I previously shared my thoughts that, yes, software and the "capture sharpen" function in particular, can indeed "level the playing field" in terms of "sharpness" in an image, independent of which lens is used.
Before moving on to see how this compares and works in the real world I would like to confirm what I have come to understand by looking at three more lenses
In this comparison I look at two Nikon Nikkor 85mm lenses with a LensTurboII focal reducer and one Sony 50mm SEL OSS. These lenses were commonly touted as being good "portrait" lenses. In fact, the Nikkor K 85mm f/1.8 is a gorgeous "portrait" lens. It is not as wickedly sharp as some of my other lenses when shot wide open, but the overall wide open rendition, I find, is just amazing.
- Big Beefy Manfrotto tripod (so big that it is suitable for stabilizing an old 8x10inch view camera)
- Sony NEX-7 - 2 second delay, ISO 100
- Lenses - shot wide open and at f/2.8 only
- Sony 50mm f/1.8 SEL OSS - effective full frame focal length of 75mm
- Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 K pre-Ai + Lens Turbo II - effective APS-C focal length of 56mm
- Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai + Lens Turbo II - effective APS-C focal length of 56mm
What I setup was a simple situation of a tree that had complex, beautifully detailed bark.
Click on the following image and find the full resolution image to inspect the image at 100percent.
In general, "soft" or out of focus image areas will remain so after passing the "capture sharpen" step.
I have to say, I'm particularly happy to see how well the Sony 50mm f/1.8 SEL OSS did from wide open. As we will see in a future blog entry, I had a Sigma 60mm f/2.8 Art that I nearly regretted selling, until I saw this, that is. In any event, this Sony lens is truly the "cat's meow" of a lens and it's a "keeper."
The Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/2 Ai + LensTurboII focal reducer is really quite nice from wide open, too. It isn't all that far behind the incredible Sony. With this I think I can re-confirm that the "capture sharpen" function "levels the playing field" rather nicely. This old Nikkor is a very usable optic.
Finally, the Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 K pre-Ai + LensTurboII focal reducer remains softer than the other two lenses when shot wide open. Not that the wide open "capture sharpened" image is bad, mind you. It's only by comparison that one can see any difference. However, by f/2.8, the "playing field has been leveled" and this early f/1.8 Nikkor is just as brilliant as it's sister lenses compared here.
Do lenses actually matter? It's turning out to feel as if it might not matter at all which lens you use, just as long as you "sharpen" an image correctly during processing.
Now there's some potential heresy for you.