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Sharpness and Blur by Optics

Blur from optical behavior or subject-related issue..

Sharpness and Zone of Focus

Sharpness loss by focusing or zone of sharp focus..

How To Get Peak Sharpness With Perfect Focus

Focusing is more complicated than it first appears..

Focusing Accuracy (Case Studies)

Focusing accuracy and errors..

Focus Stacking Overview

Bypass the limits on depth of field and diffraction..

Focus Shift and Spherical Aberration

Elusive sharpness, depending on aperture.

Focus Shift (Case Studies)

Focus shift with a variety of lenses..

Spherical Aberration

Diffuse haze at wide apertures..

How to Test A Lens

How to verify a good sample and assess all aspects of lens performance..

Nikon D850

The best becomes better..

Nikon D850 Focus Stacking

Unprecedented support for focus stacking in full-frame DSLR..

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED

Nikon’s finest wide angle lens..

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Nikon’s finest 70-200 zoom as of 2017..

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4 ED VR and 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR II

Which speed zoom for the Nikon D800/D800E?.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II

Ultra fast 200mm with gorgeous bokeh and high resolving power..

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

Ultra wide tilt/shift lens.

Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro-Nikkor

Medium telephoto tilt/shift macro focusing lens.

Pentax HD DA Limited 15mm f/4 ED

APS-C wide angle lens equivalent to 22mm on full-frame..

Pentax HD DA Limited 35mm f/2.8 Macro

APS-C normal lens equivalent to 53mm on full-frame..

Pentax HD DA Limited 40mm f/2.8

APS-C slightly tele normal lens equivalent to 60mm on full-frame..

Pentax HD DA Limited 70mm f/2.4

APS-C moderate telephoto equivalent to 105mm on full-frame..

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM

Canon’s tiny and lovely pancake lens..

Canon 50mm Lenses

Is Canon’s f/1.2 lens really better than an inexpensive f/1.4 or f/1.8?.

Canon 35mm f/2 IS

Canon’s image stabilized 35mm..

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Tamron’s ultra wide to medium fast zoom..

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art

Fast constant-aperture ultrawide zoom..

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art

Superwide optimized zoom lens..

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art

Mid-range optimized groundbreaking f/2 zoom..

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

A whopping 4/3 stop faster than other lenses in its range..

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s fast high performance wide angle..

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s fast high performance normal lens..

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Extraordinary optical efforts for class-leading performance?.

Sigma Telephoto APO Macro Lenses: 150mm, 180mm

Sigma’s fast telephoto APO macro lenses..

Nikon 45mm f/2.8P

Ultra compact pancake lens with nice bokeh.

Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS

Nikon’s classic high speed normal lens.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon’s latest 50mm lens compared with the Zeiss ZF 50/1.4, Nikon 50/1.4D and Sigma 50/1.4..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon’s High Performance Moderately-Priced 50mm..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G

Nikon’s High performance normal lens.

Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4.0D IF-ED

Nikon’s workhorse 200mm macro lens, and not just sharp at close-ups!.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G

Nikon’s fast ultra wide angle..

Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED

State of the art design in a fast 24mm lens. Includes full-resolution images at f/1.4..

Olympus Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.2

An ultra-fast older design still offers appeal on modern digital..

Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro

A superlative multi-spectral lens with perfect color correction..

Canon 11-24mm f/4L USM

Extreme wide angle zoom..

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II and 24-70mm f/4L IS

Canon’s premium mid-range zooms..

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G

A fast moderate wide angle lens with some practical difficulties..

Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G

State of the art design in a fast 35mm lens..

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G

State of the art design in a fast 85mm lens..

Nikon 105mm f/2 DC

Strong telephoto lens with special control over spherical aberration..

Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Relatively compact super-telephoto zoom..

Nikon Ultra Wide Zooms

Comparing Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR, 17-35mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 18-35mm, 24-70mm f/2.8 along with Nikon 20mm f/3.5, 24mm f/2, 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 AIS, and more..

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

A review of Canon’s new 70-200mm zoom, along with comparisons to other models and the 200mm f/2L IS. Extensive comparisons at multiple focal lengths..

Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

Nikon’s ultra wide angle zoom and the Nikon 14mm f/2.8, critical focus shift behavior..

Samyang 14mm f/2.8

Ultra wide angle lens for Canon and Nikon..

Focus Shift In-Depth

Focus shift assesments of a wide variety of lenses of various brands. Shows a range of apertures for each lens and the mount of focus shift, discusses how to compensate for it..

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon ZA

Fast and gorgeous moderate wide angle Zeiss design..

Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA

Fast high performance normal lens of Zeiss design..

Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Sonnar

Compact normal lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless..

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

Top-grade medium telephoto..

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM

Razor sharp medium telephoto with apodization filter..

Voigtlander FE Heliar-Hyper 10mm f/5.6 Aspherical III

Anything wider would be a fisheye..

Voigtlander FE Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

Fast lens speed for versatile rendering..

Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95

Speed to match the Leica Noctilux..

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

Pro-grade f/2.8 wide angle zoom..

Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar

Comapact ultra-wide zoom for Sony full frame mirrorless..

Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4G OSS

Wide mid-range zoom targeted at video shooters..

Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS Vario-Tessar

Comapact mid-range zoom for Sony full frame mirrorless.

Leica M Lenses on Olympus OM-D E-M5

Does pricey M glass deliver on mirrorless?.

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8

A fast moderate wide angle..

Olympus Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 ED Telephoto

Beautiful bokeh, long reach fast speed, compact lens..

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH Micro 4/3

A weak sibling covers the wide end.

Comparisons across format.

Can smaller sensor cameras compete with larger ones on any basis?.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R

A compact fast pancake lens..

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R

Fujifilm’s kit zoom for the X-E1.

Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 for Sony NEX

Moderate wide angle for Sony NEX..

Metabones SpeedBooster for Sony NEX

Use DSLR lenses at ~native focal length, and gain a stop of speed..

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 Distagon

Outstanding ultra wide angle performer..

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

Outstanding wide angle, superb performer..

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon

Manual focus moderate wide angle for full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 Planar

Normal lens for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X..

Sigma DP2 Merrill

45mm f/2.8 equivalent lens on APS-C sensor..

Fujifilm GFX Operational Aspects

Experience, reader insights, etc..

Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR

Moderate wide angle equivalent to 37mm f/2.3..

Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR

Standard normal lens equivalent to 52mm f/2.3..

Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R WR

Ultra high speed telephoto equivalent to 90mm f/1.6..

Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR

High performance macro photography on medium format, equivalent to 99mm f/3.3..

Hasselblad XCD 30mm f/3.5

25mm equivalent..

Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5

37mm equivalent..

Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/3.2

Medium format telephoto lens, 74mm equivalent..

Pentax HD 35mm f/3.5 AL [IF]

Moderate wide angle lens for Pentax 645..

Pentax 645 HD DA 28-45mm f/4.5 ED AW SR

Wide angle zoom for Pentax 645..

Pentax 645 90mm f/2.8 D FA 645 Macro ED AW SR

Medium telephoto macro lens for Pentax 645 digital and film..

Milvus 18mm f/2.8

An outstanding 18mm design..

Introduction

Start here to best utilize this guide..

Optical Performance

Sharpness and rendering..

15mm f/2.8 Distagon

Ultra high performance in an extreme wild wide angle lens..

21mm f/2.8 Distagon

Brilliant imaging, even wide open, but with a few quirks. (Review in progress) .

28mm f/2 Distagon

An artist’s drawing tool..

35mm f/1.4 Distagon

Strokes of a master..

50mm f/1.4 Planar

Brilliant imaging in a compact package..

50/1.4 Planar vs 50/2 Makro-Planar

Comparing the two 50mm options near and far, more comparisons coming..

Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Ultra high performance apochromatic normal lens, first in the Otus line..

Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Rendering Style

Rendering style, bokeh and 'transparency' without peer..

85mm f/1.4 Planar

True-to-life imagery..

135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar

Beautiful bokeh, razor sharp, superb color correction..

Leica M10

Leica M mount in slim body with SL-type sensor..

Leica M Typ 240 Compared To Full Frame Cameras

Relative sharpness and performance across cameras..

Leica M Typ 240 Compared To APS-C Cameras

Relative sharpness and performance vs APS-C cameras..

Leica SL Typ 601

24-megapixel interchangeable lenses, high-res EVF..

Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL ASPH OIS

All-arounder zoom with dubious optical compromises..

Leica Q (Typ 116)

24-megapixel fixed lens compact full-frame..

Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Leica’s fastest and widest lens..

Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (pre-2016)

Leica’s widest lens utilizing built-in frame lines..

Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (2016)

Tweaked 2016 redesign..

Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH (2016)

Tweaked 2016 redesign of Leica’s petite performer..

Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH (2010 FLE)

Leica’s superlative and most natural lens for the M..

Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH

Leica’s f/2 35mm for the M..

Leica M 50mm Lenses

Six models to choose from..

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The world’s best 50mm lens is outstanding, but with some limits..

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron-M

Leica’s compact low-distortion normal lens..

Leica 75mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Leica’s medium tele for Leica M..

Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH

Compact lens for portraiture or similar..

Leica 100mm f/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit-R

Superb all-around macro and general-purpose lens..

Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R

World’s best mid-range telephoto lens..

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

Fast and ultra high performance moderate wide angle rangefinder lens..

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2 Biogon

All around razor sharp performer..

Zeiss ZM 85mm f/4 Tele-Tessar

Compact high performance medium telephoto..


Blog posts

2018

2018-07-31 Reader Question: Focus Shift with Nikon Mirrorless

2018-07-07 Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Assessed for Focus Shift: Wooden Surface of Picnic Table

2018-01-30 Fujifilm GFX Does not Always Focus at Full Aperture, Could it Be Compensation for Focus Shift?

2018-01-15 Reader Question: Automated Focus Stacking (solution: Nikon D850)

2017

2017-12-04 New Article on Zeiss Lenspire Site: “Getting started with Focus Stacking – How to achieve more detailed images”

2017-11-14 Deep Stacking with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Using Nikon D850 'Focus shift shooting'

2017-11-11 Which is Better, Food or Water? (or wine) — Sony Alpha A7R III Pixel Shift vs Nikon D850 'Focus shift shooting'

2017-11-08 Nikon D850: Validating 'Focus shift shooting' in the Field: Does it really work well?

2017-11-01 Will we See Firmware Updates from Sony and Nikon for Pixel Shift and 'Focus shift shooting', respectively?

2017-10-27 Nikon D850: 'Focus shift shooting' Feature Most Important Feature since Live View; Focus Stacking is the ONLY Solution to Full Resolution Images

2017-10-25 Nikon D850: 'Focus Shift Shooting' at Close Range

2017-10-24 Nikon D850: 'Focus Shift Shooting' Feature is a Reason by Itself to buy the Nikon D850 — Saves Time, Guarantees Peak Quality

2017-10-17 Nikon D850 Experience Report: AF Fine Tune, Focusing Precision, Accuracy with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G + Focus Shift Behavior

2017-10-07 Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Focus Shift Case Study: Lee Vining Canyon Fresh Snow (Nikon D810)

2017-08-29 New Article on Zeiss Lenspire Site: “Micro Contrast and the Zeiss 'Pop'”

2017-08-27 New Article on Zeiss Lenspire Site: “Zoom or Prime Lens? Normal Lenses”

2017-08-26 Nikon D850: Focus Stepping Feature

2017-08-23 Nikon Announces the D850, Commentary + Reader Comments

2017-06-18 Reader Question: Camera/Lens Focus Calibration

2017-05-22 New Article on Zeiss Lenspire Site: “Zoom or Prime Lens? A series by Lloyd Chambers”

2017-05-16 Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR: Focus Shift at Close Range @ 70mm, 130mm, 200mm

2017-05-16 Nikon Appears to be Doing Focus Shift Compensation, at Least with the Nikon D810 and 70-200/2.8E

2017-03-28 Followup: Fujifilm GFX and 120mm f/4 Focus Shift Problems

2017-03-27 Followup: Fujifilm GFX and 120mm f/4 Focus Shift Problems

2017-03-10 Fujifilm GFX + 120mm f/4 Macro: Focus Shift Summarized with Two Additional Proofs

2017-03-08 Fujifilm GFX 50s + 63mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Yellow House at Dusk

2017-03-08 Reader Question: Focus Shift (stems from Fujifilm GFX findings, but applies to all brands)

2017-03-07 Fujifilm GFX 50s + 120mm f/4 Macro Plus Aperture Series at Distance: Baseball Diamond

2017-02-20 Hasselblad XCD 30mm f/3.5 Evaluation at MOD (Minimum Object Distance)

2017-02-16 New Article on Zeiss Lenspire Site: “Zoom or Prime Lens? A series by Lloyd Chambers”

2017-02-11 Hasselblad X1D with XCD 90/3.2 Aperture Series: White Anthurium

2017-02-08 Hasselblad X1D + Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 Aperture Series: Pomegranates on Picnic Table

2017-02-08 Hasselblad X1D + Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 Aperture Series: Storm Drain Signs

2016

2016-12-18 Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Frosty Picnic Table

2016-10-15 Reader Question: Focusing with Sony Mirrorless

2016-05-29 REVIEWED: Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4G OSS

2016-04-16 Sony G Master 85mm f/1.4 Aperture Series: Understanding Behavior, Particularly Focus Shift

2016-02-08 Leica v2016 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPHAssessment of Focus Shift at MOD

2016-02-08 Leica v2016 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH Assessment of Focus Shift at MOD

2016-01-03 Leica SL: Evaluation of Focus Shift at 49mm for Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL

2016-01-03 Leica SL: Evaluation of Focus Shift at 90mm for Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL

2015

2015-05-19 Sony FE 28mm f/2: Assessing Focus Shift and Color Correction and Sharpness at Close Range (Dolls, Sony A7R)

2015-04-18 Don’t Confuse Focusing Distance with Reproduction Ratio aka Magnification

2015-04-11 Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon: Assessing Focus Shift and Color Correction (Dolls, Sony A7R)

2014

2014-11-30 Sony FE 16-35mm f/4: Aperture Series at 35mm Pumpkin + Mitigating Focus Shift

2014-10-17 Focus Shift Compared: Nikon 20/1.8G vs 14-24/2.8

2014-10-17 Zeiss 21/2.8 Distagon: Focus Shift Assessment

2014-10-16 Focus Shift Nikon 20/1.8G vs 14-24/2.8

2014-08-01 Panasonic Leica 15mm f/1.7 DG Summilux ASPH: Focus Shift Study

2014-07-30 Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A vs Nikon 50/1.4G and 50/1.8G (Nikon D810)

2014-07-01 The Effect of Focus Shift on Image Sharpness

2013

2013-08-10 New Features for Finding Stuff at diglloyd.com

2013-08-03 Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH: Field Curvature and Focus Shift on a Planar Subject

2013-07-26 Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH: Glacial Erratics and Focus Placement (Leica M Typ 240)

2013-04-09 Close Range Performance with Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

2013-01-11 Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM: Aperture Series with Focus Shift Analysis

2012

2012-12-30 Compared: Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS vs 35mm f/1.4L vs 24-70mm f/2.8L II (Dolls) + Focus Shift Assessment

2012-10-20 Mitigating Focus Shift in the Field (Nikon D800E + Nikon 14-24)

2012-07-30 Focus Shift — Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, 50mm f/1.4D, 50mm f/1.8FG, 50mm f/1.8D, Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II

2012-07-30 Focus Shift — Why So Much Coverage?

2012-07-30 Focus Shift — Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar and Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar

2012-07-29 Canon 50mm f/1.2L Focus Shift — Extensive Study

2012-07-29 Focus Shift — Canon 50mm f/1.2L, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

2012-07-07 Focus Shift with the Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G on D800E

2012-06-21 Why Don’t Nikon and Canon Compensate for Focus Shift? (Hasselblad Does!)

2012-06-19 Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G on D800E, Focus Shift Study

2012-06-14 Focus Shift Study for Nikon AF-S 35/1.4G and 35/1.4 AI-S on D800E

2012-06-12 Focus Shift Study for Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G on D800E

2012-06-11 Focus Shift with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G @ 24mm on D800E (with 24-70 f/2.8G as reference lens)

2012-06-10 A Study of Focus Shift With Six 28mm Lenses

2012-06-08 Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G Focus Shift

2010

2010-05-11 Nikon 24mm f/1.4G focus shift and color bokeh page

2009

2009-04-30 Focus shift article

2008

2008-11-11 Focus shift on a resolution chart

2008-11-11 Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4 Planar for Canon EOS focus problem

2008-11-10 A brief introduction to focus shift

2008-11-10 Focus shift in 85mm lenses

2008-11-10 Focus shift in fast 50mm lenses

2008-11-10 More focus shift: 35mm, 100mm, 135mm, more

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