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Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Lens Review - Performance

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Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Performance

Sharpness is simply stunning. Centrally, results are outstanding from f/0.95 all the way through to f/8, excellent at f/11 and still very good at f/16. The edges are excellent at f/0.95, outstanding from f/1.2 to f/8, excellent at f/11 and very good at f/16.

 

Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution and sharpness as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon Z7 using Imatest. Want to know more about how we review lenses?

 

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is all but banished centrally, and the edges are not far behind. A very strong result here as well.

 

Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon Z7 using Imatest.

 

Distortion measures -0.08% barrel, virtually rectilinear, and a challenge to even many macro lenses in this respect.

Bokeh is really nice, and the rendering of out of focus point light sources is commendable. Although there have been no astrophotography opportunities in the period of this review, it looks as though this could well be a strong area for the Noct.

Flare resistance is generally fine, with no loss of contrast or artefacts. If we try very hard, some artefacts can be generated, as shown in the sample image made, but this is not the norm and for all practical purposes flare is unlikely to be a problem.

As expected, vignetting at f/0.95 shows an obvious edge darkening, although as always this can actually be quite useful for portraits and need not necessarily be seen as much of a disadvantage. Overall results are very acceptable:

  • f/0.95 -2.4 stops
  • f/1.2 -1.9
  • f/2 to f/11 -1.6
  • f/16 -1.5

Clearly the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95S Noct lens is an extraordinary performer.


Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Sample Photos

 

Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


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Comments


LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
5 Dec 2019 7:04PM
I have bought my lottery tickets!

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lemmy 13 2.8k United Kingdom
6 Dec 2019 12:50PM
An amazing technical achievement by Nikon. When I was on my first Fleet Street newspaper a Canon f/0.95 was on loan to us. It wasn't so much that it was not so great wide open but that the depth of field rendered it all but useless at f/0.95.

There's a fetish about shallow depth of field for some reason nowadays but actually, even for portraits you do want some of it unless you plan to put the subject in one of the head restraints used of necessity by Victorian portraitists. And it is nice to have both eyes reasonably in focus..

In the guitar world, they call the ultra-expensive £5000+ instruments "dentists's guitars" because they are bought by well off not so serious players - meantime the Hendrix's of the music world are buying bog-ordinary instruments straight off the wall of a music shop. This lens strikes me as a dentist's lens.

Don't buy one, hire one for a week until your curiosity is sated and then go back to using your nice f/1.4 standard that you can pick up without a crane and don't need a security guard to keep away thieving hands Wink
9 Dec 2019 12:18PM
Looks like 500mm mirror lens to me.
thewilliam2 3 1.4k
20 Dec 2019 3:44PM
Those performance figures look impressive but may I suggest that they give us something to compare it with.

Back in the 1960s, one American comic included values for the best (Zeiss Planar) and worst (Meyer Domiplan) lenses that they'd ever tested so we knew where it stood.
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
20 Dec 2019 7:55PM

Quote:Those performance figures look impressive but may I suggest that they give us something to compare it with.


All you have to do is look at results for other lens tested in the same way and published on the Ephotozine web site.
ChrisV Plus
13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
25 Dec 2019 7:31PM
Not sure why you’d shoot all the night photos at ISO 1600 - particularly when using unecessarily high shutter speeds. Viewed in high res there’s a lot of noise which seems to defeat the object of such a lens for that type of photography. I’m also not seeing an astonishing amount of detail in the hall shots. I was expecting to be able to read small text on the wall plate and parked van. The larger type was readable, but I was really anticipating being able to discern the smaller writing when magnified. Am I expecting too much from such a combination? £10k would leave me wanting more...
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 9:23AM

Quote:Not sure why you’d shoot all the night photos at ISO 1600 - particularly when using unecessarily high shutter speeds. Viewed in high res there’s a lot of noise which seems to defeat the object of such a lens for that type of photography.

I agree

Quote: I’m also not seeing an astonishing amount of detail in the hall shots. I was expecting to be able to read small text on the wall plate and parked van. The larger type was readable, but I was really anticipating being able to discern the smaller writing when magnified. Am I expecting too much from such a combination? £10k would leave me wanting more...

Maybe you are expecting too much - by overlooking that no matter how sharp a lens, who cannot put detail in the areas outside the limits of depth of field.
You can put extra detail with a very high resolving lens, making increased resolution when zooming in a probability, in areas near the centre of the depth of field
ChrisV Plus
13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 12:59PM
I think all the areas I was talking about are at or near infinity - certainly the plate on the side of the hall should be in the target subject area.

Not sue about the level of magnification as I zoomed in - I was viewing on an iPad Pro which is about 4 megapixels. I suppose it is possible I was zooming greater than 100% (there’s no indicator of the zoom ratio). But I wasn’t seeing pixels- just fuzziness. I suppose it would need perfect technique to properly judge the resolving power of the combo from these samples.
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 2:30PM

Quote:I think all the areas I was talking about are at or near infinity - certainly the plate on the side of the hall should be in the target subject area.
Not sue about the level of magnification as I zoomed in - I was viewing on an iPad Pro which is about 4 megapixels. I suppose it is possible I was zooming greater than 100% (there’s no indicator of the zoom ratio)..



When you zoom in on a monitor you change the effective circle of confusion and reduce effective depth of field.
ChrisV Plus
13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 10:25PM

Quote:
Quote:I think all the areas I was talking about are at or near infinity - certainly the plate on the side of the hall should be in the target subject area.
Not sure about the level of magnification as I zoomed in - I was viewing on an iPad Pro which is about 4 megapixels. I suppose it is possible I was zooming greater than 100% (there’s no indicator of the zoom ratio)..



When you zoom in on a monitor you change the effective circle of confusion and reduce effective depth of field.



But as I said Len, the plate I was talking about was fixed to the front wall of the hall that was the main subject of the photo, so one would assume at or very near the focus hotspot. That being at or near infinity. It wasn’t wide open either so we’re not talking super shallow DoF. Nothing else looked notably sharper in any case.
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
27 Dec 2019 8:39AM

Quote:But as I said Len, the plate I was talking about was fixed to the front wall of the hall that was the main subject of the photo, so one would assume at or very near the focus hotspot. That being at or near infinity. It wasn’t wide open either so we’re not talking super shallow DoF. Nothing else looked notably sharper in any case.


Perhaps you now have to decide whether or not you think the lw/ph figures published are fake Sad (I am satisfied they are not), the photographer did not take adequate care making the outdoor test image you refer to, or whether you should reconsider the logic you are using.

1/ zooming in on a monitor dramatically reduces depth of field - often to "super shallow". Even with the smallest iPad pro zooming in to 100% reduces dof to no more than 6% of dof in the theoretical 10x8 inch print used as the basis for dof.
2/ infinity is significantly further away than in the test shot you refer to
3/ your viewing device while very good for its size is not "top drawer" for displaying very fine detail.
4/ Imatest (or MTF) measure a 1000:1 contrast target.

The Imatest scores seem easily the best so far from a 45 MP sensor.


ChrisV Plus
13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
1 Jan 2020 4:02PM
5/ whether or not to rely on information provided by someone who thinks 4K resolution is the same as 4 megapixels.
lemmy 13 2.8k United Kingdom
1 Jan 2020 6:05PM
If you look at the lens chart, could anyone find fault with such performance? At this level of performance any photograph made would need to be made on a very sturdy tripod and carefully controlled conditions to extract the maximum resolution - hand held even at high shutter speeds wouldn't cut it since the tiniest blur from movement would compromise resolution.

Lenses like this are mainly made to provoke these "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" discussions. No normal photographer has any practical use for them and no normal display media can do them justice. In practise, who needs or wants this level of sharpness?

The surest sign of the failure of a picture is if someone remarks how sharp it is Wink
ChrisV Plus
13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2020 4:16PM

Quote:If you look at the lens chart, could anyone find fault with such performance? At this level of performance any photograph made would need to be made on a very sturdy tripod and carefully controlled conditions to extract the maximum resolution - hand held even at high shutter speeds wouldn't cut it since the tiniest blur from movement would compromise resolution.

Lenses like this are mainly made to provoke these "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" discussions. No normal photographer has any practical use for them and no normal display media can do them justice. In practise, who needs or wants this level of sharpness?

The surest sign of the failure of a picture is if someone remarks how sharp it is Wink



You have a point (about steadiness). Bizarrely the shot I’m talking about was f16 at 1/50. So I think perhaps a little diffraction and a fair bit of motion blur/ camera shake (although there is IBIS). Which begs the question - why those settings? What was John setting out to demonstrate? Wouldn’t f4/ 1/400 be likely to get a lot more out of the combination?
lemmy 13 2.8k United Kingdom
2 Jan 2020 5:00PM
I'm often bemused by photographers who buy ultra-fast lenses and then generally use them at the normal f/4/ 5.6 ish. There is still a notion that faster lenses, being more expensive, are sharper. In point of fact, most lenses set to f/4 or 5.6 are as sharp as one another, whether they are have a maximum aperture of f/1.4 or f/3.5. Apart from very large prints, modern display media is very undemanding and incapable of showing great detail unless you go all train-spotter and pixel peep. In which case you cannot see the picture, making the whole exercise pointless.

Why anyone would use a lens like this at 1/50th @ f/16 I don't know. Having such an extreme lens as this, I'd expect to be using it at 1/1600 @ f/2 and dispensing with any stabilization which at such a speed is likely to be more hindrance than help. Here we have one of the fastest and sharpest lenses in the world being used in a way that rubs the edge off the acuity both with camera movement and diffraction.

But lenses like this aren't bought by people to use, they are bought for effect by folk who want to work a camera rather than make pictures. Same as £10,000 electric guitars and 220mph super cars, they are made for folks who think ownership equals ability. And bless them, because they are the people who make it possible for the rest of us to buy the tools to earn our living without going bankrupt!





LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
3 Jan 2020 8:54AM

Quote:
Why anyone would use a lens like this at 1/50th @ f/16 I don't know. Having such an extreme lens as this, I'd expect to be using it at 1/1600 @ f/2 and dispensing with any stabilization which at such a speed is likely to be more hindrance than help. Here we have one of the fastest and sharpest lenses in the world being used in a way that rubs the edge off the acuity both with camera movement and diffraction.


You make a very valid point as regards the outdoor images.

It is probable ephotozine had the lens for testing for only a few hours.
Even so I would have appreciated an image taken at f2 that illustrates both the shallow depth of field and background bokeh.
After all few if any site viewers are likely to get a chance to use this lens.
lemmy 13 2.8k United Kingdom
3 Jan 2020 9:37AM

Quote:Even so I would have appreciated an image taken at f2 that illustrates both the shallow depth of field and background bokeh.
I hasten to add that I meant no criticism of John and I have no idea of the circumstances under which this review was done.

When I make my review videos, I use the lens under review at its extreme. In my review of the Panasonic 10-25 f/1.7, all the example pix are taken at maximum aperture or f/2.You don't pay £1750 for a standard zoom in order to use it at f/4. If you are happy with f/4 or f/5.6, Panasonic's 12-32mm is just as sharp and a small fraction of the price.

This is a f/0.95 lens with such shallow depth of field as to be useless for most purposes and more of a lens maker's circus trick than a practical lens. It is, however, wonderful that it exists.

I can't help thinking that if you are one of the 'shallow depth of field' fetishists who seem to be numerous these days, you could buy a 5x4 inch camera and get some serious shallow depth by sticking a Nikon 240mm on as a portrait lens. Or even buy a medium format digital for the same or less money. But I suppose that doesn't have the big d**k factor that a £10,000 lens like this does.

If only they made this for Leica, then you could spend some really serious money - £16700 - that'd show everyone what a good photographer you are Grin
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
26 Jan 2020 3:57PM
A general query on your testing methodology.

In your testing notes you say green column numbers are at taken at "the edges".

By "edges" do you mean to the long edge of the frame which (on 24x36 format) is 12mm out from the centre, or to the short edge which is 18mm out from the centre?

My aim is to "approximately guesstimate" corner numbers - which I appreciate Imatest does not provide.

It seems reasonable to expect a greater divergence between corner and a measure 12 mm out than between corner and 18mm out.
12 Mar 2020 8:14PM
How much faster is f/0.95 compared to f/1 ?
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
13 Mar 2020 7:48AM

Quote:5/ whether or not to rely on information provided by someone who thinks 4K resolution is the same as 4 megapixels.

I have never believed what you you say.
LenShepherd 12 4.2k United Kingdom
13 Mar 2020 7:49AM

Quote:How much faster is f/0.95 compared to f/1 ?

Not much.

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