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50/1.2 AIS vs the Noct-Nikkor ?


Guest Prosaic

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Guest stanjan0

Annedi, thanks for taking the time to do that test. However the Noct ( I have one) was designed to capture images in very low light, by professional newspaper etc type photographers and your test is in daylight not the Nocts best climate. Try a test in very low light if you want to see the capabilities of both lens

The AF 28mm f/1.4D was also used extensively by the media.

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Posted Images

Nikon D3

Matrix Metering

ISO 200

WB( Daylight, Cloudy )

Neutral Picture Control: Sharp( +4 ), Bright( -1 ), Contrast( +1 ), Sat( +1 ), Hue( 0 )

(1) 58mm f1.2 Noct-Nikkor @ f1.4

(2) 50mm f1.2 AIS @ f1.4

When comparing two lenses that are so similar, it would have more easy to judge the results if the crop was the same, also Matrix metering has it's own way of setting speed, Manuel would have been nice - it's obvious that these shots have much different Histograms, including more or less sky has a dramatic effect for these gems.

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To some, this might be completely irrelevant, but I think the 50mm f/1.2 can be used to great effect for esthetic/artistic reasons, (I can hear some of you gasp :) ) that have little to nothing to do with how good the image is from a technical standpoint.

Spot on - This is what I find is the most interrestig about taking pictures with fast lenses!

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Thanks to everyone helping us with additional insights -especially annedi. Recently I was tempted to buy a Noct-Nikkor; there were several samples available on Ebay that looked pretty good and especially one was offered in mint condition, BUT the price of around 2k (

Wolfgang

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Guest rvink

When comparing two lenses that are so similar, it would have more easy to judge the results if the crop and subject distance was the same, also Matrix metering has it's own way of setting speed, Manuel would have been nice - it's obvious that these shots have much different Histograms, including more or less sky has a dramatic effect for these gems.

I think the tests were very well done, in terms of showing the pictoral differences between these two lenses. It's obvious the Noct has much smoother rendition, which may be the desired result in spite of differences in sharpness, framing etc. Based on these results I would certainly choose the Noct if I could afford one!

The small difference in focal length does not have a significant effect on the results that I can see (the focal length of the 50/1.2 is actually 51.6mm so the difference to 58mm is less than you might expect). The only thing I noticed is that the pictures taken with the Noct are consistently darker than those taken with the 50/1.2. There could be a number of reasons for that, which could easily be compensated for.

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Guest Vivek

I find very few Noct owners take their lens outside their backyards to make "actual" pictures.  >:D

The 50/1.2, for reasons unknown, gets used more, it would appear.  :)

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Guest stenrasmussen

Andrea,

if you have the 60 micro can you run a quick comparison of the Noct and the Micro @ f/2.8?

The reason is that I'd like to try and understand if the bokeh difference between the two 1.2 lenses could be due to different focal lengths.

Hence my idea of comparing the Nocts 58mm compare to the one of the Micros 60mm. I suspect the difference to be mostly related to the difference in lens design between the two 1.2s though. :)

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If you would like, gentlemen, you may take my experience into your consideration. Noct is for critical low light, to use it at 1,4 to 2,8.  50/1,2 is the best at 2,0 - 5,6, not for everyday/every situation  usage, too. Nikkor H 50/2 is no good for sensor. So among the 45-58 Nikkors MF, the best for me is 50/2 AI, which is good on sensors at 2,8 - 11. (Flat in 4-8 range).  ZF 50/2 is better than any old Nikkor, flat already wide open, highest color/contrast,  but 50/2 AI is a hair better to infinity among them all - watch flare, this veteran critically prone to counterlight!  In my experience. THX. Dimitri.

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Guest brianc1959

Any first hand experience comparing both lenses? Side by side samples would be great.

The annedi samples tell most of the story:  the Noct is really good for background bokeh wide open.  Resolution near the optical axis is extremely high also.  I've measured 125+ lp/mm using a bench projector at f/1.2.

However, I regard the Noct as a special purpose lens because it has some pretty dramatic field curvature that doesn't really disappear until you stop all the way down to f/11 or f/16.  The 50/1.2 is a much better general purpose lens because it doesn't have this field curvature.  Two 100% samples from a Canon 5D below to illustrate.  First is the 58/1.2 Noct at f/4 in the corner, and second is the 50/1.2 at f/4 in the corner.  For large aperture work, especially portraiture, the Noct is much better than the 50/1.2 IMO.  For general purpose photography, especially stopped-down to f/4 - f/11, the 50/1.2 is better than the Noct.

One other thing:  the word "coma" has been mentioned several times in this thread, and I just can't resist getting up on my soapbox.  Almost no photographic lens has any significant amount of coma unless it is used outside its optimum focus range.  Both the 50/1.2 and 58/1.2 Nikkors are very well corrected for coma so long as they are not abused by putting them on extension tubes.  What the 50/1.2 does suffer from, and what the 58/1.2 is famously corrected for, is sagittal oblique spherical aberration.  Anything you read on a Nikon webpage regarding coma is just wrong.  Similarly, anything you read on a Rodenstock or Schneider webpage regarding the definition of "apochromat" is also just wrong.

Annedi:  my 50/1.2 had very stiff focusing, so I guess they are not all alike!

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Guest Vivek

Geez, Brian (thanks for your expert analysis and interpretation- I appreciate it.  :)), you have shot down the basis of many a thread on the web regarding Coma. :D

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Sorry, Brianc1959, but I respectfully disagree. Comatic flare is very significant thing - 35/1,4 wide open, 85/1,4,  50 and 55/1,2, dozens lenses more. Denying that is a bold statement. Just take a look at that 200% crop, Sigma 50/1,4, wide open. Do not forget the sample variation phenomena. Dimitri.

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Guest brianc1959

Sorry, Brianc1959, but I respectfully disagree. Comatic flare is very significant thing - 35/1,4 wide open, 85/1,4,  50 and 55/1,2, dozens lenses more. Denying that is a bold statement. Just take a look at that 200% crop, Sigma 50/1,4, wide open. Do not forget the sample variation phenomena. Dimitri.

The problem is not that the aberration doesn't exist, but rather that you are calling it the wrong thing.  Sort of like calling something crab salad when its really made from re-processed cod.

The sample you show has sagittal oblique spherical aberration, and not coma.  Sagittal oblique spherical is so overwhelmingly dominant in most high speed optical designs that sample variation will have essentially zero effect on it.  If you want to see true coma, look at fast Newtonian telescopes.  The aberrated point images for true coma appear completely different from the butterfly-shaped blurs associated with sagittal obliqe spherical aberration.

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Brian --

Thanks for all the great info about the two lenses !! :D

And also for giving us the proper terminology for the aberrations. 8)

There is indeed a problem in many websites that reference "sagittal coma flare" --

which is an apparent conflation of the two terms sagittal oblique spherical aberration

and comatic aberration.

One of those websites is associated with Nikon, and that's

where I picked the incorrect terminology. Geez, you'd think that

Nikon could get that right !

The corner examples were great too. I'm not sure when I would have found the time

to make some corner comparisons between the 2 lenses. But this good example

you posted provides excellent evidence on the Noct's soft corners, for sure.  ;)

I love the Noct for daylight work. Why not ?  >:D

Cheers -- Andrea B.

aka "Annedi"

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The problem is not that the aberration doesn't exist, but rather that you are calling it the wrong thing.  Sort of like calling something crab salad when its really made from re-processed cod.

The sample you show has sagittal oblique spherical aberration, and not coma.  Sagittal oblique spherical is so overwhelmingly dominant in most high speed optical designs that sample variation will have essentially zero effect on it.  If you want to see true coma, look at fast Newtonian telescopes.  The aberrated point images for true coma appear completely different from the butterfly-shaped blurs associated with sagittal obliqe spherical aberration.    As Annedi said terminology would have its own space for disscution... But how you would call this phenomenon - 400% crop from 35/1,4, extreme corner, wide open? COMA  - or not?  Image is razor sharp, that's why that optical defect is so visible...  Soft lens simply can't produce visible coma, so we used to call it CA - in this case I agree - wrongfully. THX. Dimitri.

post-1603-129983474039_thumb.jpg

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Guest brianc1959

Your 35/1.4 sample is a textbook demonstration of sagittal oblique spherical aberration (SOBSA).  I can't say it any more clearly:  the aberration you are demonstrating is *NOT* coma.  Coma and SOBSA are completely different aberrations.  Their causes and cures are completely different. 

The two spot diagrams below show sagittal oblique spherical aberration and true coma, respectively.  The first plot was calculated using Nikon patent data for the 35mm f/1.4 lens at 20mm off-axis.  The second plot was calculated from a 750mm diameter f/2 Newtonian telescope 10mm off-axis.

post-1002-129983474072_thumb.jpg

post-1002-129983474073_thumb.jpg

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Guest brianc1959

The corner examples were great too. I'm not sure when I would have found the time

to make some corner comparisons between the 2 lenses. But this good example

you posted provides excellent evidence on the Noct's soft corners, for sure.  ;)

Thanks Andrea.  One thing to keep in mind is that the field curvature in the Noct is mainly a bad thing when shooting flat subjects or distant subjects stopped-down a bit.  For wide-open close work with 3-dimensional subjects the field curvature can actually be a benefit.  And as you've shown, then background bokeh is really nice. 

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Your 35/1.4 sample is a textbook demonstration of sagittal oblique spherical aberration (SOBSA).  I can't say it any more clearly:  the aberration you are demonstrating is *NOT* coma.  Coma and SOBSA are completely different aberrations.  Their causes and cures are completely different. 

The two spot diagrams below show sagittal oblique spherical aberration and true coma, respectively.  The first plot was calculated using Nikon patent data for the 35mm f/1.4 lens at 20mm off-axis.  The second plot was calculated from a 750mm diameter f/2 Newtonian telescope 10mm off-axis.

    What I've learned from theory - if any sharp lens can't create the "POINTS" - to edges, mostly - it creates "COMAS" - that is what we used to use. But, your post is fully satisfying for me now. Thank you! Dimitri.
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Thank you Brian for giving us an me new insights! In the past I have learned about several different types of aberrations but not as sophisticated to divide spherical aberration into different subtypes!

regards

Wolfgang

Wolfgang

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One other thing:  the word "coma" has been mentioned several times in this thread, and I just can't resist getting up on my soapbox.  Almost no photographic lens has any significant amount of coma unless it is used outside its optimum focus range.  Both the 50/1.2 and 58/1.2 Nikkors are very well corrected for coma so long as they are not abused by putting them on extension tubes.  What the 50/1.2 does suffer from, and what the 58/1.2 is famously corrected for, is sagittal oblique spherical aberration.  Anything you read on a Nikon webpage regarding coma is just wrong.  Similarly, anything you read on a Rodenstock or Schneider webpage regarding the definition of "apochromat" is also just wrong.

Evidently Nikon Corporation itself has used the Term coma-corrected since decades for advertising the benefits of their Noct lens. I am asking why? Didn't they know better. (There is certainly must be some skilled personnel there.

There are a lot of  so called APO lenses out there. Nikon itself did not call  it's ED lenses Apochromat. But me as a layperson is asking myself now what's the correct definition? So far I have thought, that ED type lenses suppress the so called "secondary spectrum" whereas true apocromatics fully eliminate it.

BTW: Which lenses deserve to be called true apochromatic (The 105 mm UV Nikkor, The Coastal Optics 60 mm, ... ?)?

Wolfgang

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Guest brianc1959

Evidently Nikon Corporation itself has used the Term coma-corrected since decades for advertising the benefits of their Noct lens. I am asking why? Didn't they know better. (There is certainly must be some skilled personnel there.

There are a lot of  so called APO lenses out there. Nikon itself did not call  it's ED lenses Apochromat. But me as a layperson is asking myself now what's the correct definition? So far I have thought, that ED type lenses suppress the so called "secondary spectrum" whereas true apocromatics fully eliminate it.

BTW: Which lenses deserve to be called true apochromatic (The 105 mm UV Nikkor, The Coastal Optics 60 mm, ... ?)?

I suspect there may be an English/Japanese translation problem, or perhaps the marketing people and the lens designers don't communicate well with each other.  Or perhaps "sagittal oblique spherical aberration" just seemed like too much of a mouthful, and "coma" sounded sexier.  Who knows?  All I know is that Nikon's usage of the term "coma" is wrong in the context of their description of the Noct-Nikkor.

The two lenses you mention are indeed apochromats.  Quartz/fluorite objectives by Pentax, Zeiss, and others are also almost certainly apochromatic.  There are also a number of refracting telescopes and microscope objectives that are also true apochromats.  Some of the large aperture telephoto lenses by Nikon, Canon and others *might* be apochromatic, but I have never seen any data to support this.  The correct definition of an apochromat is that it is parfocal at three widely spaced wavelengths, and that spherical aberration and coma (REAL coma, not Nikon's fake coma!) are corrected for at least two widely spaced wavelengths.

Both Schneider and Rodenstock market a wide variety of so-called "apo" lenses, and to the best of my knowledge none of them are apochromatic.  Rodenstock even provides longitudinal chromatic aberration curves which *prove* that their apo lenses aren't apochromatic!

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.....can we say that the "three widely spaced wavelengths" do not necessarily

include UV or IR or both ? I'm thinking of the UV-Nikkor -- after focusing it

in the Visible you have to adjust for IR a bit.

I suspect you are right about the Marketing departments and the Design departments

not communicating well with each other !! It was ever thus.......

Anyone needing a true apochromat (or whatever) should always be sure to check

curves and charts thoroughly I suppose ?? :D

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