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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Hmmm, lots of negative points up to now. But what are the alternatives?
To be honest, I'm not sure! I have to decide this weekend.
Stay tuned...

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:54 pm 
I m tuned! Alternatives? The f.14 but apart from that none that i m aware of!

Note that Mark praised the f1.4 version of this lens on his thread where he got the chance to work with a proper model!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:02 pm 
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The 85/1.4 is 3x more expensive and has a massive problem at FX with corners and borders up to f/2.8. That might be ok for portraiture but is certainly not ok for landscape and nature photography.
So no, this is no alternative for me.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:52 pm 
Yeah that is defently an issue! Price and IQ for such a lens.

Believe it or not i was playing around with that lens at my camera store when they sort of had a "Nikon day" at the store, a couple of professional photographers from Nikon came there to answer questions, you could try out gears etc. So i shot a few portraits of my brother in the store! But then again i didnt get the chance to pop in a CF card and grab some sample etc....

But i m interested in your final decision of this lens, you seem to be very critical to the build quality of the lenses and that is something i would like to become to, but i m not yet so experienced in performing these test. So i look at what you have to say....Great stuff


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:00 pm 
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Well, "build quality" would indicate that you can get a better copy of the same lens if you try. My impression is that all color-abberation problems and the contrast problem in contra light are based upon the design of the lens, not the individual build-quality or manufacturing quality control (QC)! So I'd assume that every copy of this lens would exhibit the same problems.
The only area where I suspect QC to be the origin is the back-focus problem. But that is a hotly contested issue.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:57 am 
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SPOILER-WARNING: If you really, really want to buy this lens, DON'T read on!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next problem: Focus quality :(

1. When adjusting the micro-focus of the D300 for this lens with test-charts in 1-3m distance dialling in +12 seemed to give the best results. But it snagged me a little when I saw that the perfect micro-focus adjustment (and thus sharpness) depended a little upon from which direction the AF came: Coming from infinity yielded a little different results than coming from say 1m perhaps to the tune of 3 untis of micro-focus adjustment.
Well yes, I thought nothing of it, berated myself for being a pixel-nerd and decided that this would not be the reason for giving the lens back.

2. Getting ut of the lab into the wild everything seems fine at close proximity. But as a landscape/nature shooter I often try to capture a scene from some distance, say 10m and beyond. That was when I found out that some times 1 out of 2 shots was not critically sharp :shock: . I checked whether the optimal micro-focus for distant subjects was perhaps different than for close subjects but no, this was not the case.
I should have known that micro-focus was not an issue when I saw that some shots nailed focus perfectly and others didn't.
I'll give you example crops at f/1.8, 1/500sec, ISO 200, -1EV, shot within a few seconds of each other focussing at the same spot: an edge of a forrest a good 20-30m away.

Image
I opened both images side-by-side in CaptureNX and did a screen capture. The interesting thing: I used a magnification of only 66% in CaptureNX so we're not even at 100% pixel-peeping level yet. And still you can clearly see the difference in sharpness esp. when you look at the fine twiggs. From the left image you'd say "Yes, this lens is sharp!" from the right image you'd say "This lens produces mush!".

Unfortunately I cannot prove that the lens has set a different focus distance as the resolution of the internal distance reporting is not fine enough: it treats everthing from a certain distance as 18.84m whether it's 20 or 50m away :? But I have other examples with other subjects that could be easily produced under good, contrasty conditions: One shot is a match, the next one is mush.

That nails it for me: I'm giving this lens back! I have to rely on focus accuracy and don't want to check every single shot on the lcd-screen under high magnification to make sure that the image is as sharp as the lens is capable of. And capable the lens is. I will underpin this assertion with some Siemens-stars in a later post!

Now this is a sad story and it hit me like lightning from a blue sky: I never thought that a highly appraised fixed focal from Nikon could ever lead me to send it back. It's a pitty as I love the wide aperture and the focal length in such a small package and that lens would have certainly become an often used complement to my Nikkor 35/2.0.
And what nags me too: I don't have a feeling whether this is a single bad lens or a case of design deficiency. And even if you might say "everyone else is loving this lens so your's must be a bad copy" I'm not consoled: Many lab-tests just pick the best focussed shot to analyse the lens's sharpness and they often measure only lateral CA but not longitudinal CA.

So be it. Take my review as a warning that even with the most innocuously looking and well-tested lens there might lie some problems that can seriously limit the fun you have and the quality of the images you take.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:19 am 
I really think you just got a bad sample tbh. I really hope you get another so we can see what this lens really is capable of.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:05 pm 
Things like this makes me test every lens that I will ever buy,no matter the "thumbs up" from certain reviews.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:54 pm 
For starters WOW! what a difference, its nice to see you share such images!

Now its quite a shame to see such things, have you talked to Nikon about this issue? Could it be something wrong with the lens, possibly? I mean the focal length of such a lens is really nice, and in combination with the wideness of its it sure sounds great. But i was reading this DOF article over at Nikon USA under Pro Articles, and it seems as if the author really likes the f1.4 version of this lens..once again.

But its truly a shame to see such results, no matter the manufacturer, the quality control is horrible! If this is the results produced by you, where does it leave the standard of Nikkor manufactures?

Quite a shame honestly!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:59 pm 
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There's some play on the focus ring (2mm) when the lens is mounted to the body. If ou even lightly touch the focus ring after AF has determined the focus distance you can easily get worse out-of-focus images than the one I've posted before. So watch out when you support the lens with one hand!

This slack might also be the reason, why the AF is missing the mark every other shot and also for the observed difference between coming from 1m or from infinity. If you want to drive a closed control-loop any slack in your gear is going to make problems. The slack comes from the AF-drive gear not mashing tight enough and is in the case of my factory new lens certainly not due to wear and tear. And it's probably not an alignment-problem. So my take is that this might be a design deficiency and haunt all copies of this lens :(

If I look for slack in my 35/2.0 it is there too but I'd say perhaps only 1mm and with the much deeper dof it is perhaps less critical than with the 85/1.8.

So this might be another good incentive to upgrade the older Nikon AF designs to AF-S as it might be easier to drive the AF with less slack from inside the lens than with the "screwdriver" mechanism from the body.

Waiting for the AF-S upgrade of Nikon's 85mm lenses...

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:15 pm 
I used the 85mm f1.8 in a wedding way back at f2.2 for 5 shots, then put it aside because i was using the D40. I still think it's still a gem nonetheless, even after reading through the thread, and i guess in this case its probably a poor copy, because even with a regular scan through the photo's and you're able to pick up these problems.

I can't wait for new and afforadable AF-S primes!
________
sc2 replay


Last edited by asdfg on Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:19 pm 
Wow that's pretty bad. I hope Nikon doesn't slack off in their focus accuracy now that people have micro-AF adjustment.

I'm gonna get down to checking my 60mm right away.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:43 pm 
Wow! I certainly expected better from this lens, setting aside the rest of the problems mentioned (regardless of whether if they're because of a faulty copy or not), bokeh quality alone is more than enough to dicht it IMHO.

Come on, how can a fast prime produce such a horrible bokeh? I looks almost as if the pic was taken with a mirror lens. Completely unacceptable, at least for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:01 pm 
One of these days I will go & test the D90 kit lens so I should test this one too & reply the results here. (since I'm so fond of the Nikon 85mm)
Thomas,it's possible that you "nailed" a bad copy? It looks nothing like the beautiful 85mm I know. (from reviews)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:51 pm 
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Now here's the last installment of my review, finishing ofon a positive note about this lens: It's sharp!
But beware: I cheated to get these images, because I used live-view and manual focus to get the maximum sharpness out of this lens. As you know by now, focussing critically sharp is not one of the strenghts of this lens. So be prepared to get lesser results with AF!
Now here's the series, starting with the f/5.6, then f/2.8 and finally f/1.8. Left is the 100% center crop, right is the 100% corner crop.

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

So sharpness is not the problem of this lens :?

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