Shooting notes for 24/28/35/50/70/85/120 comparisons
Focus was on the two pink flowers near center. The Nikon D3x with mirror lockup and a remote release was used at ISO 100, in 14-bit lossless NEF. Light was steady with no variance.
Images for sharpness comparisons converted to 16-bit TIF using Adobe Camera RAW with sharpening set to extract maximum details using sharpening parameters for deconvolution (see Making Sharp Images). Noise reduction off, lens corrections off.
Avanced sharpening makes an inferior lens look better than it is; although sharpening is applied equally to all images, the worst quality lens benefits the most in a perceptual way.
The variance in overall lens brightness, as well as vignetting and distortion made perfect matches in framing impossible. I used the as-marked focal lengths on each lens. Although the scene appears slightly tilted (corrected for the distortion comparisons), this is the best that can be done with either a bubble level or visually or with the D3x virtual horizon feature; all within 0.5° of level, and none more accurate than that.
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