50mm vs 18-70 vs 17-200 lens test

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cynicor, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    I spent a couple of minutes trying this today. I took four photos of the
    same scene, at f/8, 1/80 second, ISO 200, at 50mm. I used three Nikon
    lenses: 50/1.8 prime, 18-70 kit, and 17-200 VR lens with VR on and off.
    (All shots handheld.) I then cropped to a small area I'd focused on.

    The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the 18-70
    lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with the 17-200
    lens's sharpness as others seem to be.

    http://trupin.smugmug.com/gallery/2088218
     
    Cynicor, Nov 3, 2006
    #1
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  2. Cynicor

    Bill Guest

    "Cynicor" <j....tru...p..in@spea...kea...sy.net> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I spent a couple of minutes trying this today. I took four photos of
    >the same scene, at f/8, 1/80 second, ISO 200, at 50mm. I used three
    >Nikon lenses: 50/1.8 prime, 18-70 kit, and 17-200 VR lens with VR on
    >and off. (All shots handheld.) I then cropped to a small area I'd
    >focused on.
    >
    > The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the
    > 18-70 lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with
    > the 17-200 lens's sharpness as others seem to be.



    If all you want to do is pixel-peep or get the sharpest images, then
    you only want to use primes or the best zooms. But if you want a
    walk-around lense that covers a good range, then the 18-200 VR is one
    of the best choices. No it's not the sharpest, but it is pretty good,
    and better than any of the competitions super zooms. And users like
    the wide zoom range and small size/weight for convenience over
    perfection.

    A friend of mine is a pro with some very nice glass, but he has an
    18-200 VR specifically for a general walk-around lense. If he's out to
    make money, he uses the good stuff. But for casual shooting, the
    18-200 is on the camera.

    I have the 18-70 on my D80, and it's a great lense. I compared it to
    the 17-55 f/2.8 and it's almost as good for a heck of a lot less. It's
    sharp enough to use wide open and it covers a wide enough zoom range
    for a walk-around. I also have the 50mm when I need the best image
    quality at that range.
     
    Bill, Nov 3, 2006
    #2
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  3. Cynicor wrote:
    > I spent a couple of minutes trying this today. I took four photos of
    > the same scene, at f/8, 1/80 second, ISO 200, at 50mm. I used three
    > Nikon lenses: 50/1.8 prime, 18-70 kit, and 17-200 VR lens with VR on
    > and off. (All shots handheld.) I then cropped to a small area I'd
    > focused on.
    > The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the 18-70
    > lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with the
    > 17-200 lens's sharpness as others seem to be.
    >
    > http://trupin.smugmug.com/gallery/2088218


    Life is full of trade off's. The 17-200 is a much larger range than
    18-70 and it is going to be much more difficult to fully compensate for the
    entire zoom range. You may find that it is sharper as some settings than
    at others.

    I guess you'll just have to decide what is best for you when.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia 's Muire duit
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 3, 2006
    #3
  4. Cynicor

    frederick Guest

    Cynicor wrote:
    > I spent a couple of minutes trying this today. I took four photos of the
    > same scene, at f/8, 1/80 second, ISO 200, at 50mm. I used three Nikon
    > lenses: 50/1.8 prime, 18-70 kit, and 17-200 VR lens with VR on and off.
    > (All shots handheld.) I then cropped to a small area I'd focused on.
    >
    > The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the 18-70
    > lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with the 17-200
    > lens's sharpness as others seem to be.
    >
    > http://trupin.smugmug.com/gallery/2088218


    Perhaps you need to reconsider how you did the test.
    18-200 with no VR looks sharper to me than with VR on - so something
    doesn't seem right.
    Also 1/80th second is too long exposure for such a test unless on a tripod.
     
    frederick, Nov 4, 2006
    #4
  5. Cynicor

    Ken Tough Guest


    >The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the 18-70
    >lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with the 17-200
    >lens's sharpness as others seem to be.


    Interesting. Odd that the VR-off shot is worse than the VR-on.

    --
    Ken Tough
     
    Ken Tough, Nov 4, 2006
    #5
  6. Cynicor

    Guest

    Ken Tough wrote:
    > >The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the 18-70
    > >lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with the 17-200
    > >lens's sharpness as others seem to be.

    >
    > Interesting. Odd that the VR-off shot is worse than the VR-on.


    Maybe I'm missing something, but the 18-200 VR-off looks sharper than
    the 18-70 shot to me.

    Drew
     
    , Nov 6, 2006
    #6
  7. Cynicor

    Ken Tough Guest

    wrote:

    >Ken Tough wrote:
    >> >The prime lens is definitely sharper (as you'd expect), but the 18-70
    >> >lens was also sharper than the 17-200. I'm not as happy with the 17-200
    >> >lens's sharpness as others seem to be.

    >>
    >> Interesting. Odd that the VR-off shot is worse than the VR-on.

    >
    >Maybe I'm missing something, but the 18-200 VR-off looks sharper than
    >the 18-70 shot to me.


    I was speaking to an optics expert on the weekend (he fixed my
    Nikkor 70-210 AFD :) and he mentioned that the problem with any
    zoom is that it has sharp focus at several "sweet spots" along
    its zoom, from minimum fl to max fl. For super-long zooms (like
    18-200) they will tend to have greater divergence from sharp in
    those areas between the "sweet spots". So if you happen to pick
    a good zoom length on one lens, it won't always match with a good
    zoom length on another.

    With that in mind, you might think it would be great to have some
    kind of index method to hit those sweet spots. (A little "click"
    as you zoom?)



    --
    Ken Tough
     
    Ken Tough, Nov 7, 2006
    #7
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