Sharpest Manual lens for 35mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by mathjeff0, Dec 31, 2017.

System with the sharpest lens

  1. Leica

    14 vote(s)
    43.8%
  2. Canon FD

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  3. Pentax K

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  4. Nikon F

    8 vote(s)
    25.0%
  5. Minolta SR

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  6. Olympus

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  1. mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I want to know whats the sharpest (sharpest at its widest aperture) lens from any system (except anything crazy like lieca) . Anything less than $500. These are the lenses that are supposedly "sharp". Go ahead and tell me what you think and add any other lenses you may think is as sharp or maybe sharper! Also i'm sure minolta has sharp lens, go ahead and tell me whats best! I find almost nothing about the best lens in that system.

    Canon FD system:
    - 35mm F2 Concave (Crome Ring Version)
    - 50MM F1.2L
    - 55mm F1.2 (Crome Ring Version)

    Olympus OM system:
    - 28mm F2.8
    - 35mm F2
    - 50mm F2 Macro

    Pentax K System:
    - 50mm F1.2 K Mount

    Nikon F System:
    - 28mm F2.8 AI-S
    - 50mm F1.8 D
     
  2. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,952
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    All manual focus lenses I have from each manufacturer are super sharp and not the weakest link in the sharpness/high resolving chain. If there are any - I haven't found one yet even from cheap CL buys, I am certain something else in chain is causing the problem. If it is poor, then you just have a poor example due to poor storage, misuse, etc.

    [​IMG]

    The worst from each is still better then can be achieved on anything less then Kodak Techpan, Fuji Velvia or the like.
     
  3. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    Knobbley Mountain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sharpness.................sigh............
     
  4. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,952
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's no surprise that everyone wants the best of the best!
    Nobody ever post a poll on which is the most unsharp lens . . . :whistling:
     
  5. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The Micro Nikkor 55mm F2.8 is supposed to be a very sharp lens. I nominate the Vivitar 500mm F8 mirror lens as the most un-sharp. It was like shooting through a dirty window.
     
  6. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

    Messages:
    5,261
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Mi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, the 55mm f/2.8 micro lens from Nikon is wickedly sharp. And dirt cheap too. A great combo.
     
  7. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

    Messages:
    1,761
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    Knobbley Mountain
    Shooter:
    35mm
    C'mon Les ya know the 50 f1.8 that used to come with many cameras is usually the sharpest aside from some high dollar specialty glass.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    22,140
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Which component(s) of apparent sharpness (acutance, macro contrast, micro contrast, line pair resolution) do you value over others, and to what extent?
    Are you only concerned with centre sharpness, or corner sharpness, or what?
    What role does distortion play in your sharpness calculation?
    Is flatness of field important to you?
    For what camera to subject distance are you most concerned?
    And more importantly, have you ever taken a photograph where the apparent sharpness of the lens meant the photograph was unacceptable?
     
  9. LeftCoastKid

    LeftCoastKid Member

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not that it really matters (thinking of HCB's comment on the issue), but based on some 40 years' experience, I would have to say the Leica M 50mm F1.4 ASPH is probably the sharpest lenses made for 35mm photography. I have never shot with any lens that is even in the same league. Just about choked on the bill when I bought the lens four years ago (it was almost $4000.00), but no regrets after extensive use - the lens is more-or-less permanently mounted on one of my M6s.
     
  10. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

    Messages:
    737
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Ditto. A rather meaningless question.
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    8,539
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wide open: Center and 1/3 out the sharpest tested by Modern Photography was the Summilux 50 1.4. However, at 2/3 out and far edge, the Leca falls behind the competition. For example this Zuiko 1.4 is sharper at the far edge and had less overall astigmatism.
    Summilux14.jpg OlympusZuiko14.jpg
     
  12. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Like I posted, I want a lens that is sharp at its widest aperture. I want center sharpness cause its at its widest aperture. If its not contrasty then its going to look soft. ; im sure stopping it down will create a edge sharp image in any lens. Of course no distortion. Flatness of field is not important. A lens that focus somewhat close would be nice. And YES! I have taken photographs where I nailed the exposure and the picture was not too sharp. That is why i'm hunting for a very good lens. Solid questions!
     
  13. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    How is this a "meaningless" question?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,505
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Palm Springs
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They're all more than sharp enough, hence my .sig
     
  16. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Haha sorry! If it didnt matter we would all be shooting holga lenses.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Cool! I'll look into it!
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    22,140
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So you don't mind if the centre of a flat subject is sharp, and the edges are not.
    By the way, for many people low resolution lenses with high components of acutance (primarily) along with macro and micro contrast tend to appear more "sharp" than lenses that resolve better, but have a more balanced approach to contrast.
    So I take it from your comments that resolution isn't as important to you as the search for "sharpness" - a criterium that is more subjective than objective.
     
  19. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,505
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Palm Springs
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No, it's not a binary choice between razor sharp and blurry lenses. Most of the lenses are sharp enough that you won't see any meaningful difference without critical technique, such as:

    - highest resolving film like Tech Pan or Adox CMS 20
    - proper development
    - use of tripod, mirror up, cable release
    - huge enlargement or looking at negs with 40x Leica microscope (I used to do that)

    Which is why I say that of the systems you mention, they're all good enough unless your goal really is a collection of lens test targets.
     
  20. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,901
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Chillicothe MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Two of the sharpest lenses I tested decades ago were the 45mm GN-Nikkor pancake lens and the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5. The Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 wasn't available until later.
     
  21. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

    Messages:
    1,567
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sharpest lens I own is a Pentax A 50 2.8 I might have got a nice copy. I use it to scan films, it's mounted on my DSLR. Sure it's technically the sharpest lens I own but my other lenses resolve just fine. I use the Pentax A on extension tubes so I can resolve the nice 'lil grains for scanning.
     
  22. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Subscriber

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Plenty good from all of the above. but the 50mm summicron-m is probably as good as it gets. Unless you have the camera bolted to a good tripod, you probably won't see the difference.
     
  23. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Well as I’ve stated in my post, I’m looking for the sharpest lens for $500 and below. Not just “sharp enough”. Could you give me an example of a lens you’ve used that was irreplaceable and gave the best quality pictures at every aperture? That is the kind I’m searching for, not a collection!
     
  24. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Of course, in your opinion.
     
  25. OP
    OP
    mathjeff0

    mathjeff0 Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hence why I’m asking for other people’s opinion of a lens they found to be their best most sharp. Don’t you have 1 lens that you gave you quality results at all apertures? I’m just asking for your opinion.
     
  26. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,794
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "wide open sharpness" is pretty much a moving target.
    Generally, as lenses get faster, they get worse.
    In order to fix the inherent aberrations, it requires more elements, asperical elements, or exotic glass. This makes them very expensive, but not necessarily better.

    I know that is not what you want to hear. But there are no vintage lenses for film cameras that are as good wide open as they are are stopped down. Even the Leica Summilux is better stopped down.
     
  27. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,952
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    What lens did you use that was not sharp wide open? How did you evaluate the results? What was the film you used? How did you extract the image from the film?

    First of all - most, if not all the lenses you listed are not made brand new so you would not know if getting any of them are guaranteed to be in factory new condition or in the condition that my lenses are in.
    Next, depending on what kind of film you use, it is not likely you will see a difference from one to another - provided they are in good factory new shape.
    Wide open then focusing has a lot to do with getting sharpness due to the very shallow DOF. How critically you focus and the condition of your camera can greatly influence sharpness.
    Shutter speed and movement has an equal say with getting sharpness. Tripod is best and it all goes down from there.
    How you evaluate/extract the information captured on film greatly affects sharpness and contrast.

    An example of what I consider a super sharp lens is this Pentax M 50mm f4 macro that I bought supercheap on a local CL. I took this handheld shot on Fuji Velvia 50 and scanned with Coolscan @4000dpi with no pre or post except copyright.
    [​IMG]
    Full res version -> Fuji RVP (ISO 50 Velvia)

    Further critical testing using this lens on Pentax LX with 12233 res charts shot on Kodak Techpan at ISO25 processed in Kodak Technidol shows that even 36.3MP Nikon D800 or my own Coolscan 4000dpi scanner cannot resolve real detail captured on film. This was done under ideal conditions - MLU, tripod, good lighting, test targets, etc.
    [​IMG]
    Full res version -> Pentax M 50mm f4 macro res test

    I went on to test all my other lenses - all manual focus bought used with unknown condition, so that I would know whether they are good or not and not a dog in the bunch.

    So when you say you are not looking for good enough, I say just how critical are you going to test and evaluate your results as all mine are good enough.
     
,