Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We All Shoot Lens Test Chart Don't We?

We all shoot lens test chart, don't we?

Well, I do and I don't!

I did that often in my younger day, trying to find out how sharp my newly acquired lenses are; not realising my method was highly unscientific! Ha ha ha... But it was fun and self satisfying ;)
The last time I did that "pointless act" was many many moons ago!

Well, I was at it again today!!

It all came about when the company I work bought a super-duper MEDIUM FORMAT digital camera!

This mega $$$$$ camera pack a whopping BIG sensor with SIXTY MEGA pixel!

Our Manager Simon trying out the newly acquired Mamiya 645DF, this camera is the same as the Phase One 645DF.

Simon trying to impress me how good the medium format DSLR is! Was I impress?  Yes for the incredible resolution possible, no; I rather have a Nikon D800E ;)

After seeing the lens test chart shot by Simon, his visitor claimed that the resolution is so outstanding that even the Nikon D800 cannot match it!

I asked him how did he know, has he done the comparison? He did not but someone "told him"! DUH!!

Mind you, the result from the Mamiya is stunning, the BEST lens test chart shot I ever seen; but I would not say the Nikon D800 cannot match it.

After all, didn't DXO Mark showed the D800 beat a similar Phase One?

That was last week, today I happen to have my OM-D E-M5 and three lenses with me; I was suppose to do a food shot and review for some friends tonight, alas the shoot was cancel... :)

Since the lens test chart is still stuck on our "picture wall", I decided to grab a few quick shots of the chart.

The OM-D is lock onto my Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod, the image stabilizer is turn off.  Three lenses was use for the quick test.

First, my 25 year-old Leica 50mm f2 Summicron-M manual focusing prime.  f5.6 was used.

This is a 100% crop of the shot, the Leica 50mm and E-M5 manage to resolve that "circular wheel"; the Mamiya did it, so cam my OM-D and old Leica lens ;)
Of course I expect the D800 to do it much better!

Just for curiosity sake, what about the "cheap" 14-42 kit lens?

Take a look! The chart was shot at f5.6 and 42mm.

At 100%, as expected; the result is much softer than the Leica, however; the cheap kid... I mean, kit lens just managed to resolve the wheel :)  That is actually not bad at all!

What about my favorite ultra-wide zoom, the fab Panasonic Lumix 7-14?

To the ultra-wide this is how the chart on our picture wall look like ;)

Lets zoom in to the chart, that will be more than 100%!

Considering the small size, it is really good! Are those colour fringes moiré pattern

So what did I learn from this?

Not a lot really! Ha ha ha... that German optical technology is better than most, even 25 years ago!

That all my lenses are practically sharp enough for good photography and forget about shooting test charts!

A little about that lens test chart...

I learned that the only way to measure (ISO standard) resolution  of “electronic still imaging” cameras is the 12233 chart. The "real deal" is available only from the International Standards Organization for 116 Swiss Francs the real chart is under copyright protection.

Strangely,  the design of the chart is not protected, you can download a printable PDF copy here.

You can be like me and go crazy shooting test charts with all your lenses ;)

A word of warning though...


Happy chart shooting :)


Simon Gotlieb said...

Brilliant work as usual CY, well except for that obvious Nikon bias. I'll get another tripod and reshoot the MTF test with the Schneider Kreuznach 80/2.8. Suffice to say, it resolved every line, even the ones to the right (2000 lines per picture height, which equates to 10 lines per mm resolution), which is pretty good under available light. I would imagine that with proper lighting, using 1/60 sec, F11 or F8, and a solid mount (we were using CY's Manfrotto Carbon Fibre stand with a Manfrotto 323 QR adapter - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/554141-REG/Manfrotto_323_323_RC2_System_Quick.html, which is well under spec for a camera that weighs 2.5kgs!) we would get an even sharper picture. CY has been stating that the D800E should equal or better the performance of the Mamiya 645DF, Schneider Kreuznach 80/2.8 and Phase One P65+ back - well I'm prepared to take the Pepsi Challenge on that one. Get a D800E CY and let's party!

cy.leow said...

Hey Simon that must be the LONGEST comment ever ;) I like it though! That "10 lines per mm resolution" is pretty crappy don't you think? I know for a fact that my Leica lens can manage 65 lines per mm! Ha ha ha...
On the "Pepsi Challenge", get your contact to loan us a D800E and we will party, a poor scanning tech like me can't afford "The KING of DSLR"!!

cy.leow said...

Testing the resolution of a lens is VERY complicated, take a scientist to understand ;) My method, like I told you is just "play, play"...if you want to fry your brain, go and read (& understand) this site: http://www.imatest.com/docs/sharpness/
I got better thing to do ;)