Canon 85mm f1.8 vs Nikon 85mm f1.8: A lens-battle

Image credits: Chris Gampat

This is from a post by our friend Chris Gampat over at thephoblographer.

He used a Nikon D700 with the new Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G and a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. It’s not a comparison between cameras but among lenses. As Chris writes:

[…] I decided to put the two lenses in a non-scientific and totally practical test using all available light at around 7pm in NYC and only shooting at f4 and wider for a portrait.

Regarding ergonomics, Chris says that

Both lenses focus extremely fast, though in real life practice I felt that Canon’s 85mm f1.8 is still the current champ. Indeed, it has often been touted as the company’s fastest focusing lens. A known problem with it though is the color fringing wide open; but this is also a problem that plague’s Nikon’s optics […]

Note that Canon’s EF 85mm f/1.8 dates back to the times when we were using film-cameras, and that Nikon’s 85mm f/1.8 is a rather new lens.

The test-shots where made during the golden hour, using ISO 800 on both cameras:

I set both cameras to aperture priority and focused on the same spot of Dennis’s eye. Though their meter readings were very slightly off in aperture priority, it should be noted that in general, Canon and Nikon do have slightly different metering algorithms and this is just part of how they work.

He shot using the aperture range from f/1.8 to f/4. I post some of the test pics shot by Chris. Please visit his site and read the post to get the whole picture (and to see the test images at higher resolution).

First two shots at f/1.8, Nikon’s 85mm on the left and Canon’s 85mm on the right side (image credits: C. Gampat)

 

 

Next two shots, at f/4, Nikon on the left, Canon on the right side

  

 

All pics were shot in aperture priority mode. You can see that the images shot with the 5D Mark II are little bit darker (it is known that Canon cameras tend to underexposure). Also, to me the bokeh obtained from the Nikon lens looks better (but I probably shouldn’t say that :-) )

The discussion is going on. Join it in the comment section of Chris’ post (where you will find more information by Chris itself).

EOS 5D Mark II price check: Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, KEH Camera, Canon USA EF 85mm f/1.8 USM price check Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, KEH Camera, Canon USA

For more 5D Mark II sample pics and information click here. You may also want to have a look at our eBay live-ticker below for possible 5D Mark II deals.

[shariff]

Comparison: G1X vs 7D – Surprising!

 

    

I found an interesting post on dpinterface with an in-depth image comparison between Canon’s G1 X and EOS 7D – two players in different leagues. Lets first see the basic tech specs for both cams:

  • EOS 7D
    • 18.0 Megapixels
    • 3.0″ LCD
    • HD Video Recording
    • Selectable Video Exposure + Frame Rates
    • Dust & Weather Resistant
    • 100% Viewfinder
    • Self Cleaning Sensor
    • High Sensitivity (ISO 12800)
    • 8fps Burst Mode
  • Powershot G1 X
    • 14.3Mp 1.5″ CMOS Sensor
    • 3.0″ Vari-Angle LCD Screen
    • 28mm Wide Lens with 4x Optical Zoom
    • DIGIC 5 Image Processor
    • Hybrid Image Stabilizer
    • Optical Viewfinder
    • 12,800 ISO
    • 1080p Full HD Video
    • High Dynamic Range Scene Mode
    • Manual & Numerous Other Shooting Modes
 The next chart illustrates the respective sensor sizes:

Credits: DPreview

Definitely gear aimed at different using-scenarios. Another thing to keep in mind is the difference in aspect ratio of the sensors (G1X 4:3, 7D 3:2).  The lens used on the EOS 7D was the Canon EF 24-70 mm f2.8L USM. So we have a 14MP sensor against a 18MP one, which is also 27% larger than the one mounted on the Powershot G1 X. The comparison in summa:

  • Dynamic range: very close
  • Detail level: 7D clear winner (no wonder: bigger sensor, higher resolution, and – to some matter – an L lens)
  • High ISO noise: not really comparable since on the 7D noise reduction was disabled, which is not possible on the G1 X (NR set to standard). However, high ISO noise is very good on the G1 X. Would have been better to do this comparison using RAW files.

The conclusion:

The Canon PowerShot G1X actually produces image quality that is very close to that of the Canon EOS 7D; not identical but very similar. The Canon G1X produces photos with, overall, better out-of-the-camera sharpness but less color saturation and slightly less detail, though the difference isn’t really obvious unless you inspect really fine detail as shown in the examples above. Even that can be overcome by shooting in RAW or tweaking the camera’s settings to increase saturation and sharpness.

The PowerShot G1X definitely outperforms other prosumer models and compact cameras of its class thanks to its premium larger-than-average image sensor. If you want a relatively compact (though the camera will not fit in your pants pocket at all!) camera that delivers digital SLR or ILC level image quality without the hassle of something the size of an actual SLR, consider taking a look at the Canon PowerShot G1X.

Read the post here.

Hold one, there is more. The same guys did also a comparison between the video modes of the Powershot G1 X and the EOS 7D. The Powershot G1 X comes with 1080 full HD, stereo recording, 24 fps (720p standard HD and VGA give you 30 fps). The EOS 7D comes with 1080 full HD, mono recording, 24 or 30 fps at 1080p. Ok, let’s go with the videos, first the one shot with the Powershot G1X.

Next, the video made with the EOS 7D (1080p at 30fps).

All in all, the Powershot G1 X doesn’t stay that much behind the EOS 7D. Read the post here.

Finally, we have the usual services for you.
If you want to see some Powershot G1 X samples click here, for EOS 7D samples click here. This is an automatic service retrieving the latest pics uploaded to Flickr.
EOS 7D price check (click on the shop name): Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, KEH Camera, Canon USA Powershot G1 X price check (click on the shop name): Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, KEH Camera, Canon USA

The next two boxes are based on our eBay live-ticker with selected deals. Check them to see if you find what you are looking for.

EOS 7D eBay live-ticker:

Powershot G1 X eBay live-ticker:

Have a nice day wherever you are…
:-)

[shariff]

EOS 5D Mark III Sunday News Round-up

Time to report some 5D Mark III news.

Let’s start with a problem some users have with Canon’s DPP software. People reports that DPP is generating extremely soft jpgs from the 5d Mark III RAW files. Two possible solution for the problem:

  1. go to DPP’s “preferences”, then “general setting” tab, and the change “viewing and saving RAW images” to “high speed” (default is “high quality”). When using “high speed” the noise reduction palette is not used no moiré correction is applied.
  2. use a third party RAW converter, namely: Adobe Camera Raw 6.7rc. Using ACR you first generate DNGs and the can use this DNG wherever you want (remember that LightRoom 4 does not natively support the 5D Mark III)

Ok, that should help to see all the super sharpness of the  5d Mark III images.

Next, let us talk about reviews. There is a bunch out there that are helpful and worth to be read if you want to learn more about the  5d Mark III, or need to take a decision if to buy it or not.

Le me start with a detailed hands-on review by lightingmods. Read part 1 and don’t miss part 2 of this review. The latter comes with useful samples, and other informations you may be interested in.

Engadget has a pre-production 5D3 for two weeks (those lucky guys…) and made a serious field test with the cam.

They start the review:

Shoot in the dark. That’s essentially what you can do with the Canon 5D Mark III — with a top sensitivity of ISO 102,400, what was once unfathomable could soon become an acceptable standard. While point-and-shoot manufacturers are adding WiFi and GPS, and tweaking algorithms in an effort to boost sensitivity beyond the 6400 mark, Canon and Nikon are making clear cases for a DSLR upgrade, by drastically improving image quality. The 5D Mark II had an excellent three-year run, but with its 22.3-megapixel sensor, 1.04M-dot 3.2-inch LCD, improved autofocus and high-performance video capabilities, Canon’s latest full-frame DSLR is an entirely different beast, and a very compelling successor.

Sounds good to me. But let us see the single points they are discussing:

  • Silent shooting – You made it past the break! As a gesture of our appreciation, we’re going to let you in on a little Mark III secret — in fact, if that high-ISO shooting wasn’t in the picture, this could very well have been our favorite new feature.
  • ISO 25,600 and beyond – Yes, you know the Mark III can capture usable images at ISO 25,600 — the top sensitivity available on the 5D Mark II — but there’s a noticeable improvement with this year’s model, even with our pre-production sample
  • Image quality – As you’ve probably already gathered, we’re very impressed with the Mark III’s performance, both while capturing images and when it came time to review them after a shoot. So much so, that we wouldn’t hesitate to declare that image quality is absolutely spectacular.
  • Focusing – You can’t really prioritize features when it comes to a professional camera — everything needs to work, very well, and focusing performance is right up there with image quality in our book. When every shot counts, having a flawless focusing system is key, and thanks to the 61-point High Density Reticular Autofocus on board (the same system you’ll find on the 1D X), we felt quite fulfilled in this department as well.
  • Video – Like its predecessor, the 5D Mark III is an incredibly capable video shooter
  • Battery life – Battery life shouldn’t be an issue on any recent DSLR. Period. This is also the case with the 5D Mark III — you’re likely to fill your memory card long before you exhaust the battery
And finally they conclude:
We honestly haven’t been this in love with a camera since we reviewed the Sony NEX-7. And while there’s little to compare from a price and design perspective, we’re seriously questioning that affair, and completely ready to sacrifice the compact design in favor of this incredibly capable do-everything shooter. At $3,499 for the body only, Canon priced this latest 5D higher than its predecessor, which rang in at $2,699 at launch. Still, if you’ve been considering a 5d Mark III purchase, don’t hesitate — it’s worth the investment, we promise. And if you’ve already placed your order or have one in the mail, get ready to have your world turned upside-down — this thing is simply amazing, in every way.
The review (click here) is filled with sample pics (lots shot in low light) that can also be downloaded (original files). Two videos are provided. The first one a sample video shot with the 5d Mark III.

The other one compares the design of the 5d Mark III and 5D Mark II

The photographyblog has a LOT of sample images to show, also samples that cover the whole ISO range. They also provided a sample video shot at the highest quality setting of 1920×1080 and at 25 frames per second. You can see the movie clicking here.

Samples, samples, samples, who doesn’t want to see as much of possible of them? :-) We do. DPreview gives us the gift of a selection of real world samples images. They also updated the 5D Mark III preview page with new information about the cam. More samples taken with a final production Canon EOS 5D Mark III using a selection of lenses can be seen at cameralabs. The whole set (original size!) can be seen and downloaded from their Flickr page. More pixel-peeping exercises can be performed using the samples at dsrl4real. Or, for the lazy ones among us, by watching the following video:

5 mins with the 5d3 from Sam Morgan Moore on Vimeo.

If you are still stuck in comparison chaos then the following links should be useful for you:

National Geographic Photographer Ira Block got a 5d Mark III and shares his thoughts about Canon’s new FF cam (samples included).  Next, it’s photographer Philip Bloom who shares thoughts and pictures of his first 48 hours with a 5d Mark III with us. This are pics shot by a professional photographer, some are simply beautiful.

Ok, that’s all for today. Hope it makes a pleasant sunday reading for all of you. To see the latest 5d Mark III pictures uploaded to Flickr click here. For more information, including order and pre-order options click here. EOS 5D Mark III price check: Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, KEH Camera, Canon USA

And since we are all eager to find good deals, have a look at our eBay live-ticker for possible 5D Mark II deals:

World-wide EOS 5D Mark III price check:[shoplist 2431] [via DP, engadget, NC] [shariff]

#EOS5DMarkIII unboxing video

For all of us who are eager to see the new 5D Mark III (and possibly to get it in our hands :-) ), there is an unboxing video to look at (thanks to our reader Eddy).

 

But, hey, there is another one I found (this time in English).

To see all my EOS 5D Mark III coverage click here. To see more reviews, sample pictures and world-wide order option click here.

Let me know what you think about Canon’s new full-frame camera.

 

Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 officially announced & first review

So now it is official. The much awaited Distagon T* 2,8/15 super wide angle lens has been officially announced by Zeiss (product flyer here). Adorama is the first shop I found that is accepting pre-orders (click here). Technical specifications:

Focal length 15 mm
Aperture range f/2.8 – f/22
Focusing range 0.25 m – infinity
Number of elements/groups 15/12
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert. 110° / 100° / 76°
Coverage at close range 340 x 221 mm
Filter thread M95 x 1.0
Dimensions (with caps) ø 103 mm, length 132-135 mm
Weight 730g-820g
Camera mounts F Mount (ZF.2)
EF Mount (ZE)

In Zeiss’ own words:

Infinitely Wide

Infinitely wide horizons, cramped interiors or small objects in large surroundings – with the Distagon T* 2.8/15, all photographers can deliberately orchestrate extreme perspectives. With a field angle of 110°, the super  wide angle is the ideal companion when it comes to capturing events in a way that makes them dynamic and extraordinary. Whether salt crystals or drops of water – its integrated lens shade and standard filter thread afford the front lens optimal protection from wind and weather.

The technically impressive features of the Distagon T* 2,8/15 include extraordinary chromatic aberration correction and the prevention of color fringes caused by chromatic aberration almost without exception. Two aspheric lenses, special types of glass with exceptional partial dispersion and the floating elements design, guarantee high image quality from close-up to infinity. The Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating and the advanced treatment of the lens edges with special dark black lacquers ensure insensitivity to reflections and stray light.

And there is already a first review of a production model by our friend Chris Gampat over at thephoblographer.

It’s a huge and massive lens (820g), with a solid lens hood made of metal (as well as the lens cap). Chris is enthusiastic about features and perfomance. Distortion is well controlled and color rendition is exceptionally good. Chris’ conclusion:

At the time of my writing this conclusion, I have spent quite a while with the lens. I’ve had a ton of fun with it. With that said though, I’m going to fire off a couple of quick remarks. First off, I would personally never shoot this wide. This lens is meant for architecture, landscapes, events and scenic shooting. If you’re out there making money from your landscapes and architecture, then I want to tell you to go search around the internet for pre-orders (ships in May), get your credit card in hand, and purchase this lens for $2,948.00. The build quality and image quality is spectacular. The fact that Zeiss was able to create such a lens with little vignetting, distortion, and yet maintain such remarkable sharpness is very praise-worthy in my eyes and on my calibrated screen.

Like most Zeiss lenses, the color rendition is best when shot wide open. Thankfully the lens also has an AF confirmation chip; which makes it a true beaut.

My only major complaint is there this lens lacks the bucketloads of micro-contrast that the other Zeiss lenses have that therefore make the subject in focus pop out of the image with a nearly 3D-like effect.

Otherwise, it is a very large lens; but it has to be due to the design.

In the end, I can only give this lens my highest recommendations to landscape and architecture photographers.

But for me: who shoots portraits and events; the company has other options that are more attractive.

They made also a sample video using the Distagon T* 2,8/15:

The review is truly worth to be read, and comes with lots of sample pics and a set of samples that cover the aperture range of the lens.

Finally, Zeiss’ press release:

 

Carl Zeiss brings out a new super wide angle lens in May 2012. The super wide angle Distagon T* 2,8/15 will be available with an EF (ZE) or F bayonet (ZF.2). With an extra-large angle of view of 110 degrees in combination with a fast f/2.8 aperture, the lens enables the features for dramatic perspectives and performance demanded by the most ambitious landscape and architectural photographers. With a unique ability to capture events in a natural and extraordinary manner, it is also an ideal companion for advertising, journalism and commercial photography. 

Thanks to the extreme angle of view of the lens, the fore- and background can be creatively emphasized in landscape and architecture photography. These applications will also benefit from the large depth-of-field, which provides a wide range of image sharpness from close-up up to infinity. With a close focus of 0.25m (10”) – combined with a wide angle view – photographers can work in tight spaces, while also allowing focus on close-up details. Distortion is extremely well controlled, producing naturally proportioned photographs which are not typical of many other super wide angle lenses. “With the Distagon T* 2,8/15, Carl Zeiss sets the standard in super wide angle photography,” says Dr. Michael Pollmann, Consumer Lenses Program Manager in the Camera Lens Division of Carl Zeiss AG. “Even at full aperture it achieves outstanding detail rendition and opens up room for extremely imaginative design.”

The Distagon T* 2,8/15 incorporates two aspheric lenses and special types of glass material with abnormal partial dispersion to provide an extraordinary correction of chromatic aberration. A floating elements design guarantees high image quality from close-focus through infinity. Like the other SLR lenses in the ZE and ZF.2 series, stray light and reflections are well controlled by the Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating and the sophisticated treatment of the lens element edges with special light absorbing paint. 

The robust all-metal barrel of the Distagon T* 2,8/15 is designed for decades of reliable service. A long focus rotation and buttery-smooth action is perfect for photographers who want to take control of their picture making, as well as for filmmakers looking for superior focus control. A nine blade aperture provides a nearly circular opening, producing natural looking out of focus details.

The lens shade is integrated into the design and helps to protect the lens surface from unintentional damage. The 95mm filter thread accepts all standard filters, including the recently released Carl Zeiss T* UV and POL filters. 

The lens will begin shipping in May 2012 at a recommended retail price of €2,148 or US$2,948 (excluding VAT)*.

More 5D Mark III sample pictures

Hold on all you pixel-peepers out there (myself included). I found some useful (at least I think) samples shot with Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III. The interesting thing: these are all nightshots, and they are also crops. Different ISO settings are covered. You can see and analyze the pictures here.

For more important information about the EOS 5D Mark III (and world-wide order and pre-order options) click here.

To see all of my EOS 5D Mark III coverage click here.