Monday, April 10, 2023

Nikon 75-150, Nikkor 105mm, and Sony Zeiss 55mm ~ comparison

It seems that I'm still in transition from manual focus to auto focus lenses.  I have a pretty 75-150mm f/3.5 Nikon Series-E AiS up for sale.  It's been very slow to move.  As in for months, now.  It's only 75Euros but you'd think it cost the moon, or something.

Since it's still with me, I thought I'd have one last look at it compared, again, with the famous Nikkor-P (Xenotar) 105mm f/2.5 pre-Ai and add to the comparison the fabulous Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 FE.

The Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 was an inexpensive lens built using inexpensive glass types.  The designers nevertheless created a wonderful little optic.  Fashion photographers back in the day used this as their Super Secret Sauce lens.  It renders beautifully.  Wide open it's not so clinically sharp as some lenses.  It's kind of a Goldilocks kind of thing.  Or so I've been told.

Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 E ~ Lens Stories

Setup ~ 

  • Camera - 
    • Sony A7, 100ISO, 2sec timer, "A" mode
  • Lenses - 
    • Sony 55mm f/1.8 ZA
    • Nikon Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 pre-Ai
    • Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series-E AiS
  • Bogen tripod
  • RawTherapee -
    • Snug up the curves


Comparison ~

As always, click on the image and enlarge to 100percent to see whatever there is to be seen.


Sony and Micro-Nikkor 55mm, Nikkor 105mm, and Nikon 75 to 150 Comparison


Comments ~

It's obvious.  The Sony 55mm f/1.8 ZA is brilliant from wide open and straight across the field.  As this lens is autofocus, it fits the desired goal of helping this Old Man get decent focus without struggling with the in-camera magnifier and all that.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the decades difference in design dates, the Nikon Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5 pre-Ai is a Cats Thin Whisker behind the Sony at f/5.6 and straight across the field.  Wide open this little optic is clearly not as sharp as the Sony Zeiss.  It's not bad, mind you.  But in this comparison I can see a difference.

The Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series-E AiS is obviously a touch soft wide open.  And it seems a little behind the other lenses at f/5.6.  If you stare at this long enough, perhaps you might feel as I do that the differences aren't all that great.  To test this, I ran another comparison using Rawtherapee's Capture Sharpen function.  Here are those results -


Wide Open w/wo Capture Sharpen ~ Sony and Micro-Nikkor 55mm, Nikkor 105mm, and Nikon 75 to 150 Comparison


It's pretty clear that Capture Sharpen offsets the AA filter effects of the 24mpixel Sony A7.  What's impressive to me is that the softest 75-150mm focal length wide open is 150mm.  With Capture Sharpen it looks better than the un-Capture Sharpened Sony Zeiss at f/1.8.  The Sony Zeiss Capture Sharpened is nothing short of glorious.

Image processing for absolute best quality must (as has been the case for years) include software.  There's really not much more to say. 

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