This scene provides a number of challenges to lenses: tremendous detail, straight lines to reveal distortion, a range of color and tone, and front-to-back subject matter with a planar component.
Note: this comparison is also in Zeiss ZF Lenses, where it adds the Zeiss ZF 21/2.8 Distagon.
Camera and focusing
The 24.4MP Nikon D3x was used. Live View for focus, with mirror lockup and remote release for exposure, to ensure camera stability and frame-to-frame alignment.
This scene was actually shot twice, to cross-check. Two aperture series were shot for each lens the 2nd shoot, refocusing each time. There were very minor differences which required close scrutiny to detect; the best result was chosen for each lens, based on the best wide-open frame at the focusing point. Even so, it’s virtually impossible to be certain of a perfect match between lenses in a field comparison, so analysis throughout the frame is required, not relying on any one area.
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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.
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Voigtlander 20/3.5 @ f/5.6