are rendered as perfect circles but I've yet to see how it handles harsh lighting in the background.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:51 am 
You forgot to add it to your signature :P

Let me ask you Graham, why did you get this lens? What did you want to do with it?

I haven t looked into this lens what so ever so i cant really comment on it, buts i m looking forward to see what your going to do with it :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:07 pm 
I did add it to my signature!

Well macro photography is one of my favourite branches of photography so that was the reason I went for a macro so you can expect to see a few macros from me. Also, my 18-135 already covers a decent range from wide-angle to telephoto and very rarely do I need to zoom in wider or tighter than I already can. The magnification on the other hand, while decent, is no substitute for a macro so that in addition to my interest in macrophotography made it a logical choice!

A wide-angle is next..... 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:08 pm 
alex168 wrote:
Let me ask you Graham, why did you get this lens? What did you want to do with it?


I just realised that I had barely mentioned anything at all that would hint that it was a macro.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:39 pm 
You know if you get one of those double sided filter you can get the macro attach the 50mm and get like almost a 2:1 macro right? that would get you really close and some very neat looking photos :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:14 pm 
Might try that in future, but not as a permanent macro fixture. I don't wanna risk the rear element of my 50mm. 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:04 pm 
Centre sharpness test

I compared the 60mm macro to my 18-135 for this test. It's the only lens I have that can match the field of view and IMO, the sharpest. At it's best it is sharper than my 50 f/1.8.

Both sets were taken with the camera about 2ft from the test chart in a well-lit area with the flash fired so shake is not an issue. Rather than RAW, they were shot in JPEG - large + fine with +/- 0 sharpening added in camera so the Nikon users reading this review will have an indication of the output quality.

f/3.0, this is the maximum aperture of the 60mm at this focusing range (~2 ft.).

Image

Sharp here and about the same as it is at f/2.8 (not included in the test). Note the slight amount of CA.

f/3.5

Image

Sharper still.

f/4.0

Image

The 60mm peaks at about here. Any further increase in sharpness is too small to be noticed or for me to place any importance on. Note that the CA is now almost completely gone.

[Left - 60mm] [Right - 18-135]

f/5.6

Image Image


So much more detail in the 60mm, the 18-135's look they have been been subject to NR when compared. The difference is quite significant although the 60mm is in it's "sweet-spot" or rather range while the 18-135 is shooting wide open. Interesting that the 18-135's max aperture is f/5.6 at 66mm making it no faster than the 18-55 and a constant f/5.6 66-135 zoom (...if that sounds better 8) ).

f/8.0

Image Image

The 60mm is still very sharp and the 18-135 is again nowhere near even though the 18-135's sharpness peaks between here and f/11.

f/11

Image Image

Same result, the 60mm is tack sharp

f/16

Image Image

Still sharp with no visible sign of diffraction but I would say that the sharpness begins to drop off from here onwards. Diffraction kicks in for the 18-135.

f/22

Image Image
[/b] 8)

Slight drop in sharpness but I would consider it very usable and it is still about as sharp as the 18-135 at f/8!

I am, so far, very impressed with the sharpness of the 60mm. It blows the 18-135 right out of the water and although this kit lens isn't the best, it is no slouch and resolution was what I considered to be it's strong point. The 60mm shows good levels of resolution from wide open to f/22 which can be very useful when stopping down for increased DOF at the higher magnifications. Note that the 60mm's max aperture is f/4.8 at 1:1 magnification.

It was not part of the test but the crops show that the 60mm does suffer from CA wide-open. It's not too bad but I wasn't expecting the 18-135 to outperform it.

Next: Corner sharpness.

Meanwhile, here is a sample. It's not my best job at controlling the DOF but it shows off the smooth bokeh of the lens.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:34 pm 
Corner sharpness test

I didn't really compare the 18-135's results here as the difference is more or less the same.

I've heard reports of the new 60mm (this one) not having the same flatness of field as the older 60 AF-D. I've not noticed this in practice although I'm not really sure if the slight decrease in sharpness is the usual drop seen in almost every lens or a slightly curved focus field. I'm not sure how to test this but if anybody wants to see a test and has the appropriate method I'm more than happy to try.

On a side note: The 18-135's corners seem to peak at f/16-22 when the centres are already losing sharpness to diffraction. Very weird!

f/3

Image

f/3.5

Image

f/4

Image

f/5.6

Image

f/8

Image

f/11

Image

f/16

Image

f/22

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:21 am 
Chromatic Aberration

The CA of this lens is worse than I originally thought. It doesn't show up too often (only in shots with very high contrast) and so far has been easy to correct but I think that it is worse than the older 60mm in this regard. Not a big deal but a little disappointing.

You can see it in this shot of my not-so-great headphones at f/6.3

Image

...and a 100% crop

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:57 pm 
I've added your review to this list.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:03 pm 
Thanks Luis!


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