Monday, January 05, 2009


My new Super Toy arrived and what a 'beaut it is. Amazing how good a full frame DSLR can be and Canon has hit the target spot on with its new 5D MkII. This, in my NSHO.

I wanted to see what various lenses would resolve at on this big sensor'd camera. So I put a Canon 28mm f/2.8 EF, a 35mm f/2 EF, a Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 PC (perspective control), a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX and a Sigma 24mm f/1.8 EX before the torture chart and took a look at how the system of lenses and camera did, in USAF terms. I will post the results first and then provide a bit of commentary.

Canon 5D MkII + Canon 28mm f/2.8, measured in line pairs per mm (center/edge/f-stop)
missing data - f/2.8
68 34 - f/4
68 43 - f/5.6
68 54 - f/8

Canon 5D MkII + Canon 35mm f/2, measured in line pairs per mm (center/edge/f-stop)
62 20 - f/2
69 22 - f/2.8
69 30 - f/4
69 38 - f/5.6
69 55 - f/8

Canon 5D MkII + Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 PC, measured in line pairs per mm (center/edge/f-stop)
60 33 - f/3.5
67 38 - f/4
67 47 - f/5.6
67 47 - f/8

Canon 5D MkII + Sigma 20mm f/1.8, measured in line pairs per mm (center/edge/f-stop)
73 33 - f/1.8
73 33 - f/2
73 37 - f/2.8
73 46 - f/4
73 52 - f/5.6
73 57 - f/8

Canon 5D MkII + Sigma 24mm f/1.8, measured in line pairs per mm (center/edge/f-stop)
70 39 - f/1.8
70 39 - f/2
78 39 - f/2.8
78 44 - f/4
78 48 - f/5.6
78 57 - f/8

I found these results to be very interesting. First, the Canon and Nikon lenses are very fine. Every image I have ever shot with them have been sharp and contrasty. I was pleased with the Nikkor results as that lens provides enormous coverage that allows a full 11mm offset/rise/fall/shift. However, the real shock is the Sigma findings.

If you read DPReview and other forum sites devoted to slandering, slamming, and flaming everything and anything, one might be led to believe that Sigma could not build a fine lens to save their lives. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth.

Doing a little math, I found that the Canon 5D MkII's sensor is capable of giving 156 lines of information per millimeter. Switching the calculation around to line pairs per millimeter, the math says the sensor should give 78 line pair per millimeter. And that's just what the Sigma optics resolved at!!!

What's even more fun is that the 24mm Sig set me back less than 270USD as a demo unit picked up from Adorama. Better yet? The 20mm Sig set me back less than 260USD in LN condition from KEH. In short: SHOCKINGLY incredible optics for bargain prices!