Sharpness test chart ISO12233

As I promised, I had taken some test shots to the ISO12233 test chart with my brand new AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. This chart is really complete and allows not only to measure sharpness but also distortion, vignetting, etc.

Before starting the test, I dedicated some time to prepare the set-up required.

  • I stuck the test chart to one of my living room walls, making sure that it stayed flat against the wall, with no bubbles or irregularities.
  • I lighted the chart using two daylight lamps pointing at it from 45º angle each, and at the same height of the chart.
  • I mounted the camera on my Tripod Pro Giottos MTL8361B Carbon Fibre + MH1300-621 Quick Release Ball Head.
  • I fitted the original hood of the lens.
  • I chose a focal length of 24 mm to start with and locate the tripod at the right distance from the wall so that all the chart fitted in the frame. Notice that aligning the camera is extremely important so that I dedicated a fairly big amount of the time to fine adjust the tripod head until I had the camera perfectly aligned.
  • I switched the focusing to manual.
  • I took some test shots from which I took the sharpest one.
  • Once I got the perfect focus I did not move the focusing ring again until the end of the test at 24mm.
  • The ISO was set at 100.
  • I started with an apperture of 2.8 and went all the way up to 22 in steps of +1EV.
  • After having shot with all appertures at 24mm, I chose 35mm and repositioned the tripod, the ball head to fit the chart in the frame and manual focus again. This has to be done once more on completion of all the appertures at 35mm. The last focal lenght is 70mm, the max of the lens.

The lamps were placed behind the camera, to avoid any possible flare or lack of contrast.

Once prepared, the set-up looked as follows:

Setup1

Setup0

Setup2

Here you can see the results from the test:

At 24 mm:

Centre at 2.8

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Centre at 4.0

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Centre at 5.6

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Centre at 8.0

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Centre at 11.0

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Centre at 16.0

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Centre at 22.0

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Corner at 2.8:

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Corner at 4.0

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Corner at 5.6:

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Corner at 8.0:

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Corner at 11.0:

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Corner at 16.0:

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Corner at 22.0:

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Between corner and diagonal at 2.8:

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Between corner and diagonal at 4.0:

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Between corner and diagonal at 5.6:

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Between corner and diagonal at 8.0:

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Between corner and diagonal at 11.0:

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Between corner and diagonal at 16.0:

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Between corner and diagonal at 22.0:

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At 35mm:

Centre at 2.8:

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Centre at 4.0:

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Centre at 5.6:

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Centre at 8.0:

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Centre at 11.0:

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Centre at 16.0:

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Centre at 22.0:

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Corner at 2.8:

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Corner at 4.0:

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Corner at 5.6:

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Corner at 8.0:

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Corner at 11.0:

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Corner at 16.0:

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Corner at 22.0:

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Between corner and centre at 2.8:

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Between corner and centre at 4.0:

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Between corner and centre at 5.6:

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Between corner and centre at 8.0:

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Between corner and centre at 11.0:

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Between corner and centre at 16.0:

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Between corner and centre at 22.0:

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At 70mm:

Centre at 2.8:

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Centre at 4.0:

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Centre at 5.6:

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Centre at 8.0:

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Centre at 11.0:

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Centre at 16.0:

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Centre at 22.0:

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Corner at 2.8:

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Corner at 4.0:

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Corner at 5.6:

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Corner at 8.0:

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Corner at 11.0:

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Corner at 16.0:

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Corner at 22.0:

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Between corner and centre at 2.8:

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Between corner and centre at 4.0:

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Between corner and centre at 5.6:

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Between corner and centre at 8.0:

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Between corner and centre at 11.0:

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Between corner and centre at 16.0:

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Between corner and centre at 22.0:

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As it can be seen from the results above, the maximum sharpness is obtained always at f8.0. In this post I have not posted all the shots that comprise the test, since I would have doubled the amount of pictures and the post would become too long (even more than now!).

For instance, I have not uploaded the pictures at diaphragm 9.6 or 13.0. For me it resulted really difficult, if not impossible to decide whether or not the 8.0 shots are sharper than the 9.6. The difference is negligible to the human eye, or at least to Mario’s eye! hehe.

I will not condition anyone with my conclusions on this test for now. This merely intends to help the reader making his own mind about the lens quality.

In the next post about this lens, I will check the vignetting at big appertures for different focal lenghts. I will also bring my own conclusion to this test at the same time.

Hope this results handy.

Good night

My new jewel, my precious… it is finally here. AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

I have not given much attention to the blog lately. Other things have kept me apart from it  but at last I am back in business and this time I am very pleased with what I am about to write about!!!

I just received my birthday present. This time I only had one and I swear the reason behind is not that I have not behaved properly or anything. This year I had it all clear, I wanted to put an end to this long wait and go for it, no excuses this time, I wanted to go for the lens that have been crossed in my mind for years. There was always one thing or that diverted me so that  I ended up buying any other bit and pieces to add to my gear but the lens…. actually I do know why, because it is a bit pricy!

This year I suggested everyone to give me nothing else but money. I know it is not the best possible present since it can be a bit “cold” saying “Happy birthday Mario…. here you have, your money!” sounds like they were  paying you for something or sealing debts, or even worse, it may sound like you just do not care enough to spend a while trying to find The Present. However money can be extremely practical if you have something in mind that comprises such an economical effort, and this year nothing was going to make me happier than some red notes.

Of course, good quality lenses are often that expensive that apart from all the money you can get, you have to save money for a while (months or years….) . Finally last Tuesday I decided to buy it from an online shop called eGlobal Digital Store. They have most lenses at about 100 pounds cheaper than anywhere else I have seen. They deliver only to United Kingdom, but the delivery (from Hong Kong) is free, or at least included in the price already, and the lense has arrived in a blink. They dispatched the order last Wednesday the 15th in the evening and I got it the following Monday the 20th. I really recommend this shop to anyone that wants to buy lenses, cameras and the rest of it.

As soon as I unboxed the lens I could start feeling the power, the first impressions were good, real good! It is extremely well-built, mostly metal, it is weather sealed, the focusing ring is extremely accurate not presenting any wiggling or clearance whatsoever. The lens comes with a semi-rigid case that protects it really well, allowing to hang it in the belt if need it. After the first visual inspection I could not wait to plug it in my D7000 and hit the shutter to check the AF-S. As soon as I did it I went speechless!!!! I could not imagine that a lens could focus so fast and so precise. The light conditions were far from optimal, but the autofocus locked instantly in whatever I tried to focus on, unbelievable. With my old Tamron 18-270 (not comparable but this is the only tele I had until now) took ages to focus on anything, no matter how bright the light was, and it fails the 70% of the time so that I end up manual focusing very often.

The S is really that, SILENT! the bip of the camera is louder than the noise emitted by the autofocus system. The focusing ring is clutched so that you do not need to switch from automatic to manual, you just can focus automatically and then give it a manual touch if you want to.

It is heavy, but good lenses are, so nothing to be upset about here, it is as heavy as I expected it to be. What I have noticed is that now the center of mass of the system comprised by the camera and the lens is unbalanced and this may be a bit uncomfortable, however it is something easily fixable by adding the camera grip.

I got to my garden, unfold my rock steady Giottos, mount my camera in, and took some shots of bricks, and the rest of it trying to qualify it and to check out its sharpness. Simply astonishing! Even with the diaphragm wide open at 2.8, it is very sharp. At 8.0 is not from this world, is really performs greatly, and even though it has been expensive, I believe the investment is worthwhile.

Hopefully the incoming week I can test it deeper and upload some results at different ISOs, apertures, focal lengths and so on, showing 100% crops of the centre and corners to allow you see with your own eyes what I am talking about.

If I were to give the lens a score out of 10 I believe so far it well deserves a fair 9. It would give it the top mark if it incorporated the VR system, which although not essential, would complete this wonderful lens.

If you have any kind of doubts about whether you should buy it or not, just put them aside and go for it, you won’t be disappointed.