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The sharpest lens in the world

GoodbyeAll 15 348 1
18 May 2003 6:37PM
Hi guys..here's a tickler. What is the sharpest (mass produced) camera lens in the world. Not a joke, a serious question. 35mm lenses have to be sharper than medium format lenses to resolve more at smaller image sizes, but is a Hasselblad Planar really not as sharp as say a good Nikon or Canon lens? I've used some sharp Schneider Symmar lenses but I don't think they'd be any good on 35mm. Any comment?

My vote would be for an RB67 127mm lens I used to have, sharper and crisper than any Hasselblad lens I ever owned.

(you can't vote for the lens on the Hubble telescope by the way) :0

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mitchellhatpeg 15 205 1
18 May 2003 8:01PM
For 35mm Cameras I'd vote for the Leica 50mm F1 Noctilux-M at 2K. I understand that the new 4/3 standard for digital cameras being launched by Olympus will have lenses designed to be better than 35mm though, we'll have to wait for the reviews.
GoodbyeAll 15 348 1
18 May 2003 8:14PM
Yes, you'd probably have to go a long way to find one better than Leica.

The reason I started this is actually about digital. As you may know I am a digital nut with a Canon 10D and if we are really going to see the end of film we are going to have to be able to beat at least medium format for sheer quality, so as the chips get larger & better eventually it comes down to the resolving power, sharpness and contrast of the lenses. Are the Canon series (for example) really going to be good enough to manage this? Perhaps your mention of the new Olympus series is exactly right.
railton 15 304
18 May 2003 9:03PM
Wendy the chip in the Canon 1D is resolving more detail than MF film now. Source Luminous Landscape.com
georghiades 15 30 United Kingdom
18 May 2003 10:07PM
Why do you want to see the end of film?
GoodbyeAll 15 348 1
19 May 2003 6:23AM
Personally I don't use film now. I have no problem with others using it Smile
georghiades 15 30 United Kingdom
19 May 2003 8:58AM
It was just that your previous post said
"if we are really going to see the end of film" and it just seemed like you were wishing film away.
I have to say that in many cases where digital products have tried to take over from analogue versions, it is convenience and not quality that was the deciding factor.
The best vinyl is better than the best cd.
The best audio tape is better than mini disc.
In both cases the digital versions are more convenient. Quality is a different matter.

(I realise that this is completely off topic!)

Anyway sharpest lens, don't know!
alan1971 15 3
19 May 2003 10:05AM
Looking at the MTF lens tests on http://www.photodo.com/nav/prodindex.html,
the sharpest lens I can see from the 900 odd they've tested is the Canon EF 200/1,8L USM with a grade of 4.8 (5.0 is the highest possible)

The sharpest Leica lenses they've tested are the LeicaR Elmarit-R 90/2,8 (4.6) and the LeicaM Summicron-M 50/2,0 (4.6), grades similar to the Carl Zeiss T* lenses. The LeicaM Noctilux-M 50/1,0
comes in at 4.2

Nikon's sharpest is the Nikkor AF 50/1,8 (4.4) Not bad for a 100 quid lens.

And the sharpest Hasselblad from those tested is the Hasselblad Distagon CF 50/4 FLE with a grade of 3.9

Can you tell I'm bored at work?
alan1971 15 3
19 May 2003 10:42AM

p.s. I'm not convinced that any digital camera is yet resolving more detail than film. The Canon 10D has a maximum resolution of 3072x2048, which means that the largest print you could get from that is 10.24 x 6.82 inches (at the 300 dpi print standard). Not quite A4 size.

My film scanner produces images of 6000 x 4000 (approx), which is just about enough to get a half decent A3 print, but to be honest I'd prefer more detail.
But the film itself has a higher resolution than that.
cool cat 16 145
19 May 2003 12:25PM
An interesting question.

You can spend hours on the internet reading just what each lens will resolve or how many lines per inch it will resolve - and I have done.

The mamiya lens that you talk about is indeed an excellent lens, however, as with all mamiya lenses they are optimised for edge sharpness. A Zeiss or Leica lens will always give that bit extra in the shadow areas. "You pays your money and takes your choice"

I recently decided to test my Leica IIIF with Summitar 50mm F2 against a F5 and Nikkor AF 2,8 / 28 70mm S. After scanning the images, the only thing I succeeded in doing was finding the limit of the Nikon LS 4000 ED. The nikon S was very slightly sharper at the edges but then I prefer the results from the Summitar.

Ah well it was fun, and proved that even in difficult lighting the difference between the best lenses is small and is down to personal preference.

I love shooting with a digital camera but to say that the quality is as good as film is like saying that a robin reliant is better than rolls royce. Both get you there but.........

Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
19 May 2003 4:58PM
Well the lens (28-105mm USM) alone on the Canon SLR I have just sold would be about 300...body extra!! I used to think the Canon SLR was excellent and all I would ever need.

My Minolta Dimage 4-megapixel is now retailing at about 260 (sadly I paid a good deal more than that 9 months ago!) The digicam has a 35-140 equivalent zoom.

The prints from the Minolta are STUNNING. Better than I was ever able to achieve from the Canon SLR - hence why I sold the thing. I knew I'd never use a conventional film camera again.

Digital can't match traditional film? Certainly up to A4 size (the limit of my printer) that is nonsense.....digital can more than match - it can do better!!!
georghiades 15 30 United Kingdom
19 May 2003 5:29PM
Digital vs film could - and probably will, go on for a very long time.

My two pence worth.
Went to Kew, took the same pictures with a Leica Z2X with NPH film and a Fuji Finepix M603 on the highest setting. Both were taken to asda and printed to 5x7 on their Fujifilm FDI imaging machine.
Digital - Muddy colours and fine detail was missing.
Film - Sharper than the digital, colours were more realistic than the digital, and the fine detail in the flowers was there!

Conclusion- Film better than digital!

durlstonp 15 638 1 United Kingdom
19 May 2003 7:17PM
I wish you hadn't drawn my attention to that site Alan. Whilst I knew that my wife's Christmas present to me was far from being the sharpest lens I have in the bag, it was quite something to find out just how bad it is! Indeed, it may even have the lowest MTF rating there - just 0.9!

Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
19 May 2003 8:15PM
I would say to Georghiades that you have to choose your digicam carefully!! I would hardly have got rid of hundreds of pounds worth of conventional photographic equipment if I thought digital wasn't better.

I don't use digital for convenience...I never found film particularly inconvenient. I use it for better quality.
georghiades 15 30 United Kingdom
19 May 2003 10:47PM
I have my pick of any Fuji digital camera and yet I still prefer to use my Leica for snaps and my minolta Dynax 7 for "proper" photography.

My experiment was for my benefit and not any scientific purpose. The reason I chose those cameras is that they are both point and shoot in style and if anything I was trying to put the best film I could get against the best digital that I had available to me.

I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. Carabosse, you said digital can do better than film and I was just illustrating the point that for every argument for digital there is one against. I was also very surprised to hear that you could not get decent results from your slr.

Sorry for being off topic, still no idea what the sharpest lens in the world is. I always though they were curved!


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